Will you buy a Digital Product that allows you to share and remix?

Today, My beloved Tamil author Mr.N Chokkan, asked a question in twitter.

புது நூல் / இசை PDF / MP3 கிடைக்குமா என்றுதான் 99.99% ட்வீட்கள். சும்மா ஒரு பாவனைக்குக்கூட, ‘எங்கே வாங்கலாம்?’ என்று கேட்பதில்லை

https://twitter.com/nchokkan/statuses/399372520245043200

புதுப்பட / பாடல் / புத்தக download லிங்க் பகிரங்கமாகக் கேட்போர் ‘அரிசி அரை கிலோ வேண்டும், எங்கே திருடலாம்?’ என்று ட்வீட் எழுதுவார்களா?

https://twitter.com/nchokkan/statuses/399372850156429312

He asks that

People ask for download link when a new Book/Movie/Audio is released.
99.99% tweets are regarding download links. Nobody asks for a link to buy them.
Will people ask for a how to steal rice, when they need to buy it?

This questions raised a lot of thoughts and sharing them here.

Sharing is a nature of human. When we are kids, our moms asked us to share the foods with our friends. They put extra food in our tiffin boxes for sharing.

She share the food with neighbors even today.

They all know that sharing is caring.

It is not about the cost. I have a thing with me. I will share it with anyone.
Its my right.

It historic days, Ramanajur, the Hindu saint, was asked to keep a secret of god.
He reached to a temple tower and announced the secret to all public, proving that all good things should reach all.

http://srivaishnavam.com/ramanuja_lifehistory.htm
Check Chapter 11

All the world literature is being transformed for ages and ages to next generation just make sure that all the good should reach all. Nobody cared about the copyright laws.

Let us come to the modern era.

There are Analog Products and Digital Products.

Let us compare an Analog Book or Motor Bike.

To make a Motor Bike, the manufacturing company should invest atleast 30-40% of the selling price. For each MotorBike, the company should invest the same 30-40% cost of the bike.

Once I bought the Bike, Its my own property.

  • I can ride it anywhere.
  • I can share it with my friends.
  • I can make it into parts on to know how it works.
  • If I am a mechanic, I can repair or rework on it to customize it.
  • I can resell it.
  • I can donate it.

I can do whatever I want.

Let us come to a Digital Product.

It is a Software/Music/Ebook.

Let us say the Company invests 30-40% of the selling cost to create the first copy of the product.

What is the cost the company invests for the second copy? 0 Rs or 10 Rs for the CD or DVD. But they sell all the copies to the same rate. How this is correct?

Fine. Its their wish to sell for any cost. As a buyer what rights I get?

  • I should not make copies of it.
  • I should not share it.
  • I should not modify it.
  • I should not study it.

When a mechanic can study a Bike, As a software engineer why should not I study the software I buy? Why I dont get the source code?

When I buy a music cd, why I should not share it with my friends, when I share my Bike? Why I should not resell the CD, when I sell my bike?

Business people may come with some weired answers for these questions.

They need to make tons and tons of money with one time effort and to sell million times.

They say with lot of buzzwords like intellectual property, copyright laws etc, just to make sure that the digital products are not copied and shared.

Fine. It will be nice, if anyone replied here on what are the fears of a Digital Product creator to sell his products for a cheaper price with all rights to the buyer?

Do you think that we can not make money when there is no secret?

Take the Food Industry.

Most of us know, how to make Idly, Sambar, Rice and all other delicious Food.
But still there is Saravana bhavan making money. HotChips makes money.
Name a branded hotel. It makes Millions of money, where all the recipe are open to public. They sell the Food with all the rights to the buyer to share, resell, remix, etc.

If they can make money, with open recipe and rights to share, we also can make it. Yes. Need to make a lot of changes in business model and have to reduce the greediness of making million dollar by investing only one time.

Let us think on the other way.

We are living in a era of sharing.
Though there are tight laws, we can not prevent online sharing of digital products.
Though it is illegal, people love to share their contents. Because, Sharing is in our blood.

People will pay and buy any product that is affordable and encourages them to learn it, hack it, share it and remix it.

Still in doubt?

Write a book and release the PDF for 20-30 Rs with all rights to share and remix in Creative Commons license.

Choose a suitable license from here. http://creativecommons.org/choose/

I am sure you will get more money then you get as royalty when you release as a printer book by any publisher.

(Ask your known writers on how much they make money as royalty. They get very less and they even dont know how many books are sold. Publishers wont share any business data with the writers.)

Reply here, If you agree to buy such a Digital Product that is cheap and in Creative commons license.

12 thoughts on “Will you buy a Digital Product that allows you to share and remix?

  1. First of all, Thanks for your long response. It shows you respect my view point and are writing a response instead of blindly saying ‘you are wrong’.

    So, Let me pay back by writing a detailed response too🙂 Please understand that I respect your view point, and denying it.

    First of all, you seem to have understood these two tweets as “Corporate Voice”. It is not, I am not a movie producer, music producer, book publisher, I am a writer, If my book sells few hundred copies more, I get some a small financial advantage, That’s all.

