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Slashback: Universities, Piecemiel, Yakkin' 192

What will They think of next? Easier to start with what They've thought of previously. For instance: How is Steven King's online book experiment going? And speaking of Them, where lies the trend in The War Between The Pitiful RIAA and the Splendid Universities? And when will They realize that I don't want to talk into my address book, even if that's a PDA? Those people have a lot to answer for.

Allegedly U.S. $299, allegedly end-of-year, allege, allege. Good news for those of us equipped with the quaint alternative to Palm Computing's organizers, even if less than impressed by most combination PDA / phone attempts -- InaneBoy writes: "Handspring's got a bunch of pictures and details of their new 'Visor Phone' Check it out! Super-keen!"

Of course, hemos is right -- there's a reason that most phones aren't as wide as your average PDA. This one looks like a reasonable -- if expensive -- way to combine the two items, especially if it will work with the combination mic / speaker earbud things. (But shouldn't the people making Springboard modules be a little busier with my GPS reciever?)

Plus, many colleges have declined to ban copying machines, tape recorders and ethernet. carlocius writes: "It appears that my college, Michigan State University, just handed Metallica and Dr. Dre another loss in their attempt to get Napster blocked on large Universities. MSU's administators stated that the Acceptable Use Policy of the university already covers copyright issues and there is no reason for Napster to be banned before a trial. GO STATE!!!"

Likewise, jellings writes: "The University of Pennsylvania joined the ranks of leading universities who are refusing to shut down access to the Napster on their campus, according to an article from the university press. U Pres. Judith Rodin said that "banning the Internet service would go against the University's educational mission by denying students freedom of inquiry and expression" and pointed to the Digital Millenium Act for further justification, saying that limiting access is not her responsibility ("Internet service providers cannot be held accountable for illegal activity on their networks if they are unaware of the activity"). Although the awareness of the activity of the issue may be questionable, it is certainly good to see a big U not yielding to the demands of Dr. Dre & Metallica ..."

The list of schools refusing to buckle under keeps growing; campus admins and sysadmins seem justifiably adamant about letting their policies be dictated by corporate vulture groups. Bandwidth reasons may be another story entirely, though.

Of course, not everyone has the awesome power of ResNet behind them ... ca1v1n writes: "The awesome power of the record labels has come through again. The Offspring have cancelled their plans to distribute their next album for free, after legal action and the threat of a lawsuit from Sony music. Yahoo! news has the scoop. So much for protecting the artists' interests."

An enquiry into establishing a curve of electronic book sales ... Triumphant former astronomy student jamie points out this CNN story on the continuing book experiment by Stephen King, who is still selling his novel online. Here's a telling snippet:

...since the first installment's release July 24, the percentage of readers paying for their downloads has dropped from 76 percent to less than 70 percent for the second installment. Part three goes up on Monday.
jamie points out that 70 "but he's giving us part 3 anyway. The more telling figures: 172,004 people had paid for part one and 74,373 people had paid for part two."

maomoondog pipes in: "Apparently, King's company is upset that too few of the downloads are being paid for. Stephen King comments on the progress here. Personally, I'm impressed that 70% of the downloads are being paid for. With as low a per-item cost as a text download is, the author should really clean up in this sort of arrangement."

If you're one of the 172,004, liked the story, but are not part of the 74,373, please consider joining the second group on jamie's behalf, because as he says: "It's actually not a bad story and I want to see how it ends :)"

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Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Creepy news... the man that hit King with a van was recently found dead in his home.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    VA screwed you?

    Cool. I'm gonna buy some shares.

    Fuck Propaganda. And fuck BJP.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is the same kind of mentality that causes people to, say, accept free Christmas cards from Amnesty International and never make a donation.

    Hardly. Amnesty International and various other organizations attempt to play off your guilt by sending you something and then asking for a donation... and people respond, because geez, they've already given you something, so that means you really owe them something, right?

    Sorry, no - please play again. I used to contribute to Amnesty International and a couple of other non-profit organizations that I thought did good work, until they decided that...

    • My giving them money meant I was a soft touch;
    • They started hitting me up for contributions monthly ;
    • They started sending me guilt-grams to try and cooerce me into contributing even more.

    At that point, they didn't see me as a contributor - they saw me as a mark, someone they felt free to try to pressure into financially assisting their cause. So I stopped responding. Sooner or later, they get a clue, and send out a "The world still needs your help..." letter, which I also ignore... and soon after that, they leave me alone and move onto some other sucker who is willing to be badgered and browbeaten into funding their cause.

  • I suppose your acquantances only read "literature", not that popular tripe that Stephen King puts out. I can only hope and pray that I can become an acquaintance of yours so I can learn how to be an in-duh-lectual. In other words, GO AWAY!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's TANSTA*A*FL, f'chrissakes! Mod THIS up, baby!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Or as Stephen King once said, "Please don't hit me with your van."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Are you and "Bowie J. Paog" actually the same person?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think his model works just fine. About 4 minutes ago I made my third $1 payment and I am early awaiting part IV.

    Hooked in Louisiana
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Looks like The Offspring and Sony have decided to release a single on their website for free, but not the entire album.

    Sony is probably afraid that The Offspring are right: releasing the entire album for free on the web would not hurt sales. While this may sound like a good thing, it will undermine the RIAA's arguments about the widespread evil effects of music piracy.

    This looks more like Sony is testing the waters. If the web release of the single is detrimental to its store-based sales, then the RIAA has more ammunition in its war on piracy. If the sales are higher or unaffected, Sony can blame it on other factors (for example: everyone can hear it on the radio anyways). Lame but true.

