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Earth Hour Suspended

28 Mar

I skipped out on “Earth Hour” last night. And I’ll tell you why.

The problem is that it doesn’t do anything. It’s like most knee-jerk guilty “green” things – GMO hysteria, recycling, non-shopping day, organic food – in that it is a way for guilt-makers to show us how morally superior they are but, on close scientific inspection, does little if nothing of any use.

Turning off the lights for one hour? And using candles instead? Wonderful – replace our highly efficient modern lighting with combustion, a real plus in terms of CO2 and particle emissions, not to mention that the majority of modern candles are made from paraffin, a product of the oil industry. So you will be replacing electricity that may have come from sustainable source with a fossil fuel. Brilliant. Slow clap for you.

Can’t the vocal green preachers get one simple fact into their heads—you cannot bring about real change by making people feel bad and guilty about their behaviour. That only works for a while, and there will always be a backlash. A change will only work if it roughly follows human nature. And humans, by and large, don’t like the dark. Humans DO however like to consume and save money, so why the fuck can’t we just have “Buy LED lights” day instead? That would make a much bigger difference, and on EVERY day.

And to say that this “send a message to our leaders”? No it doesn’t – does anybody really believe that? Like our “leaders” care about pointless actions like this. Big laugh.

And if we’re turning off anything, I would start with TVs. Fucking irritating noise-box full of morons and their jolly japes, or block-headed “sporting events” of no consequence whatsoever, or news programmes telling us how worried and nervous we should be. Get rid of the fucker—just throw it out!

We already, in fact, have a TV-turn-off day (okay, so it’s a week) but does the media pay attention to it? Of course they fucking don’t. The media only like things that show how caring and important they are. Like this global backslapping of Earth Hour. I’m sure the Co2, if any, saved by this was more than made up for by news teams farting around the planet to film it all and feeling smug about their efforts.

But then again a billion people turning off their TVs would not make good TV. Would it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love darkness. I love it when the incessant noise of electronic crap is stilled, and we can see the stars and each other. A few months back we had a power cut in my area for about 4 hours, and I was never happier. Life is simply too bright, too loud, too garish, too fucking WAAAAH! for my tastes.

So turn it off please, by all means—your TV, your computer, your stereo. Even your fridge, which most of us barely use at all. But not light! Keep your lights on and use them to read a fucking book or build something from Lego or play a real game that isn’t made of pixels or draw up plans to destroy our global moronic media infestation.

Here’s to Brain Turn-on Day, hopefully coming your way soon.

/ paddy

 
40 Comments

Posted by on March 28, 2010 in Ranting, Science, Society

 

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40 responses to “Earth Hour Suspended

  1. Melliferax

    March 28, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I had a number of facebook friends who notified everyone of their participation with their laptops or mobile devices, clearly not realising that the energy in their batteries must’ve come from somewhere as well… Le sigh.

     
  2. Bellis

    March 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I did not skip out on Earth Hour. Neither did I light any candles. Of course not. What would have been the point, the point being *darkness*?!

    I wear shades even in nightclubs and bars -

    http://picasaweb.google.com/anders.bellis/TheNightGallery#

    - and being a night creature, in love with darkness, I think we should have Earth Hours every day. Several of them.

    On top of that, I believe that symbolic, worldwide manifestations influence people. That human nature, apart from the quality you mention, also has a propensity for being awe-stricken by grand, symbolic manifestations is something all world religions can testify to.

    And just look at how far they’ve gotten in comparison with us non-believers.

    Having been a member of the World Wildlife Fund, the instigators of Earth Hour, all my adult life, I applaud the fact that they are now smart enough to copy the symbolic gestures of religion on an even grander scale, incorporating 126 countries and more than a billion people.

    I don’t think I ever heard of something on such a massive scale even from the various religions and I am quite convinced that the symbolism of this is going to influence no mean number of people.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     
    • Melliferax

      March 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      But as a grand symbolic gesture, turning off the light sucks. At least if you consider that illumination and enlightenment has always been the symbols of progress. Darkness? Yeah, let’s go back to the dark ages alright, great idea.

      Snort. I’m all for smarter use of energy (and reduced light pollution), but I doubt Earth Hour will amount to much.

       
      • paddyK

        March 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm

        Can’t we have a few light-free nights so we can see the stars? Just a couple? Of course, where’s the news story in that…

         
      • Bellis

        March 29, 2010 at 8:03 am

        Try this one for size.

