29 May 2010

Can Publishers Think This Sneakily?

Yesterday I contemplated how series publishers are finally formalizing the distribution of small snatches of fiction in digital form as appetizers for longer series. But, I noted, the fear of book piracy remains strong. Angelophile reported thusly on the Bristol International Comics Expo’s panel discussion of digital comics, and the challenge of pirated copies:

Kieron Gillen [of Phonogram] then talked about piracy again and mentioned one developer in the games industry, who, recognizing in advance that their game was likely to be pirated, deliberately leaked a version onto torrent sites.

However, they'd built into the version that it used a certain server for all online peer-to-peer multiplayer games. So every now and again, they'd simply turn off that server, frustrating the users enough that they'd then go out and buy the legal version of the game, then after a while, [the company would] turn on P2P play again.
Because by that time, of course, many of those underground users had been hooked.

Can we imagine an equivalent for electronic publishing? For instance, every digital edition of a book (especially in a series) could contain a link to a dedicated discussion site with extras from the author, but the versions secretly released to torrent sites all feed through a balky server. Hmmm.


nyrdyv said...

Ubiquity is coming to the publishing world, specifically to the comic book world. There is very little of great significance that can stop it.

I find that sad, but I must accept it. I think others do, too, unfortunately.


Steven G. Willis

A.C.K. said...

I have found myself smirking that I see several (US-based) comics creators who have complained about piracy, chatting about episodes of British TV they are watching well, WELL in advance of their release here in the States.

Piracy is only really bad when it affects YOUR WORK, you see.

J. L. Bell said...

I recently saw some comics creators chatting about shows on the cable channel BBC America, but that might not be what you’re referring to. Indeed, we tend to dislike piracy of intellectual property in the abstract, the intellectual property itself in practice.

I’m struck by the repeated findings that the books most often pirated (i.e., showing up most on pirate website) are business books, including textbooks. In other words, people studying how to accumulate property are starting by accumulating intellectual property at the least cost and the least reward to its creators.