Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


MS subsidiary promoting pirated ebooks.
February 27, 2012 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Daily deals sites have sprung up all over, with even Microsoft and Australia's Channel 9 TV operating one called CUDO. Last Thursday's bargain (still on sale) is an ebook reader complete with 4000 books. The listing originally included a link to the 4000 titles, which has since been removed. The title list includes many best seller books from authors such as J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, Stephen King, Bill Bryson and Jack Kerouac amongst others. The list originally had the heading: 4001_ibooks_for_iphone_and_ipad_epub. 5832264.TPB.torrent Which corresponds to files on the Pirate Bay, and other torrent sites.

Particularly surprising is Cudo removing the title listing, presumably to diguise the content, rather than pulling the whole deal.
Discussion on a consumer board here.
So far they have sold $190,000+ of readers, but using usual content industry metrics where the retail value of pirated content is counted, Microsoft and Nine have shifted over $150m worth of content. Following on from the Megaupload actions, should we expect arrests at Redmond and Gore Hill?
posted by bystander (31 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Although he has no direct involvement in any of this, if Channel 9 'personality' Karl Stefanovic could somehow be arrested, I would die a happy man.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:08 PM on February 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think the site linking to the discussion board is going to have more comments than the board itself in three... two... one...

Elsewise its just another day of schadenfreude.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:16 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


but using usual content industry metrics where the retail value of pirated content is counted,

Don't. Just don't. If I walk past a lemonade stand and don't buy a lemonade, the stand didn't take a loss.
posted by Malor at 3:18 PM on February 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


(not to say that what they're doing here is okay, but NOT ONE PERSON who buys one of these readers would have ever bought all 4,001 books. Probably most of them will never read that many books in their entire lifetimes.)
posted by Malor at 3:19 PM on February 27, 2012


Hey, they could call it art:
1TB "Modern Art" HDD Houses $5M in Pirated Software

This "modern art" supposedly houses $5 million dollars' worth of pirated software including AutoCAD 2011, Adobe Creative Suite and numerous console ROMs.

According to the exhibit's PDF document (which crashed Adobe Reader but opened in Foxit Reader, and Scribd, and Google Docs preview), the hard drive plays host to Adobe Creative Suite (PC and Mac versions), AutoCAD 2011 (PC and Mac versions), a 21 GB font collection, 137 GB worth of Nintendo DS roms, fiction books spanning 2003 to 2011 valued at $3 million USD, a 124 GB music collection and loads more. There's also a tinyurl attached to each folder, indicating that the drive may actually be connected to the Internet and sharing its illegal goods.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:25 PM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sounds like a pretty good deal.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:25 PM on February 27, 2012


Chris Waddle.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:26 PM on February 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Although he has no direct involvement in any of this, if Channel 9 'personality' Karl Stefanovic could somehow be arrested, I would die a happy man.

I respectfully disagree.
posted by Talez at 3:32 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Leave Karl alone!
posted by Wantok at 3:41 PM on February 27, 2012


But you ask yourself, "how do I know my 4000 free books were legit licensed copies?" Use this easy test to determine the source of your book. If the formatting is frequently fucked up, strange paragraph breaks, 1 substitutes frequently for I, typos galore, CONGRATS! Your ebook is legal and was bought for hard cold cash from Amazon. If the text is clean and readable, a filthy pirate has screwed around with your literature. Report yourself for copyright infringement ASAP.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:50 PM on February 27, 2012 [66 favorites]


Don't. Just don't. If I walk past a lemonade stand and don't buy a lemonade, the stand didn't take a loss.

That analogy makes no sense at all.

Big monied copyright holders engaging in ebook piracy (in fact, profiting from ebook piracy) is far, far worse than anything pirate bay has ever done.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:42 PM on February 27, 2012


The Great Gatsby - SkyNet.epub

So it begins. Fuck.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:01 PM on February 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Big monied copyright holders engaging in ebook piracy (in fact, profiting from ebook piracy) is far, far worse than anything pirate bay has ever done.

Agreed completely that this is bad, and should be actively punished. No argument there.

