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Author Encourages Users to Pirate His Book

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the listen-to-the-content-creator dept.

237

mariushm writes "Peter Cooper, the author of Beginning Ruby, breaks down how he gets paid for the book, including the advance and royalties, giving a nice clean explanation of how authors get paid for their books. He also describes the negotiations over the second edition of the book, in which he begged his publisher, Apress, to offer the ebook version for free, believing (strongly) that it would promote sales of the paper book. He even notes that the original version's ebook barely had noteworthy sales, so it seemed reasonable to offer up the ebook for free to drive more attention. No dice. Even though Apress has done that with other similar titles, it wouldn't agree. As he retains the copyright for the actual text, he encourages people to buy the book and create an online version of it without covers, contents table and indexes, promising not to enforce his copyright over the new work."

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237 comments

I don't think so... (5, Insightful)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29771963)

I have dealt quite a bit with copyright law when creating FairSoftware's virtual company [fairsoftware.net] license. I'm afraid the author is incorrect when he says that he retains copyright, therefore he can authorize people to download his book for free. He most likely granted the publisher an exclusive license. The whole point of the word exclusive is to say that although you are the author, you can't give the text to anyone else anymore, once you signed the book deal.

That being said, this is a great blog post for everyone who ever wondered how tech book deals work. He is making about $2 per sale of a $40 book! So there's a great debate about whether to go with an editor which will take a much lower cut, but will also not be so good at promoting the book. At least someone is making money from publishing content related to open source technology :-)

Re:I don't think so... (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29771999)

He most likely granted the publisher an exclusive license.

Was it an exclusive license for a couple years, or was it an exclusive license for the duration of the copyright?

Abby Hoffman? (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772115)

Is that you?

It is not immoral to steal from the Pig Empire?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steal_This_Book [wikipedia.org]

Sorry my friend! Theft is not justified by a feeling of moral superiority on the part of the thief. This is, after all, how the became pigs, in the first place!

"But to live outside the law,
You must be honest"
-- Bob Dylan, Sweet Marie

Re:Abby Hoffman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29773051)

Theft is not justified by a feeling of moral superiority on the part of the thief. This is, after all, how the became pigs, in the first place!

This is not about theft, so what you say doesn't really apply to the case at hand, but if by "how the[y] became pigs" you're referring to primitive accumulation, it is certainly more justified to unsteal ressources back to the commons (i.e. share them for free) than to steal them from the commons in the first place.

Re:Abby Hoffman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29773161)

You looked up the article and still managed to misspell Abbie?

If he's so sure he has the copyright... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772487)

...why doesn't he offer a download himself? That way everybody who downloads it at least comes to his web site and there is no "what if he turns around on his promise not to enforce copyright" doubt in the air.

Re:I don't think so... (5, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772011)

Surely the publisher provided an editor to clean up the manuscript before publication, thus putting the copyright clearly in the hands of someone besides the author alone.

Re:I don't think so... (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772391)

"Surely the publisher provided an editor to clean up the manuscript before publication, thus putting the copyright clearly in the hands of someone besides the author alone."

So does that mean Microsoft gets a piece of my copyright when I run the MS Word Spell Checker?

I'm pretty sure the editor is "work for hire" any way you look at it.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773275)

The editor is hired by the publisher, so the editor's work under the publisher is copyrighted by the publisher.

Re:I don't think so... (3, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772039)

He's not giving people a license to it (which would conflict with the publisher's exclusive license); he's just promising not to sue.

Also, why would he use a publisher that gave him only $2 per sale? You'd think that royalties would be driven up as competing publishers offer more per sale.. Why doesn't a publisher just offer 40% royalties or something and annihilate the competition?

Re:I don't think so... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772105)

99% of the time, it wouldn't be the author suing anyway. It would be the copyright holder, which is usually the publishing house. Beware to anyone thinking that this author's statement would keep them from avoiding litigation from the copyright owner....

Re:I don't think so... (5, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772217)

Also, why would he use a publisher that gave him only $2 per sale? You'd think that royalties would be driven up as competing publishers offer more per sale..

What on earth would lead you to think so? There's only so many sales to be had, and a fairly hard (though rising with inflation over time) cap on what customers will pay for a given class of book - and the publishers revenue comes out of the difference.
 
 

Why doesn't a publisher just offer 40% royalties or something and annihilate the competition?

Because publishers can do math.

Re:I don't think so... (2, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772261)

Clearly this isn't the case, or he was rejected elsewhere. My guess is that it's standard practice, and that there's a reason for it. Probably that most of the money on that $40 book gets divided up between printing, distributing and promoting the book... all the labor, risk, fronted cash, etc. of others that goes into that book. The content of the book is more like a big start on the way to a successful product.