    In a way, it would've been nice if The Offspring had gone ahead and sued Sony for breach of contract. But avoiding it was understandable: I wouldn't wish a court battle with Sony on anyone :(
  • Many of Piers Anthony's books are no longer in print, and the publishing companies only want more Piers has resorted to using internet publishing. Check out HiPiers [] for more info if you like The Bio of Space Tyrant, The Cluster series, Cthor, Macroscope and any other of the wonderful books by Piers Anthony besides the Xanth series.
  • Yeah; without strong support from the music industry (good luck) that'd fall apart. So what's wrong with it? Same thing that's wrong with a library...someone would copy the stream and keep a local copy (like photocopying a magazine article or section of a book.) It's also a model doomed to fail because just letting one person hear the music doesn't scale well to 10,000 teenage girls wanting to hear the same teenybopper sensation at the same time. :^)'s model is probably the best I've seen. Sure, there's possibility for abuse, but abuse has been there since before online content. I've got a case of cassettes here I dubbed off in high school that I don't listen to anymore (been a few years); most of them were from tapes and CDs my friends owned, and I returned the favor. IMHO they sound better than a lot of MP3s :^)
  • Awright! If you're the real Timothy, way to go. Sometimes sarcasm is the sharpest weapon. :^) (damn--I'm *gonna* have to write that down! :^)

    Yeah--how many of the "big names" work at VA now? Holy farking shiz. My jaw dropped the last time I saw a VA ad with the "names" they had pictures of.
  • Follow this link [] and post your reply.

    Thanks for sharing,'ve proven just how pathetic you are. Stick to tiles, man. The tiles rock.
  • If our college decided to ban napster, I'd be in my router the next day doing my job, banning everyone except my machine!

    I don't download (much) copyrighted music. Most everything I pull down are bootlegs. (Or things that I own on cassette, and don't think I should have to rebuy.)
  • Perhaps, but someone must stand up for poor, wronged "ain't" and defend it! ;)
  • The real irony is that I typed "you're" instead of "your", while correcting someone about contractions. Oops.
  • That's about half of what you'd pay for the book if it was printed and distributed through a publisher.
    This is only accurate if you're talking about hardcover books. A paperback is about 10 bucks, an electronic copy should be SIGNIFICANTLY less. There are no reproduction costs, only distribution costs.

    I don't know how large the download was, but lets say it was 5 megabytes. The first chapter was downloaded 170K times that the author knew of (there was probably also person to person copying which would not effect distribution costs), thats 850 gigabytes of data.

    Even if Steven King had to front the full costs and assuming the bulk of the downloads were in the first month but still had to pay for the bandwidth for the second month of the experiment we're still talking less than 10 grand of expense for distribution, or under 58 cents per copy.

    The costs above are purposely on the high side (assuming I didn't totally flub my guess at the size of chapter 1).

  • I just wanted to state that I think it's King's right to charge whatever he wants, but he shouldn't be suprised if people start realizing the economics of his proposition suck.

    I didn't download it because he's degraded as a writer. His earlier works were significantly better, but then he only did a novel every year or so. Now he does many novels per year, there's less text in them (though the number of pages has remained the same by using larger type) and the quality has suffered. I knew I wouldn't read it so I didn't want to negatively effect his experiment for no reason.

  • Where can you get a $13 Stephen King hardcover? Please let us all know. Thanks.
  • First off, their label is Epitaph, Sony distributes them.

    Second, any money the label pays for recording the albumn gets returned to said label from the artist's share of the money. The label is like a bank loan, not some generous promoter of music. And teh distributer and label take far more than their fair share out of the sales.

    Third, the labels have had laws passed in congress that give them, not the artist, perpetual rights to the music, and if you want to have an albumn, they literally force you to surrender all rights to their own music. That's just bull-shit.

  • This is the same kind of mentality that causes people to, say, accept free Christmas cards from Amnesty International and never make a donation.

    In the US, one is not obligated to pay for anything you get in the mail that you did not explicitly ask for. They don't include postage to send the damn things back.

    After all, they paid money to read the story; denying them a conclusion because other people didn't pay reeks of discrimination.

    In the US, those that are deprived of their RIGHT to read the 3rd book can join a class-action lawsuit against King, the publisher, and the whole damn internet for discriminatory distribution of scary stuff.


  • It looks like a Slash bug. Slash seems to insert spaces in really long URLs. I've run into that myself in the past.
  • And of course nobody would actually pay money to support free software, either, because there is a huge nebulous "them" out there writing it for free, and somebody else is paying for the servers and bandwidth charges.

    Your analogy is off. People do pay for support, because it helps them personally. Imagine if RedHat changed their business model to "We'll provide support to everyone for free, provided 70% of the people who download RedHat Linux pay for it." That would be a closer parallel.
  • Does the visor phone look butt ugly.
  • Add UMR [] to the list of clueless schools. They have blocked Napster at the routers and have claimed/stated that 'use of technologies such as Napster and Gnutella' is against the acceptable use policies. Note - no mention at all of using it for legal/illegal activities, the univ is claiming that any use is against the rules.

    Of course, they also state in their acceptable use policy [] that they can search any attached machine without any due process or notification being required.

  • Oddly enough, Diablo II did come with the free Windows version, when I bought the Mac version.

  • I'm as happy as anyone that Napster is still up and running on campuses across the nation, but I've just got to point out that it's not the "campus admins and sysadmins" that are calling the shots. It's the campus lawyers. I'm sure the admins have their own feelings on the matter, but the lawyers are the ones making decisions here.
  • Heinlein wrote TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch), and not that "There's no free lunch" desecration Stephen King wrote.

  • It must be decades since King's written a novel of only 300 pages.

    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, paperback, 272 pages, published January, 2000. HTH. HAND.


  • True i guess i did argue, a little bit... sorry
  • Any website who belives it's ok to spam should be avoided...
  • If your really good the word will get out with not much effort..
    If you suck all the spam in the world isn't going to save your sorry rump..
  • It is perfectly reasonable for Stephen King to demand additional payments for each format of his book. For each additional download you are paying his publisher for the service of converting the content to your desired format(s).

