When the web started, I used to get really grumpy with people because they put my poems up. They put my stories up. They put my stuff up on the web. I had this belief, which was completely erroneous, that if people put your stuff up on the web and you didn’t tell them to take it down, you would lose your copyright, which actually, is simply not true.
And I also got very grumpy because I felt like they were pirating my stuff, that it was bad. And then I started to notice that two things seemed much more significant. One of which was… places where I was being pirated, particularly Russia where people were translating my stuff into Russian and spreading around into the world, I was selling more and more books. People were discovering me through being pirated. Then they were going out and buying the real books, and when a new book would come out in Russia, it would sell more and more copies. I thought this was fascinating, and I tried a few experiments. Some of them are quite hard, you know, persuading my publisher for example to take one of my books and put it out for free. We took “American Gods,” a book that was still selling and selling very well, and for a month they put it up completely free on their website. You could read it and you could download it. What happened was sales of my books, through independent bookstores, because that’s all we were measuring it through, went up the following month three hundred percent
I started to realize that actually, you’re not losing books. You’re not losing sales by having stuff out there. When I give a big talk now on these kinds of subjects and people say, “Well, what about the sales that I’m losing through having stuff copied, through having stuff floating out there?” I started asking audiences to just raise their hands for one question. Which is, I’d say, “Okay, do you have a favorite author?” They’d say, “Yes.” and I’d say, “Good. What I want is for everybody who discovered their favorite author by being lent a book, put up your hands.” And then, “Anybody who discovered your favorite author by walking into a bookstore and buying a book raise your hands.” And it’s probably about five, ten percent of the people who actually discovered an author who’s their favorite author, who is the person who they buy everything of. They buy the hardbacks and they treasure the fact that they got this author. Very few of them bought the book. They were lent it. They were given it. They did not pay for it, and that’s how they found their favorite author. And I thought, “You know, that’s really all this is. It’s people lending books. And you can’t look on that as a loss of sale. It’s not a lost sale, nobody who would have bought your book is not buying it because they can find it for free.”
What you’re actually doing is advertising. You’re reaching more people, you’re raising awareness. Understanding that gave me a whole new idea of the shape of copyright and of what the web was doing. Because the biggest thing the web is doing is allowing people to hear things. Allowing people to read things. Allowing people to see things that they would never have otherwise seen. And I think, basically, that’s an incredibly good thing.Neil Gaiman on Copyright, Piracy, and the Commercial Value of the Web (X)
- INSTEAD OF GANGS- THERE WOULD BE FANDOMS
“UGH, THERE’S ANOTHER FIGHT BETWEEN THE HARRY POTTER FANDOM AND TWILIGHT FANDOM IN THE YARD.”
“Bitch, did you just disrespect my ship? I WILL CUT YOU”
“Hey. You. Hey, you.” A strangely deep voice speaks behind me.
I turn around. There’s a girl sitting at a table near me, beckoning. Her uniform is folded up at the sleeves; her uncovered arm bears a crude biro tattoo and a familiar looking amulet hangs around her neck.
“You’re new, aren’t you?”
The girl nods at the sarcastic reply in recognition and extends a hand for the shaking. I take it hesitantly - her fingernails seemed to be stained with blood.
“You can call me Cassie.”
“Is that your name?”
“You know we don’t use real names here,” she says, meeting my eyes with a sidelong intense squint. There’s a weighted pause. Both of us already know who the other is, and in the custom of both our peoples we glare into each others eyes homoerotically for the traditional five seconds before resuming our business.
“So what can I call you? Lockie? Sheridan? Only I will warn you off any rendition of ‘Molly’ or ‘Loo’ ‘cause we’ve had a sudden influx of them after that episode …”
“Sher is fine, thanks.”
The girl grins and gestures to the empty space at the table next to her.
After some minutes of quiet during which Cassie manages to devour two pies and a hamburger, I scan the sea of faces around us. Cassie sees me and nods, pointing over to the far side of the dining hall, where a table is occupied by a band of people divided in half - one side of the table wears their right sleeve rolled up, the other side wears their left rolled up, and those in the middle blur between both rolled up and neither. The lefties appear to be chattering loudly and rapidly consuming jam and sherbert powder. The right-sleeve party are looking on at this behaviour disapprovingly. Those in the middle look like they couldn’t give less of a fuck if they tried, simply sitting there eating donuts and occasionally shouting, “NOT OUR DIVISION”.
“Your lot are over there,” says Cassie, “well, mostly.”