Otherwise someone else would have done what you mentioned and annihilated all competition. We're not the first ones to think it up. :)

Also note that traditional publishing has not disappeared in the face of self-publishing, on-demand publishing, etc. There are good reasons for that.

Re:I don't think so... (4, Insightful)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772571)

From 40$ only 18$ goes to the publisher, the rest is amazon's money, library's money, wasted on damaged books when shipped, on returns and so on.

From that 18$ publisher pays the 10% royalty (but only after they get back their $6000 advance), the printing company, the editors that formatted the books and then they have their profit.

I find it more ridiculous that Apress sells his ebook for 23.99$ when the printing costs, shipping and so on are non-existent. Basically, ebook brings Apress more profit than printed books at this point.

Re:I don't think so... (2, Interesting)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772911)

If a regular $40 book gives $18 to the publisher, with the rest being eaten up by distributors, an ebook for $23.99 doesn't sound incredibly out of line. $6 for the infrastructure and customer support functions. Just because it's electronic doesn't mean that it's free and you'll never have to hire someone to deal with complaining customers.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773293)

It was actually $27.99.

If it costs the publisher 18$ for the printed book, you can remove the 3-4$ printing cost, 2$ for shipping you're left with 12 bucks. Now add up 40-50% profit for the company selling the books online and you're back at 18$.
Nowhere near 28$ they sell it for. It's just greed.

Well, anyway... this whole discussion is pointless, publishers will ask whatever they feel customers will pay, not the fair price.

Risk (3, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772545)

Publishers that offer higher rates of royalties tend to do either less promotion or only take on authors who they know have a good record of producing popular books. You'd expect Stephen King for instance to be able to negotiate a better deal than John Smith on his debut novel.

Re:I don't think so... (2, Interesting)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773121)

Why doesn't a publisher just offer 40% royalties or something and annihilate the competition?

Because they don't have to. They have "industry standard practices" that effectively let them act like a trust without technically being a trust. It's a form of implicitly limiting labor costs. As publishing becomes more and more frictionless and major publishers less and less valuable they'll get smaller, control less, and authors will earn more as they become more competitive. As long as they control the entry point into a market however they can pretty much use these types of practices.

Re:I don't think so... (1, Troll)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772095)

Well I suppose the questions are whether there's a legal distinction between licensing the right to copy the book and refusing to sue for infringement, and whether in his exclusive license he retains the right to refuse to sue.

It sounds like he's not distributing the book himself and not technically licensing anyone else to do so, but claiming that insofar as he has the right to sue someone or not-sue them for infringement, he won't sue. It's a minor distinction, but IANAL and I have no idea whether there's anything to that distinction.

Re:I don't think so... (4, Interesting)

Vengie (533896) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772289)

IAAL. 17 U.S.C. 501(b) authorizes an exclusive licensee to sue for inringement. he has granted an exclusive license. thus he might not want to sue you, but his publisher can. Look through the Silvers v. Sony Pictures case -- unless his contract specifically deals with the right to sue for infringement....his publisher can.

Re:I don't think so... (2, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772335)

Also, he could very well wind up being sued be the publisher for breach of contract. Thus, he has screwed several people: himself, and anyone the publisher decides to go after.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772187)

That being said, this is a great blog post for everyone who ever wondered how tech book deals work. He is making about $2 per sale of a $40 book!

For reference - that's 5%, essentially 5% profit. In most places in the business world, that would be considered screamingly successful. Doubly so since he's making an ongoing profit for work he did only once and isn't responsible for the ongoing work of marketing and stocking.

Re:I don't think so... (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772255)

For reference - that's 5%, essentially 5% profit. In most places in the business world, that would be considered screamingly successful. Doubly so since he's making an ongoing profit for work he did only once and isn't responsible for the ongoing work of marketing and stocking.

1. 5% is not a screaming success. My employer has had quarters where the net margin was *only* 18% and these led to managerial changes due to the failure to meet expectations.

2. You can't say he's making 5% profit. He's making some unknown amount of income (based upon to-date and future sales), in exchange for the time spent, his knowledge, and his writing ability.

Re:I don't think so... (2, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772829)

Unknown is right. Very few understand what percentage he really got. The author himself is not among them.

It's not that the royalty statements are excessively complicated though they could certainly be simpler, it's that they don't provide enough info. Can't check their math. And then what's this Licensed Rights? Reserve? Why are the statements so unclear? I don't believe for a minute that it's necessary. One possible reason for the obscurity is real easy to come up with: Hollywood accounting. Confusopoly. Looks like those could be ways of padding the bill to reduce the "profits" on which the publisher must pay royalties.

