I steal eBooks off bittorrent. Get over it. The internet is the new printing press and library all wrapped up into one little machine inside your own home. If you want to “check books out of the library” learn how to use bittorrent, Calibre and file shares. Wrap your mind around it. What do you think a library is? It’s a place to find and read free books. Plain and simple. I’m sure when the first library was built there were authors who pissed and moaned about how no one would be paying for their books but where the fuck are those authors now? They’re dead. And if you’re only writing to make money then you shouldn’t be writing in the first place.
“Of all writings I love only that which is written with blood. Write with blood: and you will discover that blood is spirit.” — Nietzsche
The most frightening thing to people in power is a more powerful printing press and a gigantic library where anyone can read anything they want. Think about it. The publishing industry and our government would absolutely love to control this but the genie is already out of the bottle. Those in power will never out hack the hackers and this internet you are using right now was literally built by hackers and the free flow of information.
“Isn’t it still stealing?” You should also tell that to Jeff Bezos. I make .89 cents per book from my $10.00 book. A book that I wrote myself, made my own cover, formatted it, published it, promoted it and uploaded it. How does that work exactly? When the Kindle version is just a simple download? How does Amazon make 90% off my book and every other small author’s book? Fuck me if that’s not stealing too.
And what about the publishing industry? Why didn’t they accept my book so I could sell it legitimately like a real author? Or my movie? Oh let me see, I think they said something like they were both too controversial or not mainstream enough. (You’ll probably say, “Because they probably suck” but whatever, to each his own). But what is my option for a distribution platform? How do I get my book or movie out to my audience since the Today Show isn’t knocking on my door?
When the printing press was invented it was a giant leap forward. Here’s a quote I stole outright, copied and pasted straight from Wikipedia, “The invention and spread of the printing press is widely regarded as the most influential event in the second millennium AD, revolutionizing the way people conceive and describe the world they live in, and ushering in the period of modernity.” When the people in power realized anyone could build a printing press and distribute whatever information they wanted they knew full well they were losing their grip. So what was the next step? Control the printing press.
Imagine a world where every individual has in their own home their own printing press. When you right click on a file (no matter how large it is) and copy and paste it you can make an exact copy of that file. What do you think you’re doing? It’s the same thing as the printing press only multiplied by millions. Not only is it possible to copy and paste millions of bits of information but millions of average people have this technology in their own home.
Now imagine an author who writes the next modern day version of The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine. What if Amazon won’t allow it on their site? What if the government doesn’t want it distributed? What if all the mainstream media outlets are dead set against it and the church is preaching at the pulpit on how dangerous it is? How would anyone ever hear those ideas if everything is under control and no one could share information? Not just in the US but think of fascist dictatorships and fundamentalist theocracies. This technology would be a revolution and that is exactly what is happening right under your nose but you’re too fucking stupid or unwilling to face it.
What’s amazing to me is that the average person has had the ability to do this since 1997 (when even my parents bought a computer) and somehow I’m the freak? Maybe it’s because I use this uncontrolled flow of information and you are still living in a goddam cave. I am using a giant library that you couldn’t even begin to imagine and you are only reading what you are told you can read or what you can find on Amazon. Half of the books on my Kindle right now you couldn’t find at a physical library if you tried.
“Oh but James with a real library you don’t pay for books, but you do have to return them within a set period. With file-sharing the book is not being returned, it is being kept indefinitely.” That just makes this kind of “library” that much more amazing, hard to comprehend, revolutionary and giant a paradigm shift.
The whole concept of the internet was first envisioned by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). During the cold war they were worried that during a nuclear attack, if they had all their intelligence in one place, how would they protect it? You couldn’t build a bunker deep enough and the Soviets would find the location. So they came up with the idea to distribute that information everywhere. With a giant web of information any place attacked wouldn’t be a problem because it would also exist somewhere else.
Now we the People have that same technology in our hands. The Puppet Masters don’t mind. Trust me they wouldn’t let us have this power if it were really that dangerous. Plus they probably realized it would be a great leap forward and help topple dictatorships and tyranny all over the world. Look at P2P and bittorrent as the same thing. It’s a giant library that exists on millions of hard drives all over the world. I know on one hand you can look at it like it’s a way to “steal” music, movies and software. But what if something happened? Like all the media outlets came under control of a small group of people (which is actually happening as I write this), or a giant war broke out or a natural disaster. All of that information, music, film and software would still be out there somewhere on all the millions of hard drives and computers. That is a giant indestructible library. And even if the internet is shut down or it becomes so chaotic we don’t have electricity that data is still on those hard drives. When we rebuild an infrastructure we’ll be able to access it and share it again. Think about that asshole who torched the Library at Alexandria. There will be no way some religious nut could burn it all down.
“Oh James but if everyone just pirates books off the Internet all the writers would just quit because they would have to get real jobs to support themselves.” That sounds like the Fundamentalist Christian argument against homosexuality. They argue, “What if everyone becomes gay? No one anywhere on the planet will reproduce and eventually we will all die off as a species!” Give me a break. There will always be people who buy books, music, film and software. People still buy my book and there is no way I can control what they do with it after they have it in their hands. This is just a fact of life and I can either accept it or whine and complain about it. Or I can actually look at it from a different perspective.
Every system has its problems and attributes. I used to work at a Public Library and if you only knew what kind of controls and red tape that went in to what books ended up on the shelf your head would explode. Also I have always asked myself why certain books weren’t even available at Border’s or Barnes & Nobel. It has to do with distribution and who controls what goes on the shelf. Now I’ll agree the downside to this new “library” is the problem with compensation to the creator. But you cannot deny the fact that with this new kind of distribution platform there is way, way more variety, selection, freedom and access. Ever go to a grocery store and wonder why they have the worst books by the checkout lane? It’s because someone controls that shelf space. It’s as simple as that. I used to wonder if everyone was just too stupid to read good literature or was it the marketing? Were these books actually brilliant and I’m just the fucking idiot? Was it the manager of the store who had no taste? Go to another store from the same corporate chain on the other side of town and you’ll see the same books right there on the shelf. There’s a conspiracy to dumb down America and if you don’t see it I don’t how to explain it to you. Something is under control. Sometimes I feel like Winston Smith from 1984 when I discus this problem and I am amazed at how people just repeat the same slogans they hear off the Telescreen. And anyone who thinks differently is committing Thoughtcrime. If you’re too stupid to steal books or think it’s morally wrong then don’t. I don’t really give a fuck.
“I hate the reading idlers.” – Fredrick Nietzsche