Neil Gaiman forklarer, hvorfor piratkopiering er godt

Gaimans oplevelse er, at jo mere hans bøger er til rådighed som gratis downloads på nettet, jo flere sælger han. Mange mennesker opdager deres yndlingsforfattere på biblioteket – eller på nettet, og derfor mister en forfatter ikke noget ved at få sine bøger lagt på nettet – snarere tværtimod, om man skal tro Gaiman.

Fildeler retsforfølges for 25 millioner og fortæller sin historie

Joel Tenebaum fortæller i The Guardian om sine genvordigheder, efter at pladebranchen har sagsøgt ham for fildeling, og han har nægtet at bøje sig og erkende, at han skulle have gjort noget galt:

To a certain extent, I’m afraid to write this. Though they’ve already seized my computer and copied my hard drive, I have no guarantee they won’t do it again. For the past four years, they’ve been threatening me, making demands for trial, deposing my parents, sisters, friends, and myself twice – the first time for nine hours, the second for seven. I face up to $4.5m in fines and the last case like mine that went to trial had a jury verdict of $1.92m.

When I contemplate this, I have to remind myself what I’m being charged with. Investment fraud? Robbing a casino? A cyber-attack against the federal government? No. I shared music. And refused to cave.

No matter how many people I explain this to, the reaction is always the same: dumbfounded surprise and visceral indignance, both of which are a result of the amazing secrecy the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has operated under. “How did they get you?” I’m asked. I explain that there are 40,000 people like me, being sued for the same thing, and we were picked from a pool of millions who shared music. And that’s when a look appears on the face of whoever I’m talking to, the horrified “it could have been me!” look. […]

in August 2007, I came home from work to find a stack of papers, maybe 50 pages thick, sitting at the door to my apartment. That’s when I found out what it was like to have possibly the most talented copyright lawyers in the business, bankrolled by multibillion-dollar corporations, throwing everything they had at someone who wanted to share Come As You Are with other Nirvana fans.

I had assumed that as an equal in a court of law in the United States, my story would be told and a just outcome would result. I discovered the sheer magnitude of obstacles in your way to get your say in court. And even if you get to trial, (which only one other person, Jammie Thomas Rasset, has done) you’re still far from equal with the machine controlling 85% of commercial music in the US. […]

My sisters, dad and mother have all been deposed. My high-school friends, friends of the family too. My computer’s been seized and hard drive copied, and my parents and sister narrowly escaped the same fate for their computers. And the professor who supervises my teaching is continually frustrated with my need to have people cover for me, while my research in grad school is put on hold to deal with people whose full-time job is to keep an anvil over my head. I have to consider every unrelated thing I do in my private life in the event that I’m interrogated under oath about it. I wonder how I’ll stand up in a courtroom for hours having litigators try to convince a jury of my guilt and the reprehensibility of my character.

Er der nogen af mine læsere, der kan genkende denne følelse af “det ku’ have været mig!”, som jeg har fremhævet?

Tak, Morten Jørgensen!

Link: How it feels to be sued for $4.5m, Joel fights back

Amazons Kindle Swindle

Amazon sælger en e-bogslæser, de selv har produceret, den såkaldte Kindle. Denne ebogs-læser er ikke som ethvert andet boglæserprogram, f.eks. FBReader – nej, en Kindle er forsynet med DRM, også kendt som kopibeskyttelse, der sætter Amazon i stand til i samarbejde med rettighedshaverne at bestemme, hvilke bøger den enkelte kunde kan læse på sin Kindle.

For eksempel udgav Amazon for nylig George Orwells samlede værker i deres e-bogsformat. Det var rigtig fint, og masser af mennesker kunne således købe, downloade og læse “1984” og andre af Orwells værker i deres elektroniske bogsamling.

Men så skete det, at Amazon blev uenig med dem, der bestyrer rettighederne for Orwells bøger. Hvad gør man ved det? Jo, næste gang e-bogs-læserne kommer i kontakt med Internettet, ryger der besked ud om, at Orwells bøger alligevel ikke er solgt – de er så at sige usolgt. Bøgerne blev bag om ryggen og uden at spørge slettet fra folks Kindles, og en eller to må have spurgt sig selv, om det mon i virkeligheden var en Swindle, de dér havde købt:

David Pogue. writing in the New York Times, reported that hundreds of customers awoke to find that Amazon remotely deleted books that they’d earlier bought and downloaded. Apparently, the publisher determined that it should not offer those titles, so Amazon logged into Kindles, erased the books, and issued refunds. This was aptly compared to someone sneaking into your house, taking away your books, and leaving a stack of cash on the table.