    You could do this yourself, but consider the time you spend doing it. Would it be more worthwhile just to pony up the extra buck or two and spend time reading it, or maybe spend time in the real world?

    This is essentially what Stephen King is saying. If your time is worth $0, then you can buy the hardback, read it aloud onto a tape, photocopy it, and then you have an audio version and a paperback!

    Some services are worth the money for the time you save. Ask yourself: Is this?
  • What's the point of King going glueless, cutting out the middle man (big bad publishing cos.) and then charging us exactly what a hardcover book costs in the retail outlet!?

    If this was *micro*pay, and not exactly the same as buying at and getting a hardcover, except more awkward (pay 7 times instead of once), it might have had a chance.

  • Most likely the Universities have realized that banning Napster *because of its copywrite violation potential* is not in thier best interest. Banning Napster would be easy, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Napster will not be the last protocol/service/etc that someone will ask them to ban. Eventually, that could lead to a huge headache for the Univerities, trying to ban dozens of protocols, URLs, etc.

    Even university administrators who oppose Napster would certainly rather have Napster and the RIAA fight it out between themselves and leave third parties (like the universities) out of it.

    So these refusals don't necessarily mean these universities support Napster, or won't ban it for other reasons (bandwidth). I think it mostly means they don't want to be dragged into the battle!
  • Baloney. We've had nothing but good things from
    VA-Linux. My company has purchased 30 Full-On
    servers in the last year. We've had great
    support, great service, and great results from
    some solid machines. They've been as reliable as
    our Sun machines, at a fraction of the cost.

    That's why they get my business -- when I buy a
    product, I want it to perform. That's it. This is business, not a popularity contest.

  • Yes, but the cops wait until you break the law. And the legality and ethics of speedtraps aren't crystal clear. If given the choice, I'd rather not involve myself in any questionable ethical actions. Sniffing around the network connections of students (including a whole herd of lawyers-in-training) just seems to iffy to me...

    (who should make it clear that he doesn't work at Oberlin, he works at U of Penn)
  • Owning a gun isn't illegal either, but it can be used illegally. If people were fireing guns all over campus, wouldn't it make sense to check and see they were breaking a law?

    No, not really. Well, I mean, the analogy needs some work, but no, I shouldn't have to take time away from preventative maintenance and trouble tickets because there is a chance that someone is breaking the law. I mean, there could be any number of reasons for the traffic, it doesn't have to be Napster. A better analogy might be cars. Lots of people drive cars, and some people speed, so should cars be equiped with a little device that prints out a ticket everytime the spedometer shows that you're exceeding the local speed limit? It would hardly be beyond present technical capabilities, but it would also be very Big Brother. It's not going to happen on my network - I'll quit first. Now if we see a problem and trace it to a single resnet wallplate, sure, lets set up a sniffer and watch them, because they're screwing with network performance for everyone. But monitoring without cause is very iffy. I think even if we wanted to, the school's lawyers might take issue...

  • Let me know if I'm reading this wrong, but
    The real telling figure is not the drop in percentage of paid downloads, but in the number of downloads.
    74,373 is 70% of 106,247.
    172,004 is 75% of 229,338.

    Therefore, more than half the people who downloaded part 1 did not bother with part 2.
    Of course, the reality isn't so black and white, but close enough.

    Judgment should be witheld until the real picture comes into focus, when the book is finished and the final tally is disclosed. Only then I think it is useful to ask, was this project worth it? Let's compare Mr. King's profits-versus-costs with those of his previous works published traditionally.
  • Yes, the page on this link:

    (Too lazy for tags)

    says that it's got a built-in 14.4k modem that youc an use to dialup if you want... not super fast, but adequate for most email situations, I'd imagine...

  • If you sign with Sony, there is no 'your own' creative work. A typical record label contract for a promising but new artist nails _everything_ down- for instance, you may not have rights to your own name (see The Artist Now Finally Once Again Known As Prince). Seen those 'courtesy of XYZ records' notices when musicians guest on other musicians' records? That is because the label owns ANYTHING the musician may produce. You're damn right that you lose the right to distribute your own creative work- including the work you haven't done yet but might be only thinking about. I'm still waiting to hear about the artist sued over a song because the label believes the artist _thought_ of the song while they were under contract. The artist customarily is pressured into signing a contract that gives _everything_ to the label and renders the artist entirely unable to work as an artist except by permission of the label. This is totally customary- if you don't like this sort of thing, don't support the RIAA labels by buying albums from them.

    "A man from a company we can't name said we oughta take his pen
    and sign on the line for a real good time but he didn't tell us when
    that good time would be something that was really 'happenin'
    so the band broke up and it looks like we will never play again..."
  • Of course, that 13 bucks is about the price of trade paperback, and twice the cost of a mass-market paperback. The print's easier to read, though. Chapter 3 is about 40 pages, and the whole work is about 80 pages, so far.
  • Uh, oh, double negative.

    There is such a thing as a free lunch.

    And ain't ain't a word.

    First off, you've just contradicted yourself. Even assuming that you're "ain't ain't a word" statement is valid (which obviously it isn't, so we can assume you're just being a smartass), the fact that you recognize it as a negative (hence your "double negative") indicates that it is a word, at least as far as you are concerned.

    Second, "ain't" is a word. It's a contraction for "am not" that was valid for a long damned time, and has fallen out of favor (and is often thought invalid) because it was often used improperly. Hence, "I ain't going to put up with this." is a perfectly valid sentence, whereas "You ain't got a damn clue." is not.

    So, while he used "ain't" incorrectly, your assertion that it's not even a word is no more correct.

    For reference, see the [] entry. (Go! Way to not suck!)
  • It looks pretty nice. It's compact, centralizes a bunch of features I'd like to have in a single device (addr book, dialer, sms, phone), but I see no answer to an (imho) obvious question: Can I call my ISP for network connectivity? Screw CDPD, I'd be thrilled to have plain old PPP dialup for other network apps. And I could even pop the sucker into a folding keyboard (doesn't Targus OEM the one for handspring?) and have wireless network connectivity, reasonable flexibility in the apps I use, and reasonably fast input. Look'a me; I'm foaming at the mouth.

