Now there’s something we knew was coming, but, especially here in the US, we’d been so oblivious that we didn’t realize it was already here. Not here in the States, but with the Internet, any place is “here.”
Ebooks are being napsterized big time (remember Napster and music sharing?). File-storage sites are popping up, sites like RapidShare, Megaupload, Hotfile and others. The New York Times asks:
With the new devices in hand, will book buyers avert their eyes from the free copies only a few clicks away that have been uploaded without the copyright holder’s permission?Ed McCoyd, an executive director at The Association of American Publishers, says:
“We are seeing lots of online piracy activities across all kinds of books — pretty much every category is turning up. What happens when 20 to 30 percent of book readers use digital as the primary mode of reading books? Piracy’s a big concern.”Of those sites I listed, RapidShare is the biggest at the moment. RapidShare is based in Switzerland.
[RapidShare] says its customers have uploaded onto its servers more than 10 petabytes of files — that’s more than 10 million gigabytes — and can handle up to three million users simultaneously. Anyone can upload, and anyone can download; for light users, the service is free.And people do upload and download. However, if you, an author, see your book on the site, it won’t be taken down if you ask for all copies to be removed. You have to request each specific file, using the specific URL, for it to be removed, then the next day, it could be back up with a new URL.
Mr. McCoyd noted:
“As far as we can tell, RapidShare is the largest host site of pirated material. Some publishers are saying half of all infringements are linked to it.”Katharina Scheid, a spokeswoman for RapidShare, had this advice if publishers and authors are unhappy about ebooks being shared without paying the copyright holders:
Learn from the band Nine Inch Nails. It marketed itself “by giving away most of their content for free.Randall Stross, the author of the New York Times piece had the last word on Ms. Scheid’s advice:
I will forward the suggestion along, as soon as authors can pack arenas full and pirated e-books can serve as concert fliers.How about you? What do you think?