Thursday, January 19, 2012


I was on strike yesterday to protest SOPA and PIP, that means I should post today. So I will talk about Internet Piracy.

As an artist I'm told I should be concerned if someone steals a copy of my book, I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE and not give me my $0.00 in royalties. Then I remember I am giving it away free.

By giving it away for free, thousands of people have downloaded it and I assume some of them have read it. Being at the bottom rung, or at most the 1st rung, of the publishing ladder just being read is nice. But what about books I'm actually selling.

I've sold a few books to followers of this blog, thank you very much, but most sales were at times that I wasn't talking about my books here. I assume those sales weren't from my blog and were from people that read I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE and liked my writing well enough to fork over their hard earned $0.99. I hope I didn't disappoint them.

That's the thing about entertainment. People set aside a certain amount of money for entertainment, they will spend that amount on a good value. The money is almost a side issue to people, time spent is far more valuable.

If someone pays $0.99 for one of my books and thinks it trash. Their first thought isn't going to be, “That bastard robbed me of my dollar!” it's more likely to be, “Well, there's a few hours of my life I'll never get back.”

When they complain about me stealing a few hours of their life, I shall let out an evil laugh and say, “You fell for my evil scheme to steal a few hours from thousands of victims so that I shall have all the time in the world!”

Actually I would feel bad and try to do better next time.

I didn't come up with the concept of giving away content in order to reach the small percentage of people who will pay for it. I stole it from Metallica, the very band that started the “sue your fans” craze. When Metallica was starting out they couldn't get even indie labels to listen to them. They were considered way too extreme. They started recording their gigs in bars and giving the tapes to everyone who came in. People started sharing the tapes and they started making there way on to college radio stations. Record labels started hearing these awful recordings and figured people would pay money for “clean” versions and Metallica became a major metal band.

My solution to Piracy is to have a looser definition of “Fair Use”. Have 20% of the work be the standard. If a major portion of a work is being passed around, the people who pay for content, Most people, will see, hear, read it. People will look for it. The places where you pay for content will be the easiest to find and people will pay for it. Even if 90% of the people grab illegal copies that is a bigger audience and some of those people will eventually pay.

This model helps the artists on the lower rung most, when exposure is hardest. But it also helps the general public as the “midlist”, non-bestsellers who still make a living, is growing. This means a greater variety in all forms of entertainment.

For those of you who don't think this model will work. After you watched the video I put up, if you saw AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON in the past you probably thought about watching it again. That keeps it in circulation with demand for it. If it sells one copy for every hundred websites it is put up on that is an income stream for the makers that they wouldn't have if it weren't posted. Most copyright laws now consider my posting of that little segment illegal.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

1 comment:

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