3.2. A Book Publisher Speaks

Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc., posted an essay titled "Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution" on December 11, 2002.[] Here are some excerpts:

[] http://www.openp2p.com/pub/a/p2p/2002/12/11/piracy.html

The continuing controversy over online file sharing sparks me to offer a few thoughts as an author and publisher. To be sure, I write and publish neither movies nor music, but books. But I think that some of the lessons of my experience still apply.

Lesson 1: Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.

Lesson 2: Piracy is progressive taxation.

Lesson 3: Customers want to do the right thing, if they can.

Lesson 4: Shoplifting is a bigger threat than piracy.

Lesson 5: File sharing networks don't threaten book, music, or film publishing. They threaten existing publishers.

Lesson 6: "Free" is eventually replaced by a higher-quality paid service.

Lesson 7: There's more than one way to do it.

Interestingly, some of our most successful print/online hybrids have come about where we present the same material in different ways for the print and online contexts. For example, much of the content of our bestselling book Programming Perl (more than 600,000 copies in print) is available online as part of the standard Perl documentation. But the entire package—not to mention the convenience of a paper copy, and the aesthetic pleasure of the strongly branded ...

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