Anytime I've been hit with some mystery charge, it's often been an attempt at robbery. Auto mechanics are one of too many groups notorious for that sort of thing. A common scam around where I live is this $6 charge for "shop materials". The last time they tried that one on me, I pointed out that before I came, I got a quote that included all charges, and if that $6 was part of the charges, it should have been included in the quote and it wasn't. They backed off.

They may be honest publishers (ok, stop laughing). However, clarity is essential for honesty to be visible.

Re:I don't think so... (1, Insightful)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772385)

For reference - that's 5%, essentially 5% profit. In most places in the business world, that would be considered screamingly successful. Doubly so since he's making an ongoing profit for work he did only once and isn't responsible for the ongoing work of marketing and stocking.

In a perfect world he would make 100% profit based on the merit of his content. Let's make it so kids, contemporary and elderly.

What? Oh, you expected more words before that last dot...not gonna happen, at least not from me.

Re:I don't think so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772199)

Depends upon the terms of the license and whether it covers just sales or sales and distribution, and whether it covers all forms of distribution and derivative works. I'd recommend he distribute a derivative work online that has excerpts of the printed form. This would allow people to test the book out before buying a hard copy.

Re:I don't think so... (5, Informative)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772321)

He most likely granted the publisher an exclusive license.

On one hand, the author himself, who was there for the signing of the contract, states he did not give them an exclusive license on the text, but states he didn't create the covers, toc, or index thus can't give permission to copy that.

On the other hand, someone on slashdot states what the author _most likely_ did, in their overly well informed opinion.

Well that settles it!

Actually I sorta like that idea.
Personally, I think he most likely never even spoke to a book publisher, and not only wants his book to be free, but will pay us to read it! I'm sure that is the case.

*Goes off to download an ebook and wait for my check in the mail*

Re:I don't think so... (3, Informative)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772747)

This is straight from the author's blog:

My contract also states that I have exclusively allowed Apress to publish and reproduce my content

So I'd say there is a pretty good chance that the contract contains an exclusivity clause. This wasn't pure /. speculation.

Re:I don't think so... (4, Informative)

FrangoAssado (561740) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772867)

On one hand, the author himself, who was there for the signing of the contract, states he did not give them an exclusive license on the text, but states he didn't create the covers, toc, or index thus can't give permission to copy that.

That's not what the author stated. He actually wrote:

My contract also states that I have exclusively allowed Apress to publish and reproduce my content.

He then went on about how he "suspects" that you can make a PDF without the cover, TOC and index without infringing any of the publisher's rights.

Tim O'Reilly, who (I'd guess) is very experienced with these kinds of contracts, wrote this in the comments of his post:

I’d be very careful with your assumptions here. “Owning the copyright” doesn’t mean what you seem to think it means. I haven’t seen the language in the APress contract, but I suspect it says something to the effect that you grant them the exclusive right to publish, distribute, and sell (etc.) the book for the duration of the copyright. If this is so, the ONLY thing that you get from still owning the copyright is the ability to reacquire the rights in the event APress goes out of business.

So while we can't know without seeing the author's contract, it's reasonable to assume that what alain94040 wrote above is closer to the truth than what the author "suspects".

Re:I don't think so... (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772603)

I have dealt quite a bit with copyright law when creating FairSoftware's virtual company [fairsoftware.net] license. I'm afraid the author is incorrect when he says that he retains copyright, therefore he can authorize people to download his book for free. He most likely granted the publisher an exclusive license.

Did you read HIS contract? If not, you are only guessing. He may actually have negotiated and retained rights..

sure its doubtful, but its his contact, not yours.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773321)

He most likely granted the publisher an exclusive license.

Depending on your goals, that may or may not be a smart move. In any case, it makes you lose control over the book you published depending on the duration of the license. If your incentive is to get the word out rather than the money, it's probably smarter to keep ownership of your book by self-publishing -- you can then do as you please, all up to the point of giving away your book for free, no strings attached. (By the way, feel free to download mine!)

Re:I don't think so... (0)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773371)

He most likely granted the publisher an exclusive license.

He most likely the whole thing!

Is that bad?

Re:I don't think so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29773385)

But he's not licensing it, he is merely saying that he will not enforce copyright over it.

Call Me Suspicious But ... (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29771969)

From his post:

There are even links on Twitter to torrents like this. I am happy for you to pirate my book, but I’m NOT A LAWYER, and I can’t guarantee what Apress would do about it – so you’d be doing it off your own back! So, uhm, don’t pirate it?

So he's covered his own ass and recognized that Apress will most likely not see things his way. Now, to do what the summary suggests is confusing to me. I don't know his contract with Apress but I must question why, if he is so upset with Apress, he isn't just releasing an HTML version of his work online. Surely he must have the source documents he wrote to write the book, correct? Then why doesn't he simply make his own HTML plain text version and host it.

