Michael Giltz’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Oct 24th, 2010 @ 11:50am


    Well said.

  • Oct 24th, 2010 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: you think you have the answers but actually you dont! everything has to be done

    A little incoherent, if passionate, Mark Ruff Ryder. Best of all, going to Mark Ruff Ryder's UK Underground website finds him offering free downloads and other free stuff in exchange for providing your email. And a catchy tune...available to hear via a video embedded for for free on the site.

  • Oct 24th, 2010 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re:

    So, a book is "real" only if it's in hard form? You can steal an apple but you can't steal a book or a movie or an album because while they're all available physically they are also available digitally and digital doesn't count? Rather than worrying about what form something you value takes, why don't you think about the sweat and labor that went into creating it? The three years with little or no pay that an author might devote to a book doesn't disappear no matter how you consume it.

  • Oct 24th, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Re: And I'm one of the people who bought it because of that.

    That's great. But shouldn't it be the publisher/creator who has the right to decide whether they want to wisely go that route? Those who don't will lose sales, flounder and die. Those that do it successfully will flourish. That's the market in action, not third parties willy nilly doing whatever they want with someone else's labor.

  • Oct 24th, 2010 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re:

    I think the real point -- as highlighted by the headline -- is that it was the author reaching out to the people online that were illegally posting his work that increased sales. People don't mind taking stuff for free from strangers. But they feel a little dicky about it when they get to know you. Plus, online media attention also is a factor.

  • Oct 24th, 2010 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you can steal an apple from a grocery store and you can steal a book from a bookstore, but if the book is available digitally (even for sale legally) you can make your own copy and no one has been disadvantaged in any way? That's a pretty limited view of property and rights and ethics. The law isn't on your side but neither is morality. Instead of just focusing on what form something of value takes (be it physical or easily replicated digital), why not focus on the sweat and labor it takes to produce that item? Obviously, farmers sweat and labor to produce an apple and get it to market. But don't artists sweat and labor to create a book? Just because you can post it online and make it available for free to anyone in the world, that doesn't change the fact that they labored for months or years for little or no pay (in the vast majority of cases) to create that work. I agree copyright laws are way out of whack and that fair use is under assault. But none of that changes my obligation to not simply take someone's labor for free just because I can. What's the difference between a digital copy of a book and just printing my own edition and giving it away? The author still has the editions he printed, so clearly he's lost nothing, especially if I give it away for free. And heck, he'll always be able to sell more t-shirt and merch at the author readings.

  • Oct 24th, 2010 @ 10:46am


    Thanks for the hard facts. Any info you can offer on sales you see spurred by unauthorized posting on 4chan of other comix that DIDN'T get reported widely, spur a reach out by the creators, etc? As a comparison, it would be nice to see if the simple act of posting on 4chan (or elsewhere) increased sales of other titles on its own, as a control to compare this to.

  • Oct 24th, 2010 @ 10:41am

    Re: Not an isolated case...

    I think the movie piracy in Asia etc compares better to digital music than this case. Hollywood movies weren't available on a timely basis because there wasn't the infrastructure of movie theaters for them to play in. Record labels refused to make music available digitally in any manner (not to mention eliminating the single both digitally and on CD in most cases). People reacted by accessing the movies or the digital music the only way they could: bootleg VHS tapes or bootleg DVDs or Napster. If fans ONLY want to read comic books/graphic novels online (maybe via their iPad), artists better make them available that way legally and reasonably or people will get them any way they can. In this case, the argument is that posting books online increases sales. I don't think anyone would argue that selling bootleg DVDs of major Hollywood movies boosted DVD sales or theatrical. Far from it. In general, all these arguments work for artists/musicians/filmmakers who haven't broken out. No one needs to access a free copy of Avatar in order to decide whether they want to see a new James Cameron film.

  • Oct 23rd, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: The artist of the comic says hi.

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for commenting. How long was the pirated version up before you noticed it and chose to engage them?

    I would argue that the graph/chart for this article is wrong. It's not the piracy that increased sales. It was you reaching out to fans. People may claim they have every right to access your work whenever they want for free. But when they actually get to know an artist, they start to feel dicky about it. It's harder to rip off a friend than a stranger.

  • Oct 23rd, 2010 @ 10:32am


    "Free" radio was a business model that paid artists and songwriters and studio musicians money every time their songs were paid in exchange for the right to play them. Jukeboxes, bar bands, restaurants that play music -- all of them are legally obliged to pay for that usage and that money heads back to the artists involved. In exchange, they get to sell ads, bring in customers who dance and buy beer, sell dinner in a nicer atmosphere.

    TV is also not an example of appropriating or taking access to something for free. Either the programming was created by the TV network itself or they paid for it and in exchange sold ads, etc.

    They don't compare to someone just taking something you've created it and providing access to it to anyone for free.

    Libraries are a good example when I argue that ebooks should not be limited to one device or saddled with stupid DRM or priced the same as hard copies, which is absurd.

  • Oct 23rd, 2010 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, it didn't. According to Billboard magazine,"Death Magnetic" only went platinum in the US. (Worldwide figures are hard to come by.) That means it only sold one million copies so far (and less than two million). Except for two EPs, this is the lowest selling studio album of their career. Of course, music sales are much lower across the board (which is due to???) and Metallica is a long way away from their career peak of 8 million copies of ...And Justice For All and 15 million copies of "Metallica." So the reasons may be debatable but it's not true to claim the album was pirated and sold "millions of copies" anyway. It is, in fact, the worst-selling studio album of their career.

  • Oct 23rd, 2010 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re:

    Profitability is not an entitlement? Well, neither is free access to something I labored over.
    Is profitability not an entitlement for a grocery store? A gas station? A restaurant? Try taking stuff from them for free. Why is only artists who are lame for expecting people who want to access their work to pay for it?