Why do people think it's okay to upload magic DVDs?

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Tim Ellis » 06/08/09 10:18 PM

Matt said "If all people who are affected by it do is complain and fail to adapt then they will end up suffering."

I don't agree Matt. That's like saying "People are shooting other people in the street. It's illegal, but not going to stop in a hurry, we should adapt by all buying bullet-proof vests or not going out."

Rubbish!

If people are doing things that are illegal we need to make sure the law is enforced, not let the law-breakers continue on their merry way.



Dustin - while I respect your idea to delete the link, I posted it because I wasn't fully outraged until I visited that site and actually saw what was going on for myself. Once I saw the scope of the piracy of just ONE PERSON I felt I needed to stand up and make my objection known.

I think a lot of people feel we're making a big fuss over nothing, just a couple of kids swapping files, like magicians do with DVDs and books at magic clubs.

It's not the same. It's criminal activity that's flourishing because the law can't do anything about it until people make complaints.

With James from Black's Magic we have managed to close down a lot of magic file-sharing sites already. It may not be possible to stop, but we can slow it down.


As to the argument "It's great that file-sharing allows me to preview DVDs before I decide to buy them." Yes, you can test drive a Mercedes before buying it, but the decision to let you test drive it is at the discretion of the owner of the car, not some anonymous third party who shows you howe to hot-wire it.
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Postby Ted M » 06/09/09 12:44 PM

Practically speaking, preventing copying in the digital age is pretty much hopeless, massively expensive and impractical without the apparatus of a totalitarian police-state.

Is anyone familiar with an alternative business model for publishing which acknowledges that published works will be endlessly copied after their release, and so requires all payment up front prior to release? After the work is released, there is no control over it -- it may be freely copied by those who paid for its release, and also by those who did not. This post-release situation is of course the same situation we already see today, but with the payment model shifted to a point in time before free copies are available.

There are a few names for this model: Fund and Release, or Threshold Pledge, or the Street Performer Protocol. Whatever the name, it is described like so:


There is an alternative. Using the logic of a street performer, the author goes directly to the readers before the book is published; perhaps even before the book is written. The author [...] makes a public statement on the order of:

"When I get $100,000 in donations, I will release the next novel in this series."

Readers can go to the author's Web site, see how much money has already been donated, and donate money to the cause of getting his novel out. Note that the author doesn't care who pays to get the next chapter out; nor does he care how many people read the book that didn't pay for it. He just cares that his $100,000 pot gets filled. When it does, he publishes the next book. In this case "publish" simply means "make available," not "bind and distribute through bookstores." The book is made available, free of charge, to everyone: those who paid for it and those who did not.


More details and nuance of the Fund and Release/Street Performer Protocol are at:

http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bi ... ew/673/583
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Postby CraigMitchell » 06/09/09 02:04 PM

The Fund and Release is an interesting concept ... has this been used successfully anywhere ?

Perhaps we need an 'itunes' of magic ... where convenience and simplicity of a 'paid service' outweighs the desire for people to pirate items via slow and dodgy torrent links et al.
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Postby Naphtalia » 06/09/09 03:05 PM

Ted M wrote:Practically speaking, preventing copying in the digital age is pretty much hopeless, massively expensive and impractical without the apparatus of a totalitarian police-state.



We don't need a totalitarian police-state. We just need to up the possibility of getting caught, prosecuted and fined in accordance with the laws that are already on the books. If the fines are sufficient, we could fund the group that investigates and prosecutes.

Go after the folks who download illegally. We won't get everybody, but as it starts to be a risk, people will consider whether it's worthwhile or not.

Go after the sites that provide copyrighted materials to which they do not have rights.

Personally, I love the idea of an itunes sort of site for magic - a new way for people to get the material they need and for the creators to get compensation.

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Postby Jeff Haas » 06/09/09 04:05 PM

I think that Theory 11, Dan & Dave, Joshua Jay and others are already building the magic equivalents of iTunes.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 06/09/09 04:23 PM

Craig Mitchell wrote:The Fund and Release is an interesting concept ... has this been used successfully anywhere?


Stephen King tried something similar in 2000 for his novel The Plant. He put the first chapter on his website for download by anyone and if most payed him $1 for it, he would release more chapters the same way.

The limit was set at 75% of payers versus downloaders. The rate of paying customers decreased over time, but the first parts were over the limit and six chapters were published (making up the first somewhat self-contained part of the novel).
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Postby Efendi Kwok » 06/10/09 11:55 PM

Joe Pecore wrote:Stephen King tried something similar in 2000 for his novel The Plant. He put the first chapter on his website for download by anyone and if most payed him $1 for it, he would release more chapters the same way.

The limit was set at 75% of payers versus downloaders. The rate of paying customers decreased over time, but the first parts were over the limit and six chapters were published (making up the first somewhat self-contained part of the novel).


And the bottom line ...

----------------------
...
...
According to King's representatives, the venture was a failure. The project was ended, they claimed, because of a lack of sufficient payment, and a public that could not be trusted with the honor system. Some even claimed that this represented the commercial infeasibility of web publishing.

However, fans and readers claimed the idea was a success, and that it was made infeasible for other reasons, particularly by fact of its high pricing for an inconsistent product. King and his publisher, citing dissatisfaction with the percent of paying readers, raised the cost of each installment to a high of 7 dollars (for 13 installments, or $91 USD total) which only increased criticism and decreased demand.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 08:09 AM

Tim Ellis wrote:Matt said "If all people who are affected by it do is complain and fail to adapt then they will end up suffering."

I don't agree Matt. That's like saying "People are shooting other people in the street. It's illegal, but not going to stop in a hurry, we should adapt by all buying bullet-proof vests or not going out."

Rubbish!

If people are doing things that are illegal we need to make sure the law is enforced, not let the law-breakers continue on their merry way.


Interesting points.

