Cooks Source vs File Sharing. Is it just me, or...

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BLOT: (07 Nov 2010 - 03:11:16 PM)

Cooks Source vs File Sharing. Is it just me, or...

E-Reads posted, last Tuesday, "Defiant Pirates Rub Knuckles in the Eyes of Authors and Publishers"", latest in a line of articles on their blog about ebook pirates (being an ebook centric company, it seems like the sort of thing that would concern them). In general I recommend their blog, it has an intersting number of book and publishing topics brought up, as well as discussion of their releases. Today, though, we'll focus on this linked entry.

I left a comment on the post, as of right now the last one and I was late to the party, in which I briefly compare pirate/sharing sites and the often cited "THEY ARE DEFENDING USER RIGHTS!" stance with the explosive outcry against Cooks Source, which copied a blogger's recipe and then, upon her complaining, told her (1) the Internet is Public Domain and (2) she should think them for the free editting job. I think the dumbass reply had a lot to do with the anger, but still, what's with the disparity? Why do we treat one group like Robin Hood and the other like the worst sort of thief and the justified target of ire? Comments in the linked-to Washington Post article on it say things about shutting down the magazine and not letting up the assault.

I know money is part of it. File-sharing is treated as a noble way to get around those pesky fat-cat content owners with their ideas that they should get paid*. Cook Source, though, robbed a poor woman of an article and then used that article as partial justification for advertisers to give them money (apologizes for the polemic generalizations, but just to set the stakes). I also know that part of the game is responding to the concept of open information. In one case, books that would require some activity to access are being made "freer", while in the latter, the already free article is enclosed off into a tiny little paper thing. And well, the dumbass reply mentioned above? It probably had a lot to do with it, but how much different is this than your average pirate reply on why they feel perfectly justified in taking anything they want because "information longs to be free" or because "so what, I want to?" I have nothing but sympathy and understanding for the notion of wanting to be able to buy a book and not be afraid of your copy disappearing in a couple of years because a DRM server became too "costly" to maintain. But if a fraction of people who file-share books actually were buying all of those books, the book industry would never had problems to begin with.

Even took a stance defending the copyright holder in this one. Ha!

And yes, by the way, the Washington Post article does have some comments that bring up the "It cannot be theft since nothing was realy stolen, just copied" style argument, so some people are judging this in the same way as they judge other Intellectual Property incidences. I would just say a fair number are treating this as two types of things. How about it, two types of things or the same thing?

UPDATE: There were a couple of updates, which I linked to and discussed, very briefly, here.

* By most things I have seen, Cooks Source is actually kind of small, independently produced magazine that has a fair, but not massive, circulation. I could be wrong about this.

LABEL(s): Copyright

BY WEEK: 2010, Week 44
BY MONTH: November 2010

Written by Doug Bolden

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