The answer is painfully simple. He's reached an agreement with Apress for digital distribution rights making them the only possible channel for distribution. I wouldn't be surprised if that was a default contract for them. Regardless, downloading the Apress version on RapidShare is copyright violation with Apress, regardless of what the author says. There's no question of that.

If I've misjudged Peter Cooper's character, I truly am sorry but he is either willfully or through ignorance putting you at risk with these suggestions. Do not follow through.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772067)

Yeah he is putting his readers at risk because they'll be breaking the law by distributing the book. I think he's just mad at Apress and wants to stick it to the man, or he still wants the promotion that a free ebook would provide. Also there's all the free publicity from slashdot..

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (2, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772933)

Yeah, as alain's post [slashdot.org] points out, he admits himself that he granted Apress an exclusive contract.

It really rubs me the wrong way when authors/artists encourage people to pirate their material. You are asking me to do something illegal and take on risk of being sued, but you aren't willing to put it up online yourself? You are feeling rebellious because you are having second thoughts about the contract that you signed, but you want me to be the one that rebels? How about no. Pirating your material is no different to me than pirating any random major label artist. I'd rather support authors/artists who were willing to take the risk to self-publish, and provide legal means for me to support them directly without enriching the middle-men.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773095)

Best solution for him would be to ask people to provide email addresses - privately - then email them the book from another account and delete the receiver's email address afterwards. Apress would have no idea how many he'd sent out, and the people asking for them would expose themselves to little risk, especially if they too used a disposable account.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (1)

glop (181086) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773157)

It looks like there are Ruby books on scribd.com actually. It's probably one way to do what you just said.
And now I am waiting for other people to comment and list all the other ways that I did not know about ;-)

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772071)

Then why doesn't he simply make his own HTML plain text version and host it.

Let me know when you figure out how to make HTML plain text.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772365)

View->Source

OK, done.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772373)

Let me know when you figure out how to make HTML plain text.

Well, isn't it good enough that HTML is made OF plain text? ;}

Or on a slightly more correct note, lynx?

Now of course if you mean make HTML into nice looking plain text that is readable and usable, then yes we are all doomed.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (2, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772129)

All it is is a promise not to sue. He owns the text of the book, but not the additional stuff Apress did - say, the covers, front matter (including the Table of Contents) and the back matter (indices, etc), which would mean that you're pirating his work, and none of Apress'.

Those full version torrents/downloads do include stuff the Apress owns the copyright for, and whom Apress might sue.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772575)

It could actually be bad for him too. By giving permission for people to download the books, he could be seen as giving away rights that aren't his to give away and be in breach of contract.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772857)

Technically he's not giving permission to pirates, he's just promising not to sue over it. IANAL, but I'm pretty sure there's a difference. (However, it's still unclear whether Apress can do anything about it; that would depend on whether he gave them an exclusive license to publish the book or not, and that's separate from who owns the copyright.)

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772621)

No, I think what he means is that you can in theory buy the printed book, literally tear and remove the covers, the index pages, and the contents table and you're left with pages that have only his text, which he owns.

Now use a scanner to scan the pages, OCR them, and offer it for free. He says he won't sue you for the text he wrote. As there's nothing in your ebook version that belongs to Apress, you'd have no problems... again, in theory.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (2, Insightful)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772915)

He's reached an agreement with Apress for digital distribution rights making them the only possible channel for distribution. I wouldn't be surprised if that was a default contract for them. Regardless, downloading the Apress version on RapidShare is copyright violation with Apress, regardless of what the author says. There's no question of that.
 

As the Slashdot blurb states, the author retains copyright of his text, so thus the copyright violations are "against" him, regardless of what the publisher claims. As far as digital distribution, that is a contract (i.e.civil law, not copyright which is often now criminal law in the US) between those two parties. As long as Apress and the author don't break there respective terms as per the agreement (i.e. they don't publish his work without paying him and he doesn't give permission another party to publish his works if an royalty-based exclusive agreement) then it is moot.

Re:Call Me Suspicious But ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29773231)

Call me suspicious also, but it seems to me he's just advertising his book in a very open way, and using slashdot, two things got peoples attention, writer gets screwed by big publishing company, and piracy, some of slashdotters favourite topic (except bashing MS).
Just be honest, how many of you went and checked out the book? I mean the amazon.com version not the tpb one? Somehow I don't think he'll be receiving anything but praises from the publisher.