    Well, how 'bout it?

  • You won't find it in the dictionary. Hypocracy might have a useful definition though....
  • Look. I won't argue this point anymore because it's getting soo old. The artists signed contracts. The labels paid money. That's legally binding.

    You wouldn't have even heard of the offspring if it weren't for the labels. And the labels have no way to make up for the money that they spent if the offspring decided to give everything away for free.

    Catch 22. If you don't like the labels, don't sign with them. But if you don't sign with them, you're not going to get nearly as much exposure...

    They signed. They have to fulfill their end of their contract. It's pretty simple...
  • Then, the moron can't even quote Heinlein right, it's TANSTAFL, not TANFL.

    Neither can you, apparently, since it's actually "TANSTAAFL". There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

    - ethereal, Heinlein fan even after Starship Troopers: The Movie.

  • I totally agree with you. The only King book I ever tried to read was Misery (because I enjoyed the film of it so much). But after reading the first 20 pages, which consisted almost entirely of describing a severe headache in terms of pounding waves crashing against a concrete sea defense wall or something, I gave up in sheer boredom.

    I now assume that his books are so long because he takes 20 times as many pages as anyone else to describe something.
  • Columbia [] has also declined to ban Napster []. The campus press [] published a story [] about it. The staff editorial [] of the day was in favor of not banning Napster, but there was a dissenting piece [] also.
  • There are plenty of (somewhat major) universities which are banning Napster, but not necessarily because the RIAA demanded it. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA, has had Napster banned since the middle of last academic year; we were maxing out our 5 T1 lines to Qwest (barf) with Napster traffic; you should have seen the MRTG plummet when our manager of netops blocked the Napster servers. But then we went right back up to saturation a week later.

    At the time, we were told Napster would be turned back on once the T3 (which had been on order for 9-12 months by then) got installed and hooked up. Well, it's up now, Napster was on for 6 hours (unannounced) and we managed to fill up the T3. It was blocked, again, the MRTG plummetted and we balanced out at about half of the T3 being used. The saturation of the T3, along with not wanting to have to turn over student names under subpeona orders, are the stated reasons for Napster being blocked here, not the RIAA's pressure.

    Makes sense to me; while many students here feel that they don't need or want netops looking out for them, maybe they would change their minds when they got slapped with significant fines and/or criminal prosecution from the RIAA. We're all smart here, I think they can figure out how to use other services anyways. And the point of QoS remains; if we can fill a T3, how much bigger do we have to grow the pipe just to satisfy some MP3-hungry frosh?

    Tim Wilde
    Gimme 42 daemons!
  • It's funny how the whole concept of internet transparency has been shot to hell now.

    I mean, it used to be: If you were on the net, and you supported TCP/IP.. that was it. A software developer needed to know that, and that alone.

    NOw we have: dynamic IP addressing, firewalls, intranets, transparent proxies & caches, port filtering by major ISPs (like @home), etc.

    They aren't selling 'internet' anymore, they are selling 'use our network to surf'.

    ISPs are charging yearly rentals for blocks of IP addresses, when it in fact costs them nothing.

    It's kind of sad, really.

  • What if they had sent the letter to Sprint? Qwest? Any other large backbone provider?

    The point is, the univeristy is only providing for routing of IP to student's rooms, PERIOD. They are not filtering ANYTHING.

    If you think the university SHOULD ban napster a-la port filtering or stateful packet filtering or whatever, then where does it stop? What abou tsprint?

    Remember, in theory, on the internet, all are equal. Sprint just has more bandwidth. There i snothing 'special' about what they can provide, and they have no special 'status' compared to a smaller network.

  • I'd agree, a arrogant schmuck.

    Quite frankly, I see different encodings of the books to be the same content. I'd consider a JPG and a PNG of the same photo to be covered under the same copyright, and if I bought one I'd expect to be able to use it. (You may not think the law works this way but you're wrong, and even if you weren't, I don't give a shit.)

    To be fair, if I was to download a version of the story from him every day because I didn't have room to store it I'd expect to pay a reasonable download fee for the use of his bandwidth, but I'd expect it to be less than the cost of the e-book + transport...

    But he not only expects people to pay for every one they download but he wants us to pay more for the story than we would in paper form on Amazon... What kind of crack is that moron smoking? He wants to be payed more, for less.

    And then you get into this bastard's demanding that everyone be held liable for the actions of a few. If someone with a PC, Mac, and Palm is (oh god!) downloading three copies, he expects other people to either pay more times to offset this or risk their initial payment being for naught, and told that they're not worthy of his oh-so-marvelous e-book.

    Then, the moron can't even quote Heinlein right, it's TANSTAFL, not TANFL. Yet he wants a free lunch... He wants innocent consumers to bear *all* the costs of non-paying downloads, and the risk that some script-kiddy will close it down, AND then to pay more for this text file than for a paper and ink book.

    So, he wants more money, no risk, and no blame. Ummm, TANSTAFL comes to mind.

    King is a shithead. (And a pathetic author, but that's beside the point...) And what the fuck is with that inch-wide strip of small-font text down the center of the screen? Has his web-designer been lobotomized or haven't they seen monitors with a higher resolution than 640x480 in Maine?
  • Sounds reasonable to me... After all, King accepted their payment for the first sections of the book, now he wants to stop providing to them not (and he admits) because of them, but because of the behaviour of other people who refuse to be bound by King's stupid rules.
  • I don't know what you guys pay for books, but I'd laugh at anyone who wanted me to pay $13 USD for a novel.

    And then, if they told me I'd only have the right to read it, but it didn't come with the actual book, that I'd need to read it on the computer or print it out (paying again for ink and paper)...

    Not bloody likely.

