Home > publishing, Thinking > Why Good Consumers Become Bad Pirates

Why Good Consumers Become Bad Pirates

All the talk about how publishers attempting to charge hardback book prices on ebooks, plus the frustrations of DRM, plus geographical limitations put on digital books (?!) equals frustrated customers who are tempted to create and patronize BookNapster? It reminds me of an image my husband, a devoted movie lover, sent me a few weeks ago:

Yep. That’s about the size of it, right there.

We buy movies and books in this household, but let me tell you something. I bought a laptop from Craigslist last year, and when I told the seller I’d be bringing a DVD to test the drive, told me not to worry about it, he had one he’d throw in with the computer. I met up with him, tested everything else, and then hit play on the DVD program.

A movie that had opened that day started playing. Arr, me hearties. I still bought the computer – he had original discs and reg codes for the software.

But I didn’t throw out the pirated DVD. Actually, I forgot about it until my little guy figured out how to start the movie on my laptop, and then he got interested. Now it’s one of his favorites, and I swear I meant to buy a legit copy. But something bad happened. When my kid wants to watch one of the movies we’ve bought, it can take up to ten minutes – TEN MINUTES – to get the stupid thing playing. When my kid wants to watch the movie the nice Craigslist pirate gave us, we press play. I have four different jobs, and I don’t have a nanny. That ten minutes can be the difference between a deadline met and a deadline blown.

I won’t say I’d pay *extra* to be able to cut straight to the movie – a DVD is already twenty bucks at Best Buy – but I’d make a point of buying from a company that let me skip everything that wasn’t the movie.

I’ll post more on this topic eventually, but for now, I’m just going to say that I bitterly resent the fact that content companies, be they movie, book, or music, have gone so far around the bend trying to keep people from stealing (that’s what piracy is, stealing) that accessing and sharing your own material is a giant hassle. I honestly think Carina’s lack of DRM is going to help me, not hurt me, as an author.

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