[nycbug-talk] SOPA DOA

Michael W. Lucas mwlucas at blackhelicopters.org
Tue Jan 17 15:56:21 EST 2012

On Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 12:36:05PM -0500, Edward Capriolo wrote:> 
> If you were to google the name of my book, by putting into google search:
> "high performance cassandra cookbook download pdf"
> You would find the top result is legitimate. The next 6 results are from
> these network of mirror sites. bookf.net, filestube.com, hotfilesearch.com,
> www.downloadpdffree.com, there are 10 pages. Likely they are 90% populated
> with illegal copies, because obviously there is some mirror network.

Very typical results.  A google search for "Absolute FreeBSD download
PDF" does not list any legitimate site.

> Now besides the fact that none of these sites have the right to sell/give
> away copies of my book, they are also serving ads and making money on page
> views and clicks.
> Write my prospective this just stinks.

Yep. It's infuriating. It sucks. It sucks putrescent weasel wang.

The most important thing an author can do is to not let it affect your
outlook on life.  A friend of mine stroked out & died not long ago, in
part because of his blood pressure, which was high in part because he
let this crap get to him. I can't say "book piracy" killed him, but it
sure didn't help.

So, Edward: take a deep breath, chill out, don't give yourself a

On to the part the rest of the list might vaguely care about:

We (for a REALLY wide value of we) have created a technology that has
mostly eliminated the cost of successive copies.  The first copy of a
book/movie/song/artwork is expensive, all others are effectively free.

The trick is to pay for that first copy, and hopefully a per-copy
bonus afterwards for popular creations. (If your creation is used
twenty million times, it would be nice if you got something extra
compared to the guy whose work is used twenty times.) People and
companies want this structure. But where will it come from?

1) We can throw up our hands and say "It's a social problem, there's
nothing we can do." This is where the tech community is today, and I
expect that we'll be there for the forseeable future.

2) We can decide that it's important that content creators get
compensated, and develop a technical means for that to happen. I would
really, really like to see this happen.

3) We can let the legislature decide on the solution. This path leads
to DMCA, SOPA, PIPA, and worse. If we do nothing, big money will write
the law.

My personal belief is that the technical community will do nothing,
the legislature will do something annoying and ineffective, and the
end result will be a wholesale destruction of today's content creation

A new content creation industry will arise. Technology companies will
purchase some content creators, while other creators will subsist on
sponsorship. Content creators will need to develop entirely new
business models. Many of these will resemble pre-Gutenberg business

I can easily imagine "Absolute FreeBSD, 5th Ed" coming about by:

a) being sponsored by (hypothetically) the FreeBSD Foundation, iX
Systems, Hudson River Trading, and assorted other folks who support

b) a kickstarter-style project that says "This book is six man-months
of effort. I will release it to the wild and as a $2.99 ebook in
exchange for $20,000." (Numbers are rectally extracted, but you get
the general idea; a survivable professional-ish wage in exchange for

c) Someone who shall remain unnamed but has the initials "George R"
trapping me in a server room until the book is complete, feeding me by
shoving pizza under the door. The entire FreeBSD community swears that
he was with them at the time.

d) ???

In short, the community with financial resources will pay for quality
work.  One way or another. We pay for code creation, we'll pay for


> What can I do? Find a lawyer and try
> to go after every site in this worldwide mirror network? Yea right. I can
> not "fight back" and issue a DDOS attack or something because then I am in
> the wrong.
> One of the things that made the United States a super power was the power
> of our patent office and power to enforce copyrights. It rewards the
> inventor and the innovator. In a nutshell, it is the driving force behind
> capitalism. I think a few people have chimed in and really illustrated that
> piracy really cripples the innovator, and as you can see we are really
> helpless to protect ourselves.
> Now I worked at a data center. I know I would not want the government to
> kick down the door and seize every computer in the shot because there may
> be "an illegal copy of a PDF somewhere in this data center". However, let
> me say this. Facilitating a crime in most cases is a crime. For example, if
> you watch a dogfight, your a facilitator, that is a crime. If you watch a
> street race, your a facilitator that is a crime.
> I know it is very hard to know as an ISP to know if people your data center
> are committing or facilitating a crime. Likewise if you are an ad network
> that ends up showing an ad on a site it is hard to know if that site is
> committing or facilitating a crime. Or, if your google, it is hard for you
> to know that nice of the top ten search results are sites facilitating or
> committing a crime.
> However, I think we always have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. An
> ISP does not want to be known as a "spam friendly ISP" so they introduce
> clauses in their contract that punish or allow them to disable the
> connection if they detect SPAM. Can and should google employ some algorithm
> to help prevent sites obviously trafficking stoled E-books from showing up
> in search results? I think so. Can an ad network be diligent and not serve
> ads on these type of sites? I think so.
> As I stated up in my first reply I am not not saying SOPA was/is
> good/bad/whatever, but I did want to chime in with my half brained thoughts
> because it puts a face on some issue for the "the little guy". I did not
> make a multi-platinum CD and have the RIAA suing 12 year olds. I'm just a
> guy who really hates searching for his book and finding filestube.com as
> the #1 result.
> Edward

Michael W. Lucas 	
http://www.MichaelWLucas.com/, http://blather.MichaelWLucas.com/
Latest book: Network Flow Analysis http://www.networkflowanalysis.com/
mwlucas at BlackHelicopters.org, Twitter @mwlauthor

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