What I'm objecting to is the ridiculous, hyped assertions about economic damage. Claiming that someone that bought one of these e-book readers just did 4,001 * 7.50 = $30,007.50 in damages to publishers is ridiculous. Every actual quantitative study, in fact, points to piracy as increasing overall sales of the media in question. The more you pirate, the more you actually buy. The industry claims 4,001 * 7.50 in losses, but those copies cost them nothing, so they SHOULD be seeing the 10 * 7.50 in additional sales that happen after readers realize they like particular authors, and want to buy their books. The vast majority of smaller artists benefit from the additional exposure. The super-hyper-mega authors are hurt a little, because they already have maximum exposure, but they've already won the freaking lottery. Book piracy is bad for Stephen King, but great for, say, John Scalzi.

This doesn't excuse what these people are doing, which is commercially profiting from infringing copyright. That's bad, full stop. But the damage figures that the industry pushes are bogus, and should be fought savagely every time they're brought up.
posted by Malor at 5:03 PM on February 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


No John Scalzi in there.

The books are like the contents of some nerd's dorm room. Every Riverworld book and some random shit you get assigned, like A Bend in the River and Things Fall Aprt.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:12 PM on February 27, 2012


...john scalzi isn't for nerds?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:16 PM on February 27, 2012


I've read all those books already anyway. Well, except for Deliverance.txt.epub. I heard they made that into a movie. Anyone know if it's any good?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:20 PM on February 27, 2012


What I'm objecting to is the ridiculous, hyped assertions about economic damage. Claiming that someone that bought one of these e-book readers just did 4,001 * 7.50 = $30,007.50 in damages to publishers is ridiculous.

Oh right - well, I'm with you on that. IP piracy should not be characterised as theft. Because it isn't.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:27 PM on February 27, 2012



...john scalzi isn't for nerds?

Dunno really but per Malor's comment, this particular act of ebook piracy isn't doing him any good since he isn't included.

I think they might have stopped reading in 1992, there are only 4 books by William Gibson.

I would like it if someone read this book list and took a crack at writing a narrative of this guy's life based on these books. Starting in middle school with Asimov being all Misunderstood and quirky. Staying up all night with his nerd friends talking about Monty Python. Through his first job as perl script hacker at the university physics department. Ending with a crippling wow addiction that robs him of the energy to read any new books.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:40 PM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think this is the prime example of how criminalizing something creates the shadow market for it.

People will download things that are free to them. With relatively small files - books, music - people will share, and this does cut into sales. Publishers rightfully don't like this. But instead of charging nominal fees based on the cost of the product, they still insist on charging brick and mortar prices. They see the market as X and pricing as Y. With the internet, the potential market is X^3 or even more. Instead of pricing Y/4, which would still be enormous sums of money and hefty profits, they price at Y, or even Y+. People don't want to pay Y. They'll be more inclined to pay Y/4, but that option isn't available. Hence, sharing.

So the publishers counter with a punishment strategy. While the chances of getting caught aren't very high, the risk is unacceptable because the punishment can be so bad.

Some people understand how to circumvent the risk, or at least to mitigate it. They accept the risk, because now they can sell the product to the consumer at a lower price than the publisher will. The pirate gets rewarded for pirating, the consumer gets an acceptably priced product without the risk. On top of that, the product prices are low enough that people unwilling to pay Y (the extended market) are willing to pay the pirate's price of Y/4. The pirate gets the money and not the publisher, and in this case only the publisher is to blame. As was said above, there is no loss, since there would have been no sale to begin with at price Y. And the publishers are stuck with the costs of enforcement on top of that.

As long as the punishment remains severe, there will be people willing to risk it for the reward.
posted by Xoebe at 6:11 PM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


No John Scalzi in there.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE.

Wait, what?
posted by jscalzi at 6:46 PM on February 27, 2012 [27 favorites]


This is amazing and one of the most fucked up things I’ve read in a while.
posted by bongo_x at 6:54 PM on February 27, 2012


lol please Channel 9 viewers don't read.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:57 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't. Just don't. If I walk past a lemonade stand and don't buy a lemonade, the stand didn't take a loss. posted by Malor

I believe a distributor of content (pusher, dealer etc) the damages are seen to be higher than end users. One thing to download illegal material, another to distribute it (though torrents make that complicated). A distributor who profits from illegal content is even worse, in the realm of organized crime. Three levels of crime. And if you do it while being the coach of a school varsity program, that's ninth level of hell. The police go after those who are in positions of trust and authority. Unless you are above the glass ceiling like a Kennedy or Congressman.
posted by stbalbach at 7:31 PM on February 27, 2012