However, few things to bear in mind.

a) You will never, ever, ever stop piracy. That's a given. Piracy has been around since the printing press was invented. In fact, the printing press was initially thought of as a piracy device. The very nature of P2P means that it can't be stopped. So you're wasting your time.

b) Piracy increase sales. http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/ipp ... 1456e.html

So I agree with the point that you have to adapt or you will die. Firing off pissy letters to torrent site owners will do absolutely nothing. Cut off one head, and the hydra simply regrows another. And it's catagorically proven that MOANING about piracy increases it. Simply look for the increase in traffic for the piratebay during their recent court trial.

Why not use the energy being wasted fighting piracy in coming up with something new? Reznor gave away his album and made 750k in 3 days. How? Selling 'undownloadable' things, making them limited edition, etc.

Groundbreaking.

What could magic publishers do like that?

OK, you can put in a specially printed card, or gaff or something...what else? As magicians, we're unique in the fact that you NEED 'stuff' to use the product. Music you just listen to. Films you just watch...

I think that's a MUCH more interesting and USEFUL discussion that bitching about 14 year olds who WOULD NEVER BUY THE PRODUCT ANYWAY pirating something.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 08:12 AM

Efendi Kwok wrote:
Joe Pecore wrote:Stephen King tried something similar in 2000 for his novel The Plant. He put the first chapter on his website for download by anyone and if most payed him $1 for it, he would release more chapters the same way.

The limit was set at 75% of payers versus downloaders. The rate of paying customers decreased over time, but the first parts were over the limit and six chapters were published (making up the first somewhat self-contained part of the novel).


And the bottom line ...


According to King's representatives, the venture was a failure. The project was ended, they claimed, because of a lack of sufficient payment, and a public that could not be trusted with the honor system. Some even claimed that this represented the commercial infeasibility of web publishing.

However, fans and readers claimed the idea was a success, and that it was made infeasible for other reasons, particularly by fact of its high pricing for an inconsistent product. King and his publisher, citing dissatisfaction with the percent of paying readers, raised the cost of each installment to a high of 7 dollars (for 13 installments, or $91 USD total) which only increased criticism and decreased demand.



That was 9 years ago. Do you not think the internet, ebook publishing, willingness to pay for online content, broadband adoption etc has altered just a tad over the last 9 years?

I don't see the King example as even vaguely relevant today.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 08:25 AM

Naphtalia wrote:
We don't need a totalitarian police-state. We just need to up the possibility of getting caught, prosecuted and fined in accordance with the laws that are already on the books. If the fines are sufficient, we could fund the group that investigates and prosecutes.


Thing is, how do you do that? As I'm sure you know, you can't PROVE anyone has downloaded ANYTHING really. This is why there hasn't been one case actually go to court. The majority who get RIAA letters have settled out of fear.

All you can do is log the IP address of a router where someone has downloaded a file PURPORTING to be something illegal. So, if you have unsecured wifi, that could be anyone at all. It is no proof. The filename is no proof.

So, the only solution is low-level packet sniffing. This means that every packet of information you send or receive over the internet is examined by 'the authorities' and decided to be illegal or legal.

Sound like a good idea, or a massive invasion of privacy? It really is the ONLY technical way of doing this.

Naphtalia wrote:Go after the folks who download illegally. We won't get everybody, but as it starts to be a risk, people will consider whether it's worthwhile or not.


Sadly, history proves you to be wrong on this one. Massive fines from the RIAA has done nothing at all to disuade movie, music and software piracy. Magicians would act differently to these other file sharers because...

Naphtalia wrote:Go after the sites that provide copyrighted materials to which they do not have rights.


So you'll be going after google then?

search for ANY popular magic title on google and add .torrent to the search query. Lawks a mercy! Hundreds of links to pirated content.

Naphtalia wrote:Personally, I love the idea of an itunes sort of site for magic - a new way for people to get the material they need and for the creators to get compensation.


That would be great. Few things. iTunes music store worked for a number of reasons. a) the ipod. It was the music and the device together that make iTunes Store work. b) Price. It was deemed a reasonable price at 99 cents per song. c) Unbundling tracks. Letting people buy individual tracks rather than a whole album massively increased digital sales.

I'm not saying you couldn't do a magic download store. But I doubt it would reach the impact of iTunes.

However, if magic publishers stepped vaguely into the online era, and more aped the adult movie model, it might be interesting.

What online streaming services are there for magic? Heck even L&L's site is pathetic compared to the big adult sites. Why?

Would offering punters the content they want, in a medium they want at a price they want be THAT hard to do?

No.

I think that magic publishers (no offence Mr K) are like the big 5 music labels. Old fashioned and arrogant. Think that they know best, and seem to be almost actively ignoring the internet as a distribution medium.

Look what happened to the music labels...

This is all obvious. Netflix = good. Blockbuster = screwed. iTunes = good. Tower Records = out of business.

All I think needs to happen is a site needs to launch that is a 'gatherer' of content. Just like iTunes. An aggregator. Go to L&L and the others and agree a fee, put up a site, sell the content. DRM free in a variety of file formats. And price it sensibly.

Why should you have to buy the whole Lennert Green video if all you want is one trick from it?

Why can you not just buy the one trick for a fraction of the price of the whole DVD?

Food for thought...
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/11/09 08:51 AM

Are we in a place where we can look for root causes yet?
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Postby JHostler » 06/11/09 09:00 AM

A large, growing, and frighteningly myopic contingent believes that all information and digital media should be supported by ad revenue and - by extension - that "retail" is no longer a viable or even valid business model. At very least, this notion feeds their rationale for criminal activity.

As I've spouted before (in the context of marketing The Rauschenberg Effect), the market for magic is inherently inefficient. The lack of transparency (secrets) undergirding much of the value of books and effects also serves to twist supply and demand curves. Put simply, customers rarely know exactly what they're buying... additional "rationale" for pirates.

