Paulo Coelho On SOPA: 'Pirates Of The World, Unite And Pirate Everything I've Ever Written!'

from the it's-good-to-share dept

We've written about the hugely-successful Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho many times before, because he is a great example of an artist embracing piracy as a boon not a bane. So it's great to see him offering his thoughts on SOPA:

I have nothing against people earning money from their books; that’s how I make my living.

But look at what’s happening now. Stop Online Piracy Act (S.O.P.A) may disrupt internet. This is a REAL DANGER, not only for Americans, but for all of us, as the law – if approved – will affect the whole planet.

And how do I feel about this?

As an author, I should be defending ‘intellectual property’, but I’m not.

Pirates of the world, unite and pirate everything I’ve ever written!
He then goes on to address two common objections to this attitude: that's he's rich enough to distribute books for free, and that other artists need money to live. To the first, he points out that being rich means he could have stopped writing years ago. He keeps on creating for the same reason that he started when he was unknown and poor: "because it gives me pleasure and gives meaning to my existence." To the second point, he writes:
‘Pirating’ can act as an introduction to an artist’s work. If you like his or her idea, then you will want to have it in your house; a good idea doesn’t need protection.

The rest is either greed or ignorance
Those pushing SOPA and PIPA should read what this world-famous artist writes about piracy -- and maybe even try some of his novels, too. After all, they could not only download them for free, but they could do so without looking hypocritical.

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  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 9:34am

    i wouldn't mind betting that if any of 'those pushing SOPA/PIPA were to download any of his works, it would only be to see if there was some way they could gain copyright of it!

     

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    btrussell (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    "He keeps on creating for the same reason that he started when he was unknown and poor: "because it gives me pleasure and gives meaning to my existence.""

    Just like most content creators.
    No need for copyright.

     

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      gorehound (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 10:18am

      Re:

      Same as me writing all those punk tunes and playing in bands.And I have had 6 different or more physical releases.I do not do it for money.And I never ever wanted to go near a Big Label.
      Up Yours MAFIAA !!!
      If you like crazy old school punk go to bigmeathammer.com and download a ton of Audio 320k or Free DIVX Videos,etc.

       

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    Endtimer, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Just wondering...

    I don't mean to be overly cynical, but when ever someone brings up the 'piracy introduces people to new works' idea, I find myself wondering what percentage of these new followers will EVER pay for your works. If they were introduce to your product on a medium that lets them view/listen for free, how many of them will ever choose to pay, and what are there motives for doing so? Is it purely Altruistic, or are there other factors like quality or security play a role. I'd like to see research data on the subject, although I imagine it'd be hard to get an accurate study on it.

     

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      fogbugzd (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:40am

      Re: Just wondering...

      The point isn't how many people get the work for free. The industry often plays the moral panic angle that people are getting the work for free and that is morally wrong and must be eliminated.

      Think about a street musician who is doing it strictly for the money and does not get any satisfaction from entertaining people. Hundreds of people may hear him play in the subway, but only a few drop a significant amount of money in his tip jar. The hundreds who pause to listen for a few minutes and then walk on are like pirates who are enjoying the music without paying for it. From a business perspective, the musician does not care how many people listen for free; he only cares about how many people drop in his tip jar, and how much they drop in.

      If the musician gets in a moral panic about the freeloaders he could stop playing in the subway. That way no freeloaders hear him, but also none of the tippers hear him, either. So his income drops to zero. As a businessman he cannot afford the moral panic. Once over the moral panic the musician may notice a few other things. For example, having a crowd standing around listening attracts people who leave tips; in effect the crowd of freeloaders is advertising. Having a crowd of freeloaders is likely to have other serendipitous effects. Someone in the crowd may inspire a new song. The freeloaders are also a focus group for testing new material. Perhaps someone in the crowd knows a band that is looking for a new musician, and the fellow gets hired.

      This story is really just an illustration of the adage that an artist's real enemy is obscurity. An artist who worries about pirates is going to retract and become obscure.

