New Study Essentially Suggests That Publishers Should Do CwF + RtB Instead Of Going Legal To Combat Piracy

from the yup dept

We have talked about the power of connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy, along with using public shaming, as tools for combating piracy in its various forms. Tools far better, in fact, than twisting in litigious winds hoping that the construct of law will be sufficient to curb natural human behavior… and finding out that it isn’t. What these routes offer content producers is a way to ingratiate themselves with their fans, building a community that not only wants to buy content themselves, but also will decry any attempt to pirate that content by others. Morality is shaped by the herd, in other words, so having the herd on your side finds content producers a powerful ally.

But philosophy like that doesn’t penetrate industry in and of itself. Perhaps, then, data and academic studies may. The International Journal of Business Environment recently released just such a study suggesting that content providers are far better off reaching out and connecting with fans, including those pirating their works, rather than trying to fight piracy legally.

According to Eva Hofmann of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, UK and Elfriede Penz of the Institute for International Marketing Management, at Vienna University of Economics and Business, in Austria, the unauthorised sharing of digital content is well-entrenched in popular culture. However, they have discerned a difference in the way those downloading pirated content and the legal downloaders decide on how to obtain the content they desire from the Internet.

The researchers note that inherent in the problem for copyright holders is that digital goods can be duplicated endlessly without loss of fidelity, making piracy easy but also suggesting that the value of such goods as being less than traditional, physical items in the realm of content, such as CDs and DVDs.

This nicely outlines why piracy exists at the levels it does: there is something natural in deciding that something that can be reproduced infinitely in a digital manner at no cost differs from a physical good that cannot. It’s the reason why piracy and theft simply aren’t the same thing. This doesn’t make copyright infringement or piracy morally acceptable, of course, but it explains why the moral equation for those doing the piracy is inherently different. Everyone knows this intrinsically, even if some major content industry players want to pretend otherwise.

The study’s abstract itself suggests that the best method for combating this is to engage with the public to change that moral equation.

Respondent groups differ in the effect of social consensus on the decision-making process. Additionally, the entire issue-contingent model is important in internet piracy research. From a practical view and based on social consensus results, it is essential for companies to establish sentiments that unauthorised downloading is an unacceptable behaviour within a specific social group that is highly relevant to downloaders.

In other words, creating a real connection with fans that are also given a real reason to buy content alters the moral equation for those that seek out that content. If enough minds are changed in that manner, it will have an exponential moral effect as those fans of the producer both promote the buying of the content and speak out or subvert attempts to pirate it. It works on both levels: convincing more people to buy the product and creating a fan-base hungry for the content provider to succeed so as to get more content.

CwF + RtB, in other words, along with a fan-based army willing to publicly shame pirates.

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Comments on “New Study Essentially Suggests That Publishers Should Do CwF + RtB Instead Of Going Legal To Combat Piracy”

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46 Comments
Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

About that moral equation

The Constitution, at least in the United States of America, portends that copyright be for a limited time. While life of the author/creator plus 70 years is in fact limited, it is not what existed for close to 200 years of the US’s existence. The probability is that some ‘pirates’ object, from a moral standpoint, the bought and paid for existence of such a long term for copyright, and that is culpable in their ‘moral’ excuse for downloading.

Then there is the idea that if one records a broadcast, which is perfectly legal, and then downloads a copy because their computer had a hiccup, from a moral standpoint, what is the difference? Legally I understand that the rights holders will claim this to be piracy, even though none of it took place on the high seas. The question is about morality, and should, at least in some instances, morality prevail over legal?

Then again, if the difference is between someone downloading and viewing/listening to some content, but would never buy that content, under any circumstance, how are the rights holders hurt? They won’t make any money, except of course doing the legal thingy which costs them money to attempt, and may not make them money in the end. See the success of Rightscorp for more information.

Is every instance of downloading, given the above, illegal? Is every instance of downloading immoral? Should it be either? How would courts tell the difference?

Should the laws be changed to benefit the public rather than rights holders? (My answer is yes)! Should content creators benefit? (My answer is yes)! Let them circumvent the middle persons and self publish. Let them embrace the concept of CwF-RtB. The technology and distribution capabilities are there. Let the middle persons/distribution ‘controllers’ go broke, and beef up the new industry that supplies editing and marketing value and (what other services are needed?) etc. to new and old content.