        Sit in a completely dark room with some people close to you, like your boyfriend and your parents, or something, and strike up a conversation. For, let’s say, an hour. Why not Earth Hour?

        The experience can be quite interesting. Darkness does not necessarily imply lack of enlightenment, at least not in some areas.

        All the best,
        Bellis

         
    • paddyK

      March 28, 2010 at 6:24 pm

      Bellis, old chap, wasn’t it you who recently mentioned at least two international flights a year..? Wouldn’t not flying at all be a much better “symbol” than turning off a few lights?

      I agree though – incorporating religious zeal into these things is probably a good way to go, since most people are thick and impervious to reason. Sorry, but they are.

       
      • Bellis

        March 29, 2010 at 8:08 am

        Paddy, you got a point there. My weak point, to be precise. And not two international flights a *year*, Paddy – two international flights a *month*. Two flights a year would have me screaming and climbing the walls, and ready for the nut house in no time.

        Yes, I love flying. I freely admit that I am unable to do anything about it, although I never have the light on in any room but the one I’m in, sort my garbage for recycling, give large amounts of money to the World Wildlife Fund each year, what have you.

        But flying, that is where I draw the line. Can’t live without it. Simply can’t. Sorry about that.*

        All the best,
        Bellis

        * No, I’m not, actually. I love it far too much.

         
  3. Tor

    March 28, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I too am skeptical whether act-green-for-a-day days are capable of doing any real good. But supposing for the sake of argument that they are, I’m inclined to think that “shut off your lights” is a better choice than “buy new lights of a different kind”. The latter is techno-fix thinking. What we need is less wasteful habits — and with depleting natural resources we’ll acquire them whether we like it or not.

     
    • paddyK

      March 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm

      True. But people are already in the process of changing out lights and we should encourage a jump directly to LEDs instead of these rubbish low-energy lamps. Techno-fix is very often the best solution – good luck changing people’s habits permanently.

       
      • Tor

        March 28, 2010 at 7:27 pm

        Energy-saving technologies will be a help, of course. What’s problematic is that so many people believe it’s the whole answer. So if you’re going to have some big symbolic manifestation, it’s not a bad thing if it involves people _doing_ something diffently, as opposed to _buying_ something different.

        People’s habits can be changed very effectively by providing the right economic incentives.

         
  4. earthpal

    March 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    LED lights still require electricity. Doesn’t Earth Hour mean switching everything off, not just lights? I switched everything off anyway and lit beeswax (that’s Beeswax) candles. I share your cynicism towards the media but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take part in Earth Hour. I took part because I wanted to, not because I felt guilt-induced or anything. And I realise that our leaders will, by enlarge, ignore us, but I will continue to nag them regardless. It’s what I do best. That’s what hubby says anyway. :-)

    We had fun. It was a novelty for my kids and they enjoyed it too.

     
    • paddyK

      March 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm

      Actually the official site (http://www.earthhour.org/About.aspx) mentions only lights. Go and check. And this is what bugs the hell out of me. Lights, because it’s a visible sign (look at me, I’m green) but not other things which are much worse but invisible to the neighbours.

      And I agree completely with the idea, I am all in favour of turning things off. But turning off lights at a specified time once a year isn’t any kind of solution, only a symbol. What solution is it pointing at, that we have too many lights? I don’t get it. People (MOST people) do it because it’s easy and will be noticed by others and then go back to their normal life. I don’t own a car and stopped using my TV entirely and you don’t hear me going on about it (not much, anyway).

      And yes it’s great for kids, and a fantastic novelty in this loud and flashy age. But as any kind of practical solution it’s rubbish.

       
  5. Rolf

    March 28, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    There are very good reasons for cutting down on use of gasoline, electricity and alcohol, but those have nothing to do with global warming.

    The prices are already very high, at least in Sweden. Taxes for electricity are some 40%, taxes for gasoline some 60%. (These figures are a few years old, but will not differ to much from to-day.) A bottle of Absolut costs in reality 43 crowns SEK, the rest of it is taxes and turnover tax (total price 239 SEK according to http://www.systembolaget.se/ today)
    http://www.ekonomifakta.se/sv/Fakta/Energi/Energikostnader/Hushallens-energikostnader/
    http://www.ekonomifakta.se/sv/Artiklar/2008/Maj/Skatterna-dominerar-bensinpriset/
    http://www.skatterna.se/skattefakta/sa-tas-skatterna-ut/

    This means that we swedes have a very strong incentive to cut down on consumption of these things simply to get money left to pay the rent and our daily food… Raising taxes even more, or performing Earth Hour Shutdowns, for the sake of global warming seems like kicking in already open doors. The prices already are frighteningly high. Then again, there are those in Sweden who say that the prices on these stuffs are far too low, they should be raised strongly. Go figure, as the yanks say.

    cheers/Rolf

     
    • paddyK

      March 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      The market will force us to save. If electricity prices stay as high as they were in February, consumption will drop. This global blackout must be a bizarre thing for people in countries where electricity is scare. They must be all “wft” by now.