I look forward to the hard hitting exposé A Current Affair will do on this.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:38 PM on February 27, 2012


I look forward to hitting A Current Affair hard.
posted by Wolof at 9:46 PM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is a popular website WHICH OBVIOUSLY I HAVE NEVER VISITED that has a lot of pirated books, some of which come in a 'my whole Kindle library' pack for anyone else to download. Looks like they grabbed one of these and bundled it in. (The same site, SO I HAVE HEARD, is pretty much 90% vampire werewolf novels and books about NLP and other such stuff that used to be sold at the back of downmarket newspapers.)


but NOT ONE PERSON who buys one of these readers would have ever bought all 4,001 books. Probably most of them will never read that many books in their entire lifetimes


I think, though, a lot of people are stuck in the same situation they had when mp3 became a dominant format - they bought the stuff in the old media (hello, cassettes) but have no way to get it onto the new format without buying it again. In the old days music buyers used to grumble about remasters, multiple formats etc. - now the same people can just easily convert a CD without having to fork out again. Not so with books. I've been reading heavily since I was three, so I long ago learned that buying everything new is far more expensive than getting a second-hand or library copy. With eBooks, you have to pay list price every time.

Now people are used to the idea of getting media for free or as good as, a lot of people aren't going to do it. It's annoying, especially if you want to replace print copies of books you won't need to have as an actual physical book with something that takes up less space. Doubly so if it hasn't been eBooked (?) yet. And they'll justify it because they bought that novel for 30p back in 1975, so the Big Publisher doesn't need their money again.
posted by mippy at 9:42 AM on February 28, 2012


Actually my impression is that, unlike mp3s when that got started (or ever) a lot of people got started using e-books 'legitimately' by buying a Kindle, so if e-book piracy ever became mainstream it might actually hurt real sales. You can get a generic e-book reader, but I think most people will just get a kindle.

But sale like this is probably going to be people who might have picked up a kindle, and bought some books, but who will instead buy this thing and just read through the stuff on there.

It's like selling an iPod pre-loaded with millions of dollars worth of songs. How long would it take for that person to use the iTunes store to buy new music, if they didn't 'normally' pirate stuff?

Also, does this reader have a good UI for navigating thousands of books?
What I'm objecting to is the ridiculous, hyped assertions about economic damage. Claiming that someone that bought one of these e-book readers just did 4,001 * 7.50 = $30,007.50 in damages to publishers is ridiculous. Every actual quantitative study, in fact, points to piracy as increasing overall sales of the media in question. The more you pirate, the more you actually buy. The industry claims 4,001 * 7.50 in losses, but those copies cost them nothing, so they SHOULD be seeing the 10 * 7.50 in additional sales that happen after readers realize they like particular authors, and want to buy their books. The vast majority of smaller artists benefit from the additional exposure. The super-hyper-mega authors are hurt a little, because they already have maximum exposure, but they've already won the freaking lottery. Book piracy is bad for Stephen King, but great for, say, John Scalzi.
Is anyone actually doing that? (other then pointing out that "by the metrics Microsoft uses" they are taking millions in value, which is just supposed to be ironic or something)
posted by delmoi at 3:17 PM on February 28, 2012


Yes, the RIAA and MPAA do that all the fucking time. Those kind of loss metrics are what's driving all that horrible legislation -- they're screaming about 'losing billions'. But if you took them at face value about their losses, if those were actually lost sales that were converted to purchases, their industry would instantly grow by something like ten times.

It's a ridiculously, wildly inflated set of assumptions and assertions.
posted by Malor at 4:48 PM on February 28, 2012


Follow-up on this from the Sydney Morning Herald.
posted by jscalzi at 9:38 PM on February 28, 2012


The valuation of "lost" revenues in the original post was tongue in cheek. I also think it is a ridiculous metric.
And do you think Asher Moses at the SMH reads Metafilter?
I think it is interesting that Megaupload gets people arrested because part of their business was supply disk to individuals who pirated, yet when MS and 9 promote for sale a disk of pirated works, and then remove the link that exposes that piracy, but keep selling the product!, they get a rebuke from fair trading?
posted by bystander at 9:53 PM on February 28, 2012


We have books.
posted by unliteral at 8:10 PM on March 1, 2012


« Older The making of Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em, and P...   |   obsessedwithshoes... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments