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Learning To Profit From Piracy

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the pointing-out-a-market-failure dept.

Books 275

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Wired has an interview with Matt Mason, author of The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism, which discusses how businesses could make money off of piracy, rather than attacking people in a futile attempt to suppress it. And some of his ideas are gaining traction; work is underway on a TV show called Pirate TV, which he describes as 'two parts Anthony Bourdain, one part Mythbusters.' (Heroes executive producer Jesse Alexander is on board.) Also, Mason is pretty good about practicing what he preaches in that you can pirate his book on his own website."

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Pirates Attacking People?? (4, Funny)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459537)

Arrr, we know you're 'ere, poppet!!

Article summary (4, Funny)

frieko (855745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460595)

1. Steal doubloons
2. ???
3. Profit!

It's not piracy if it's OK (5, Insightful)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459547)

You are not pirating his book if he picks a license that allows you to copy. Otherwise he is being the pirate, by making available a copyright work.

Re:It's not piracy if it's OK (4, Informative)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459847)

If it's his own property, placing it online with the intent that you download it probably creates a license. Just because it's not in writing doesn't mean it's not enforceable. And regardless of that, putting it online with the intent that you download it precludes any claim that your downloading it is piracy.

He's definitely practicing one thing that he preaches, though: Finding a way to profit from piracy. In his case, he's profiting by capitalizing on the media attention that talking about copyright piracy gets. If he makes even one dollar, he's profited more from piracy than I have, so I'll give him that.

Re:It's not piracy if it's OK (1, Redundant)

wdsci (1204512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460455)

If it's his own property, placing it online with the intent that you download it probably creates a license. Just because it's not in writing doesn't mean it's not enforceable. And regardless of that, putting it online with the intent that you download it precludes any claim that your downloading it is piracy.

Actually no, because that's exactly what happens in real piracy - someone puts a music track/movie/book/etc. online with the intent that other people download it. Those downloaders are the pirates, the same ones the *IAA get so worked up about. The difference here is that the person putting the book online is (presumably) the same one who owns the copyright, and it's perfectly within his rights to distribute it - that's why it's not piracy. (Unless, of course, he has signed over those rights to a publishing company or something)

Re:It's not piracy if it's OK (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460951)

Second and subsequent distributions are infringements?

John owns the copyright to song.mp3. He lets people download the song from his website.

Bev decides to put song.mp3 on her site, and because John lets people download it, she does also. Bev infringes copyright?
Harold gets song.mp3 from Bev's site, infringing the copyright, and thinks, oh well John has it on his site, I'll put it on mine too. Infringing again? Repeat Bev or Harold.

Re:It's not piracy if it's OK (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459941)

In fact, depending on what the licence says about redistribution, he may have made it impossible to pirate the book. Most Free licences have enough terms and conditions that it is still formally possible to "pirate" works under them(yes, even BSD); but it is generally harder to pirate something that gives you more rights.

Re:Anti-Piracy license!! (4, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460473)

1994 to the rescue!!

"If you don't send this book to two of your friends and eleven of your enemies, you will be eaten by the Open Source Version of a Grue".

Re:Anti-Piracy license!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460809)

I don't have 2 friends you insensitive clod! All my friends fled!

Re:Anti-Piracy license!! (4, Funny)

rugatero (1292060) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460875)

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a GNU?

it could still be piracy (5, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460161)

if you make him walk the plank after you read it.

Re:it could still be piracy (5, Funny)

Jaggo (1045148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460615)

if you make him walk the plank after you read it.

Omfg I clicked overrated rather than funny.. I'm so sorry.. (Posting to undo moderation .. ha!)

Re:It's not piracy if it's OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460715)

Making available doesn't constitute infringement.

There's no good word for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460867)

> You are not pirating his book if he picks a license that allows you to copy. Otherwise he is being the pirate, by making available a copyright work.

Actually, it's not copyright infringement if he gives permission. It's still piracy in the loose sense: getting something for free that most people pay for. At least, that's why I used that term rather than call it "infringement" when it isn't.

I put that in there to rebut the idea that you "can't make any money off of free" because it's clear that you can. You just have to be willing to change your business model to give away the free stuff and charge for the real goods. That's not always easy, so I think it's good for people to see that it can be done.

After all, there are lots of folks who might give this a shot but need some inspiration. Copyright will only get worse as long as the industry fails to adapt to it. Companies are a lot like rabid animals when they're backed into a corner and people should be thinking about a way out of this mess, because things will get really ugly when copyright collapses under its own weight otherwise.

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property [eff.org]

Slashvertizement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25459561)

If you download on his website it is a bit of a stretch call it piracy.

Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25459573)

1. Sell pirated booty on eBay.
2. Profit.
3. Write book restating the obvious.
4. Recommend it be pirated.
5. Fail.

Nitpick (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459633)

Also, Mason is pretty good about practicing what he preaches in that you can pirate his book on his own website

I dislike the use of the vague and slanted term "pirate" in place of the more exact "copyright infringement".

But the use in the summary is even worse. If he's freely offering the content, then those who download it are not pirating (even by the inaccurate, though generally-used, definition). Then are downloading it with permission.

(It's like someone giving out free food samples at a grocery store, and then saying "go ahead, steal another.")

Re:Nitpick (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25459869)

If you read the article, he's using the word "piracy" in place of the more correct term "network effect". Redistribution is a secondary effect of P2P protocols, if it were a straight download the infringer would be the distributor while the "pirate" is the individual who first ripped and uploaded the "loot".

