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January 25, 2010
Eric Hellman writes a blog called "Go to Hellman". As you might expect from the name it's not always the most reverent or deferential of posting sites. Earlier this month, Hellman had some really choice words for the publishing part of the Cartel.
You see, the publishers are starting to scare themselves again with the specter of "online book piracy," based on a study by Attributor, a company whose product I reviewed a couple years ago. As I noted, Attributor believes that its technology to track where copies go is superior to DRM technologies that attempt to prevent copies from going anywhere in the first place.
As reported in Publisher's Weekly, online copying is "pervasive" and may be "costing" publishers USD 3 billion. Those are some scary-sounding statistics, right? But what behaviors do they actually describe?
Well, as Hellman points out in excellently sarcastic tones, the behavior is that of reading a book you didn't buy. Shocking, I know! Someone buys a book and someone else reads it! Quick, call the cops and arrest those people who are, y'know, doing what libraries do.
Hellman's back-of-the-envelope calculation is that library lending could be "costing" publishers over 100 billion, per year, based on the roughly two billion books that are lent out by libraries in the US on an annual basis. Shockingly, these institutions also lend out CDs and DVDs, too. Goodness knows how much this terrible practice costs the Cartel!
The sarcasm is excellent and appreciated - bravo! To be serious for a moment, Hellman is good reading on library topics in general; for example, readers might enjoy his mini-economics post from earlier this month on "Why Libraries Exist."
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