    So, my tweet is not about selling more copies or earning more profit, it is about the attitude of stealing, not sharing.

    As you have used the term Sharing so many times, I need to talk about it first.

    Let us say you have a printed book, you give it to me, I read it and return, that is sharing.

    Instead, let us say you xerox the book and give it to me. That is NOT sharing, that is stealing. You make sure the publisher doesn’t get paid for that copy, and the author misses the 10% royalty he is supposed to get for that extra copy.

    Of course, we paid some money to the xerox shop, but he got it purely for paper, ink and electricity, NOT for the content.

    I guess that is the point you are missing, publisher and author deserve X rupees for the content in EVERY copy, whether it is hard copy or soft copy, irrespective of how much they spent to produce that book, even if it is $0.

    This problem doesn’t happen in bike or rice or burger, because, you can’t copy them.

    In digital world, this problem is even bigger, because cost of copying is $0. So everyone copies it / shares it as if they are the legal owners of it. While a printed book can be shared with 1 person or 2 people maximum, an eBook can be shared with 1000s of people in few hours. Who pays for those?

    You may hate the term intellectual property, But for authors like me, that’s what pays our bread. How can you deny that right to us? I wrote the book, so I get to expect certain benefits from it, If your sharing affects that, it is stealing by government law, by natural law also.

    And about your challenge of Rs 20 books with no restrictions, Flyte tried it in MP3s (No restriction files), You know they had to close down with heavy losses.

    I agree the Open Source system is great, But expecting everyone to release their work as open source (or without restrictions) will only encourage those who steal.

    I repeat, copying digital content without explicit permission from its owner is stealing, it is as good as stealing 100 rupees from my publishers pocket, and 10 rupees from my pocket.

    These numbers are much higher for Music industry and Movie industry. But I don’t represent them.

    • >And about your challenge of Rs 20 books with no restrictions, Flyte tried it in MP3s (No restriction files), You know they had to close down with heavy losses.

      Flyte MP3s were totally different. They never sold chartbusters for 20 Rs. Only 5 year old’s (That too popular IR singles were still 15 Rs). Chartbusters were priced same as Music CD’s which is crime because digital delivery actually costs less than physical delivery. I would imagine some issue with Music labels and too many royalty seeking organizations might have been the issue. If you point me to detailed research / insider info on why they closed down with heavy losses, this is a valid argument. I would otherwise assume you are using this argument as confirmation bias.

      Why do you think they are still selling Flyte e-books and only MP3s were failure? Doesn’t it clearly say something about Indian music industry and their greed?

  2. Please understand that I respect your view point, and denying it.

    🙂 You are always welcome sir.

    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    I feel like you came to my home and discussing with me.
    It is my pleasure to welcome you.

    Let us say you have a printed book, you give it to me, I read it and return, that is sharing.

    Instead, let us say you xerox the book and give it to me. That is NOT sharing, that is stealing.
    You make sure the publisher doesn’t get paid for that copy, and the author misses the 10% royalty he is supposed to get for that extra copy.

    What if I share the same book (one single copy) with thousands of people, (one day per person) ?

    What the Government Libraries and Private Libraries do?

    Govt libraries buy few copies of books and make thousands of people read it for free.
    Private libraries buy few copies of books and rent them for hundereds of people to read.

    How the writers and publishers allow this?

    Of course, we paid some money to the xerox shop, but he got it purely for paper, ink and electricity, NOT for the content.

    I guess that is the point you are missing, publisher and author deserve X rupees for the content in EVERY copy, whether it is hard copy or soft copy, irrespective of how much they spent to produce that book, even if it is $0.

    I agree on this.

    This model should be rethinked and need an alternate viewpoint.
    When publishers and authors deserve some rights on a book, what are the rights they give to a buyer?

    Then what is the meaning of “Customer is King” ?

    A book is made by the efforts of following people.

    Author
    Proofreader
    Publisher
    Paper Seller
    Printer
    Book Seller
    etc.

    Why should only publisher and author deserve X rupees for the content in EVERY copy. Why not others?

    Putting one time effort and expect lifeling revenue – This business model should be examined and changed.

    This problem doesn’t happen in bike or rice or burger, because, you can’t copy them.
    In digital world, this problem is even bigger, because cost of copying is $0. So everyone copies it / shares it as if they are the legal owners of it. While a printed book can be shared with 1 person or 2 people maximum, an eBook can be shared with 1000s of people in few hours. Who pays for those?

    Yes. The copying cost of digital product is 0. It is 0 for all.
    For the publisher and for the buyer.

    Then why the seller sells all the Software/Ebooks/Music/Video for the same cost?

    What If I want to buy 100 copies of a ebook?

    I am being charged 100 times. Is it correct?

    Why I have to pay 100 times more for a single time work?

    If I buy a audio CD, all my family, in same home, hears it.
    Do I have to pay for all the family members?

    If I want all my family members living across the world, to read a ebooks, do I have to buy one ebook for each member?

    You may hate the term intellectual property, But for authors like me, that’s what pays our bread. How can you deny that right to us? I wrote the book, so I get to expect certain benefits from it, If your sharing affects that, it is stealing by government law, by natural law also.

