Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Bibliophile Stalker Writes About Ebook Piracy In The Philippines

The Bibliophile Stalker shares his thoughts about Ebook Piracy (especially as it exists in the Philippines) in this blog entry. An excerpt:

This past week, the “controversy of the week” happens to be eBook Piracy and Copyright. Troisroyaumes and Jamyee Goh have link round-ups in their corresponding websites.

I’m an author so I do want to get paid for my work, whether it’s print or
electronic. However, I live in a country where right across the street,
vendors are selling pirated DVDs (the fact that Blu-ray never caught on
here--or have yet to--should clue you in as to the living conditions
here) so to be naive about piracy is ludicrous. In an ideal world,
people would compensate everyone justly but the reality is we don’t live
in a fair society, nor is the distribution of wealth equitable. That’s
not to justify piracy, but it’s there to shed light as to how the
current practices and laws can be unfair.

Having said that, when it comes to the Philippines, I find the idea that
authors are complaining about eBook piracy funny. Not because it’s
irrelevant, but because there’s bigger fish to fry when it comes to
infringement on copyright, at least in this country. The entire
university ecosystem subsists on photocopying books and textbooks. Back
when the Ferdinand Marcos was still president of the Philippines, it was
legal to photocopy documents for educational/research purposes. 25
years after Marcos’s presidency, that’s still the practice today
(although not necessarily legal to do so), mainly because there’s no
suitable alternative. (On a side note, here’s an interesting paper on
Copyright Protection for Philippine Publications.)

For example, in college, I had an elective on “10 Books of the Century”
which includes titles like Ulysses by James Joyce and The Stranger by
Albert Camus. Because I wanted to do my readings the legal way, I tried
obtaining these books. Suffice to say, I was only able to find half of
them at local bookstores (and I did tour all three major bookstores at
the time) and it cost me P5,000.00 (around $100.00). To give readers an
idea of income in the Philippines, minimum wage here is around $8.00 a
day, as opposed to an hour in America. The cost of the books I
bought--which is only half that’s required by the class--is easily half a
month’s wage, and that doesn’t yet include tuition (or the bigger
problem that this is just one elective). Photocopying the said books is
still expensive, but better than the alternative.

Click here to read the whole blog entry. The Bibliophile Stalker makes clear the differences in circumstances between the 1st world and the 3rd world when it comes to Ebooks.


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