Sadowitz and I, quite independently, have "adapted" by actively controlling the initial point of access to our respective media. Additionally, I've rolled the dice with voluntary remuneration/barter ("pay what it's worth")... with limited - albeit some - success.

Far from agreeing with Matt, I believe we must attack the problem on two fronts simultaneously: legal and economic. Sue the bastards, disrupt their "businesses" (to the greatest extent possible), and experiment with new and innovative business models. (Signed, limited hard copy editions are a fab idea. Make the product collectable.)
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 09:58 AM

John Hostler wrote:
As I've spouted before (in the context of marketing The Rauschenberg Effect), the market for magic is inherently inefficient. The lack of transparency (secrets) undergirding much of the value of books and effects also serves to twist supply and demand curves. Put simply, customers rarely know exactly what they're buying... additional "rationale" for pirates.


Interesting point. The music industry blamed piracy for a downturn in sales, but many people put it down to simply music releases being bad to average in terms of quality.

Maybe if 'we' released less [censored], people would be less tempted to pirate it?

Maybe if 'we' let people know the method, less people would be tempted to pirate it?

I wonder how much magic piracy is down to people simply being curious if an effect is worth buying or not.

We've all been burnt buying appalling tricks that sounded good in the ads. If the appalling tricks stopped, maybe the piracy would decline?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/11/09 10:22 AM

Does any of this feel familiar:

It's all about hype and getting the gossip first so you can fool them first at the club...

It usually turns out to be less than novel, far from practical and a puzzlement to those who wish to learn rather than be titillated by gushing dolts...

There's a dread of feeling "if only I bought x instead" combined with "but x is probably just as bad".

Do you have nightmares about folks who learned that there's something more efficient than taking candy from babies - namely taking money from children in exchange for empty promises and a pretension of them becoming a 'special person' because they now have 'special knowlege'? Can you not see the parellel to the cycle of abuse in this?

Does your wife/signficant other wonder at the collection of things you have but don't explain or use to entertain others?


Have you ever wondered...

Is knowing how something is done different from knowing whether you could integrate it into what you do?


That last one is likely critical to the survival of an open market in magic.
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Postby JHostler » 06/11/09 10:42 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Does any of this feel familiar:


Is knowing how something is done different from knowing whether you could integrate it into what you do?


That last one is likely critical to the survival of an open market in magic.



Exactly my point. It's like trying to sell IP to a company without fully disclosing the value added. No one in a rational market would buy... but magicians face a nifty Catch 22, where much of the value (or lack thereof) resides in the secret itself - the IP. Full disclosure is often impossible without giving away the store.
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Postby SteveP » 06/11/09 11:28 AM

mrgoat wrote:
What online streaming services are there for magic? Heck even L&L's site is pathetic compared to the big adult sites. Why?

Would offering punters the content they want, in a medium they want at a price they want be THAT hard to do?

No.

I think that magic publishers (no offence Mr K) are like the big 5 music labels. Old fashioned and arrogant. Think that they know best, and seem to be almost actively ignoring the internet as a distribution medium.

Look what happened to the music labels...

This is all obvious. Netflix = good. Blockbuster = screwed. iTunes = good. Tower Records = out of business.

All I think needs to happen is a site needs to launch that is a 'gatherer' of content. Just like iTunes. An aggregator. Go to L&L and the others and agree a fee, put up a site, sell the content. DRM free in a variety of file formats. And price it sensibly.

Why should you have to buy the whole Lennert Green video if all you want is one trick from it?

Why can you not just buy the one trick for a fraction of the price of the whole DVD?

Food for thought...


I'm going to jump in to this - a little late, but since I have some experience in this I want to give you another perspective.

Being the website developer for L&L, I will address the above comments in a moment, but first I want to share an experience I had in getting our content removed and ultimately ruining a forum where magic trading had been going on for 2 years.

Through Google I stumbled across a site that had a lot of magic videos being traded. This is a different situation than the P2P we typically see. This was a forum, like this one where people uploaded files to download services like RapidShare and then posted the download link. The site wasn't devoted exclusively to magic, they have movies, apps, etc.

Well it turns out that services like MegaUpload, RapidShare, etc will remove your files if requested.

I joined this forum with multiple, disposable user names because I knew each one would be banned when I started posting. I targeted the L&L files, had them removed from the download site and when they started complaining on the forum that it had been removed, I went on and bragged about it. This went on for a week and finally the admins for this forum said no more magic section. They got sick of banning me and moderating the posts.

That was a couple of months ago and that site is now dead for trading magic. A small victory, but it had been running for 2 years without a challenge.

P2P is another monster all together and it's just not possible to have it shut down or removed.

Now to address Mr. Goat's comments. Why is L&L's site pathetic compared to adult sites? The fact that you're even asking that makes me wonder how informed you are with the economics of the magic retail business compared to the online porn industry.

I'm flying solo with L&L's site. There isn't a team of developers and graphic designers as there are with most adult sites. I could put together a team, substantially raise my rates, and we could put together a kick-ass web site which will ultimately cost you the consumer more money because that extra cost will need to be absorbed somewhere.

The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar business with millions of customers. The magic industry is a multi-million dollar industry with less than 100,000 customers. I don't care how you offer up products, the market is over-saturated. You have the early adopters who buy products once they are released. They support the dealers & creators. Then you have the next level of customer who buys at 50% off on ebay and magic forums.

We are currently doing some downloadable products through a third-party service. It's just ok. It may be increased in the future through another provider. We haven't talked about it in a while. But right now, I don't see how the market is going to support the added expense.

For L&L to do it on it's own would be cost prohibitive. I've looked into solutions and it's just not practical. The increased cost for the servers and bandwidth is enough to say no. Add in labor to rip all those files, upload everything, create the pages, etc. Remember, we're in a very small industry here and right now EVERYONE is hurting.