“A heap of them are in solitary confinement for graffiti-ing prison property, and some are in the hospital wing for emotional distress.”
“I see.” I look over the crowd again, this time spotting a telltale flash of blue peeking out from beneath a prisoner’s sleeve. The table they sit on is large and fully occupied, but quiet and subdued, with some talking here and there. Suddenly a fierce debate starts up out of nowhere, and the words “Rose”, “River”, “Mary Sue”, and “OTP” seem to come up a lot.
“Ugh, another shipping battle,” says Cassie with a roll of her eyes. She has produced another hamburger from thin air and her mouth is stuffed with it. “A couple of girls of my lot got done for confinement over Wincest vs Destiel yesterday. It’s always happening. Especially with that lot, they’ve got little else to talk about at the moment.” She swallows her mouthful of hamburger then, adding hastily, “not to say anything against them. I know you guys are practically family.”
“It’s fine. Where does everyone else sit?”
“Actually, no, may I …?”
Cassie grins again, “be my guest.”
I sit up straighter, hands steepled beneath my chin, and observe the crowd.
“Over there, table at three o’clock. Smudged makeup, tear tracks, pumpkin juice on the table, girl holding knife like wand, patches of colour on uniforms - discreet but sorting them into groups, yellow, blue, green, red - Dark Mark on boy three seats down; obviously the Harry Potter fandom.”
“Good,” Cassie nods through another mouthful of hamburger.
“Table at nine o’clock. Small horns, cursing of Andrew Hussie, praise of Andrew Hussie; Homestuck fandom.”
“Table at far right. Copious amounts of glitter, significantly better applied makeup and more fashion conscious than most people in this room, many shipwars taking place but mostly being drowned out by group sing-a-long’s - also they were dancing on the table when I came in, hardly a difficult leap; Glee fandom.”
“Now, the table behind us. No markings, completely plain, barely touched uniform. Might make it tricky, instead makes it obvious. No one should look that pleased to be forced into wearing an orange jumpsuit. Misfits fandom.”
“And right at the back on the left, huddled away. Some glaring at the Harry Potter fandom. Separated into shipping teams. Team Edward and Team Jacob shirts visible underneath uniforms, dead give-away. Twilight Fandom.”
“Okay, how about them over there,” says Cassie, pointing over to another table.
“Please, that’s child’s play. I can hear them shouting ‘Brolin’ from here. Merlin fandom.”
“Happy looking fandom, talking excitedly, ‘December 2012’ written on the inside of that boy’s wrist, plus the rings on the chain around that girl’s neck and the fake elf ears; Tolkien fandom.”
“You’re not bad,” says Cassie, finishing off her hamburger.
“I’m an expert. We all are.”
Cassie nods and leans back on her hand, looking me over.
“And what did they get you in for, Sher?”
I swallow, looking down at my cream tea determinedly and willing myself not to cry.
She puts her hand on my shoulder gently.
“You need to get it out.”
“I … I downloaded -” my voice breaks, and I swallow hard again before breathlessly forcing out the rest of the sentence, “I downloaded The Reichenbach Fall.”
I just read a minific of fandom prison, and I liked it.
jane and dean
Lack of bacon
german folks music
I was at the movies yesterday and before the movie started they had this long ad where they were trying to say like — you know those ads where it’s like, “Don’t download things illegally, et cetera,” —- and the way they did it was they were like, “You wouldn’t steal a purse, would you? You wouldn’t think of stealing a car.” And I was thinking about it, I was watching it and I was like, “You know what? I would steal a car if it was as easy as touching the car and then thirty seconds later I owned the car. And, like, I would steal a car if by stealing the car, the person who owned the car, they got to keep the car. And um, I would also steal a car if no one I had ever met had ever bought a car before in their whole lives.”Mindy Kaling (via kennedyismyhero)
- INSTEAD OF GANGS- THERE WOULD BE FANDOMS
“UGH, THERE’S ANOTHER FIGHT BETWEEN THE HARRY POTTER FANDOM AND TWILIGHT FANDOM IN THE YARD.”
May the geek gods protect anyone sent to Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. The warden there banned Dungeons & Dragons back in 2010.
But in my recent research, I’ve talked with a lot of them. Not just the “lololol we r legion” kind either. The real deal. Guys who now work for McAfee or run their own security contracting firms. When I asked them about whether further government restrictions on internet behavior, like SOPA and PROTECT IP, would limit piracy, their response was unanimous:
Clever pirates will always find a way. Clamping down on the entire web will only punish those with good intentions and push those who wish to download terabytes of copyrighted content further underground.
