The Internet as we know it is without boundaries and borders. It is just as easy for me to post this message, and reach people from all over the world, as it is to send a message to my mother, a forty minute drive from where I live. But I cannot purchase an eBook from Waterstones:
”Due to territorial copyright restrictions, we are currently unable to sell eBooks to many countries. We are currently unable to sell any eBooks to your territory.”If you made it this far, then thanks for reading!
My ”territory” is Sweden. Waterstones is based in the United Kingdom. I can however purchase the same physical book (”GB84” by David Peace), except that I don’t want to. I have stopped buying ”physical” books (except for textbooks or manuals) for the same reason I have stopped buying CD’s: the medium is obsolete! I am not arguing that there is no room for physical books any more; if you want them - go get them. My point here is that I simply want to buy a book, and I am not allowed to do so.
What’s going to happen now is this; since I still don’t want the physical book (again: why even bother with an eBook reader if you’re going to continue buying non-digital books?), I am going to ”find” the book somewhere on the Internet, download it and read it, without the author getting any compensation for his work. And, believe it or not, I actually do want the artist (author in this case) to receive monetary compensation for his/her work (if anybody is interested, I wrote a little thing about that problem here).
Who benefits from this nonsense? Not Waterstones (or Amazon, the same idiotic principles with geographical restrictions apply there), and certainly not the author.
It is my understanding that these restrictions, on digital books and music, are there to somehow stop piracy, which proves that the suits who run the show have no idea how things work. Trust me, if it is digital, it is already there for the taking!
So, what would happen if you were to sell these items just as you would physical things (preferably with a more sane price, and without any stupid DRM protection)? Would you only get to sell one copy, which would be uploaded somewhere, and would the rest of the would-be consumers ”steal” that copy? I think not, and I can prove it:
Both of these artists have taken a different approach than Waterstones and Amazon. They do not treat their potential customers as idiots, they sell a reasonably priced product (nobody will ever manage to convince me that en eBook needs to be more expensive than a physical book, it defies every plausible law of economics), and they have been very successful.
My final question in regards to this issue is:
- Why are so few doing what Louis C. K. and Trent Reznor managed to do?
Neither of the above have superpowers, nor do I think they are more intelligent than a lot of other artists out there, be they authors, musicians, or comedians. What they do have is common sense, and I refuse to accept that it is so rare in the entertainment industry.