       
  6. paddyK

    March 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    And a note to all – I DO in fact think that this isn’t a bad idea, but I just HATE bandwagon thinking, as well as self-congratulation, and I despise that this is seen as some kind of “solution” while obvious solutions (yes, many of them techno-fixes) are ignored. If I had my way we would have one day a week with no domestic electricity at all. (And no fucking televisions ever.)

     
  7. earthpal

    March 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Loveliest Paddy, as far as I am aware (and I’m pretty sure on this) no-one in the Earth Hour movement has ever claimed that it is a solution.

    The EH website does only mention switching lights off but I chose to interpret that to mean all lights, including the light from our TV’s, our monitors, even the stand-by buttons.

    I agree that as a one-off, stand-alone thing, it’s not enough and sure, some people will go straight back to living wastefully but speaking personally and at the risk of sounding pious, I did it with the best intentions and I do try to live as green as I can. Not easy with three kids and I sometimes fail but there you go. That’s why we need governments to legislate and make it easier to be green by providing cheaper convenient transport, minimising flights etc..

    The bigger and better Earth Hour is, the more clear the message to the politicians that people do care about climate change.

    And absolutely, one deliberate power-cut a week sounds good to me.

     
  8. Tor

    March 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I was about to embark on a rant about the lousy colour-rendering properties of LEDs, but on checking out the relevant Wikipedia entry I found they’re actually making significant progress there. So maybe those things do actually have a future. Now all we have to figure out is how to make sure the efficiency gain leads to a reduction in energy use, as opposed to an increase in light pollution.

     
  9. Glen Gordon

    March 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    My thoughts exactly. Well written.

     
  10. Rolf

    March 28, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    paddyK :
    If I had my way we would have one day a week with no domestic electricity at all.

    Sorry Paddy, that’s been tried many times. It works terribly bad. People have to stay at home, trying to save the food in the freezer from melting, production is shut down in a wasteful manner, everybody starts buying an extra diesel generator, et c, and so on. It is very destructive of resources.

    Compared with that scenario, high (and predictable) prices are better.

    cheers/Rolf

     
    • paddyK

      March 29, 2010 at 9:02 am

      Grumble… true enough. A very good solution is block-buying of electricity, which is basically like filling your mobile phone with credit. You have a meter that counts down showing you how much is left. Have had this in South Africa (they might still have) and it has led to a reduction in domestic use.

       
  11. Bellis

    March 29, 2010 at 8:13 am

    paddyK :
    Can’t we have a few light-free nights so we can see the stars? Just a couple? Of course, where’s the news story in that…

    I completely agree. And it would be a news story if people just bothered trying it. The starlit sky in the countryside in Greece is absolutely amazing – you don’t only see the stars, like at winter nights in the northern part of Sweden, you see the whole bleedin’ Milky Way, like an enormous avenue of stars stretching from one horizon to the other.

    It is a breathtaking sight. Absolutely breathtaking.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     
  12. Bellis

    March 30, 2010 at 5:34 am

    This thing with TV.

    Paddy has stated that he’s stopped watching TV altogether, for which I have all respect. I have a friend who’s never even owned a TV-set in her entire life and is thus practically and happily unaware of the enormous amount of dross drowning the TV-watching public these days, not the least of which are the many bizarre shows, aired in countries all over the world with small variations, about talent hunting new pop stars among people who can’t sing (Idol), idiots who live on desert islands for months (Robinson/Survivor), inbred farmers looking for a wife (Bonde söker fru), and their ilk – and on top of those the various silly game shows of all varieties were grown ups are frequently and voluntarily being demeaned and harassed in front of millions of viewers. Yeah. The best thing since fun.

    However, I’ll say this for TV.

    I watch two things (albeit infrequently):

    1) News from channels all over the world, since the comparisons of how they are presented are quite revealing (the point being that the same news item gets very different treatment on, let’s say, CNN and Russia Today and al-Jazeera and Euronews – the treatment as such, not the news item, usually reveals a lot).