As to should exiting rights holders embrace and practice CwF-RtB, most certainly. And while they are about it, they should make very public contributions to numerous congresscritters for the sole purpose of retracting the whole concept of life plus 70 years, and lobby the rest of the world to do the same. This might be the most important thing they could do, in terms of CwF.

TKnarr (profile) says:

Re: About that moral equation

There’s a few practical issues that affect my view of things. If the content producer wants to charge the same for a digital copy as a physical one, pocketing all of the reduction in cost as profit, it comes across to me as them just being greedy which makes me less likely to respect their rights. When they classify absolute 100% protection of their rights as justifying even the most intrusive and disruptive measures, it makes me view them as being unreasonable. When they take the position that I don’t just have to buy a copy, I have to buy a new copy for every player I want to play a song on, it strikes me as being both greedy and unreasonable when set beside CDs and tapes where once I’ve bought my copy I can play it in any player. Along with CwF and RtB, content producers need to accept that they’re not the only party to the deal and that both parties need to feel the deal is reasonable.

madasahatter (profile) says:

Re: Re: About that moral equation

If one cultivates a connection with the fans you can make money from other sources such as concerts, t-shirts, etc. But the artists and more importantly the industry has to understand it is ultimately the fans who will make you a success.

Another issue with copyright is the length is unreasonable. Given that most works even major hits have a relatively short sales life with 90%+ of the sales being front loaded in the first part of the release and 99%+ being done after about 5 years the current length is totally unreasonable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: About that moral equation

If one cultivates a connection with the fans you can make money from other sources such as concerts, t-shirts, etc.

Or simply have the fans fund the next album/episode/whatever. Why should we set up a "moral equation" that it’s bad to copy published art? It’s not a limited resource anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: About that moral equation

This.
A Million times this.
What made America great, wasn’t the restrictive laws that literally every other nation on earth had to protect the established businesses. It was the very concept that yes, you can have exclusive, government backed support of your new work or invention….

For fourteen years.

After that, the entire world gets to take advantage of the awesome thing that you made. They get to do their own version of your thing, and call it their thing.

You should have a big advantage of being established and a known brand name.

What everyone else now does though, is make improvements to your thing. This is how innovation works and short circuiting any part of this two sided agreement, invalidates the whole thing.

You don’t get to bribe officials, convince them to pass laws extending the exclusivity period as needed. That is no longer a fair two sided agreement.

The system is broken and tilted so far in the favor of the established, that we need to start over.

Rob says:

Re: About that moral equation

While life of the author/creator plus 70 years is in fact limited

I would argue, that in effect, it is not. Something is created the day I was born is unlikely to be out of copyright before I die. In my eyes, how is that limited?

This doesn’t even take into account the constant stretching of it that’s been happening, just the current length.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: About that moral equation

Copyright is ‘for a limited’ time only by definition at this point, as it does not yet last for eternity and it’s theoretically possible that something could, at some point, enter the public domain.

For all intents and purposes though you’re quite right, it is effectively eternal, as once the duration of something lasts longer than a person’s life it doesn’t matter if it’s five years or five hundred, it’s the same for them either way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: About that moral equation

It could be nice if the term was shortened if the original author passed the copyright to a third party, like a publisher or another person. I have no idea if this already exists or as been tried, but something like 40yrs maximum, with no renewal, if you sell the copyright or it is inherited.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

yeah, but the idea of writing an article is to communicate ideas. using random acronyms that people (myself included) do not unnderstand (and then failing to ever explain them in any way) is self defeating, and seems like atext book example of bad writing.

i mean, shit, part of the article is about how the physical constraints of the old world map poorly onto the digital world. one would image they could have splurged and used the several extra letters to actually spell words to get thier point accross.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Sorry newbies.

While a mention of what the acronyms mean within the article would have been beneficial for first timers, Techdirt has been talking about CwF+RtB for YEARS. In addition, there is a list of links called File Under, just to the left of the article, under the authors name, which contains the two links I posted above. In addition, if you look at the column to the right of all articles you will find a section called New To Techdirt, which explains some of the core principles of the site. None of this is hard to find, one just has to look.

Google is not an answer for everything.

Giuseppe Cerrato (profile) says:

Re: What the heck does CwF + RtB mean?