    $13 might not be bad for a collectible book, like a hard-cover. But for an e-book? King's just greedy, that's all there is to it, wanting more for this than he'd make for a similar book while giving the customer less. (That is, if he ever does get off his skanky ass and write the whole thing, instead of blaming people downloading two copies and only paying once, for ruining the project for everyone.)
  • I knew that, I used it on the Mac before it was a PC tool. My words didn't specifically mean it started on the PC, just that the PC and Mac versions are different, and someone else had said "You don't expect the Mac version for free along with it..." and no, you don't because the Mac one is seperately written (even if it was written first.)

    That's back before Apple's later screw-ups let MS get ahead in the GUI area and led a lot of the high-end users to go to Wintel machines... (I was an Apple user at one time.)
  • Does Photoshop for Windows come with a free copy of the Mac edition?

    I think it's dumb that King expects us to pay for different editions. But there is a certain amount of precedent. Sure, it's APPLICATIONS that we pay for twice if we want to use them on two platforms, but they're copyrighted works, just like the documents King's selling.

    This is not the same thing as making a tape of your CD so you can play it in your car. King isn't talking about what you can do with the copy you downloaded. He's talking about separate downloads.

    But it's not the same as buying a CD and stealing a tape of the same CD. Because isn't not very hard to convert a file, and bits are incredibly cheap.

    It's messy, that's what it is. And it's small-minded to attack the readers who have paid him.
  • Here's a pretty misguided thing King said in his comments:

    King - "It appears to us that some people are downloading two and even three times to different formats-to the Palm Pilot say, and also to whatever Microsoft uses. This may be based on a simple misperception. Let me put it this way: you couldn't go into a bookstore and say, "I want you to give me the paperback version and the audio version of this book free because I bought the hardcover". "

    In case you didn't read between the lines, that means the total percentage toward the production of future work is reduced when you get two or more versions of the same chapter!

    That might be a good analogy if there were any kind of cost involved in someone taking the Palm AND the Word version. He also repeats this attitude later when remarking on the final cost of the e-book being the same as a trade paperback, saying "There's no such thing as a free lunch".

    So, I guess King wouldn't be too fond of you saving your Word document to a text file to read on your Palm - or reading a book of his out loud and recording it for your blind grandmother. I was going to go and pay $1 just to help the experiment along, but now I think I'll just stick with my streak of never having read a single Steven King book yet.

    I think we can file King's payment model under "Stuck-up Performer Protocol".
  • Sure the "street performer protocol" works in the real world. But the real world and the 'net are not the same thing. How does the saying go? On the 'net nobody knows you're a dog. In the real world they do.

    A large part of the reason why street performers make money in the real world is the same reason why street people make money. They don't "perform" but they get paid. Why? Two reasons I can think of off the top of my head:

    • Peer Pressure
    • Guilt

    Peer Pressure: This is more true of street performances than someone begging for money. Here you have a big crowd of people all throwing in money when the hat is passed around, there is pressure for you to do the same. Depending on the crowd, how many people you know, etc. the pressure may be greater or lesser, but it'll always be there.

    Guilt: This one is pretty obvious. There you are, you stuck around for the performance, you know this is how the person makes money... If the street performer actually looks at you and hands you the hat this is a huge bit of extra pressure.

    On the net nobody knows you downloaded the book / saw the performance. This pretty much cancels the "peer pressure" aspect of the event. As for the guilt -- picture the difference between a bomber pilot and a footsoldier. It's a lot harder to kill the enemy when you can look him in the eye. If you can't see the person who's producing the work you're profiting from it's much easier to rip him/her off. He'll never look you in the eye and make you feel guilty. And when the artist is Stephen King it's not hard to convince yourself you're not denying him much.

  • HAHAHA... hahhaha...

    (ROTFL.... <thump of programmer hitting floor>)


    Timothy, that was a grade A troll! (Oh, if I had moderator points right now)

    hehe... the SGI comment was just the right touch.

    ( For the not-in-the-loop: SGI's 2U servers are just repackaged VA Linux 2200's. )

    Thanks for making my evening. ;-)
  • Actually, Photoshop for the Mac was the original. It was written in the MacApp application framework. When Adobe ported Photoshop to Windows, they actually ported MacApp to Windows to get it to work. I don't know if Photoshop is still MacApp based, but the Mac version was first.
  • Hypocracy: government by hypocrisy; ruling by a set of standards while acting by another.
  • Actually, that's not entirely true. Napster is banned on my campus - not officially mind you, it just 'doesn't work'. All the official Napster servers have been blocked. While there are ways around this (proxy, etc) most people don't know how. Also, there's always scour. People that download music but don't know what else they're doing only use napster, and since it doesn't work, they don't know what else to do.

    The reason it was banned here, though, was because it was saturating 95% of two T1's... which is insane. Granted, there are 1300 students... but it's destroying the QoS for everyone else, thus, the reasoning behind the ban.


  • > The slight difference being that guns kill people.

    And so do cars, knives, bombs, missiles, aids, cancer, etc.

    Maybe we should ban every and anything that can kill a person.

    *sarcasm off*
  • The proper phrase is "Couldn't care less": if you could care less, then you care some.
    (what the hell, I'm still way above 50 karma...)
  • Sorry, but I do know what I am talking about. Sarcasm is about going full bore 180 degrees away from what you feel: the sarcastic way to say this would be "I care so much about...", not "I could care less..."

    Sorry for the pendantry, but "could care less", the perennial lose loose mistake, etc. are really stupid for a bunch of folks from whom greater precision in speech can be expected.
  • My college [] says they have set up their routers to allow Napster traffic but give it lower priority than other traffic. Do you know if other colleges are doing this?