    2) Movies. I am a movie buff and although I can basically watch any movie I want on dvd, I can also watch it on one or other of the various movie channels or, for that matter, late night movie shows on practically any general purpose channel.

    Apart from this, my interest in TV is about as minimal as it can get. A perfect waste of time TV is not, it is worse – it is an excellent way of filling your head with absolute rubbish. So ok, if you want your head to become a refuse heap, get at it.

    Personally, however, I find that my head is filled with enough rubbish already and I don’t voluntarily add to it.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     
  13. paddyK

    March 30, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Bellis: You do realise that that much flying completely and totally negates any other “environmentally friendly” activities” you might get up to? I’m not preaching, I’m off to Australia myself in a few months, but since flying is so resource and CO2 heavy, you may as well just not bother with the recycling. And the WWF would probably bitch-slap you if you told them how much you fly…

    And by the way, TV news makes me angry. I don’t need to watch it to be reminded of how shit it is – I know this already. Nothing on TV is worth having a TV for. (And anything I like, I download…)

     
    • Bellis

      March 30, 2010 at 9:22 am

      Yes, the thing about flights is true, of course (and don’t tell the WWF, they don’t really need to know :-) ). I try to console myself with the fact that I can’t drive a car and thus don’t own one and but very rarely take the underground or the bus. I prefer to walk, even very long distances. In all honesty not for green reasons, though, but simply because I like it. On top of which I try to negate the flying to some extent with large sums of money to the WWF, for saving rainforests and such. But of course the proper thing would be to stop flying and continue with all the rest, I know. But can’t. Weak point, as mentioned.

      However, when it comes to downloading – if you refer to pirate downloading – I am wholeheartedly against it (and fighting a losing battle), since I think it patently unfair not to pay people for their work. Used to be called slave labour, that. It’s not that one “steals” a movie or a song, but what one “steals” are the hours these people put into producing it. They work, but they don’t get paid by millions of the users. Not a good thing. I think. Hm.

      All the best,
      Bellis

       
      • Melliferax

        March 30, 2010 at 11:21 am

        Bellis: please listen to this. Roger Wallis, who is one of those “poor artists” who’ve been trying to make money out of music, has some very interesting things to say about file sharing and “upphovsrätt”.

         
  14. Bellis

    March 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Melliferax :
    Bellis: please listen to this. Roger Wallis, who is one of those “poor artists” who’ve been trying to make money out of music, has some very interesting things to say about file sharing and “upphovsrätt”.

    Yeah, well, but he is one person. With one point of view. There are many other persons, with other points of view. I am one of them. Working in the publishing business, mainly as a translator, I lose literally thousands of thousands of crowns each year when people, instead of buying the audiobooks or borrowing them from the library (for, which, yes, I get financial compensation, as do all copyright holders whose works are borrowed from libraries), download them for free at pirate sites.

    I happen to regard slavery as morally wrong no matter what. If you make people work for you for free, you actually make slaves out of them. There is no getting around that, I’m afraid.

    I suppose that you, Melliferax, pirate download various things, and if I am right in my supposition, I have no doubt that you – like many others who do the same – choose the most convenient viewpoint, for example Roger Wallis’, in order to justify your own behaviour.

    Well, personally I take offence when you write “poor artists”, and I hope you won’t mind if I pay your apiaries a visit at night and “download” the honey in them, just because I like honey but don’t like paying for it.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     
    • paddyK

      March 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      Flying in planes that destroy the environment, or downloading the occasional movie… we all have our weaknesses, eh Bellis? *wink*

       
    • Melliferax

      March 30, 2010 at 2:14 pm

      Did you actually listen to Wallis? Did you note that his point of view is based in research? As you may have realised by now, I’m a big fan of actual research, rather than the odd viewpoint. That was why I linked to him and not for instance Björk.

      I wrote “poor artists” with quotation marks because I wanted to indicate I was quoting the opposite side of the argument. I didn’t intend any irony, and hence I don’t see why you should be offended. Many artists are indeed poor. As are beekeepers, because there’s fuck-all money to be made, but a lot of hard work. On that note: Firstly, rather than stealing from me you could just ASK me for honey and chances are I’d give you some at a discount; and then you’d know that the money went directly to me rather than to a plethora of middle men. Secondly, honey is a physical thing that you can’t make infinite digital copies of, so I find the comparison frankly ridiculous and more than a little offensive. (Congratulations, it’s not often someone on the internet actually manages to piss me off…)

      The fact is that the music and videos I download, I simply would not pay for. I’d just abstain otherwise, as I did before it was possible to download anything. And although there are certain artists I’d be happy to support if I had any money, the fact is that hardly any money at all actually reach the hands of the people who actually made, say, a particular piece of music when I buy a CD. So that’s simply a really bad argument.

