In early June, Teleread picked up a Publishers Weekly (PW) story on the growth of “scanlations”, manga novels that had been scanned and translated without authorization.
At the time, coverage and discussion focused on “yet another example of the damage done by pirates”. In contrast, Teleread’s Chris Meadows noted that in the past, pirated manga content had been used by American publishers to identify hot new titles – short-list research, in effect.
Although I didn’t write about it at the time, Teleread’s coverage came to mind this past week, when Mashable reported Peter Chernin’s remarks about the creation of Hulu. Mashable wrote:
Instead of taking the music industry’s approach to piracy (suing the users), he offered a new method of fighting piracy. “You fix it by offering them a clean, easy-to-use, reliable service at an appropriate price,” Chernin said to the applause of the audience.
Chernin’s perspective is echoed in Springer Verlag’s e-book program, which PW recently noted “allows institutional customers to lend Springer e-books without DRM.” The result: “a better user experience leading to increased usage and a better ROI for libraries.”
In a presentation given at the Internet Archive’s “Books in Browsers” conference, I claimed that “piracy is the consequence of a bad API”. The examples, both good and bad, are all around us.