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29771995)

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INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
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HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
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FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

re: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772013)

"Feel free to pirate my book...free of chaaarrrge."

give the text away for free on your site (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772059)

put an order form for a self-published book on your site. the self-publishing business is well-established and straightforward

end of story

no need for a publisher and all that legal cruft

you'll make more money than going the publisher route, even with all the barnes and noble exposure. people are getting information about programming via internet searches, not browsing barnes and noble. hell, people are getting information about composting, travelling to ecuador, whooping cough, and everything else online. you are not giving exposure by not being in barnes and noble

and if you think not getting a toehold in barnes and noble means less income, you are correct. except that free and unfettered access online represents far more exposure than barnes and noble. and you get that exposure by being unbound from all the legal cruft of a publisher. such that anyone choosing to buy a book anyways from you online represents more people than buying it at barnes and noble

lose the publisher, get more exposure and get more cash

GIVE ME A PDF AND I CERTAINLY WILL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772081)

not buy the paper book. I'll take computer screen version over paper any day, ya foo, U !!

Not that I'd buy it anyway, so I'd just pirate the PDF !!

Certainly my right, since I wouldn't buy it anyway !!

guess... (1, Insightful)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772131)

Guess who's next book isn't going to be published by a real publisher... LOL.. If he thinks he gets too few money per book he can always publish his next book himself, I guess he just forgets all the other costs after he gets his share.. ofcourse there is a huge profit margin for the publisher, but lets not forget that it's not easy to do the publishing yourself, it takes a lot of effort and money to publish a book.. And ofcourse as I said if he doesn't agree then publish it yourself.. AND, he thinks he owns the copyright of the text, but I bet he didn't read the contract which mostly mean he owns the copyright, but he can't publish it for free without permission from the publisher.. Read your contracts BEFORE you sign anything... but hee I guess he was just happy someone wanted to publish his book.. but then again, who wants to read his book anyway ;P

His 2nd and Last Book (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772165)

I hope he enjoyed the advances and royalties 'cause he won't be getting another book deal. Doofus

Tim O'Reilly's comment... (4, Insightful)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772211)

...on the post is pretty interesting. Here's an excerpt:

If you were to self-publish, you will find that you might print, say, 1000 copies at $8 each, or 2000 copies at maybe $6 each. (It could be more. I'm not as close to book printing prices as I used to be.) So you're out $8-$12000 up front. So lets say you've guessed exactly right how many copies you will sell. You printed 1000 copies for $8K, and sold all 1000 for $30K to $40K (depending on where you set the price.) You made $22K, or maybe even $32K, versus the $19K you earned with APress.

He goes on to discuss the hassle of shipping, returns, credit card processing, storing the books, etc. All true, all good stuff.

For what it's worth, going through a small local publisher with my JavaCC book [generating...javacc.com] has worked out pretty well. We did a much smaller print run - 350 books - so the storage wasn't as much of a hassle. Definitely a niche market, though.

Re:Tim O'Reilly's comment... (1)

careykohl (682513) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772355)

Just curious but did he have anything to say about Peter Cooper's assertion that a freely available e-book would promote hard copy sales? I've pirated a few e-books in my time and almost every single one of the ones that actually turned out to be useful resulted in the actual book sitting on my bookshelf.

Re:Tim O'Reilly's comment... (4, Funny)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772393)

> did he have anything to say about Peter Cooper's assertion
> that a freely available e-book would promote hard copy sales?

Yup, he said:

We don't do it for all books because while there are some cases where free online exposure can help sell print books, there are also many cases where it seems to sell fewer books. A lot depends on whether a book is already visible or not.

and

"Free" should be seen as a strategic tool for publishing. Sometimes it helps; sometimes it hurts.

Pretty cool that he weighed in on this one.

Re:Tim O'Reilly's comment... (4, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772543)

He may not have, but Eric Flint has.

http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com]

Exerpt:

In the course of this debate, I mentioned it to my publisher Jim Baen. He more or less virtually snorted and expressed the opinion that if one of his authors -- how about you, Eric? -- were willing to put up a book for free online that the resulting publicity would more than offset any losses the author might suffer.

The minute he made the proposal, I realized he was right. After all, Dave Weber's On Basilisk Station has been available for free as a "loss leader" for Baen's for-pay experiment "Webscriptions" for months now. And -- hey, whaddaya know? -- over that time it's become Baen's most popular backlist title in paper!

And so I volunteered my first novel, Mother of Demons, to prove the case. And the next day Mother of Demons went up online, offered to the public for free.