  • by Cplus ( 79286 )
    There was a huge blow-up between Brett Gurewitz (owner of Epitaph and ex-Bad-Religion guitarist) and The Offspring quite a while ago. The Offspring tell their side here [], the official announcement is here [], and Brett Gurewitz proves that he is a money grubbing dick beyond compare here [] (ps. the interview is all lies). I love when the interviewer asks Brett how he feels about being punk and in his 30's, he starts spouting about sticking to his ethics.
  • Well King already had a hugely successful serial novel called The Green Mile. So yes, people are willing to wait for his story to unfold.
  • He is charging that amount because he is not going to sell as many copies as he would if it was a paper book. King could sell his grocery list at Walden Books and sell a million copies. This is his way of using his clout to test new waters.
  • But you're missing the point. The point is this: the record companies have been on a big ass soap box screaming bloody murder about "protecting the creative rights of artists!"

    Now, these artists want to release and market their music in a new creative way, and Sony is shutting them down. Shall I go get a dictionary so we can look up "hipocracy" together?


  • Ha ha. Good one.

    Stephen King IS rich enough to be independantly wealthy, but like so many other rich folk, just doesn't get it. I know he enjoys writing. Why not just give it away? Probably because he feels like he doesn't have enough money.

    I mean, if Stephen King had billions and billions of dollars wouldn't he still write, even just for the pleasure of writing? At what point does he or anybody else not need more money?


  • Too many college students fight the fight for free speech, music, and love to make banning Napster feasible. Simply put, if the administration were to follow such a path, the student body, and quite possibly the faculty, would be up in arms.

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • Ok, I'll be the first to know that I know fairly little about how band contracts work, but this just seems too ridiculous to me...

    What legal leg exactly does Sony HAVE here? I was under the (aparently misguided) impression that bands simply had to go through record lables to get their works published in the mainstream. If Offspring hasn't released the album yet, how can Sony legaly make them not give it away? Or is it that they have already sold the album to Sony? (And if this is the case, how much of the rights to the album did they have to give up in order to sign a contract?!?) Does this really mean that if you sign a contract with Sony, you lose the right to distribute your own creative work?!?!?

    Am I the only one who thinks that there is something terribly wrong here?
  • And meanwhile I have been here in Trout Run PA using my old handcrank phone....I guess I should upgrade to a rotary soon...the visor phone is gonna have to wait.

  • And speaking of Them, where lies the trend in The War Between The Pitiful RIAA and the Splendid Universities?

    neat reference timothy, i read that book [] in grade school and really enjoyed it. it's one of those items i keep checking used bookstores for, since it's been o.p. for about fifteen years.

    the problem with teens is they're looking for certainties
  • I understand that. What Mr. King seems to think, however(from the quote above), is that we should gladly pay separately for *each* format or copy that we download. I see a problem with this logic on a couple of levels.

    1. If I buy a paperback, I may not get the rights to take a hardcover as well, however I'm free to read that paperback anywhere I'm able to read. Getting my book digitally, in say a .pdf file(used as an example because they look so nice on my desktop), I feel I should also be able to read this on my palm on the subway(where a pdf probably wouldn't look quite as nice). This particular argument is nothing but opinion, I'll admit, but I can't imagine someone wanting me to pay twice just to get a text copy, or html document of the same data, I already purchased the right to read it, I should be able to do so in any means I choose.

    2. The cost of reproduction is zero. This translates to zero scarcity. The knowledge of this breaks down people's willingness to spend any more money than they have to. I don't purport that the author should not be paid, but generally the point of cutting out the middleman is to get a better deal out of distrobution. The consumers will want a better deal as well, knowing this.

    3. In a bookstore environment there are often very good reasons for wanting to spend money on something you've purchased once- the special leather-bound edition with the gold leaf and the nifty fake-silk bookmark; the one the author signed that you'll never crack open again, shrink wrap and put on E-bay if you go broke, and the first printing you run across in some used book store, where the owner has no idea it's worth $32k.

    I especially want to emphasis #3. I've said it before in regards to mp3's and movies. If the people who put this out want us to pay more than once for something, they had better give us a good reason to. Stephen has a pretty cute idea going with the "installment" plan on his books, and it *IS* very_good to see him offer the books in so many formats, his attitude towards people wanting to get them all disturbs me. If the content is the same I say let them get whatever they choose. It just wouldn't feel right to me to present data to a paying customer in HTML format and then charge them again to strip out the tags.

    I know I'm just blathering on and on here, but I wanted to mention one other thing. It feels a little like we are being set up for a fall here, and if it were any other author, or some 4 letter acronymic agency releasing this I would not be surprised to see a big press release saying "Theives! This is why we need to use closed, copy-protected and annoying formats gauranteed to deny you your fair use rights." I was going to make a much better posting, but it's hard to think straight at work. People just interrupt you and

    Fist Prost

    "We're talking about a planet of helpdesks."
  • Actually, King has stated that the first three installments will be $1 each, and the fourth through eighth will be $2 each. Any remaining installments will be free. So the total you'll pay is $13.00. That's about half of what you'd pay for the book if it was printed and distributed through a publisher.
  • Well of course not. Owning a gun isn't illegal either, but it can be used illegally. If people were fireing guns all over campus, wouldn't it make sense to check and see they were breaking a law?
  • I could care less about Napster, but I'm entertained that Universities across the nation end up on the side of the students on this issue simply because it's easier for them to do so. I know that Universities don't have their interests at heart, but it's fun to see them come off as supporting the students.

    However, the RIAA obviously can't manage to do the same thing with their artists, which should give you an idea as to the scope and depth of their evilness.

    So... anyone want to make a song for me? I promise not to lock you into an absurd licensing contract... :)
  • by Enahs ( 1606 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @04:01PM (#748822) Journal
    I wonder if Stephen King's publishers are similarly upset that people get his books out of libraries rather than buying their own copies. I've read many of his books; I've only purchased one.
  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:24PM (#748823) Homepage Journal
    I think it's dumb that King expects us to pay for different editions. But there is a certain amount of precedent.
    There is also a certain amount of precedent for pay-once, download-as-often-as-you-like, given that this is how many commercial e-book sites (Peanut Press [], Alexlit [], Mind's Eye [], Fictionwise [], etc.) operate. Once you've bought it, you can download it as often as you like, in as many formats as you like.

