I just read the post on the Digital Book World website regarding corporate attempts to stem the stealing of content and had to comment on this problem that is always with us.
Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary gives the following definition of the word “PIRACY”:
1: an act of robbery on the high seas; also an act resembling such robbery
2: robbery on the high seas
3 a: the unauthorized use of another’s production, invention, or conception especially in infringement of a copyright
b: the illicit accessing of broadcast signals
The electronic/digital age in the book publishing industry has been one of astounding technological advances at breakneck speed. Unfortunately, the advances in technology have also meant that the ability to track down those instances where copyright infringement have occurred have been lagging over the past few years. This movement to safeguard intellectual property rights is a good step forward in the continuing struggle to keep content safe from nefarious distribution.
I laud Simon & Schuster for taking these steps:
“In response to queries from authors asking how piracy is affecting their books, Simon & Schuster will add book-specific piracy-tracking data from anti-digital-piracy firm Attributor to its Simon & Schuster Author Portal.”
“Simon & Schuster has been using Attributor since 2011 to fight ebook piracy. The vendor scans hundreds of millions of Web pages every day, including peer-to-peer networks, for content that infringes on copyrights. Takedown notices are sent to infringing sites in the hope of successfully removing pirated content.”
Knowing who is pirating and where these pirates are is the first step in shedding some sunlight onto getting better international cooperation in the crackdown on digital pirates. Once there is undeniable proof that content is being stolen in certain regions of the world (China has been a place where intellectual property rights have not been upheld or honored), the wheels can begin rolling to make sure that this practice is made public and international standards on copyrights and fair use are amended, negotiated, and enforced.
In the end, authors will profit from this crackdown. They will be better served and have a much more trusting experience with the publishing companies they are working with if they know the Attributor system is being used to safeguard their content. I am sure Simon & Schuster is just helping to push a trend that will take hold industry-wide. Random House has also been looking into the intellectual property theft arena:
“ In 2012, Random House released a series of videos explaining its business and the publishing process. The company also held an open-house for the public and influential folks in the publishing world at its headquarters in late 2012.”
Stealing in Other Media Formats
We have seen this piracy in all major media forms in the past as well. Napster has been slapped hard by the Department of Justice since the music sharing website was a phenomenon back in the mid to late 1990s. The DOJ even went after those who were the biggest offenders in using Napster to download music. Movies have always been subject to piracy. Who can forget the Seinfeld episode where Elaine’s crazy dance moves get spliced into the middle of the movie Jerry is supposed to be recording? Stealing is stealing and there will always be those among us who will break the law to make a buck. If publishers can stay one step ahead, then everyone will be much better off in the long run.
Funny thing, Elaine Benis worked for a book publisher too!