NYTimes Columnist Explains How He Torrented 'The Bourne Identity' Because It Wasn't Available... Then Sent A Check

from the leaving-money-on-the-table dept

Famed NY Times columnist David Pogue has a history of recognizing that some of the "fears" about internet "piracy" are overblown. So it's great to see him using his NYTimes blog to explain how he ended up torrenting an unauthorized ebook copy of The Bourne Identity for his son. Apparently, due to royalty fights, Robert Ludlum's estate remains a hold-out on the ebook front, so there simply are no authorized ebooks to buy -- though Pogue tried pretty much every possible ebook store to see if he could track one down. Eventually, he did what many people do in such a situation:
Dudes: It’s 2012. You’re among the last big-name holdouts on the face of the earth. You’re worried about the royalty rate? How about worrying about the thousands of dollars a month you’ve been leaving on the table by not offering the books to the public who’s willing to buy it?

Eventually, I did what I’m sure thousands of frustrated Ludlum fans wind up doing: I downloaded the book from a BitTorrent site.
He notes that he then sent the publisher a check for $9.99. I am hoping that he will do a followup on whether or not they actually cash it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 1:28pm

    The won't cash it, they need if for evidence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    Weird

    Firstly, it's spelled 'cheque'.

    The Bourne Identity is available from the Kindle store here in the UK so I would find it strange if it weren't available in the US.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Bourne-Identity-Saga-ebook/dp/B0037471TE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-tex t&ie=UTF8&qid=1344025679&sr=1-1

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Weird

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    It should have been for $5.99

    I don't think ANY ebook should sell for more than $6.00. There is no printing/binding/warehousing/shipping costs to the publisher for an ebook, and that should be taken into account. In any case, there are a number of ebook publishers who charge about $6.00 for books, many of which are just as popular as Ludlum's tomes, and the smart ones don't DRM-encumber their books either...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    sehlat (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Weird

    Because of publishing restrictions, there are a LOT of eBooks available in the UK that they won't sell to us unlettered Yanks. Orion Books has a bunch of Poul Anderson's stuff I'd maim for, but you can't buy them from the US, just to name one prominent example.

    http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/authors/anderson-poul

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 1:40pm

    "I am hoping that he will do a followup on whether or not they actually cash it."

    More likely he will receive a $3500 settlement letter for copyright infringement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Farlo, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    This might prove to be a great idea to get some form of conversation into the fatcat's thick skulls. Obviously they only understand quarterly reports, so if enough people were to send them a check for even part of the purchase price, it might show them that not everyone torrenting files is doing it because it's free. I know it's a stretch, but in the case of Game of Thrones, it might show HBO that there are consumers willing to pay for the show and support products they like.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Weird

    Firstly, it's spelled 'cheque'.

    True for the UK but in the US it is spelled check.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    this is exactly the situation that the lack of legitimate sources for something creates. the only worse one is, in my opinion, to have the item available for download but wanting to charge the same as a physical, shop bought equivalent. i still dont understand the mentality of those dictating whether something can be downloaded or not. what is it about control that is more important than maintaining a customer base, making sales and therefore money? it is becoming more and more of a priority for the industries to ensure there are more legitimate, sensibly priced alternatives available to try to combat piracy rather than keep suing, fining, jailing and disconnecting customers. until the industries do something sensible themselves without trying to get everyone else to do it (at their expense!) for them, something that customers keep asking them to do, all that happens is 'file sharing' gets forced underground, becomes more prolific and less gets legally purchased because those customers are totally pissed off with what they are being classed as. on top of that, nothing is more frustrating than to buy a disk only to find that the DRM on it prevents it from working correctly. how ridiculous is that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Applesauce, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:08pm

    Compulsory License?

    Isn't this shituation (sp?) one where books in print can be assumed to be convertible to any format (like say, Braille) upon proper payment to the publisher or author?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:08pm

    Re:

    Exactly what I was thinking !
    MAFIAA Get out of our lives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Weird

    Are we sure it isn't supposed to be 'Czech'?

    As in: "He paid them $9.99 by Czech".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Weird

    Oh god ... you forced this: And a "little person" from that region, trying to evade pursuers, might knock on your door and ask if you could cache a small Czech.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Weird

    Firstly, it's spelled 'cheque'.

    Check can be spelled either way you are talking about money, but only "check" when you are about seeing whether or not something is ok, "checking something out", etc..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Weird

    A Russian scientist and a Czechoslovakian scientist had spent their whole lives studying the majestic grizzly bear. Each year they petitioned their respective governments to allow them to go to Yellowstone to study these wondrous beasts.