      For the record, I don’t download audiobooks so I haven’t participated in this “theft” of “thousands of thousands” of crowns from you. (Do you literally mean you lose millions of crowns each year? This implies you’re making far more than that. No wonder you can afford flying that often. I must say this makes it very hard for me to feel any particular sympathy for your economical loss. I can barely pay my rent, and you have the stomach to suggest that stealing my honey, a real, physical thing which takes hard, physical labour to produce, would be the same as me downloading a movie and depriving someone, somewhere, a tiny bit of income they would otherwise not have gotten anyway.)

      And finally, I’m glad no one who’s actually experienced slavery is likely to read this, because I suspect they’d be far more offended by the idea of you feeling forced into slavery because some nameless person somewhere is depriving you of a bit of income, than either of us have been by the opinions of the other.

       
      • Melliferax

        March 30, 2010 at 2:15 pm

        Damn. This ended up as a reply to the wrong post. Fucking wordpress… Feel free to do some magic if you can, Paddy.

         
      • Bellis

        March 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm

        I didn’t listen to Wallis now, because I heard him when the show was originally broadcast. The problem with the research in this field is that it points in different directions, depending on whom you ask. Some people really lose money, others don’t. Depending on what they produce, how popular they are, etc.

        Still beside the point, though. To make use of someone’s labour without paying is morally wrong, I think. That was my point.

        Thus, when you compare the physical thing honey to something one can make infinite digital copies of, you completely miss my original point. I made it perfectly clear that you don’t steal the movie or the song, what you steal are *working hours*. I do realize the difference between stealing honey and making a digital copy, but it comes down to the same thing – the owner, the producer, what have you, is not getting paid although you make us of his/her product, which cost him/her work to produce. I could just as well claim that I am not stealing anything from you if I take honey from your apiaries. I am stealing from the bees. They made the honey. Not you. See how useless a discussion becomes when you split hairs?

        Your knowledge of the CD-industry is commendable, but the fact remains that 1) this is not the only industry victimized by pirate downloading and 2) no matter how small the amount reaching the artist when a CD is sold, it is larger than nothing.

        In view of your excellent English, it surprises me that you misunderstand the expression “thousands of thousands”. A translation into Swedish would be “tusentals”. That is, tusentals kronor. Not millions.

        I realize, however, that your honey takes hard laobur to produce. By you and the bees. That you fail to realize that the same goes for making a movie and making music astounds me. I happen to be born and raised in a movie making-family, and can tell you that making a movie involves incredibly hard labour by literally hundreds of people. Far harder labour, I dare be so bold as to say, than keeping apiaries. Far harder.

        To make use of their products – the films – without paying them is a bit shameful, I think. But on the other hand, so is flying around polluting the air.

        (Weak)Point(s) taken, Paddy! :-)

        All the best,
        Bellis

         
  15. Bellis

    March 30, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Of course I have already seen my stupid, typing fast-mistakes in the above. Now you spot them. See the glaring grammatical one? That really, really bugs me. Well.

    Drive a hard,
    Bellis

     
  16. Bellis

    March 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    By the way, this I might add, although I feel a bit like an anti-environmentalist doing it.

    Unfortunately for the air, one doesn’t have to be in any way rich to pollute it by frequently flying around in it these days. The airlines are practically walking not on their knees but on their elbows (do wings have elbows…?)and the fare for an airline ticket nowadays, and I don’t mean with RyanAir but with practically any airline, is lower than ever. It used to be expensive to fly. Not any more.

    An example that surprised me: the other year, when flying back to Athens from Stockholm, I suddenly realized that my airline ticket was cheaper than a railway ticket from Stockholm to Gothenburg.

    Sort of blows your mind, doesn’t it?