But this has worked successfully and continues to with sites like Ellusionist. I worked with Ellusionist for six months, at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. It's a completely different operation than most other magic publishers. But it's not perfect because you have to keep bringing in new customers and THAT pisses off many in the magic business. They advertise nationally, they sponsored a TV show and that pissed off many people. But that is the business model that is required to make all of this profitable. iTunes & NetFlix work because there are millions of customers.

Personally, I would love to hear some solutions. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I've been dealing with this for several years and am open to hearing ideas. If solutions can be found that included a group of publishers and that didn't interfere with distributor arrangements, great!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/11/09 12:09 PM

It's a mistake to equate the piracy of music with that of magic. And it's a mistake to equate the piracy of magic tricks with that of magic DVDs and magic books. No one needs to "peek" at a book before buying it in order to find out whether the "secret" is worth the money.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/11/09 01:52 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:... No one needs to "peek" at a book before buying it in order to find out whether the "secret" is worth the money.


IMHO it's exactly that utility of "the secret" which is getting us in trouble.

If one is not buying a manuscript (text) or prop but a 'secret' - then the market and author are losing out on the usual moral claim of copyright protection - as the customer is NOT buying the fixed expression but the "secret" supposedly contained therein.

Second, if that 'secret' is simply not useful to the purchasor... it is still theirs to do as they see fit - even to make graffiti of the data and a sculpture of the props.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 02:12 PM

Steve Pellegrino wrote:
mrgoat wrote:Now to address Mr. Goat's comments. Why is L&L's site pathetic compared to adult sites?


Adult sites offer 100s or 1000s of gigabytes of exactly the content the surfer wants. At a price he is prepared to pay. So he pays 5 bucks a minute or 30 bucks a month to access it.

They serve the content in a very easy to download manner. They offer a variety of file formats. They stream in HD H264.

I cited L&L because really they are probably *the* leader in offline publishing, yet seem to not to really embrace online.

I mean *no* disrespect to you, and had I known you were reading, I would have not used the word pathetic. Behind the times would be more appropriate.


Steve Pellegrino wrote:I'm flying solo with L&L's site. There isn't a team of developers and graphic designers as there are with most adult sites.


Not at all true. Most sites are run by one man bands. They shoot the content, edit the content make the site, organise the hosting, the CC processing (which is tricky in adult as you can imagine), run the updates, run the marketing etc etc.

In fact, three of the most successful sites in the UK are run exactly like that.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar business with millions of customers. The magic industry is a multi-million dollar industry with less than 100,000 customers. I don't care how you offer up products, the market is over-saturated.


And you don't think porn is over-saturated? You don't think porn is MASSIVELY troubled by stolen content (much more so than magic)? Of course it is.

So what to do?

Start caring about how you serve up that content. Start *really* caring about your customer. About how to use the data you already have on him to better serve his needs.

To enter into a Customer Lifecycle Management campaign from the first time they hit your site. Work out how to give them what they want, all the time.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:We are currently doing some downloadable products through a third-party service. It's just ok. It may be increased in the future through another provider. We haven't talked about it in a while. But right now, I don't see how the market is going to support the added expense.


I've seen it. It looks like an adult site from 10 years ago. If you would like me to put you in touch with some streaming video providers (admitedly adult ones) that could help, let me know. It's really much cheaper than you think.

There is hardly any extra cost at all. You already have the content (which is the biggest cost)! Bandwidth costs cents, preparing the video for the web is really cheap to do now too. Getting a webmaster to post regular updates of your existing library would not be expensive at all as it would be such a junior webmonkey position.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:For L&L to do it on it's own would be cost prohibitive. I've looked into solutions and it's just not practical. The increased cost for the servers and bandwidth is enough to say no. Add in labor to rip all those files, upload everything, create the pages, etc. Remember, we're in a very small industry here and right now EVERYONE is hurting.


Sorry, I find this really really hard to believe. The dedicated server will cost you around 250 bucks a month with 10 megabits of bandwidth. That would be enough I imagine. The labor is peanuts if you look at outsourcing places. I get videos sorted for web in South America. It's very very cheap. Using a decent CMS, updates could be done by a junior office admin.

Steve Pellegrino wrote: iTunes & NetFlix work because there are millions of customers.


Well maybe, or maybe because music and movies are moving to digital distribution.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:Personally, I would love to hear some solutions. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I've been dealing with this for several years and am open to hearing ideas. If solutions can be found that included a group of publishers and that didn't interfere with distributor arrangements, great!


I think what it needs is a kick up the butt. Like Steve Jobs did with the music industry. He went round and courted them all individually, for MONTHS until they all said yes.

If a company was set up to become the aggregator for online digital content, they could court all the magic publishers in the same way Jobs worked the record industry.

I don't believe ellusionist or L&L or however will separately solve this. But, that doesn't mean you couldn't offer a decent streaming/download service to an audience that has proven they like buying music and movies online.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 02:15 PM

John Hostler wrote:I believe we must attack the problem on two fronts simultaneously: legal and economic. Sue the bastards, disrupt their "businesses" (to the greatest extent possible), and experiment with new and innovative business models.


How many cases have the RIAA or MPAA successfully brought to court?

I think legal action is a waste of time.
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Postby John Carney » 06/11/09 02:53 PM

All criminals rationalize why it is OK for them to do what they do. They know it is not right, but they look for excuses to alleviate their guilt.

Its basically about taking what they want, and doing whatever they feel like doing....and to hell with anyone else's needs, feelings, or well-being.

Pure selfishness.........I want......I take.
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Postby SteveP » 06/11/09 03:25 PM

I don't want to hijack this thread with L&L stuff so I'll make a quick reply to Mr Goat and leave it at that.

I can appreciate some of what you're saying, but I also don't think you understand the economics in play here. I'm a full-time performer and the work I do for L&L only takes me a few hours every month. Anything and I mean anything beyond that is going to increase their costs substantially.

Now they could go to a third-party to do everything, but I guarantee it's going to at least quadruple their budget for web development and that's not including the servers. I can tell you that Ellusionist is run across several servers. L&L would have more content than Ellusionist, so it would not be practical or advisable to run all of this from a single server.