Sure enough, within a day, I received at least half a dozen messages (some posted in public forums, others by private email) from people who told me that, based on hearing about the episode and checking out Mother of Demons, they either had or intended to buy the book. In one or two cases, this was a "gesture of solidarity. "But in most instances, it was because people preferred to read something they liked in a print version and weren't worried about the small cost -- once they saw, through sampling it online, that it was a novel they enjoyed. (Mother of Demons is a $5.99 paperback, available in most bookstores. Yes, that a plug. )

Re:Tim O'Reilly's comment... (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772935)

I really, really prefer reading books in dead tree form, regardless of what kind of book it is. I find I retain the information much better that way - I guess because I'm not constantly distracted by messenger, e-mail alerts, and so forth. As such, if a book is available for free online, and I like it, I'll buy the paper copy as well - I did that for e.g. Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker [brandonsanderson.com] . I read the last pre-publication draft in PDF form, then preordered a signed hardcover copy.

For programming books, I think all paper copies should come with a free electronic copy. It's nice to be able to pull up a PDF for quick references when your bookshelf isn't handy. (And no, "google it" isn't always the best answer.)

Re:Tim O'Reilly's comment... (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772559)

All true, all good stuff.

Not true: Tim's numbers are wrong, especially if you use a POD supplier.

Re:Tim O'Reilly's comment... (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772619)

> Not true: Tim's numbers are wrong, especially if you use a POD supplier.

I'm not familiar with the print-on-demand pricing... but, FWIW, we just printed up a small batch of books and after shipping, shrink-wrap, and all that it ended up being in the ballpark of what he was saying.

Re:Tim O'Reilly's comment... (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772993)

With a POD publisher that does fulfillment and his standard 10% of wholesale price royalty rate, I can make more money on my own after selling 1500 copies -- and that's without selling electronic versions, where my margin is much, much better. I can break even after selling some 70 copies.

Tim's right that the costs of handling physical books yourself eats up a lot of net income, but you don't have to do that.

Re:Tim O'Reilly's comment... (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773151)

Hm, that is interesting. 1500 copies is more than I've ever sold, though... maybe someday...

Re:Tim O'Reilly's comment... (1)

blindbat (189141) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773097)

You can do much better with Print On Demand.

Although my books are not tech (they are religious), the same principles apply.

After you produce the PDF for text and cover, your work can be done (except for marketing). I use Lightning Source for production and have all my titles listed with Amazon and every other bookseller. Lightning Source's fees are very reasonable, and Amazon takes whatever percent you allow. They handle shipping, credit cards, etc.

My total out of pocket for book production was very low (~130/book) and I can purchase bulk orders cheaper than I sell to Amazon.

You really don't need to spend a lot of money nor do you have to store any books if you do not want to. As both the author and publisher, my return is much higher per sale than through dealing with a publisher.

However, a publisher will help you with editing and marketing (although you pay dearly for both of those).

I'm still in the process of building up my site, but drop by http://godsvaluesystem.com/ [godsvaluesystem.com]

I also have a friend that works on an offset press and he confirms that the book quality from Lightning Source is excellent.

The Goal (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772215)

Whether or not he intended to, Cooper got exactly what he wanted - front page of /. and a ton of publicity for his book. If I were him I'd be very happy right now, regardless of whether his proposition is illegal or not.

Public relations stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772223)

This is merely a stunt to pull in attention and hopefully sales to the book. He's no more a lawyer than I am, so why in the world should we listen to him?

If he really, REALLY cared about his book being available for free online in a second edition he should have not allowed the second edition to be printed by people who wouldn't let him. Move on, write a better book with a publisher that would do things the way he believes they ought to be done. Now he's going to get paper book purchases from saps that can't see through it.

Ugh. (0, Troll)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772251)

"Hi, I got paid money by a large publishing house, then I disagreed with the business model they paid to create, so now I'm encouraging people to steal from the company that paid me all that money."

What a scumbag. I hope he's never published again. It doesn't matter if he's right or wrong; he accepted money to engage in a business model that he's now actively trying to destroy.

Re:Ugh. (2, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772345)

He's encouraging people to steal from him not the publisher.

He owns the text, the publisher owns the bits they added, cover, index, etc. Apparently he made a deal with them where he retained ownership of the text, and they got an exclusive license.

Maybe he's breaking that deal (eg maybe in court this "promise to not sue" would be viewed as a license or implicit permission), or maybe he's abusing them for not requiring him sign over his ownership.

Re:Ugh. (2, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772441)

So is he providing the origional manuscript? Is there even a copy of it before it was sent off to the publisher? You forgot to mention that the publisher edits the book as well.

Re:Ugh. (2, Informative)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772513)

He's encouraging people to steal from him not the publisher.

The book belongs to the publisher, not to him; that's why he had to ask them for permission, to which they said "no".

He owns the text, the publisher owns the bits they added

I cannot imagine why you believe this. No publisher works this way.

