Book Publishers Misguided Complaints About Scribd

from the sensationalism-at-work dept

If you're a bored journalist, it's easy to create a sensationalistic story about "piracy." Just find some pre-internet industry that's dealing with the shift to online content, get a few quotes about how awful "pirates" are, and then find a company to blame for all of it. That seems to be what the Times of London did with its story about publishers freaking out over people uploading books to Scribd. Scribd responded by pointing out numerous factual errors in the original article (specifically the parts that seem to try to place the blame on Scribd, despite it being a third party platform that actually has a pretty advanced anti-infringement system in place). However, this is the quote that struck me:
Peter Cox, a literary agent and editor of the Litopia blog, said: "These people are pirates. We don't have to give in to this. We can't afford to make the same mistakes the music industry did."
Apparently Mr. Cox hasn't been paying attention. The "music industry" (he means the recording industry) didn't give in on this. It fought it consistently. And lost pretty much every battle -- often making things worse for itself by simply never adjusting to the changing marketplace. So, Cox's response is to follow their exact mistakes by "fighting" this? That's exactly the mistake that the music industry made.

Instead, he might want to take a look at what folks like Paulo Coehlo discovered when he "pirated" his own books and saw sales jump. Or what Baen books has done. Or what tons of authors have found after they put their books online for free and combined it with a smart business model. Otherwise, Mr. Cox is making the exact mistake the recording industry made while thinking (incorrectly) that trying to "stop piracy" is somehow a workable solution.

Filed Under: books, piracy, publishers, publishing
Companies: scribd


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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 1 Apr 2009 @ 10:34am

    Re: A Suggestion

    Hey – here’s a novel concept for you guys to mull over.


    Hi Peter, thanks for stopping by.

    Instead of regurgitating other peoples’ websites, why not do a little original work of your own? I know, it may involve some – ugh – work... but you might just find it pays off. Radical idea, I know.

    Instead of showing up on a website you know nothing about and assuming you do, here's an original idea: why don't you spend some time figuring out what the website is about. I know, it may involve some - ugh - work.... but you might just find it pays off. Radical idea, I know.

    Let me make it easy for you. The Scribd/piracy issue came to the fore on LITOPIA AFTER DARK. Instead of jumping to ill-informed conclusions, maybe you should listen to the shows in question. And then comment.


    Let me make it easy for you. Techdirt has been discussing "piracy" for almost 12 years. Instead of jumping to ill-informed conclusions, maybe you could read it a bit. And then comment.

    I know... I told you it was a radical idea...


    I know... I told you it was a radical idea...

    See how that works?

    Pot? Kettle?

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