    Finally, their request was granted and they immediately flew to New York and then on west to Yellowstone. They reported to the local ranger station and were told that it was the grizzly mating season and it was much too dangerous to go out and study the animals.

    They pleaded that this was their only chance. Finally the ranger relented. The Russian and the Czech were given cell phones and told to report in each and every day.

    For several days they called in, and then nothing was heard from the two scientists. The rangers mounted a search party and found the scientists' camp completely ravaged. No sign of the missing men.

    They then followed the trail of a male and a female bear. They found the female and decided they must kill the animal to find out if she had eaten the scientists because they feared an international incident.

    They killed the female and cut open the bear's stomach... only to find the remains of the Russian.

    One ranger turned to the other and said, "You know what this means, don't you?"

    "Of course," the other ranger nodded. "The Czech is in the male."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Compulsory License?

    Isn't this shituation (sp?) one where books in print can be assumed to be convertible to any format (like say, Braille) upon proper payment to the publisher or author?

    Oh no no no no. Ludicrous! That would not work for maximizing profits. Plus, we want consumers to have to use multiple platforms of DRM locked-down non-transferable formats because we like to have our digital items dispersed among Amazon, B&N, Google Books, Comixology, Dark Horse, etc., depending on who carries the title we want. And we certainly don't want the titles to be carried by everyone. That would be too convenient and consumer friendly. [Add emoticon here]

    That's why I have paid for both the digital and hard copies of "Bunch of Amateurs" by Jack Hitt, and am still considering busting the DRM or pirating it so I'm not still locked in to B&N's tablet app. Problem is, damn kids don't upload this type of book to P2P sites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    LDoBe (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Weird

    While it's a good joke, you could stand to pare down the setup so you don't lose your audience halfway through. Reading it out loud, the delivery works well, and in the great oral tradition of comedy I'm sure it's well paced, but in writing I personally feel it's a little labored.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:51pm

    Why send a check? He obviously doesn't want your money.

    The again, the proper thing to do in this situation would be to but someone else's book. It's not like there aren't many to choose from.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Deniz, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 3:05pm

    Re: It should have been for $5.99

    Pricing is not determined by how much it costs to make/build etc..it's determited by how much you are willing to pay ...:) So if people pays $100, then it's worth $100...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Weird

    Yeh! U caint spect 'mericuns too fil they're haids wit shit like spellin'. Them goode folks is two bizzy makin' killin' machines and killin' ever buddy els 'case wonnna thems a terrist!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 3:43pm

    I hope that the Ludlum estate sues Pogue and then we will see real fireworks out of the NYT.
    Dragging their ass kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Prashanth (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 3:47pm

    They'll cash it

    and then they'll try to extract another 8 orders of magnitude more cash from him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Christopher, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 4:09pm

    uh what about the distribution costs the reporter forgot to pay??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Weird

    As opposed to the british, who slavishly ape the French spelling? You may have won Crecy, but looks like the frogs won the war.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re: It should have been for $5.99

    Then a Ludlum book is worth $0, because this guy chose to donate $9.99 to his estate, but was willing to get it for free

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Weird

    Firstly, it's spelled 'cheque'.

    In England, but not in the colonies...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Duke (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Weird

    The Bourne Identity is available from the Kindle store here in the UK so I would find it strange if it weren't available in the US.
    Ah, but you've made the basic mistake of thinking that this Internet thing is a big international network that doesn't care about borders.

    A bit of digging shows different companies published the book in the UK than the US. It seems that HarperCollins (part of News Corp) was responsible for the UK publications, and Random House for the US ones.

    That said, it seems that the e-book is available in the US anyway, and for $8.02. David Pogue should ask for $1.97 back, provided he doesn't get done for "copyright theft", attempted bribery (paying them off to not report him), encouraging and inciting "copyright theft" by publishing the blog post, trade mark infringement for mentioning the title of the book without a licence, maybe throw in libel and conspiracy to defraud for suggesting the book wasn't on Amazon, and whatever else those creative people at the publishing groups can come up with.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 5:12pm

    Re:

    I'm sure he uploaded at least half as much as he downloaded.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Weird

    Firstly, it's spelled 'cheque'.