       

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      Dviant, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

      Re: Just wondering...

      To answer your question based on my experience with music/audio recordings:
      I haven't bought a CD in years. However, I listen to music all the time. There are MANY artists that I have discovered online that I have paid to go see perform. Large concerts and small venues alike. Sometimes I've traveled to different cities to see a performer I discovered online. I am willing to pay for their performances but not an ethereal digital file. If you are an entertainer and want to make money, then entertain. Placing a file on iTunes and charging people to make copies of it isn't entertaining me at all.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

      Re: Just wondering...

      So because you are introduced to a artist/author for free you never are willing to pay for it in the future. thats a ridiculous statement. How many people borrow library books or friends cd's and get introduced to the artist/author and then go on to BUY their own copies. I actually buy both Digital and paper versions of books! Most of the series i read I borrowed the first from friends or the library to see if I liked it. It was free and I am still spending money. So sorry but YES people will pay for stuff they are introduced to for free.

       

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        Endtimer (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

        Re: Re: Just wondering...

        That wasn't my statement at all. I wasn't asking IF anyone is willing to pay, but how many, and if they're willing to do it because they feel like they should or if because the purchased product is of higher quality or they don't trust the site providing them the bootleg version (piracy scares and the like).

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2012 @ 1:54am

      Re: Just wondering...

      As with any business a minority a tiny fraction of people will actually pay for anything the rest will just take it or live without it, but many will pay for it.

      Pareto rule 80% of your earnings will come from 20% of your customers.

       

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    Endtimer, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 10:37am

    Just wondering...

    I don't mean to be overly cynical, but when ever someone brings up the 'piracy introduces people to new works' idea, I find myself wondering what percentage of these new followers will EVER pay for your works. If they were introduce to your product on a medium that lets them view/listen for free, how many of them will ever choose to pay, and what are there motives for doing so? Is it purely Altruistic, or are there other factors like quality or security play a role. I'd like to see research data on the subject, although I imagine it'd be hard to get an accurate study on it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

      Re: Just wondering...

      You'll never know who might have paid for works that can be gotten for free. I'm pretty certain that very few works get sold if they aren't heard first for free. You won't sell a thing *until* you're heard.

       

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        Endtimer (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 5:25pm

        Re: Re: Just wondering...

        That's definately true for music, but I was thinking more along the lines of 'My friend showed me this episode of The Walking Dead online. I liked it so much I'm going to buy the season when it comes out, even though I can download them all now for free off of the net,' sorta deal.

         

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          AzureSky (profile), May 2nd, 2012 @ 8:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: Just wondering...

          happens far more then you would think, I have a friend who has bought a bunch of shows like weeds, hung, sparticus, exct after having seen them all thanks to torrents.

          but heres the kicker, hes got relatives who also got to see thanks to him uploading he files to a file hosting/streaming site and letting them watch an episode or 2, full seasons bought at full price thanks to the evils of "piracy"

          much of the music, video and game content I have bought over the past 2 decades has been thanks to being able to try it before i bought it, and what hasnt been was bought due to good word of mouth, much of that due to "piracy"

          most other "pirates" I know are the same way, I got one buddy whos got 8 2tb hdd's in his home server, 4 in his main rig, and at least 2 each as storage drives in the other systems in his home, they all have stuff on them that hes torrented, BUT heres the thing, hes also bought 98% of what hes torrented, the stuff he hasnt bought you either cant buy here, or cant buy at all(old john wayne stuff for example)

          hes downloaded far more then hes bought but, everything hes liked or that his family has liked hes bought legally, many times they keep the torrented files because, lets be honest, they are easier to watch on a computer of over the network via the HTPC then dealing with stupid plastic disks.

          I wasnt sure he was being honest till i spent close to 2 months helping him catalog his stuff and get it into a database(make it easier to keep track of), hes even imported alot of stuff like anime that never got picked up by any us company, ofcorse he keeps the fansubs because, he like myself knows very little Japanese....

          (dude has 3 large floor to celling bookshelves of imported anime alone...now thats dedication...)