My Dear Mr. or Ms. or Master or Mistress Coward:

It is apparent why you have chosen to Anonymous, to me at least. Wasting our precious bandwidth by posing the kwestun you have, instead of S’gTFW, using Google, bing, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, or even яндекс (yandex), is IMHO, a neophyte move, or a trollish one.

Anonymous Coward says:

CwF + RtB

In a similar vein, many years ago Jim Baen started an experiment by allowing his authors to publish an ebook version of their books for free download.

The idea was to engage the reader by giving away, usually, the first book in a series for free as a taste and rely on their honor to come back and buy the later books in the series.

He called it the Baen Free Library and it looks like it’s still going strong.

http://www.baen.com/categories/free-library.html

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: CwF + RtB

Which of course is completely and utterly ridiculous. I mean who would possibly read one book for free and then upon learning what kind of story to expect from a given author decide whether or not to buy more of their works(or say, an entire series)? Doesn’t he know that the best way to get new readers is to force people to pay out the nose first for a book they have no knowledge of, and then if they manage to stumble upon something they enjoy rather than something they don’t they’ll buy more?

And don’t even get me started on the scourge of the literary world, libraries, buying a book once and then letting multiple people read it for free, it’s a miracle that it’s even still possible for authors to make any money at all with all those pirate-commie-librarians stealing readers and daring to expose those dirty criminals to authors they might have otherwise been unaware of.

My_Name_Here says:

Re: Re: CwF + RtB

I think you forget that a person could also choose to pirate more books from an author they like. They is absolutely no indication anywhere that the habit of pirating would suddenly change. If anything, it seems a more reasonable conclusion that once you hit something you like, you would download (pirate) more of it, not suddenly pop up and pay full retail for it.

There just isn’t anything there to draw such a conclusion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: CwF + RtB

I think you forget that a person could also choose to pirate more books from an author they like.
They is absolutely no indication anywhere that the habit of pirating would suddenly change.

You’re right, a person may choose to pirate more books from an author.

But you’re wrong that there is no indication that the habit of pirating would change.

When Jim Baen was still alive, he published many letters of support from people supporting his decision to create the Baen Free Library and stating they bought additional books because of the Baen Free Library, sometimes even additional copies of books they already had, because Baen Books treats them like mature adults instead of potential pirates.

In other words, Baen Books profits measurably improved because they gave away free books.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: CwF + RtB

No no, of course not, it’s not like anyone would do something like I mentioned, buying an entire series after reading them for free after they were offered by the author himself.

Well, except for that time I did exactly that, which is why I used it as an example. But you know, I’m sure I’m the only person ever to do something like that, it’s not like multiple studies have found that pirates tend to buy more than non-pirates.

Anonymous Coward says:

CwF + RtB

That is something that the creators themselves can do, and something the publishers could help them do. However the problem from the publishers perspective is that they end up teaching the creators to be independent of the publishers. That in turn leads to the creators looking to buy whatever support services they need, like editorial/mixing services, while keeping control over their own works.

While Cwf + RtB works for creators that can carry it out, it becomes a death of a thousand cuts for the publishers.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: CwF + RtB

Not necessarily, but it does require them to adapt and earn less if they want to stay relevant.

Rather than being the only way to get published, which is no longer the case, they can move to enabling authors, doing the work that the author doesn’t want to do themselves, like proofing, advertising, working out contracts for different services and so on.

In this way they work for the author rather than the other way around, and while it’s not going to be as profitable(for one thing the author doesn’t need to sign over any rights) it does enable them to stay relevant in a field that’s increasingly moving to the point where they aren’t required.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Adapt or eat the dust of those that do

Quite likely, but it’s quickly reaching the point of no-return for them unless they make the switch from gatekeepers to enablers.

Self-publishing is only going to get more popular as the process gets better and new writers show up, so unless they can kill that off entirely(not likely) more and more people are going to look at the ‘terms’ the publishers offer, realize that they’re better off doing it themselves or hiring smaller groups or individuals to handle the bits they don’t want to, and bypass the traditional publishers entirely.

The era of ‘If you want to be published you must go through the publishers, who hold all the power and get to dictate terms’ is rapidly fading, and the sooner they realize this the better a position they’ll be in to handle the transition they will have to make if they want to stay in business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Adapt or eat the dust of those that do

Baen also sell all their Eboks without DRM.

