Monday, January 16, 2012

"Filesharing bugs me"

The Other Side of SOPA and PIPA, TidBITS article.

Similarly, “stealing” doesn’t precisely fit the act of making a digital copy — no one loses anything other than the opportunity to make a sale when digital content is copied, if the party who made a copy would have otherwise purchased it.
All that said, I hate it when I see our ebooks show up on file sharing sites for anyone to download in their entirety. I can’t measure whether it hurts our business and thus our authors. Nor can I say that it helps in any way. But I can say that it bugs the hell out of me...

I find that very interesting. Most people, when something bugs them, justify it immediately and forever. For example: if filesharing scares them, it must be because it hurts their business, and so they will go to alarming lengths (like trying to change laws) to stop it. Mr. Engst here has an exceptionally big perspective: he can see that rationally, it probably neither hurts nor helps his business any when their books are shared for free, but he just hates to see it. That is sound and honest.

One might say, if he could just handle his emotions on the thing, it would save him much time and aggravation with no downside. But that's all speculation, it's not trivial to change emotions, though it is sometimes done successfully. What's important here is that we all gain when we can separate emotional responses from facts. Which also is a surprisingly difficult matter, as witnessed by soooo many things, for instance that public nudity is illegal in most of the world, with no evidence whatever that it has ever hurt anybody.

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