           

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    vastrightwing, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 10:43am

    Copyright, go away

    Agreed. No need for copyright. Look at youtube. Do you think 99% of those videos produced by armatures do it for the money? If we didn’t have copyright, there would be more work published. Not less. Paulo basically admits this. The ones who benefit from copyright are the ones trading it: publishers, not authors. They want to sell scarcity in a world where there is infinite. My advice, get out of the publishing business: you’re doing it wrong.

     

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      pixelpusher220 (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:07am

      Re: Copyright, go away

      I disagree, copyright is something that needs to be preserved...but not in its current perverted quasi-infinite form.

      What needs to change is the acknowledgement that 'personal' use of any kind, including sharing, should constitute 'fair use'.

      If I'm 'selling' someone else's work...that's a problem and that's what copyright is *meant* to protect. But freely sharing things shouldn't be the same thing as profiting off someone else.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:40am

        Re: Re: Copyright, go away

        I agree with you, copyright needs to be preserved...IN FORMALDEHYDE!

         

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        aaron jacques, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:47am

        Re: Re: Copyright, go away

        Seriously that arguement is going over board

        how about just respect the technological enhanced fair use when it happens.

        That more than enough to protect without producing such an open ended interpretation

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

        Re: Re: Copyright, go away

        Except as proved already again, once you give anybody a monopoly those things tend to expand not stay the same or shrink.

        That is why it needs to go if for no other reason for a timeout on the bench, abolish copyright and let the future deal with its ultimate fate, I very much doubt it would not appear in some form or another but it would appear with some humility in it.

         

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    BreadGod (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    "‘Pirating’ can act as an introduction to an artist’s work. If you like his or her idea, then you will want to have it in your house; a good idea doesn’t need protection. "

    I agree with this. To an underground metal band, obscurity is a far bigger problem than piracy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Promoting piracy is a crime according to the MAFIAA so Paulo Coelho now is a criminal

     

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      AzureSky (profile), May 2nd, 2012 @ 8:06pm

      Re:

      he should have his hands chopped off, then he should be burned with cigarettes, then he should be hung as hes burned alive tied to a stake.....

       

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    Getefix, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Scabby Moon Pudding

    I was forced (school) to buy a book of his short stuff and Crash. After paying for Crash and the scabby moon pudding story I can't even bring myself to pirate him, even though my friends who should know tell me I will like all his other stuff. In this case what I saw as an unreasonable monetary obligation magnified my dislike so much that I have become a negative advertisement for him.

     

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      AzureSky (profile), May 2nd, 2012 @ 8:13pm

      Re: Scabby Moon Pudding

      please dont blame the author for this, I know its hard to separate those feelings, I have a friend who HATED one of my favorite authors not due to his works, but because a prof at his school required one of his works for a class he was forced to take.

      he was forced to buy a 2nd hand hard cover because people who knew what was coming had cleaned out every local new and used book store's copies of the paperback.

      the place that still had copies had used book club editions....at 18bucks each(no, im not kidding...i saw images of the price tag and recept)

      he couldnt enjoy the book feeling so slighted by the price....

      a couple years later I managed to get him to read the guys first book, without him realizing it was from that author, he got threw the first book and was calling me and messeging me online over and over wanting to know who it was by and where he could get the rest of the series...

      the next day, he had gone to a large used book store in a nearby city and came home with new and used copies of every work the author had ever done or co-wrote.

      I dont blame you for feeling adverse to the school or teacher, or even the book, but please, dont blame the author.

      note: the books above where "fairy tail" and "magician" by Raymond E Feist. im really not sure why the instructor/teacher picked "Fairy Tail" but he did....

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    Baen Books distributes a lot of their content for free without DRM. After reading the entire Honor Harrington series for free... I did the unthinkable.

    I bought physical copies.

     

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    Donny (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 7:11pm

    Can I stop us a moment..

    ...to appreciate that one line:

    "A good idea doesn't need protection".


    Besautiful and true.

     

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