These two facts combined not only makes me buy a lot of their book, but also on many occasions buy them direct from Baen for a higher price then from say Google books to favor this.

So at least on a personal level this is working and I imagine I’m not alone in this.

Anonymous Coward says:

This may be true, except for one thing: you cannot buy digital content anymore, because content producers don’t sell their content. They only sell you a license to watch that content. The problem here is that the license can be rescinded at any time with no recourse and no refund of the purchase price. That’s NOT a sale. That’s a rental cosplaying as a sale. With DRM and their shady contracts, the only way whatsoever to own content without purchase of plastic disks is an illegal download.

If content producers weren’t so shady, perhaps content consumers wouldn’t have to be as well.

Vikarti Anatra (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Are you sure this is strictly true?
IIf we assume that pirated book IS owned…why not buy (ok,’license’) books when they are sold without DRM (as in ‘you will get epub which can be read using ANY compatible reader, including ones you can write on your own or get sources from github and compile).

like from:
– oreilly.com – technical books
– smashwords.com – (mostly fiction, no drm)
– amazon (books marked ‘At the request of publisher…. without DRM’ or with ‘Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited’, you need convert mobi file to epub)

Joe Random says:

If the MPAA and RIAA get to call an unpaid copy “theft” because they were deprived of profit because someone circumvented a government-enforced “temporary” monopoly “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,” the rest of us should be entitled to call their corruption of Congress to indefinitely extend copyright the _theft_ of the public domain.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell

When the wind’s fury drives your boat, the crew gets less a benefit of the breeze.

And when you tax culture to fill your coffers, its esteem suffers in kind.

Some of us cannot afford the inflated costs of content, especially when the gatesmen treat it as certificate or vellum as they like.

And some of us wouldn’t give coin to men who cheat their own by cooking the numbers, confounding talent and technician with letters and semantics.

But for all that we buccaneers bedevil the seas, the content itself suffers more when we refuse to sail. Content thrives on eyes and ears, and avarice of the troupe will turn the house blind, deaf and dumb.

And they lay there that took the plum /
With sightless glare and their lips struck dumb /
While we shared all by the rule of thumb,

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

Châu says:

Fan can become creators

Study not mention if share content with free cultural license, it have MORE value for customers. They can recycle, use it create new stuff, modify, translate, custom version, etc. This activity returns back fans become content creator PARTNERS, help produce content, help reduce costs.

Create custom/different version is big problem with copyright law. Example, a person want fix Star Wars Episode 1, use same ideas/characters and modified movie script, but remake that movie and recreate everything, reshoot, recreate VFX and sounds, take nothing from original movie. But law forbid do this but is not piracy.

crade (profile) says:

They are not talking about Reason to Buy and connect with fans. They are talking about reeducation campaigns to “establish sentiments” that don’t come naturally to people.

This is the thought process behind the sort of Kim Jong Il-esque propaganda campaigns that target elementary schools to try to ingrain in people that piracy is morally wrong.

Trying to get people to control people’s moral belief system such that they feel they “should” buy is not giving them a reason to buy, it’s tricking them into thinking they have a reason to buy. And it’s not connecting with fans it’s controlling them

Anonymous Coward says:

Shame pirates? come on, isn't that against your whole history?

I find the premise that there must be an army committed to shaming pirates offensive.

for years, Techdirt has shown that almost no revenue comes from Pirating. and in fact, pirating makes bands more money because they encourage others to try, who will go to concerts, but merch, etc.

so even though it’s a slight difference, it’s a large change. One that is not welcome.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s useful to distinguish between content producers–composers, playwrights, authors; content performers–actors and singers; and content distributors–BAEN books, the MPAA members, etc.

Then, when the issue of theft from the producers is raised, the finger properly gets pointed at the biggest offenders, the old-money distributors.

And, of course, you begin to think performers ought to get paid for, like, performing–and you look for business models that offer valuable performances while efficiently funneling money from spectators to performers. And the most important task becomes, of course, destroying by whatever means the monopoly so inefficiently and harmfully exploited by … the old-money distributors.

Copyright infringement by consumers wouldn’t even be a blip on the scope, any more than book-reading or DVD-borrowing in libraries.

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