These things were expressed clearly over 5 years ago, the reason "pirates" don't like him is because he comes over like some PR shill employing reverse psychology. It's either deliberate or he doesn't "get it", which would extend to reading and understanding relevant work in the field.

Re:Nitpick (2, Funny)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459887)

If he wants some real piracy, lets download his book, print it on paper, and sell it outside of your local bookstore. He will be wishing that he stayed with the more specific terminology.

Re:Nitpick (2, Funny)

chromatic (9471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459945)

If he wants some real piracy...

... print the book in China, then transport it by sea and lounge around in international waters.

Re:Nitpick (3, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460087)

Look people. Quit equating "piracy" as in "Arrrgh, matey. Ye be walkin the plank!" with "piracy" as in "I downloaded the latest Adobe Photoshop without paying for it!". They are spelled the same, but they aren't the same word (you know, a homonym). Just like the "spam" you get in your email inbox is not a Hormel meat product. You are getting pissed off at your own misapprehension.

Re:Nitpick (4, Insightful)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460631)

The problem with the terminology is that words like "theft" and "steal" (which gain merit from the word "piracy," as this was one thing sea pirates did) are deliberately used by the powers that be to confuse people into thinking that the infringement of copyright carries exactly the same consequences as shoplifting or other deprivation of physical property. Only a moron would believe that you can receive spam (the food) through e-mail.

Re:Nitpick (5, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460963)

"confuse people into thinking that the infringement of copyright carries exactly the same consequences as shoplifting or other deprivation of physical property"

As it stands, you'd get in less trouble for stealing a CD then copyright infringement

Re:Nitpick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460801)

..."piracy" as in "I downloaded the latest Adobe Photoshop without paying for it!".

I prefer calling them thieving little punks.

Re:Nitpick (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460845)

Well, technically, if the rights are owned by the publisher and not by him, it is piracy.

Re:Nitpick (2, Interesting)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460881)

But the use in the summary is even worse.

The intentional abuse of the word by the IPR proponents and industries have made it pointless to argue anymore. Better to just accept that 'pirate' has become a synonym of 'copy' and treat it like that, further debasing the expression, thus reducing the incentive for the intentional abuse.

It's not infringement if it's licensed, though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25461163)

> I dislike the use of the vague and slanted term "pirate" in place of the more exact "copyright infringement".

It's not copyright infringement when it's licensed, though. So I was stuck using the term "pirate" informally, in the sense of allowing one to acquire for free what one usually must pay for.

While I do agree with your point about terminology on some level, you can't really correct the world. At best, you can get a new meaning to supplant the old one, but even that is hard. Though there are a number of people calling it 'imaginary property' these days...

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25459657)

1. Pirate
2. ???
3. Profit!

I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do it (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459673)

I've produced a few bands' records, and asked them to repudiate copyright on their tracks. 2 of them have, and they've skyrocketed the amount of fans that come to shows (in the thousands, on their last tour), and the amount of personalized merchandise they sell. Anything easily duplicated is called "advertising" or "marketing." You don't charge others to receive a show flyer (which could take a few hours to design, plus hours to print and many hours to distribute), so why charge for music?

I repudiated copyright on all my writings over a decade ago. My blogs let others take the content I created, and republish it as their own if they want. The two e-books I've written also are freely distributed, with a request for $20 in the final chapter if the books help them.

My business newsletter used to cost over $1000 per year, but now it is free, and I tell others to photocopy it or email the PDF out to others. It generates traffic for my websites, and it also builds reputation to my expanding customer base.

I see no reason for copyright any longer. For items that are costlier to create (TV shows, movies), product placement is a fine way to profit from the distribution of the product. Subscriptions also can work, just like a chapter-by-chapter written blook that continues as people fund the author's writing.

Those who hold onto the statist idea of intellectual property will be left behind. They'll find their market swamped by amateurs with the same amount of talent, and with more drive to distribute their creations as artists always have.

I like this idea, and I recommend others consider going that route when they create content that is easily duplicated. To support it, there are always ways to create value added items (t-shirts, in-person signings or shows, etc).

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (4, Funny)

PylonHead (61401) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459957)

For items that are costlier to create (TV shows, movies), product placement is a fine way to profit from the distribution of the product.

"Mommy.. why is Gandolf drinking a coke?"

"Never mind, dear."

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (5, Funny)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460885)

And cinematic gems like this one:

Elrond: The ring must be destroyed. It must be cast into the fires of Mordor whence it was forged! The path will be long and treacherous, but with the aid of Google Maps, you may find your way.
Aragorn: We will need supplies for our journey. Doritos, to replenish our strength. Adidas, to outrun the Nazgul. Skittles, that we may taste the rainbow of victory. A Honda, to travel long distances with above-average fuel efficiency.
Elrond: And these you shall receive.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (4, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459973)

The wisdom in this probably depends on which one or more of the following are your "product":
1. Recordings of your music
2. Merchandise with your logo on it
3. Attendance at your live performances
4. Promotion of other products (for instance, Miley Cyrus's music is mostly about getting you to watch her on TV and buy her lunch boxes)

For a music act whose real product is #3, giving away #1 counts as advertising. For an act whose real product is #1, giving it away, including giving up copyright protection of it, is bad management. It really does depend on your product and the market for it. That said, I wish more music acts considered live music to be their product and everything else to be promotion of the same.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (3, Insightful)

my $anity 0 (917519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460491)

I don't know, I've been getting more into music lately and almost have a band together. The thing is, we're all college students, and then most of us are going to go on to be engineers and scientists, and if we keep up with it, we're not going to have time for many live performances, while recording can even be done long distance. I doubt #2 and #4 are going to be our product, and although it's for fun, making money at it is a good thing. We're probably going to go with the "Put everything up on a website as CC and beg for donations" route, or maybe the Jonathan Coulton "CC but you have to pay for it" route. but I can understand #1 being a big part. Music is EXPENSIVE to make well and I can understand people with other day jobs not being able to gig.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (5, Insightful)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460825)

...we're not going to have time for many live performances, while recording can even be done long distance.