Torrent? (3, Funny)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772305)

Torrent to the indexed version please? Thanks

Re:Torrent? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772899)

http://rapidshare.com/files/262916057/Apress.Beginning.Ruby.From.Novice.to.Professional.2nd.Edition.Jul.2009.eBook-BBL.rar

Failure to enforce your copyright negates it (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772599)

From the article:
Apress couldn’t do anything about it because everything would be my copyright. Now, I cannot allow you to do this, but I would not pursue you or enforce my copyrights if you did ;-) So, er, don’t do it!

In the United States, failing to enforce your copyrights negates them. You must protect and enforce them or you lose them.

What the author should have said was that he expressly authorizes the electronic distribution of his work to anyone.

Re:Failure to enforce your copyright negates it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772737)

No, you're thinking of patents. Copyright doesn't go "poof" if it isn't enforced.

Good Lord, People (3, Informative)

Alaren (682568) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772907)

...hate to reply to an AC in reply to an AC because it could just be a couple of trolls... but there's so much misinformation here and it's getting modded up... so here goes.

Trademarks in the United States can expire under certain circumstances involving disuse and lack of enforcement (usually leading to genericization of the term).

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but copyrights and patents are for a term of years, period. They can usually be enforced sporadically, capriciously, or not at all, without leading to early expiration.

Re:Failure to enforce your copyright negates it (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772953)

What the author should have said was that he expressly authorizes the electronic distribution of his work to anyone.

IANAL but I bet his contract with Apress gives Apress exclusive ebook distribution rights... so he can't give that right away.

SCORE GAY TROLL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29772633)

Dear Slashtard Moderation,

      You are a bunch of Commie Marxist Tools in thinking the Author explicitly owns the published work post getting paid and this everything to all for free is your grand buffonery.

      Thats why your moderators for Slashtards and not anything more, enjoy your idiot business model of free.

Probably breaking his contract... (3, Informative)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772753)

I've worked for several publishers over the years, and even in cases where the author keeps the copyright, the publishers is usually granted the enforcement rights, and other portions of the rights. For instance, one would not expect an author to be forced to defend his copyright in court.

I looked at a contract that was executed several years ago:

Check the italicized portion:

1.0:called the work, hereby grants and assigns to the Publisher the exclusive world publishing rights of the work including the sole rights to translations, selections, expansions, abridgments, as well as all electronic production and reproduction thereof, and the Publisher agrees and has the exclusive rights to publish or reproduce the work during the continuance of the copyright ...

9.0: That the Author agrees not to publish--or permit to be published without the written consent of the Publisher--any other book on the same subject written or edited by the Author that will injure the market made for this book, nor to publish or cause to be published any other edition of this book revised, corrected, abridged or otherwise without the written consent of the Publisher.

In the case of every publisher I have ever worked with (and from dealing with hundreds of authors), this has literally NEVER been an issue -- the author requests rights back from the publisher, and he or she gets them 99% of the time. Literally, I don't think I've ever heard of a case of a publisher not following the author's wishes (and I've dealt with a number of authors who were switching publishers with a revised/second/third/fourth/etc edition of their book).

Speaking as a someone with experience in the small academic publishing world, publishers take big risks with signing authors and issuing advances. If the books never materialize, there's actually very little most publishers can do. ie, you have to eat the 10k or whatever, as any law suit would be expensive and uncertain. Thus the extreme legalese.

A few points from the article:

The retail price (RRP) of Beginning Ruby is $40 (give or take a penny) but my publisher, Apress, makes a varying amount per book – I don’t know why.

Very simple -- publishers sell books at widely ranging discounts, from a low of about 20% to a single bookstore, to maybe 40% to wholesalers, to maybe 60% to amazon. Yeah, so for that $40 list price on Amazon, Amazon probably only had to pay < $20! (Yeah, publishing really isn't as highly marked up by the publishers as it might seem!!)

(About an advance> The only advantage to you is that if your book bombs and doesn’t even sell enough copies to pay back the advance, you (usually) don’t have to give the publisher back a penny.

I've never heard of authors having to pay their advances back if their books bomb or don't materialize. I'm sure it happens with bigger publishers and bigger advances, but most of the time the publisher can't do much.

On the royalty statements above, you should see references to “Licensed Rights.” My first editor told me that these are payments you receive for foreign versions of your book, for inclusion on systems like O’Reilly Safari, and “similar.” I’ve asked a couple of times now but I’ve never found out what these amounts are specifically for and I’m not aware of any translated editions of Beginning Ruby.

Often times these fees are for translations or rights to use small segments. For instance if a professor wants to use one chapter but not the whole book, that might be a small licensing fee. Or if somebody wanted to translate the book into Macedonian, we might charge them $500, which is split 50/50 between the publisher and the author.