You say the site is behind the times. I'm not so sure that the extra bells & whistles would add more revenue because I don't know if the demand is there right now. Maybe it is. Maybe it is for some companies like Ellusionist who have a younger demographic and it isn't for L&L. I think the model would work better for L&L if they kept their products exclusive and didn't distribute everything. But that's not the case and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
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Postby Scott M. » 06/11/09 03:51 PM

mrgoat wrote:
John Hostler wrote:
How many cases have the RIAA or MPAA successfully brought to court?

I think legal action is a waste of time.


To bring people here up to speed, the RIAA has ceased their multi-year practice of prosecuting filesharers:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10126914-93.html

They are now trying to work with the ISPs.

France has pursued probably the most vigorous campaign against piracy, passing a "three strikes" law in which filesharers after three violations lose their internet privileges. However, this law was just recently struck down as unconstitutional by France's constitution court:

http://news.digitaltrends.com/news-arti ... trikes-law

I'm of the belief that piracy is here to stay and content creators must adapt to a changed landscape (and, Bob Farmer, I am a content creator and make 100% of my income from the production of both film and print media). Direct relationships between creator and fans, added value beyond the physical media object, collectable items (one filmmaker I know is talking about releasing sculptural USB drives with his work on it), and, in general, simply "being human," removing the anonymity of the retail sale, and making supporting you something your fans want to do are all things niche-content creators must do in order to sustain themselves in the new landscape. Some of the younger generation, like Dan and Dave and Wayne Houchin are already developing these skills very nicely.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/11/09 04:14 PM

Sorry to re-read old arguments as they amount to distraction and self justification for being ineffective.

Can we hear more about "why they think it's okay" and perhaps a little about what you are up for exploring to change things?

BTW - how does lifecycle management for customers fit in with the cycle of abuse associated with selling things called "secrets", "inner secrets" and "ultimate secrets" from "underground"?

IE why should anyone care to keep a secret when they find out that the secret they bought was just the "price of their naivete" that day and why should they not wish to spare their peers that sense of being diminished and the guilt for doing that to themselves?
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Postby the Larry » 06/11/09 07:24 PM

mrgoat wrote:I'm not saying you couldn't do a magic download store. But I doubt it would reach the impact of iTunes.

However, if magic publishers stepped vaguely into the online era, and more aped the adult movie model, it might be interesting.

What online streaming services are there for magic? Heck even L&L's site is pathetic compared to the big adult sites. Why?

Would offering punters the content they want, in a medium they want at a price they want be THAT hard to do?

No.

I think that magic publishers (no offence Mr K) are like the big 5 music labels. Old fashioned and arrogant. Think that they know best, and seem to be almost actively ignoring the internet as a distribution medium.

Look what happened to the music labels...

This is all obvious. Netflix = good. Blockbuster = screwed. iTunes = good. Tower Records = out of business.

All I think needs to happen is a site needs to launch that is a 'gatherer' of content. Just like iTunes. An aggregator. Go to L&L and the others and agree a fee, put up a site, sell the content. DRM free in a variety of file formats. And price it sensibly.

Why should you have to buy the whole Lennert Green video if all you want is one trick from it?

Why can you not just buy the one trick for a fraction of the price of the whole DVD?

Food for thought...


I know my way around the digital domain but I am no expert. So I can't offer that much. But I have seen one publisher do sort of what you are referring to: Lybrary.com

If you go to their magic->cards->moves category then you will see that they have unbundled the entire Ackerman Advanced Card Technique series (total of 8 DVDs). You can purchase each move separately. I bought two moves so far and this really works great. I can download a video file and play it on my computer, or I can view a streaming version online.

This could of course still be made better and slicker, but it is great that one can choose only those moves that one likes. Rather than putting down $30 for a DVD you can buy for two three bucks those moves you want to study.

Not sure if you would call that a magic iTunes, probably not but the unbundling is a nice step forward to make good use of digital technology.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 06/11/09 07:24 PM

Okay - as the original poster I asked "Please don't derail this thread by debating his right to "share" his purchases." but it's happened anyway...

Mr Goat: "I think that's a MUCH more interesting and USEFUL discussion that bitching about 14 year olds who WOULD NEVER BUY THE PRODUCT ANYWAY pirating something."

So would you offer the same advice to the movie studios? Stop spending millions of dollars telling people NOT to pirate movies because those people would never buy them anyway??

Mr Goat thinks nothing can be done about illegal uploads. Let me give you examples with YouTube and FaceBook. Three times I have had my accounts on each deleted while I've had to come back to FB and YT and PROVE that I'm the copyright owner of what I have posted.

Yes, I've been totally cheesed off at the fact there is SO MUCH content out there already that is obviously a breach of copyright (TV shows, movie clips, music etc) but it goes to show YT & FB think it's important enough that they've STARTED to do something to try to protect copyright.


John offers a great suggestion: "Sue the bastards, disrupt their "businesses" (to the greatest extent possible), and experiment with new and innovative business models. (Signed, limited hard copy editions are a fab idea. Make the product collectable.)"

I agree - hit them where it hurts. James Clark also sends the FBI to the homes of the site administrators. This usually shuts them down immediately and puts the fear of God into them. Most people who do this sort of thing live in a false reality in front of their computer screen interacting with thousands of "friends" they'll never meet. Put them into the real world and it's like puling the Wizard of Oz out from behind his screen.



Mr Goat added "I wonder how much magic piracy is down to people simply being curious if an effect is worth buying or not. We've all been burnt buying appalling tricks that sounded good in the ads. If the appalling tricks stopped, maybe the piracy would decline?"

I've heard this said so many times before. It's a JUSTIFICATION not a reason. Why should I suffer because OTHER PEOPLE bring out rubbish products? It's bad enough they charge the same price for their DVDs as mine. But isn't this where "market forces" come into play? The products get bad reviews so mo-one buys them? No, instead they circulate forever on file sharing sites, along with all the god DVDs too. Why buy when you can get it for free?