I'm not trying to be snarky here, and I'm also a musician who has played in a few bands and even recorded a few albums, but here's the thing: if you're not willing or able to put in the time to gig, maybe you don't deserve to make money at it.

You see, too many people think that just because they created something, they deserve to be paid for it. That's simply not true. Being in a band should be a job, not just something you do for a few weeks or months and then expect to sit back and let the royalty money flow in for the rest of your life.

You have every right to try to make money off your music. However, if it doesn't work, then too bad. Nobody owes you just because you decided to record an album.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (3, Informative)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460693)

The thing is reason #1 is already a very small percentage of musicians. 10% of CD's are profitable [archive.org] :

Another factor commonly overlooked in assessing CD prices is to assume that all CDs are equally profitable. In fact, the vast majority is never profitable. Each year, of the approximately 27,000 new releases that hit the market, the major labels release about 7,000 new CD titles and after production, recording, promotion and distribution costs, most never sell enough to recover these costs, let alone make a profit. In the end, less than 10% are profitable, and in effect, it's these recordings that finance all the rest.

On top of that, the percentage of musicians making much of a profit [ascap.com] on music sales at all is so low that this hardly matters.

Further reading:
http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html [azoz.com]
http://web.archive.org/web/20030313214407/http://www.riaa.org/PR_STORY.CFM?ID=491 [archive.org]

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459997)

I see you're falling into the trench of "I have it figured out for $medium, therefore copyright is moot." Unfortunately, not everything falls under those banners.

For items that are costlier to create (TV shows, movies), product placement is a fine way to profit from the distribution of the product.

And what about movies or TV shows where such product placement would be horribly out of place? A medieval movie with GM/GE/Pepsi placements? Hell even my favorite hobby, anime, was getting into it with Code Geass, which was packed FULL of Pizza Hut ads which were distracting and ended up being the butt of jokes there were so many.

Subscriptions also can work, just like a chapter-by-chapter written blook that continues as people fund the author's writing.

I recall Stephen King trying this and giving up.

Those who hold onto the statist idea of intellectual property will be left behind.

Or they'll give up, when they find that they can't recoup the costs of production, much less make a profit.

They'll find their market swamped by amateurs with the same amount of talent, and with more drive to distribute their creations as artists always have.

You can't eat drive and talent (well you can, but it's considered anti-social...) I don't see people making entire movies and TV series that they just toss up on the internet unless they've got some greater source of funding to ensure they won't go broke in the process.

To support it, there are always ways to create value added items (t-shirts, in-person signings or shows, etc).

Which is pointless, since if you repudiate the copyright on your works (ALL of your works) then someone else might as well hang at your shows and sell knockoffs of what you're selling. And signings have limited effectiveness beyond single authors/bands, I'd like to see how you would fund the creation of an entire TV series with that.

Copyright is a very effective tool to allow for the creation of easily duplicated works without sticking it to the creators and essentially punishing them for making the investment. It needs to be reworked and it needs respect. However, the internet audience is extremely insular, rude, and just as selfish and greedy as the MPAA/RIAA (and member companies) when it comes to these things.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (2, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460213)

I recall Stephen King trying this and giving up.

And the Red Hot Chili Peppers shouldn't give their music away for free either, at least not in an attempt to make money. For people who are already extremely successful in the traditional methods, they're not going to see the same amount of money using this new technique. However, for people like Brandon Sanderson [brandonsanderson.com] who are just getting into it, letting out free works can be a good way to get entrenched and build good will.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460439)

And the Red Hot Chili Peppers shouldn't give their music away for free either

That's not related at all to Stephen King's attempt. He tried doing the suggested pay-by-chapter method where readers could optionally pay if they liked it, and it ended up being a waste of his time. I don't know if he bothered to wrap the novel up and publish it the regular way or just gave up on it.

And I never said they shouldn't give their music away for free, that's entirely -their- call. My issue is with the OPs suggestion that they repudiate their copyright, which is needless self-punishment that opens the door for someone else to make use of it without ever acknowledging the source (thus defeating the point of said "promotion" entirely.)

For people who are already extremely successful in the traditional methods, they're not going to see the same amount of money using this new technique.

On the contrary, they are the only ones who will likely see any sort of success from it as the hard part, promotion, is already paid for. Everyone knows who Radiohead is, so people flocked in server crushing numbers to their website for their new album. However for new artists like the one you linked, it'll give him goodwill among small circles but it doesn't have nearly the punch as getting on the radio (another jar of worms) or your music on some movie soundtrack (which is what the giant labels do.)

And again, releasing one's music has nothing to do with OPs suggestion of releasing without copyright. Said movie studio will just have some famous name cover your song and leave you out to dry.

waste of time == wrong motivation (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460701)

That's not related at all to Stephen King's attempt. He tried doing the suggested pay-by-chapter method where readers could optionally pay if they liked it, and it ended up being a waste of his time.