The following is a quote from Phil Zimmerman, creator of PGP, one of the most important pieces of technology of the 20th century. It’s from an interview that will appear in my upcoming book:
I think that there’s something grotesque about having the internet turned upside down just for the entertainment industry. When you look at how much economic activity is driven by the internet and compare it to that of the entertainment industry—the entertainment industry is not that big! It’s a small part of it.
For the entertainment industry to have this control over the internet…it’s like if auto industry was assembling cars at the command of companies who manufacture FM radios. Imagine if the people who make FM radios had absolute control over where highways can be built, and dictate crashworthiness. It’s perverse. This is an example of powerful lobbies purchasing legislation.
The problem here isn’t the copyright issue. One could go on forever about how this will smother entrepreneurship in the tech industry because big companies like Google, let alone web startups, won’t be able to afford to hire moderators to continuously monitor their user content, let alone a team of lawyers to fight copyright claims. Recent statistics show that 48 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube alone every minute. Can you imagine what it would cost to monitor that volume? This blunderbuss approach puts the U.S. government in a position of editorial control that we previously would have criticized China for allowing, only to support broken business models and expand the perpetual game of whac-a-mole that is online piracy.
The potential for collateral damage of free speech is real and opens up the possibility of bad actors only needing to accuse a site of some minor copyright infringement in order to silence free expression that might be happening there.
Fucking LOL, right?
I am 100% opposed to SOPA and PIPA, even though I’m one of the artists they were allegedly written to protect. I’ve probably lost a few hundred dollars in my life to what the MPAA and RIAA define as piracy, and that sucks, but that doesn’t come close to how much money I’ve lost from a certain studio’s creative accounting.
The RIAA and MPAA are, again, on the wrong side of history. Attempting to tear apart one of the single greatest communications achievements in human history in a misguided attempt to cling to an outdated business model instead of adapting to the changing world is a fucking crime.
A free and open Internet is as important to me as the bill of rights. I don’t want the government of one country — especially the corporate-controlled United States government — to exert unilateral control over the Internet for any reason, especially not because media corporations want to buy legislation that won’t do anything to actually stop online piracy, but will expand the American police state, and destroy the Internet as we know it.
Please contact your Senators and US Representatives, and tell them to vote NO on SOPA and ProtectIP. The future of the Internet — and the present we take for granted — depend on it.
Also, some good news.
We, the undersigned, are musicians, actors, directors, authors, and producers. We make our livelihoods with the artistic works we create. We are also Internet users.
We are writing to express our serious concerns regarding the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
As creative professionals, we experience copyright infringement on a very personal level. Commercial piracy is deeply unfair and pervasive leaks of unreleased films and music regularly interfere with the integrity of our creations. We are grateful for the measures policymakers have enacted to protect our works.
We, along with the rest of society, have benefited immensely from a free and open Internet. It allows us to connect with our fans and reach new audiences. Using social media services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, we can communicate directly with millions of fans and interact with them in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
We fear that the broad new enforcement powers provided under SOPA and PIPA could be easily abused against legitimate services like those upon which we depend. These bills would allow entire websites to be blocked without due process, causing collateral damage to the legitimate users of the same services - artists and creators like us who would be censored as a result.
We are deeply concerned that PIPA and SOPA’s impact on piracy will be negligible compared to the potential damage that would be caused to legitimate Internet services. Online piracy is harmful and it needs to be addressed, but not at the expense of censoring creativity, stifling innovation or preventing the creation of new, lawful digital distribution methods.
We urge Congress to exercise extreme caution and ensure that the free and open Internet, upon which so many artists rely to promote and distribute their work, does not become collateral damage in the process.
- Aziz Ansari
- Kevin Devine, Musician
- Barry Eisler, Author
- Neil Gaiman, Author
- Lloyd Kaufman, Filmmaker
- Zoë Keating, Musician
- The Lonely Island
- Daniel Lorca, Musician (Nada Surf)
- Erin McKeown, Musician
- Samantha Murphy, Musician
- OK Go
- Amanda Palmer, Musician (The Dresden Dolls)
- Quiet Company
- Trent Reznor
- Adam Savage, Special Effects Artist (MythBusters)
- Hank Shocklee, Music Producer (Public Enemy, The Bomb Squad)
- Johnny Stimson, Musician
I’m just going to go ahead and add my name to this:
- Wil Wheaton, Actor, Author, Producer