    Get over yourself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 5:17pm

    Re: Re:

    Have you seen the seeds/peers ratio on ebooks? Mine never even reach 0.01 uploaded - lots more seeds than leeches.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Bengie, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 5:24pm

    Re: Re: Weird

    I'm in the midwest USA and I've ONLY every seen it spelt as cheque, but I always see it as "checking account".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Laroquod (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re: Weird

    Not all the colonies. We spell it 'cheque' in Canada, too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Milton Freewater, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 6:24pm

    The comments are mind-blowing

    We are officially on the other side of the looking glass: A raging debate about whether paying a third party when you copy from your neighbor with their consent is stealing from that third party.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Valkor, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Weird

    Shenanigans.
    You've shown either a major selection bias or a troll-tastic trollishness. Why do I say this?
    Spelt is a grain and spelled is the past tense of spell in American English. Cheque is not midwest USA standard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 10:15pm

    Re: Weird

    Hey, do we gripe about you driving on the wrong side of the road?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: Weird

    It is spelt cheque everywhere in the English speaking world except America. Oh and so is 'spelt'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 2:43am

    shouldn't make any difference whether he sent a cheque or not. he committed the Cardinal Sin of copyright. he used his head and got an illegal copy. why? because the dopes didn't put out a genuine version and tried to control the market, again! epic fail, as usual!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 2:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Weird

    laboured??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    anon, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 3:55am

    Seen this before

    I want to pay for eBooks but refuse to pay the prices being asked , so i will read some of the millions of free eBooks out there, i am still getting my entertainment , i am still able to fill my kindle with really good books to read.

    Who is benefiting? well that would be me and the site/author getting advertising for providing a link to the eBooks.

    And if i come across a really good author i might just pay for his content. Just to encourage him to write some more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    Re: Seen this before

    Exactly! Don't pirate, just enjoy the free stuff that is out there.

    If you want to support the "new economy" model, that's how it works. It's funny as heck to read all the people here going on and on about the new economy, and then they are all out there pirating the good stuff they refuse to pay for.

    Two faced, that's what it is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Weird

    Some of us do... personally I prefer the American spelling over the frenchie spelling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Reed Kimsley, Aug 4th, 2012 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Seen this before

    "Exactly! Don't pirate, just enjoy the free stuff that is out there."

    You really don't get how you contradicted yourself here?

    "If you want to support the 'new economy' model, that's how it works. It's funny as heck to read all the people here going on and on about the new economy, and then they are all out there pirating the good stuff they refuse to pay for."

    The new economy model is a description of what's already happening, not a doctrine you "support." And something that somebody offers to you as a favor is not something you "refuse" to pay for.

    I'm shocked at how illogical and superstitious the other side is becoming. Even creationists have the Bible - what do anti-torrenters have?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 2:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Seen this before

    They have content locked up in life + 70 years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 2:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Seen this before

    They have content locked up in life + 70 years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: Weird

    "True for the UK but in the US it is spelled check."
    That's because they can't get an oxford english dictionary either. rofl.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    phlynhi (profile), Aug 5th, 2012 @ 7:40pm

    Re: Re: Compulsory License?

    Found said "bunch of amateurs" on my first try (albeit as an audio book) on a P2P network. The best torrent source (that I know of) for eBooks is currently down due to a DDOS attack.
    I don't know what the rule are for advertising these sites on TechDirt, so I'll refrain from telling what the site was that had the audiobook, but that site certainly kicks some serious ass, now that the demon has been (temporarily?)exorcised.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    phlynhi (profile), Aug 5th, 2012 @ 8:17pm

    Check (or cheque) out the comments on the NYTimes post

    Top notch trolling on the NY Times blog comment section! Sanctimonious, hang-wringing, dismissive, all while completely ignoring the point of the post. Really, really good stuff. Take a few minutes to check it out...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2012 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Compulsory License?

    That's a demon of a DDOS attack, to v-oid the availability of such a wonderful site :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 6th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    WHERE ARE THE SHILLS CONDEMNING THIS FILTHY PIRATE?

    Oh they can't because he tried as much as possible to pay and ended up sending a check.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Michael Long (profile), Aug 6th, 2012 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Weird

    Read your own link:

    This title is not available for customers from: United States

    There's a page for it, but no way for US customers to buy it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Forge, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Weird

    Fail. Clicked your "is available in the US" link. Amazon sez:

    This title is not available for customers from:
    United States
    Shop titles available for United States

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Marty, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 9:51pm

    Re: Weird

    It's spelled 'check' in the US.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2012 @ 3:42pm

    Now Available!

    I just downloaded the Bourne Identity for Kindle, released Aug 14th.

    I've been waiting for this!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    Laroquod (profile), Sep 30th, 2012 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Weird

    It's not 'frenchie' it's British you espece d'idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This