    So government is stealing by creating libraries everywhere.🙂

    Read the links on bottom on how to make money by Creative commons licensed products.

    And about your challenge of Rs 20 books with no restrictions, Flyte tried it in MP3s (No restriction files), You know they had to close down with heavy losses.

    This will happen for the resellers only. This wont affect the creators. Did AR Rahman or Ilaiyaraja get any impact on this?

    Just Imagine as Ilaiyaraja and ARRahman sells their music on their own web sites, with the same cost Flyte sold.
    They wont get any loss.

    I agree the Open Source system is great, But expecting everyone to release their work as open source (or without restrictions) will only encourage those who steal.

    Allowing people to share legally is the simplest way to stop steal.

    Whatever we discuss, 90% of digital contents released in the world is available for free in the internet.
    Tons of Warez sites, torrents, forums are running just the share the contents.

    Even in Tamil world, most of the tamil ebooks are available for download.
    Most of the series from ananta vikatan website are available largely.
    Scanned copies of many books are there.

    We should think something differently on how can we make money, by allowing people to share.

    This may be sound very hard. But why can’t we give a try?

    I repeat, copying digital content without explicit permission from its owner is stealing, it is as good as stealing 100 rupees from my publishers pocket, and 10 rupees from my pocket.

    I strongly agree with this.

    But when I want to buy 1000 copies of the same digital content, the publishers get 1000s of 100 ruppers and author gets 1000s of 10 rupees.
    What is the name for this?

    ————–

    Some links on how can we make money by releasing our digital products in creative commons license, which allows sharing.

    CC audio:
    http://audio.tutsplus.com/articles/general/creative-commons-for-musicians-can-you-make-money-by-giving-music-away/
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/255602/how_to_protect_your_artistic_works_with_a_creative_commons_license.html

    CC Eooks:
    http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2013/09/05/why-i-re-priced-my-mapping-media-ebook-from-5-to-15/
    http://mir.aculo.us/2012/10/20/5-rules-to-sell-thousands-of-copies-of-your-ebook/
    http://bloggasm.com/the-creative-commons-confound-whether-releasing-your-book-for-free-will-help-boost-your-sales

    http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2009/09/13/creative-commons-what-is-it-and-how-can-it-benefit-you/
    http://www.instructables.com/id/HOWTO-Negotiate-a-Creative-Commons-License-Ten-St/?ALLSTEPS
    http://andromedayelton.com/blog/2012/12/08/you-say-you-want-a-revolution-ebooks-licensing-and-the-future/

    CC Photography:
    Kalyan Varma: Free art is profitable #INKtalks

    These links explain a lot about making money with Digital Products, even with CC license.

    ————

    Thanks for making the discussion healthier. It creates a lot of thoughts and I just shared whatever I think.
    Aplogies if it hurts anyone. I am still learning on writing smoothly.
    Feel free to correct me, If I am wrong.

    There are no direct answers for your questions and I am completely fine with your thoughts.

    When the business moved to digital from analog, the business model should change.
    The same anolog business wont apply for the digital content business.

    We should discuss a lot, read a lot about creative commons license and take brave decisions when entering into digital product business.

    • Whatever we discuss, 90% of digital contents released in the world is available for free in the internet.

      Allowing people to share legally is the simplest way to stop steal.

      Agreed.
      This is a real fact that most people (authors / publishers) are reluctant to agree / accept!!

  3. There are few things to ponder upon….

    When it comes to a Book, in paper format, costs come into account. For instance, publishing cost, Paper Cost, etc.

    But, except for the First Copy of a Digital Product, others do not have such price!!

    Further, if I buy a music CD, say, I cannot prevent my fellow room mates from hearing the song when I am hearing…

    Much of Music heard today has become popular just because, it was SHARED FREE!!! (By Some media like Television..)

    But, again, if a Digital Product allows me to re mix, there are possibilities of horrible mixes..
    No one would like to hear a spoiled Remix of Ilayaraja / Rahman…
    Hence, Re mix must not affect the original notion!!

    P.S: I think you meant “Will you buy a Digital Product…?”

  4. Thanks Shrini and Chookan for having us introduced to this wonderful conversation… Let’s expect many more thoughts from authors and digital content creators on constraints in sharing which can help all to bring a new model and evolve a new healthy business process for digital assets…🙂

  5. I respect the model of CC In turn, I also support copyright for works. This needs to be analyzed based on works and effort of creator. It is a type of courtesy that society can offer to creator. Basic fact is that unless creators are honored in any field, new innovations will not bloom. so CC can’t be expected in all form of works.

    In regards with food industry example, they are just service sector and not the developing sector(creating new). I have found many branded hotels or branded food industries are hardly shared their preparation secrets of their receipes

  6. From what i see , the argument for drm and rights seems like people have not understood how the traditional business model works and digital business is no different and have to follow the same rules as traditional businesses (brick and motor shops). Digit is just a delivery mechanism. Digital by itself does not do creative work. It is humans who create novel works. So trying to extract the every bit of juice , seems to me like being greedy. So the crap about drm and rights is either they have less understanding of the business model or they are plain greedy is what looks like to me.

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