My point was that he was only wasting his time if he was looking to make money on that one novel, and since he didn't he killed the project. If you're looking to make money off of that project specifically, then you're doing it wrong, especially when you've already got a proven vehicle to make a ton of money (which was my point with the red hot chili peppers).

Radiohead made money off of sales which were benefited by the free/donation release, and because of that it was a huge success. Cory Doctorow releases everything for free and he's successful. Many bloggers make a lot of money off of content that they give away.

However for new artists like the one you linked, it'll give him goodwill among small circles but it doesn't have nearly the punch as getting on the radio (another jar of worms) or your music on some movie soundtrack (which is what the giant labels do.)

Actually, it helps to keep excitement up for him, it helped to get good feedback, and it gave his fans something to read between his books (there was a break there for a while). And nothing can beat the publicity generated by having a video go viral on Youtube, just ask Jonathon Coulter. Releasing without copyright or with a permissive license isn't something that everyone can do successfully, but it works phenomenally well for a lot of people.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (2, Informative)

thisissilly (676875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460755)

That's not related at all to Stephen King's attempt. He tried doing the suggested pay-by-chapter method where readers could optionally pay if they liked it, and it ended up being a waste of his time.

At $463,832 in profit on an unfinished novel, I would love to have such a "waste of time". http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/02/07/stephen_king_reveals_the_plant/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (2, Interesting)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461121)

You have to compare that to what he normally gets paid to write a book to decide if it is a "waste of time" or not.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (2, Insightful)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460581)

"And what about movies or TV shows where such product placement would be horribly out of place? A medieval movie with GM/GE/Pepsi placements?"

A knight's tale had a product placement for Nike.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460901)

However, the internet audience is extremely insular, rude, and just as selfish and greedy as the MPAA/RIAA (and member companies) when it comes to these things.

and how did you arrive at this conclusion? did you do any research, or did you just assume that all internet users are rude/selfish/greedy/etc.?

actual studies have shown that P2P file-sharing boosts CD sales [michaelgeist.ca] . so P2P users actually spend more on music purchases than non-P2P users.

your post is a classic example of the reactionary mentality preventing the RIAA/Big Four/major labels from adapting to the new market climate. this attitude of antagonizing & alienating your best consumers is the reason why many RIAA labels are losing money and fans while the industry as a whole continues to experience a net growth [emarketer.com] .

sure, CD sales (particularly CD singles) are plummeting, but internet download purchases have more than made up for those losses. so it's internet users who are keeping the music industry alive, and even helping it to prosper. but i suppose exploring music online is rather "insular" and "rude." how dare consumers discover music for themselves instead of letting the radio tell them what to purchase.

or maybe the RIAA are just pissed off that their Payola scheme is losing effectiveness.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460013)

Those who hold onto the statist idea of intellectual property will be left behind.

Suppose I take the copyright-free versions of your songs, form my own band, and start performing those songs live (in front of paying audiences), releasing my own records of those songs, and selling my own merchandise. I don't claim them as my own necessarily, but I never give your bands credit, and I certainly never send along any of the money. What would you suggest your bands do about that?

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460251)

Those who hold onto the statist idea of intellectual property will be left behind. They'll find their market swamped by amateurs with the same amount of talent, and with more drive to distribute their creations as artists always have

It is interesting I saw this same effect in the emulation scene.

2 dudes had the corner on NES and MasterSystem emulation.

Then suddenly others figured out the same things. Their emus were not as good at first. So they attacked the emu on not being 'pure' or 'as good as'. They are but footnotes in the history of emu now. They wanted 25 bucks a copy. Others didnt think it was worth that.

I was reading some online comics a few days ago and wondering would these dudes have been able to get into a paper 15 years ago? Probably not. Would they have even BOTHERED to keep doing it?

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (1)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460371)

You don't charge others to receive a show flyer (which could take a few hours to design, plus hours to print and many hours to distribute), so why charge for music?

While I'm with you on other ideas, this one is simply misleading.

The flyer is clearly a secondary/supportive item - the show is the main item.
The music, on the other hand, is the main item of a band. There's nothing that it supports. It is the thing.

So you can't compare them. Two different classes of things.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461151)

For some bands maybe, for others the live show is the thing.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (3, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460395)

You don't charge others to receive a show flyer (which could take a few hours to design, plus hours to print and many hours to distribute), so why charge for music?

I'm sure you'll get responders who tell you that's simplistic, but I want to explore that idea further. Nobody gets to profit from everything forever without operating costs. Corporation or individual, you have to put in time, effort or money somewhere to get more money out. If you want a profit, you don't charge for the show flier because it's advertising, aimed at making you money from something else. Maybe you sell the music, maybe the music is another part of the give-aways, and you sell ads, or controlled concessions, live tickets, or whatever, but if you want to sell anything, there will be investment costs associated. You can't even sell your work to an employer without committing to be there on time, a dress code, or simply eating breakfast to suit the employer's schedule.
      For all the people who are pro the existing copyright laws, and especially the ones who love to throw around the violation=stealing line, what about the people on your side who seem bound up in the illusion of unlimited profit with no investment? Take a company which is making a profit selling tee-shirts with its logo and advertising on them, and is actually getting paid by people to let them become walking billboards - Is that a sustainable long term model, or will fashion doubtless change? Can anyone really afford to enforce copyright against people distributing movie trailers? If someone uses the law to control negative reviews, how can they avoid reducing free word-of-mouth advertising by the very same act? How can they file hundreds of cases in court and avoid people thinking they are sue happy? You've got organizations on the pro-IP side that seem to think the law will stretch to let them do all that, and more.
      Even if you care deeply about creator's rights and feel the people doing illegal downloading are all thieves, how are you going to satisfy the IP holders who want unlimited profit with no investment, and think tougher man made laws are a way to somehow bend what are really laws of nature that stand in their way. IP law can't protect a creator from all risks associated with seeking a profit, it can't squeeze blood from a stone to actually get $250,000 settlements from violators who barely make minimum wage, it can't keep them from having to advertise if they want to reach a broad audience, it can't let them slavishly imitate a true leader in marketing and get all the benefits of coming up with something for the first time.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460529)

You don't charge others to receive a show flyer (which could take a few hours to design, plus hours to print and many hours to distribute), so why charge for music?

Really there are a couple different issues to talk about. The first question is, what's your policy toward consumers of your products? This question seems to be what your post is focussing in on, and I agree that there's probably a good business model for content with loose controls.

But that doesn't require that you actually repudiate your copyright claims, and copyright takes care of other issues too. For example, you talked about releasing your writings without restricting distribution, and requesting $20 in the final chapter. Is it still acceptable for me to take your books, alter the final chapter to request that people send $20 to me instead of you, and republish them? Because if you've really given up your copyright, then there's nothing to stop me from doing that.

Also, though the Internet is a terrific distribution medium, lots of books are still sold in book stores. So let's say I make a deal with a small publisher to print up a bunch of copies of my book and sell it in book stores, and it becomes wildly successful. What then stops another publisher from taking my book, republishing it, and selling it themselves without giving any money to me or the original publisher? What stops the big publishers from simply driving smaller publishers out of business?

I think copyright still has a purpose to serve. It has just gotten a bad name over the past several years due to chronic abuse.

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (3, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460611)

My business newsletter used to cost over $1000 per year, but now it is free,

Your ideas interest me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter (now that it's free, of course!)

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460831)

I've produced a few bands' records, and asked them to repudiate copyright on their tracks. 2 of them have, and they've skyrocketed the amount of fans that come to shows

Yeah, but how many of the increased fans were actually just /.ers that showed up to support an end to copyrights? And did they immediately leave when they realized the bands weren't running linux?

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (1)

Gyppo (982168) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460927)

Care to name these bands?

Re:I repudiated copyright, and recommend others do (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461071)

Ironman was ruined for me by the relentless advertising which led my girlfriend to ask sarcastically at one point "does everyone drive an Audi in America?" No to product placement - it sucks massively.

You can't steal from the willing (1, Funny)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459679)

I license this post in the public domain. Try stealing it now bitches!

Re:You can't steal from the willing (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460089)

I license this post according to the attached EULA. Usage of this post implies agreement to the specified terms: no other condition grants you the right to use this post in any way. All future work performed by me in refining or updating this post will fall under the same licensing terms. Try stealing it now bitches!

The most stolen book (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459687)

It's been said that the most stolen dead-tree-form book is the Christian Bible.

Things that make you go "hmmmmmmmm."

Re:The most stolen book (0, Troll)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459959)

The christian bible is already a work of plagerism.
Most of those Jesus stories were about Horus and a bunch of other prior art from other cultures.
Oh and don't forget to throw in some Santa Clause..big gifts if you do what you're told.
Grown ups don't believe in Sanata, Jesus or any other imaginary friend.

 

Re:The most stolen book (1, Insightful)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460301)

Disagreeing with Christians is one thing, claiming they made it all up is another: 1. The search for the historical Jesus came back--yes, he really did exist. The primarily non-Christian group that pursued the study didn't come up with much more than that since they basically were seeking to prove his existence in the first place. (No, I am not talking about the "liberal" Christian pursuit nor the book by the "conservative" Bock) 2. Granted, the New Testament accounts are primarily internally testamental. BUT, they were not written by the same person so, consider it a compendium of varied accounts that are consistent if historical background to the era is understood. 3. One of the greatest archaeologists of the 19th century became famous because he set out to disprove large sections of the NT and came back having proved them to his own frustration. 4. Santa Claus was a Christian "saint" for crying out loud and died several centuries ago after having been known for dropping packets of money to his people through their chimneys so they could afford to ... live. 5. This will now be modded down. oh, and Horus isn't really a good analog here... the most often claimed "prior art" is from a mystery religion in Greece... this doesn't fit well though given the above points and the time period of the mystery religion involved.

And the price of everything goes up... (1)

PatLam (1389819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459699)

As much as I agree with what Matt Manson says, I do believe it's hard to see a world (at least in a close by future) where things like music and books will be free. Let says for a minute that it would happen, then what? How would the musician and writers make any money? Increase concert tickets which are already quite expensive for some groups. And since writers only make money from what they sell, does that mean they have to find a side job? Then what's the point.... And if it does really happen and let say the government make a deal to give money to artist to get their music or books for free, then they're just going to raise taxes, and in the end, we'll still be paying.

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25459873)

Spoil sport. Grab it while you can, I say. By the time it falls apart, we'll all be dead.

Yes, goddammit, I am a republican, and so long as I am in this world, I am going to take from it as much as I can, because, goddammit, you can't take it with you. Join me, or get the HELL OUT OF MY WAY !!