Mr Goat asks: "How many cases have the RIAA or MPAA successfully brought to court?"

This is the beauty - they don't go to court, they get settled BEFORE going to court because the pirates don't have the funds to mount a legal defense. On several occasions James Clark has threatened to sue file sharers and they have folded immediately.


John Carney - Thanks for words of CRYSTAL CLEAR TRUTH!


As for the argument of "Why buy a whole DVD when I only want one trick" I recently put a few effects from our DVDs as stand-alone downloadable files on our online store http://magicunlimited.com/store/
It costs $10 to download the Razorblade routine. People are buying it and saying it's waaay underpriced, and they want more individual tricks from the DVDs at the same price.

What I find odd is that they could pay $25 for the whole DVD and get over 3 hours of content versus $10 for 16 minutes.

However, by selling a downloadable file, it makes it much easier for people to share the file.

If I had the expertise or budget, I'd love to set up a service like Joshua Jay has where you pay to view a file which stays on his server forever. I'm sure even that is hackable, but it seems like a much more secure option.


Bottom line is though, we sell many more DVDs when we do lecture tours than any other time. It's the marketing and promotion of a DVD that is another additional cost that somehow has to be paid for, and the file sharers rob us there too.



Getting back to the original point of my first post - the Demonoid staff requested I stop "attacking" their member by making comments in the thread about MY DVD and said if I wanted it removed, I need to email their administration. I did, and received this reply. (Legal minded readers might be able to interpret this for me):

"Hello,
We are a torrent indexing site. We host torrent files only, which are small, non copyrightable files which may be used to get a list of ip addresses only. Nothing else is ever hosted or transmitted by the server and there is no copyright infringement taking place.

Even though we are not required to do so since we are not based in america or the american continent and there is no copyright infringement taking place, and we are not obligated in any way to remove content on your request, we honor properly written DMCA removal requests in a timely manner. But need the DMCA takedown and the links to be removed in the proper format and nothing can be removed until you supply one.

Please send a properly formatted DMCA takedown request to our assigned agent (abuse@demonoid.com), with the link to the torrent page in the format specified on our contact page (http://www.demonoid.com/contact_us.php)
Also, please don't forget to read our terms of service and disclaimer. The links are available in our contact page.

Best regards,

V. Umlauf
Legal Affairs"
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 07:39 PM

Steve Pellegrino wrote:I don't want to hijack this thread with L&L stuff so I'll make a quick reply to Mr Goat and leave it at that.


I think your contribution here is very worthwhile. And as L&L are arguably the largest video content producer out there, your POV is not only interesting but essential to this thread, IMHO.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:I can appreciate some of what you're saying, but I also don't think you understand the economics in play here. I'm a full-time performer and the work I do for L&L only takes me a few hours every month. Anything and I mean anything beyond that is going to increase their costs substantially.


Of course it will increase costs. I'm not arguing that. But I believe you are wrong thinking it is expensive. Servers are cheap. Bandwidth is cheap. Encoding is cheap. A great CMS is cheap.

I think the market has shown it is willing to pay for digital downloads. Just needs a publisher to be brave, or someone to persuade all the publishers to be brave.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:Now they could go to a third-party to do everything, but I guarantee it's going to at least quadruple their budget for web development and that's not including the servers. I can tell you that Ellusionist is run across several servers. L&L would have more content than Ellusionist, so it would not be practical or advisable to run all of this from a single server.


As I said, servers and bandwidth are peanuts these days.

I see the costs of MASSIVE bandwidth adult sites - serious video bandwidth. I am estimating a thousand, or ten thousand times Ellusionist's bandwidth. It's REALLY cheap. And the more you buy the cheaper it is.

Maybe mainstream costs for this are much more than adult? But I know that the stuff you think is expensive is cheap. Really.

But, as I said, maybe our market needs one iTunes 'aggregator' of all publisher's content.

Steve Pellegrino wrote:You say the site is behind the times. I'm not so sure that the extra bells & whistles would add more revenue because I don't know if the demand is there right now. Maybe it is. Maybe it is for some companies like Ellusionist who have a younger demographic and it isn't for L&L. I think the model would work better for L&L if they kept their products exclusive and didn't distribute everything. But that's not the case and I don't see that changing anytime soon.


I don't mean to be rude about your web design when I said it was behind the times. I meant that by not offering content in a way consumers are proving they want it, it is behind the times. Which is sad for a company with the rep and back catalogue L&L has.

It's really like Hustler and Playboy. Both are useless online. I worked for Playboy, I know! One small site I work with now makes 20 times the revenue PB made. Because PB, the biggest brand in the industry, didn't 'get' online.

I can see a small, almost one man band coming in and offering an iTunes like solution and being a saviour.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 07:51 PM

Tim Ellis wrote:Okay - as the original poster I asked "Please don't derail this thread by debating his right to "share" his purchases." but it's happened anyway...

Mr Goat: "I think that's a MUCH more interesting and USEFUL discussion that bitching about 14 year olds who WOULD NEVER BUY THE PRODUCT ANYWAY pirating something."

So would you offer the same advice to the movie studios? Stop spending millions of dollars telling people NOT to pirate movies because those people would never buy them anyway??


Yes. Obviously it's a waste of money as it doesn't work. Do you think the cash that the MPAA and RIAA has spent has been worthwhile? How many court cases have they won? Have a guess.

Tim Ellis wrote:Mr Goat thinks nothing can be done about illegal uploads. Let me give you examples with YouTube and FaceBook. Three times I have had my accounts on each deleted while I've had to come back to FB and YT and PROVE that I'm the copyright owner of what I have posted.


I said nothing can be done about piracy. If you are to be taken seriously, please do not put words into my mouth.

