Interview Charles Stross
Charles Stross était l’invité du site Reddit hier. La conversation avec les internautes peut être retrouvée en ligne.
|What are your views about people pirating your books ?
Back before the internet we had a name for people who bought a single copy of our books and lent them to all their friends without charging : we called them "librarians".
And the dirty little secret of publishing is that, all along, each book sold has had an average of 5 readers. That’s an 80% "piracy" rate if you insist on looking at it in those terms.
Frankly, I couldn’t care less about you loaning a copy of one of my books, on paper, to a friend. In fact, I think it’s a good idea. Spreads the word, right ?
The problem with ebook filesharing is simply one of scale. But I think the "piracy" problem is massively over-rated.
What I do have a problem with is people who sell my work for financial gain without paying me a cut of the proceeds. If money is passing hands, then the customer feels that they’ve paid for the right to read the work. But if they haven’t paid me (or my publishers), then that’s siphoning money out of my income stream.
Back in the pre-internet age there were pirate publishers, especially in the third world, who would print physical copies of books, sell them, and never inform the author/their agent/their publisher — just trousering the money. I think we can agree that this was piracy ?
Today, we see some "file sharing" sites that rely on fans uploading cracked copies of ebooks, and which then make money off those books by charging for downloads (via cash subscriptions or advertising). Again : I take a dim view of this. They’re making money off the back of my work without paying me.
What I really think is that our current model of copyright is fundamentally broken.
We badly need to replace it with a different system for remunerating creators, which gets it the hell out of the face of the public (who were never aware of it to begin with in the pre-internet dead tree era). Unfortunately, the current copyright model is enshrined in international trade treaty law, making it almost impossible to work around.
[Edit/afterthought] More often than not, piracy is a symptom of an under-provisioned market. People want to buy mp3s but can’t ? Piracy ensues. Then Apple strong-arms the music studios into the iTunes store and music piracy drops somewhat. The same, I believe, is also happening with ebooks.