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460333)

and yet, he who dies with the most toys still dies

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25459889)

From what I've heard, you can already see "free music" in Asia (because music 'sharing' is so pervasive, you can't make money attempting to sell a CD with your music on it). Basically the artists who can actually make a living singing/performing songs and such are corporate sponsored, which means it's pretty much nothing but pop.

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (5, Interesting)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459909)

You seem to be confusing "produce art" with "make a living". That's a common fallacy. Artists have never been guaranteed a living solely on the basis of the art they produced. Many famous painters, composers, etc. have died as paupers even when they were famous in their own time.

For what it's worth, in a capitalist system nobody else is guaranteed a living for what they do either. You might be the world's best Parcheesi player but I doubt you could make a living doing just that.

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459979)

True! Why, the mere idea that someone could provide their creative work for free and expect to make a living off of it is absurd to the highest degree.

OK, off to go read my webcomics now.
Oh. Wait a sec... Quite a few of the comics I read are the author's principle/sole form of income, aren't they? They release their creative works for free, and then people send them money out of thanks for their work, or buy merchandise or whatever. Sure, the vast majority of them do sink into obscurity, but there are more than a handful of successful webcartoonists.

One other option is to provide government grants to a certain subset of artists. Some countries around the world do this because they believe that promoting the arts is a worthy thing.

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460151)

It's funny that before intellectual property law, this was the model. We seem to be going back to how things were before copyright in a lot of ways. And you're right, there were still a bunch of artists, musicians, and authors making money in various ways that have been basically snorted out because of copyright...

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (1)

OVDoobie (887621) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459981)

Did you even read the other posts? Like someone above you mentioned, there are lots of ways to capitalize on things you give away. Books: autograph signings or serialized content, or paper books. Music: Concerts, t-shirts, hard copy sales (hard to find pirated Vinyl) even iTunes is turning a profit. None of these suggestions lead to any of the things you said, but giving away digital versions will almost certainly increase sales of your other warez. I know some public speakers who make upwards of $200k per speech, everything else they can give away because they make more than enough off speaking alone.

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460085)

People don't always create to make a profit or a living. On the other hand, commissioned work is a good way for artists to make money. It's a complex issue, but as a comment a few posts up said, we will find amateurs of similar talent producing art and becoming famous for it because anyone can have a copy of their songs, books, etc. Effectively you are using the art or other material as a valuable advertisement for another service, e.g. live concerts, editing work, etc. Your advertising would be valuable so people would want it, and easy to circulate so there is a huge potential for it to spread to a lot of people. The artists whose concert tickets are exorbitantly high won't be able to compete with artists who are just as popular but whose concert tickets are half the price.

I could see it going "all free," but what is more likely, according to supply & demand, is that the main way to sell easily pirated material will be on the iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, etc. model. They are making a lot of money competing directly with piracy because they offer a better service. I just hope that model doesn't become the basis for the next round of screwing over artists while the corporate fat cats get rich off others' backs.

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (1)

moose_hp (179683) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460145)

Well, considering that musicians get more from live concerts and merchancise rather than CD sales (if they are signed on a major label) (or so I heard) and some writters (like Cory Doctorow) make some good proffit from selling paperback and hardcovers while distributing the whole books in electronic format on a CC licence, I _think_ it can be done.

The enemy of an artist is not piracy, it's obcurity.

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460285)

"The enemy of an artist is not piracy, it's obcurity"

Lars Ulrich is coming to your house right now and is going to beat the obscurity out of you !!

These are the corner cases. Lars Ulrich, the guy doing "web comics". One has a lot of money from doing his "IP", the other guy has nothing at all but a web bill due and doesn't care. It's those in the middle, the 99%, that will simply not create because there is nothing but a russian slimball on the other end taking his "IP" and doing whatever it is russian slimballs do with others "IP".

Re:And the price of everything goes up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460623)

Lars who?

Plagiarism (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459709)

Someone should change the author of this book and re-distribute that way, then he will learn merits of piracy.

Re:Plagiarism (2, Insightful)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460309)

Someone should change the author of this book and re-distribute that way, then he will learn merits of piracy.

Oh yes, let's not forgot how JK Rowling's publishers also live in fear of the terrible damage it might do to their sales if copies of Harry Potter started being sold with the words "By Joe Freetard" written on them.

Seriously - since when has anyone (even the RIAA!) ever indicated that malicious mis-attribution of works was even remotely a problem?

Free != Piracy (5, Funny)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459721)

If he is such a strong believer in piracy, why is he allowing users to download it for free? Shouldn't he force them to pay for a DRM version while he secretly leaks a free torrent on the side? Now THAT would be hardcore.

Re:Free != Piracy (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460335)

If he is such a strong believer in piracy, why is he allowing users to download it for free? Shouldn't he force them to pay for a DRM version while he secretly leaks a free torrent on the side? Now THAT would be hardcore.

Now that is funny!

Re:Free != Piracy (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460849)

Is the Kindle version [amazon.com] DRM'd enough for you?

It's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25459737)

The answer is advertising in new forms.

Example: product placement in TV shows. Everyone who watched 24 "knows" that the Cisco network can defend itself. That people are seeking it out and actually want to watch it is a huge bonus to Cisco.

You can't place products in music, but you bombard conventional channels with associations. Music is powerful in that way. Get an artist deeply associated with a product and just give away the music.

The music industry has already moved halfway toward this model, the only thing that remain is for advertising companies to start signing artists, and for the old model companies to die.

The last bit will take a while, but I am convinced it will happen.

The p2p networks are a potentially huge resource for advertisers, they only have to find formats that actually deliver something to the pirate.