Nothing can be done about piracy. Lots can be done about YouTube and Facebook. They are not torrent sites. They are publicly traded companies. I am sure you can see why they react to takedown notices and the piratebay laugh at them.

Show me how you have gotten the pirate bay to remove links to content and I will buy you dinner.

Tim Ellis wrote:Mr Goat added "I wonder how much magic piracy is down to people simply being curious if an effect is worth buying or not. We've all been burnt buying appalling tricks that sounded good in the ads. If the appalling tricks stopped, maybe the piracy would decline?"

I've heard this said so many times before. It's a JUSTIFICATION not a reason.


It was a question actually.

Tim Ellis wrote:Mr Goat asks: "How many cases have the RIAA or MPAA successfully brought to court?"

This is the beauty - they don't go to court, they get settled BEFORE going to court because the pirates don't have the funds to mount a legal defense. On several occasions James Clark has threatened to sue file sharers and they have folded immediately.


Awesome, so you agree they haven't won a case. No. They scare and bully innocent people into paying them cash. All they have is an IP of a device that alledgedly downloaded a file. That isn't proof, is it? No. This is why the MPAA and RIAA have been bullying and harassing little old ladies and kids.

It's a waste of time, money and effort. And it is proven to INCREASE piracy.

Tim Ellis wrote:
Getting back to the original point of my first post - the Demonoid staff requested I stop "attacking" their member by making comments in the thread about MY DVD and said if I wanted it removed, I need to email their administration. I did, and received this reply. (Legal minded readers might be able to interpret this for me):

"Hello,
We are a torrent indexing site. We host torrent files only, which are small, non copyrightable files which may be used to get a list of ip addresses only. Nothing else is ever hosted or transmitted by the server and there is no copyright infringement taking place.

Even though we are not required to do so since we are not based in america or the american continent and there is no copyright infringement taking place, and we are not obligated in any way to remove content on your request, we honor properly written DMCA removal requests in a timely manner. But need the DMCA takedown and the links to be removed in the proper format and nothing can be removed until you supply one.

Please send a properly formatted DMCA takedown request to our assigned agent (abuse@demonoid.com), with the link to the torrent page in the format specified on our contact page (http://www.demonoid.com/contact_us.php)
Also, please don't forget to read our terms of service and disclaimer. The links are available in our contact page.

Best regards,

V. Umlauf
Legal Affairs"


It means, that they are not admitting they are doing anything illegal, but if you send them a DCMA take down to the email address they gave you, they might remove the links to the content out of good will.

P2P sites, like Demonoid, do not host the content. They simply link to it. The content is distributed via thousands of people's PCs all around the world. Demonoid host a file that will allow you to get the content from these PCs. Not from them.

This is the simple reason why P2P will never be stopped. It can't be.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 07:52 PM

the Larry wrote:I know my way around the digital domain but I am no expert. So I can't offer that much. But I have seen one publisher do sort of what you are referring to: Lybrary.com

If you go to their magic->cards->moves category then you will see that they have unbundled the entire Ackerman Advanced Card Technique series (total of 8 DVDs). You can purchase each move separately. I bought two moves so far and this really works great. I can download a video file and play it on my computer, or I can view a streaming version online.

This could of course still be made better and slicker, but it is great that one can choose only those moves that one likes. Rather than putting down $30 for a DVD you can buy for two three bucks those moves you want to study.

Not sure if you would call that a magic iTunes, probably not but the unbundling is a nice step forward to make good use of digital technology.


Although Mr Lybrary does get on my tits here with his constant plugging :) , I must admit he has it spot on in this case. Exactly right. And he is now in the position to do this across the board. He could get every publisher to work with him.

Interesting....
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Postby mrgoat » 06/11/09 07:58 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:S
BTW - how does lifecycle management for customers fit in with the cycle of abuse associated with selling things called "secrets", "inner secrets" and "ultimate secrets" from "underground"?

IE why should anyone care to keep a secret when they find out that the secret they bought was just the "price of their naivete" that day and why should they not wish to spare their peers that sense of being diminished and the guilt for doing that to themselves?


The lifecycle management would be engaging someone at the start of their interest. Earning permission to talk (market) to them via newsletters, free video clips, etc. Mining data on what they look at, what they do online and then tailor offers to them based on this data. Rinse and repeat.

Really, it gets back to stop selling [censored].

The internet has made us all connected. Back in the day, I imagine if something new came out, someone bought it and told everyone at their club it was a POS. Now, they tell the world.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/11/09 09:12 PM

I got the same [censored] reply from Demonoid. I provided them with all the information they required, but they then stopped responding to my e-mails.

I'm considering not publishing any more books--then they can just kiss my ass.
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Postby Ted M » 06/11/09 10:16 PM

So at this point would anyone like to consider the concept of changing the point in the business process when payment is made, by withholding publication until a ransom of $X,000 is reached?

At that point the producers have been paid in full, and nobody has to worry about the unsolvable problem of illicit copying. See above post re: Fund and Release / Threshold Pledge / Street Performer Protocol.

Or just click here:

http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubb ... Post195326
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Postby Tim Ellis » 06/11/09 10:41 PM

Mr Goat said "Show me how you have gotten the pirate bay to remove links to content and I will buy you dinner."

I don't know about Piratebay, but I did notice on SurfTheChannel, a similar site, that all the links to uploads of the final double episode of PRISON BREAK had been deleted.

Even though all the other episodes were on line, the network has somehow stopped the final two hours (which was aired in the UK and Singapore but released in the USA as a DVD) from being uploaded.

Everything is possible.

If people can find ways to take our DVDs and upload them and share them without paying, then we can find ways to stop them.

That's how our society is supposed to work. If people break the law we don't just give up, we change laws, increase penalties, put on more police etc.. to stop them breaking the law.

Or am I too naive and need to "adapt" to a world where laws are now irrelevant and the creators have no rights over their creations anymore.