    Frankly, I think King's set his e-book up to fail, with unrealistic expectations.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @11:12PM (#748824)
    I just dropped by the Offspring [] website, originally planning to tell them off for buckling under.

    But on the Offspring site is a much more revealing news column [] than the RIAA approved YAHOO news item above. You know it's going to be a good read when the link is titled "We Got Fu**ed" []

    To sum it up, if Offspring had gone ahead with the plan to deploy the whole CD content online, Sony would have crushed them under lawsuits that would have stopped them from releasing the songs, the CD, and thier tour. So Offspring would probably have been out on the streets for a few years recovering.

    The best part of the Offspring news was this paragraph:

    "It sucks," he said, "because once people get thier hands on the music, fans will have to turn to Napster and other distribution methods to take a listen, but they won't be able to find the songs at []. We will be the only site on the Web that will not have the Offspring's new music."

    So now I plan to support them by downloading the single, and probably buy there new CD. Or, perhaps I'll just napterize the whole thing and drop them ten at the Fairtunes Offspring [] page...
  • by scotpurl ( 28825 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:25PM (#748825)
    People aren't paying because they're suddenly realizing that, at the 1,500 page length of a King novel, it'll be a good 50-80 chapters, or about thrice what they'd pay for the book in the bookstore. Still, I beleive the number will level off at around 50%.

    I remember King said he weeded 500 pages out of one of his books. It was 1,300 pages after the weeding.

    This isn't a flame, but I'll be modded down anyway.
  • by costas ( 38724 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:13PM (#748826) Homepage
    Hey, give King a break (I am a fan too); he maybe not going around it the "correct" way, but he *is* trying and he definitely has the market clout to pull it off. You also have to realize King ain't that techno-savvy. Back in '96 or so when I frequented it was well known that King kept intentionally away from the Net (or so his good friend Peter Straub said). I dunno when he changed his mind, but judging from his various stories on typewriters and reluctance to use a word-processor, I am guessing pretty recently.

    I also think King would have gotten a better response if the whole e-buying process was smoother (maybe hook up with PayPal or Yahoo! BillPay or something ask for $.50 a part) instead of the clunky way he did part I (I notice know he has switched to Amazon --maybe he had a beer with Steve Jobs).
  • by Bilestoad ( 60385 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:28PM (#748827)
    If you buy a book online, like at Amazon, you have 30 days to return it for full credit. Of course if you just find the book mediocre you might not bother to do that, because it involves a trip to the post office, repackaging, etc.

    If delivery is electronic, you have nothing to return, you just delete it.

    Who is to say that the 30% of people (or at least some part of that number) that King says didn't pay, just didn't like his book - and with the ease of "returning" in this form of delivery, did just that?
  • by burris ( 122191 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @05:49PM (#748828)
    King's "street performer" model is destined for failure. The huge problem with it is that there's no personal reason for anyone to pay for the story. There's thousands of other people out there, and there's no reason that anyone would want to pay for the story as long as someone else will. After all, if you can get something for free, who cares what terms or suggestions are attached to it?
    Why are you so sure? People continue to perform in the street to this day. There's no reason for anyone to pay the artist. He's there performing and if you stay for a little while but don't throw any money in his hat (maybe you don't like it), nothing is going to happen to you. But people DO throw money into the hat. People support what they like. After all, everyone knows artists can't continue to produce art without some sort of income.

    People perform on the streets because they can make some money and because they want to expose people to their art. In reality, it isn't any additional burden on the street performer that's out there performing if someone watches but doesn't tip (maybe because they don't like it). In the virtual world, it's no additional burden on the artist/publisher if someone somewhere makes a copy, listens/views it and doesn't like it. What is currently missing is the way for people to throw money into the hat if they DO like it. If it's as simple as clicking a button on your MP3 player, for instance, people will tip. The difference, which will make street-performer-like "tipping" protocols successful, is potentially the entire 'Net (eventually most of the world) can view/listen to your work and leave a tip. That can add up to a sizeable income and unlike performing in a real-world venue with practically unlimited seating capacity, it doesn't take any of your personal time beyond the creation of the first copy.


  • by nawleed- ( 139707 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:23PM (#748829) Homepage sick of all this record-label bashing. What Sony did was completely appropriate. The Offspring signed a contract, and they are legally obligated not to break that contract, no matter how much they want their music to be free (which is a ridiculous concept in itself, but that's another subject). And anyway, if they didn't want force people to pay ridiculous prices to hear their crap, only to be underpaid and abused, they shouldn't have signed to Sony in the first place. Period. They, and anyone who is against what Sony did should stop bitching and face the facts.
  • by vsync64 ( 155958 ) <> on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @05:32PM (#748830) Homepage
    Um, no. You didn't read the agreement [], did you? Here's an excerpt:

    What You Promise

    1. To pay for each installment of The Plant, and to pay each time you download it.

    Nothing about the honor system, nothing about liking it. If you read the first part and didn't like it, don't read any more and don't pay, but you've already agreed to pay for the first part. It's as simple as that.

  • by PopeAlien ( 164869 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @02:54PM (#748831) Homepage Journal
    ...From themselves?

    Good lord! Its a good thing these record labels are out there to protect their artists! Elsewise they might try something new, and 'Something New' is not a viable proven income model.

  • by Fist Prost ( 198535 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @04:18PM (#748832) Homepage
    It appears to us that some people are downloading two and even three times to different formats-to the Palm Pilot say, and also to whatever Microsoft uses. This may be based on a simple misperception. Let me put it this way: you couldn't go into a bookstore and say, "I want you to give me the paperback version and the audio version of this book free because I bought the hardcover." simply as I can put it, you must pay for what you take every time you take it or this won't work.