Where can I download the PDF? (2, Funny)

UncleMantis (933076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459741)

Does anyone here have the PDF of the book or know which trackers I can get it from? =)

Microsoft is Communism! (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459743)

Obviously, Microsoft is anti-free enterprise [slashdot.org] today [today.com] .

They just don't understand that it's not a zero-sum economy, and others' freedom of enterprise with their enterprising efforts is good not only for everyone else, but for them.

Without the pirates, would they have known to sell Windows for $3 in China? Of course not!

Free ? No (1)

tayofr (1390123) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459747)

I can't imagine a world where everything ( books, movies, games ) is free. It's just Utopian. But I wish a better price.

Paper-based DRM. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459749)

"âoeIâ(TM)m convinced that Steve Jobs is currently working on a double-sided touchscreen laptop, which has a great screen density so you can hold it on its side and you can touch it and turn pages. When something like that comes along, then the e-bookâ(TM)s going to be a real threat. And I think the publishing industry is going to collectively crap its pants.â"

There's just one problem with this argument. Books aren't as easy as movies and music to pirate. Oh it's possible, but it's not as easy.

The other is that print has had several centuries head start over modern piracy and has refined mass production to the point it can stay ahead of pirates. Just look at how far behind Gutenberg is with the public domain stuff.

Re:Paper-based DRM. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460521)

"Just look at how far behind Gutenberg is with the public domain stuff."

On the other hand, if you compare the current rate of text being added to Gutenberg with the current rate of copyright term extension, you come to the inexorable conclusion that Gutenberg WILL eventually catch up and at some point will include everything in the public domain, because the public domain has become non-increasing in size.

sounds like future investment bankers (0, Troll)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459757)

Pirates and bankers are parasitic. Neither creates new technology or wealth.

Re:sounds like future investment bankers (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460369)

Pirates and bankers are parasitic. Neither creates new technology or wealth.

Given the title of the /. post, the least you could do is provide some evidence for that statement. If you're going to post, you can be a bit lazy, but don't be a total slob.

Re:sounds like future investment bankers (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460603)

And how do you define "creating new technology or wealth"? Many things don't create new technology or wealth themselves, but they do drive others to do that. Without P2P, how fast do you think your internet would be? How much do you think you would be paying in the store for a CD or DVD. Or for an iTunes song? And without bankers, how can money change hands, cross borders, be invested in profitable projects, etc? And how would people get money for a house?

Screw the pirates (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459905)

In college the biggest pirates I knew were the guys who had enough money to buy most of what they got illegally. It never even phased them that they were often pirating the works of small bands that needed every penny that they could get. It never occurred to them to just wait until a DVD came down to $7.50 at Wal-Mart. I still know people who are like that, and they're pulling down nearly six figure salaries.

Charge them with petty or grand theft as appropriate, if you ask me. If you want to change the youth culture it's really simple. Get all of this copyright infringement and DRM bullshit out of the picture and start hitting them with theft charges.

I'm just sick of the entitlement mentality that is wedded to a near Stockholm Syndrome among a lot of younger people. If the music and movie industries are so bad, stop downloading their shit. Ignore them, make them irrelevant. I swear, it's like a bunch of rich kids crying about exploitation, while they shop at the Gap and A&F.

Re:Screw the pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460223)

Charge them with petty or grand theft as appropriate, if you ask me.

Charging them with copyright infringement is what's appropriate. They're not depriving anyone of property, so it's not theft.

And what the hell does Stockholm Syndrome have to do with this? I think persecution complex would be a little closer to what you're going for there.

And it's spelled fazed, halfwit.

Re:Screw the pirates (4, Insightful)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460479)

In college the biggest pirates I knew were the guys who had enough money to buy most of what they got illegally.

They may have been *able* to pay, but how do you know they *would* have paid? This is the thing - you can't prove that a download is a lost sale any more than you can prove all the people that take free newspapers handed out at the station in the morning are depriving the broadsheets of sales. There simply isn't a 1-to-1 substitution going on. If it's there for free, most people will take it. But if it wasn't for free a great many would never bother to pay in the first place because it's not as if music (or news) is essential.

If the music and movie industries are so bad, stop downloading their shit. Ignore them, make them irrelevant. I swear, it's like a bunch of rich kids crying about exploitation, while they shop at the Gap and A&F.

Er, by your own logic, I think they ARE ignoring the music and movie industries. They are instead paying attention to the artists. Can you see the difference?

Re:Screw the pirates (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460807)

They are instead paying attention to the artists. Can you see the difference?

It's likely that there's no difference. Even if it were the artists distributing directly, they'd probably screw them over just the same.

Most of the time, at least in my experience, there's no concept of "taking a stand" that drives it. It's all about "why pay when I can get it for free? You bought it? What a moron!" that drives this.

Re:Screw the pirates (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460747)

Charge them with petty or grand theft as appropriate, if you ask me. If you want to change the youth culture it's really simple. Get all of this copyright infringement and DRM bullshit out of the picture and start hitting them with theft charges.

Yeah, because making something criminal totally removes the problem. It never causes it to just go underground or use alternative means to avoid detection. That's why there are zero illegal drugs in this country. Yep.

I'm just sick of the entitlement mentality that is wedded to a near Stockholm Syndrome among a lot of younger people. If the music and movie industries are so bad, stop downloading their shit. Ignore them, make them irrelevant. I swear, it's like a bunch of rich kids crying about exploitation, while they shop at the Gap and A&F.