If that's the case then, like Richard, I'll stop creating too.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 06/11/09 10:46 PM

Ted: "So at this point would anyone like to consider the concept of changing the point in the business process when payment is made, by withholding publication until a ransom of $X,000 is reached?"

It's a weird business model.

You have to predict in advance how many items you'll sell.

You might assume 100, get paid, then release it and 10,000 sell.

Contrary, you might anticipate 10,000, collect the funds, never reach 10,000 and then what? Refund everyone?

And isn't one of the big criticisms in magic today the whole "I have a great new trick, buy it now in pre-release quickly!!!" Then it comes out and it's a dud and everyone gets annoyed?

When that happens, I can understand why people think "I'll just pirate a copy free then if it's any good I'll buy it."

I can UNDERSTAND the thinking, but I don't AGREE with it because it would mean breaking the law.

Just as me thinking what I'd like to DO to the pirates is fine, but if I was to actually go out and DO IT, I'd be breaking the law (and end up in jail.. if caught).
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Postby Tim Ellis » 06/11/09 10:56 PM

This page has helpful information with several waysn to have unauthorised versions of your copyright material removed from the internet.

http://www.dba-oracle.com/t_official_dm ... equest.htm
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Postby Randy Naviaux » 06/11/09 11:25 PM

I must admit when I first got online over a decade ago I downloaded a couple songs via Napster. I immediately realized that what I was doing was stealing and deleted the program from my computer. I have worked in the computer industry off and on ever since. It blows my mind how acceptable people find it to dl music and movies illegally.

Personally I think the only solution will be bringing each and every individuals level of honesty up to a point where they will on their own recognize that what they are doing is wrong and stop it.

"I'm considering not publishing any more books--then they can just kiss my ass. "

Hmmmm...I might be willing to.........in exchange for you getting the Jennings books done:)
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 06/12/09 01:08 AM

While I don't know much about SurfTheChannel a quick browsing of the site, especially the About Us section and the FAQ seems that it is a very different site than piratebay or demonoid. In fact, STC mentions that they have recently worked out agreements with some of the major studios and networks and they make a point to note that they are pro-DMCA and even have a beta program where rights holders can get links deleted much easier than before. So, it seems like a very different site.

You mention that you, like Richard, will stop creating if things continue as they are but that seems like such a silly comparison to me. Richard, as far as I know, isn't planning on publishing material he created himself (at least not the majority of it) but rather other people's work. So it isn't that he would stop creating but that he would stop publishing. Why someone would stop creating just because they couldn't sell that material is beyond me..but then again I tend to be creative only in the fields that I have a deep love for. In magic I create for the sole purpose of sharing my creations, whether it be for an audience of laymen or just with other magicians. But then again magic is different from the other performing arts. Perhaps there are other musicians, painters, comedians, actors, etc. out there who only create new material and techniques so that they can sell them to others in their field.

One thing I find funny about some of the remarks people always say when this discussion comes up (and again I should point out that although I disagree with many of the opinions stated in this thread-from both sides-I am against the illegal redistribution of works that are put out for sale and not for free). Anyway the common phrase is, "It's stealing plain and simple. It's illegal and they should be punished for it." I certainly won't argue with that but I know of at least a handful of people who say that then ten minutes later kick back and relax with a blunt. I'm not trying to say anyone in this discussion does (nor am I trying to say that the two laws can even be compared) but I just find it funny overall.

Also what happens when a high enough percentage of the population disagrees with a law. There are some laws now that are being discussed for exactly that reason. Considering the trend, in how many years will an overwhelming percentage of the population engage in illegal file-sharing? In my experience, both in the past as a college student and now as a high school teacher, the vast majority (80% or more?) of those students openly engage in that stuff.

It is a bit unfair that people have to adapt because of illegal actions but if P2P sharing can be stopped without a major infringment on some very basic rights I don't have a clue how to do it. Those that hold-out for a solution are unfortunately going to suffer the most.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 06/12/09 03:54 AM

"If people can find ways to take our DVDs and upload them and share them without paying, then we can find ways to stop them.

That's how our society is supposed to work. If people break the law we don't just give up, we change laws, increase penalties, put on more police etc.. to stop them breaking the law."

Tim - the system doesn't necessarily work in reverse ... the ease of mass distribution does not equal ease of mass prosecution.

Changing laws, increasing penalties etc. is all good & well - but if these measures aren't successful - then a different approach is needed.

The problem is not going away unfortunately - hence the need for an alternative solution moving forward that takes into account the changing digital landscape. The challenge is to find that solution ... so let's get creative ;-)
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Postby mrgoat » 06/12/09 04:04 AM

Tim Ellis wrote:Mr Goat said "Show me how you have gotten the pirate bay to remove links to content and I will buy you dinner."

I don't know about Piratebay, but I did notice on SurfTheChannel, a similar site, that all the links to uploads of the final double episode of PRISON BREAK had been deleted.
If that's the case then, like Richard, I'll stop creating too.


And here is the problem. SurfTheChannel is in no way similar to piratebay or other P2P sites. If you want me to explain so you don't waste your time in the future, let me know.

Imagine what you could have creatively done with the time you wasted getting them to take it down.

But if you want to throw your toys out of the pram because YOU PERCEIVE a loss of income from a few 14 year olds trading files, sobeit.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/12/09 04:06 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:I got the same [censored] reply from Demonoid. I provided them with all the information they required, but they then stopped responding to my e-mails.

I'm considering not publishing any more books--then they can just kiss my ass.


Seriously, how much revenue do you estimate you are losing from people trading scans of your brilliantly published books?

I doubt you are losing much, if any at all.

Some people want to own your beautiful books. Some kids want to steal whatever they can, and then trade it online. I don't believe the file traders were EVER your market. I don't believe a traded copy of Jennings equates to a lost sale for you.

But I understand your frustration seeing your work being traded like that.

I imagine more kids are trading ellusionist/penguin tat than quality work like you put out.
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