That George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm were among the wiped books is so funny that it aches. The headlines across the ‘net wrote themselves. Down the memory hole!

If this were the only example of this sort of thing, it could be written off as a mistake. But it’s just the latest in a series illustrating Amazon’s vision for the future of reading.

• First, Amazon selectively disabled text-to-speech. It did this to cosy up to publishers who felt audiobook sales were threatened by the Kindle’s robotic enunciation. This mocks the blind and supports an ugly interpretation of the law, which would make reading to your own children an act of copyright infringement.

• Amazon also refuses to disclose the circumstances under which it will no longer allow you to download copies of books you have bought. Cory’s been stonewalled, by one spokesdroid after another, which would be comical were it not so absurd.

• The Author’s contract for Kindle publications is “the pinnacle of bogosity.” Nor can you resell Kindle books, as you can normal ones, even though you have the legal right to do so. This is because the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal to circumvent the electronic locks that Amazon applies to its e-books.

• Amazon has even locked Kindle users out of their own Kindle accounts, for trivial reasons.

Now we find that the books you buy are never really yours, and that enjoying them is a privilege granted and withdrawn by Amazon at publisher behest. No-one who enjoys reading can take comfort in any of this.

Helt ærligt: Kunne man forestille sig en boghandler, der fandt ud af, at han alligevel ikke havde “ret” til at sælge dig en bestemt bog, fordi forlæggeren var raget uklar med rettighedshaverne, og derfor brød ind i dit hus i nattens mulm og mørke for at tage bogen tilbage? Og hvis ikke – hvordan kan Amazon så tro, at det på nogen måde kan være acceptabelt, når blot indbruddet er på et stykke forbrugerelektronik i kundens hjem frem for et fysisk indbrud?

Eksemplet understreger, hvorfor kopibeskyttelse og anden “fjernkontrol” er en uskik, vi som borgere og forbrugere ikke burde finde os i.

Link: Delete this book (via Boing Boing).

Er ophavsretten en fejl? Imod intellektuel monopolisme

Fra, om en ny bog, der ærligt talt lyder spændende:

At a taped video interview in my office, before the crew would start the camera, a man had to remove my Picasso prints from the wall. The prints are probably under copyright, they said.

But the guy who drew them died 30 years ago. Besides, they are mine.

Doesn’t matter. They have to go.

What about the poor fellow who painted the wall behind the prints? Why doesn’t he have a copyright? If I scrape off the paint, there is the drywall and its creator. Behind the drywall are the boards, which are surely proprietary too. To avoid the “intellectual-property” thicket, maybe we have to sit in an open field; but there is the problem of the guy who last mowed the grass. Then there is the inventor of the grass to consider.

Is there something wrong with this picture?

The worldly-wise say no. This is just the way things are. It is for us not to question but to obey. So it is with all despotisms in human history. They become so woven into the fabric of daily life that absurdities are no longer questioned. Only a handful of daring people are capable of thinking along completely different lines. But when they do, the earth beneath our feet moves.

Such is the case with Against Intellectual Monopoly (Cambridge University Press, 2008) by Michele Boldrin and David Levine, two daring professors of economics at Washington University in St. Louis. They have written a book that is likely to rock your world, as it has mine. (It is also posted on their site with the permission of the publisher.)

With piracy and struggles over intellectual property in the news daily, it is time to wonder about this issue, its relationship to freedom, property rights, and efficiency. You have to think seriously about where you stand.

This is not one of those no-brainer issues for libertarians, like minimum wage or price controls. The problem is complicated, and solving it requires careful thought. But it is essential that every person do the thinking, and there is no better tool for breaking the intellectual gridlock than this book.

Link: A book that changes everything

Hvorfor ophavsretten skal reformeres – Lawrence Lessig i Colbert Report

Colbert: You say our copyright laws are turning our kids into criminals, because they’re keeping kids from doing all the remixing they want of pre-existing art and copywritten material, right?

Isn’t that like saying that arson laws are turning our kids into pyromaniacs?? They’re breaking the law! You can’t just throw the law out the window!

Lessig: “Totally failed war.” Is that familiar to you?

Colbert: No. No. You’re saying we need a surge?

Lessig: We tried the surge. For ten years we’ve been waging this war. Artists have not gotten any more money, businesses have not gotten any more profit, and our kids have been turned into criminals.

Via Electronic Frontier Foundation.