Now here I agree with you. Crying "THEY DONT DSRV MONY BCUZ THEY R TCH SUK" and then downloading it anyway is hypocrisy in its simplest form. Even if the action was legal, you're still a hypocrite for saying a song is terrible but still enjoying it.

I thought (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25459911)

Matt Mason was a toy [wildtoys.com] .

So, he's a journalist, too!

How do you profit from piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25459955)

Volume!

This obvious... (1)

hvatum (592775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460017)

You make money by host high quality pirated torrent on fast server!! Then set membership service, people pay 5 Yuan for password to encrypted torrent since they already spend so long download it!!111

OR just burn onto CDs and sell on street

dumb American always ask dumb question... this why China rising power, America have no spirit of great business success

PS. I OFFER SPECIAL DEAL ON HIGHSCHOOL MUSICAL 3 VIDEO CD WITH CANTONESE, MANDRIN, TIBETAN, VIETNAMESE AND HMONG HARDCODE SUBTITLES. PLEASE CONTACT FOR INTEREST

Couldn't download it, must pirate it now! (5, Funny)

socz (1057222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460171)

So I tried to download the book from the website right, it has an initial value of $5.00 but you can set the price to whatever you want. I set it to $0.00 as I like to "try before I buy." But unfortunately, the "free download" amount has reached it's limit for the day and I was told to try again the following day.

So, for those of you wondering how you can pirate a free book... if I get it in a torrent, well there you go.

But on the other hand, some people like myself can't escape the pirate label, since my great grandfather was in fact a pirate. It's like like the geico commercials, "so easy a cave man can do it."

:P

Because +1, Incendiary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460461)

this criminal [whitehouse.org] and his gang have.

Cheers,
Kilgore Trout

dim-wit (1)

skotte (262100) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460601)

This guy Matt Mason comes really close to thinking something original, and then completely misses it entirely. He sounds like a complete and utter knob!

It's amusing. You might think a pro-free-information ideology would go over well in the slashdot crowd. But this guy absolutely doesn't get it.

Re:dim-wit (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460779)

That's because he's not pro-free-information he's for pro-sold-information-marketed-through-pirate-networks. I watched his talk on TED and some other conference and what he's basically saying is just that companies need to engage in the pirate methods of distribution and hand out some freebies to get more attention. That's why people don't like him that much. The "pirates" have a certain pride in their rebellious anti-monetary activity. What he does is to exploit there techniques and translates their benefits into marketable ideas. That's just the thing that would get him keelhauled.

Re:dim-wit (1)

skotte (262100) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460995)

I don't know about any of that. Maybe some kids like to think they are rebellious, but I think most people who use pirated information do it because they can't afford the real thing. Understand, when i say "afford," i mean maybe your department at work doesn't allow you a budget, or perhaps the cost of the thing outweighs the benefit of the thing. Whatever the case, "pirating" is, I suggest, a monetary choice.

Matt Mason seems to be conflicted, however. On the one hand, he is simply suggesting companies give away more of what they sell. This is called advertising. It is not a new concept. Promotional give-aways are not a new concept.

On the other hand, he is using this radical jargon of ***PIRATES!!!*** YARRRR!!!! As if giving things away is some really cool new idea he just thought up.

What he seems to think he has invented is more broadly known, in recent years, as the creative commons license. Give stuff away, and if people want to pay you to use it too, that's cool. You still own it.

To be sure, Matt Mason didn't think this up. Creative commons didn't invent this strategy. Not even the internet invented this strategy. The bible mentions something or other about letting people take your crops if they are hungry.

emerging black markets and working business models (5, Interesting)

drDugan (219551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25460625)

Black markets emerge for commodity goods when there are significant discrepancies between marginal costs and market price. This is exactly the case for digital entertainment media, where technology has eliminated the ability of major media producers to (technically) control the means of distribution of their product, and the marginal cost of distribution is orders of magnitude less than the price to legally buy the good. The development of the black market / piracy is expected in this case.

But - there is a middle ground. There is not just "selling media" vs. "pirating media"...

We have built LegalTorrents to get around the "dilemma" we have a working business model that both incorporates emerging technology and ALSO provides financial supports to Content Creators. The answer is simple: give away what you can't control, and provide value when customers choose to pay.

All the media we host can be downloaded without paying for it, but Content Creators can ask for Sponsorship - voluntary payments. Why would a user pay for media they can get with out paying for it? The answer is give them more: Give them more. Give public credit and community props for those users who pay for the media they love. Give them access to the Content Creators. Give them extra material not easily found online. Give them early access to concerts, private events, etc. Enable the Content Creator to build up a community around their work that is available for those users who pay to support it.

Somehow I don't feel guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25460731)

I went to his site to get the book, was forwarded to the shop site and a standard 5$ fee. Changed the fee to the advertised 0 and was told I needed to wait another 7-8 hours until I could get a free copy again. So I went to everybody's favorite pirate haven and got it immediately. It's really interesting that his web presence basically forces the kind of problem on his potential freeloading readers that he seeks to address with the book.

What a dildo (2, Insightful)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25461125)

More drivel advertising.

How are you pirating his book, when he gives permission by giving access on his own website.

I'd suggest actually reading about pirace from someone that doesn't have a confused idea about it in the first place. /., please. Not so much do you have to do 100 percent due diligence in the stories you write, can you just do a basic sanity check?

Piracy is NOT downloading things you have permission for.

--Toll_Free

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