Now, I wasn’t particularly keen on doing a second edition for a variety of reasons, but the Apress contract states that if you don’t, they have the right to do it without you, have someone else’s name slapped on the book, and, I believe, you get money taken out of your royalties to pay for various bits of extra work. Having my book pulled from under my feet didn’t sound appealing so I signed up to do it.

I've never heard of Apress before, but they sound really, really shitty. I've never heard of a publisher threatening an author like this. The only times I've seen the clause where an author can create a new edition without the original author used is where the original author either died or had no interest in future editions of the book at all AND didn't object to more authors being brought on board. Looking at our contract, I don't think we could bully someone the way Apress bullied Cooper here... I'm very surprised by this, and would steer people away from Apress. Small publishers pop up all the time (lots of people think publishing is a fun industry to work in) and this sounds like one to stay away from!

My own experiences (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772813)

A friend of mine writes well-received books, but he gets a pittance from his publishers. For every 1000 sold, he gets £1000. Very generous when you consider that his books sell for about £16 a piece! I decided to write my own book, as an electronic version; this way I got 100% of the profits but sales were very slow; for a limited time I allowed a free download of my ebook. Then, thanks to the Espresso book machine, I was able to offer a paperback version of my book, but the cost per book was £9 to me, so I had to increase the cost to cover this and postage costs. It has sold more than the ebook version, but I don't know if the free download has affected sales. Unless you're famous, authors get a rough deal from publishing houses.

Oh yes, and my book is still available [paullee.com] :-)

Give it Away, Now (1)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 4 years ago | (#29772821)

I've long been intrigued by the idea of giving the eBook version of my book "Elevator Pitch Essentials" away (no-DRM PDF), but have been reluctant to since I'm actually making decent money via eBook sales.

Maybe part of the difference is that I self published and don't have huge distribution. My books is only available through US Amazon.com and my web site. In a year, I have sold about 80 eBook copies (at $10), mostly overseas or to people who needed it RIGHT NOW (e.g. due to presentations tomorrow). eBook sales are pure profit to me, and roughly twice as profitable as hard copy sales through Amazon.

Of course, I could be making money at the cost of awareness.

i don't have a ship (2, Interesting)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773015)

i can't pirate his book unless i get a boat, find a boat carry his books and then proceed to commit armed robbery.

i think i'd rather just download it, which would be copyright infringement (unless i have permission).

Dive Into Python 3 (2, Interesting)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773191)

Just wanted to point out that, coincidentally, Mark Pilgrim's excellent Dive Into Python 3 just became available in print form today: http://diveintopython3.org/ [diveintopython3.org] . He published Dive Into Python under the GNU Free Documentation license and made it available in a number of formats, and Dive Into Python 3 is available under a Creative Commons license and downloadable in HTML and PDF form. Full copies of both texts can be browsed online. Both are excellent. Interestingly, both were published by Apress.

Why is the link incorrect? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29773241)

Why does this link go to some Cancer site, and not take me to the Article... And if they expect me to sign up, then can someone please post the REAL URL? I really want to read this article.

Re:Why is the link incorrect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29773263)

getting that here too....

Re:Why is the link incorrect? (2, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773281)

the author of the article redirect all requests to his page to go to the cancer site.

Re:Why is the link incorrect? (2, Funny)

iron-kurton (891451) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773347)

Maybe he's saying every time you pirate his book, God kills a cancer cell. Hopefully, the slashdot effect will cure cancer.

A bad summary makes bad responses (4, Informative)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773247)

I wrote the piece linked here and the summary on Slashdot is laughably wrong. All the cool Hacker News and Reddit people who read the story.. you're awesome and you really added to the discussion and didn't come out with nonsense saying I'm actively encouraging people to break the law (which, if whoever wrote the summary could comprehend English, is not what I said - I raised a potential method of circumvention as a thought experiment.. "I suspect" does not mean "I think you must").

So if Slashdotters want to be the first to spout nonsense and misquotes on the same day my first kid was born (I'm just getting a few hours sleep after being up a gazillion hours ;-)) then congratulations - some of you succeeded admirably. All the traffic to the site is going to somewhere you can donate to a good cause and earn some actual karma.

Re:A bad summary makes bad responses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29773391)

You must be new here

Weird redirection (1)

pinkyLavie (1656161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29773273)

Weird, I just got redirected to http://www.cancer.org/docroot/don/don_0.asp [cancer.org] , is somebody having this problem too?

Re:Weird redirection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29773313)

Peter just had a baby. He doesn't have time to deal with the slashdotting.

http://twitter.com/peterc/status/4926493168

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