    Simply as I can put it, the problem you see, Mr. King, is the overwhelming advantage to using electrons instead of dead trees. The bookstore analogy is obvious, of course you would expect to pay twice for something that was printed and bound on a physical medium. Of course I would also have then have the right to make archival copies of that work, or sell the work to a third party. With digital mediums these rights are pretty much lost. The least I would expect is either 1)A cross-platform file that I am able to copy from system to system, or 2)The ability to download it to whatever platform I like. Without either of those I fail to see any advantage at all to me as a consumer to buy digital over pulp.

    Fist Prost

    "We're talking about a planet of helpdesks."
  • by jmischel ( 202344 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:48PM (#748833) Homepage

    And of course nobody would actually pay money to support free software, either, because there is a huge nebulous "them" out there writing it for free, and somebody else is paying for the servers and bandwidth charges.

  • by OlympicSponsor ( 236309 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:10PM (#748834)
    Maybe King should think twice before blaming (non-)buyers. Maybe the real issue is that a lot of people paid for the first one, thought the quality wasn't worth the price but downloaded the second "just to see how it came out". I'd like to see the same experiment tried with someone who still has a few good stories left: imagine the next 3 Harry Potter books as electronic.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:26PM (#748835)
    King's experiment is just that: an experiment to judge the sense of honesty and obligation that people have.

    When he released Riding the Bullet, he was surprised after a reader sent him money for the story. That gave him the incentive to start his little experiment.

    Forcing people to pay isn't what this whole thing is about. Your arguments are sound, if you're trying to maximize profitablity. But that's not why King is proceeding with the street performer model.
  • by WNight ( 23683 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:05PM (#748836) Homepage
    Photoshop for the Mac is a complete re-write. A new product. It actually took more effort for Adobe to make it. But in the days before everyone had CDs, most software came on 3.5s and CDs... And before that, on 5.25s and 3.5s. And they did it for free, or at most a media cost of $5 or so.

    King on the other hand wants to charge more for a text file which was simple run through a different filter.

    Can anyone be more money-grubbing? Next he'll be applying to congress for a tax on disks and demanding his share because people who buy one copy of his lame little e-book will use the space to store multiple formats...

    The guy's plainly a jerk looking for a free ride. He wants to make more money (no printing costs), take no risk (if it shuts down, he's out nothing) and no blame (if anything happens, it's the fault of the bad internet). So he'll screw over anyone dumb enough to give him any money.
  • by timothy ( 36799 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:35PM (#748837) Journal
    Buy Dell. Buy HP. Buy Sony. Buy Compaq. Buy E-Machines. Buy a used Packard-Bell from the classifieds.

    VA sucks and has never given a red cent of their hard-earned precious money to support "the community." They also don't support their own so-called kernel-hacker "programmers," none of whom have ever done a lick of work on anything important to do with the Linux kernel.

    Slashdot is nothing but a collection of subliminal ads for VA Linux Systems, which wouldn't otherwise be able to sell more than 3 servers a year to a school of drugged albinos. Their machines are awful -- they don't stand up at all compared to the nice new 2-rack unit machines from SGI.

  • by BMIComp ( 87596 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:18PM (#748838)
    The administrators realized how much cheaper it is to copy things off of napster than buy the CDs themselves.
  • by Backov ( 138944 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:32PM (#748839)
    I do like his work (sue me) but I think he is screwing this one up for everyone. Not only is he buying into Big Publishings e-book pricing scheme ($13 US for an ebook? Are you nuts?!) He's also got hugely unrealistic expectations.

    So we're basically screwed either way:

    First outcome (most likely IMO): Experiment is an utter failure after, say, chapter 4. Big Publishing goes "Oh, look, I guess ebooks will never work."
    Second outcome: Experiment is a success. Big Publishing goes "Oh, I guess we CAN charge $13 US for books that cost us next to nothing, and oh, look, we can even keep the same royalty rate!"

    And the other thing that really po'ed me about his "comments" was where he basically trashes fair use.

    It appears to us that some people are downloading two and even three times to different formats-to the Palm Pilot say, and also to whatever Microsoft uses. This may be based on a simple misperception. Let me put it this way: you couldn't go into a bookstore and say, "I want you to give me the paperback version and the audio version of this book free because I bought the hardcover." As simply as I can put it, you must pay for what you take every time you take it or this won't work.

    I know that it's a book Mr King, but it's an E book now. That means there are no different editions.... dumbass. That customer you are talking to paid for it once. That means he can copy it (for his own use), and by extension he should even be able to download it from you again.

    Argh. Ah well, had to vent.
  • by dark_panda ( 177006 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:18PM (#748840)
    If anybody is still having any delusions that the RIAA and Big Business are really out to protect their stable of cash cows, er, artists, the last few weeks destroy that notion. Courtney Love's share [], anyone? Sony owning URLs for life? [] This Offspring deal? Etc. etc.?

    Music companies could care less about their artists. And the sad thing is a lot of artists just let it happen, by not scouring contracts and not putting up a fight. Newer artists are just so happy to break into the business that they don't think about what'll happen to them in 6 months or a year. What if they leave their publisher after 5 albums and they want to set up a new web site? Oh, sucks to be you, artist, 'cause now instead of you'll have to settle for, thank you very much SMEI.

    The only artists now who still have the right to take a shit without their label's permission are the established, those who have been in the biz long enough that they make their own rules. But poor ol' Eiffel 65, N*SYNC and the rest (who I feel sorry for anyways, just listen to their "music") are pretty much screwed.

    N*SYNC is particularly ironic -- ever see their new videos where they're being help up by strings like marionettes?

    Puppets indeed.

  • by Froid ( 235187 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:25PM (#748841)
    Judging from informal polling of some acquaintances of mine, I'd say only 50% of those who start a 300 page Steven King novel bother to read past page 100, and only 25% bother to read past page 200.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!