    Or at least would have. In an earlier day and age. Not any more, I suppose.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     
  17. Rolf

    March 30, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Bellis:””

    Bellis :
    [snippety]
    To make use of someone’s labour without paying is morally wrong, I think. That was my point.
    Thus, when you compare the physical thing honey to something one can make infinite digital copies of, you completely miss my original point. I made it perfectly clear that you don’t steal the movie or the song, what you steal are *working hours*. I do realize the difference between stealing honey and making a digital copy, but it comes down to the same thing – the owner, the producer, what have you, is not getting paid although you make us of his/her product, which cost him/her work to produce.[ka-snip]

    Sure, you shouldn’t use somebody’s work without paying for it. But the opposite (or is it apposite) situation is also valid. You shouldn’t have to pay for something which isn’t worth it. You shouldn’t have to pay for something you didn’t want to buy.

    If I go to buy clothes, for example, I am permitted to try them on before the buy. If they don’t fit, or are of bad quality, I don’t buy. If I buy, and find that they were faulty, I can get a refund. If I buy a book, do you honestly think I can get a refund if I go back to the bookstore and say the book wasn’t worth it? (And it isn’t. Very few books are worth paying 350 crowns for reading…) Yuk. The Internet actually is more honest to the customer that way.

    Should the author of a book, or a songwriter, get payed for his or her hours no matter whether people want to buy it or not? The customer didn’t hire the author to write the book. The customer didn’t hire the publishing company or the translator. Sure, there are those who don’t pay for books they thought were worth paying for, no matter whether they borrowed them from a relative, pinched them in the bookstore, or downloaded the text from the Internet. That, however, does not change the basic relationship, that the regular customer (browsing for books, not buying) didn’t hire those guys, and shouldn’t have to pay for their work simply because the customer checked up on the book via Internet instead of the olden way. That’s basic market economy. If the book is so far gone that there is a contract with a publishing company, perhaps even a contract between the company and a translator, it’s the company’s responsibility to pay the author and the translator, and take the market risk. Not the responsibility of the customer, browsing for books.

    I’d say that the amount of hours worked to write a book have only little to do with the quality judgment of the reader/customer. Most authors who don’t get paid in a download situation are the same type of authors who couldn’t get paid before there were any computers – the book was simply too bad, or with a style or subject matter so specific that only a few would care to like it at all, or the publishing companies refused to print it. Should those authors now have a right to get paid by all those who chose not to buy, simply because they checked out the book electronically instead of going to the library? I’d say no.

    Those authors now have a golden opportunity to reach real customers by having a raw text copy available for free inspection by download. Income would come by one-click-payment from those who valued the text enough to pay even a single crown, and from selling nicely layouted physical copies (print on demand) to those who want to buy for their own reading experience and book shelf, or for birthday presents. At a rate of a crown per satisfied customer, a hundred thousand customers who value the text enough at one crown to pay that, would be much more than a sale of one physical book at 350:-. That same physical book that never even would have been printed, because the publishing company would have refused. The authors would do well to learn the well-tested power of the free sample.

    So sure, the author should be paid for his/hers working hours. But, that should not mean that the customer should be forced to pay for every book written, even when they don’t want to buy it, because it wasn’t worth it. That way also is slavery.

    In this context, please notice that I myself am an author wannabe. The day I publish my first novel (not yet written…) I most certainly want to get paid for it. But my ego as an author (I mean of course: my honour as a citizen honouring democracy and the market economy) is far too big to even consider to want to force people to pay me for a text they thought was crap.

    If and when I publish that novel I will upload a raw text for inspection, with an easy-to-pay pay-by-value web functionality, and an easy way to order physical copies. I might choose a deal with a publishing company, first publishing the physical copy, and three months later the digital text. (Not so much for money – my ego is big, but not really as big as that… I’m perfectly aware that most books are ignored by the customers. Rather, I wish my novel saved for posterity (not for posteriors – it’s *not* the same thing! :), and Project Runeberg don’t upload texts that haven’t been properly published.)

    cheers/Rolf

     
    • Bellis

      March 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm

      Nobody forces you to buy a book. You make it sound as if it was compulsory. It isn’t.

      I completely fail to grasp your point.

      To browse books in a bookshop is perfectly ok, so what is your grievance exactly?

      If, however, you voluntarily choose to read the whole book, that is to use the whole product, you should bloody well pay for it.

      Once again, nobody forces you. The choice is yours.

      All the best,
      Bellis

      P.S. And really, if you don’t wanna’ pay, just go to the library. What exactly is your point…? D.S.

       
    • Bellis

      March 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      And by the way, Rolf, if you think that people are gonna’ pay for your uploaded novel, think again.

      The first one or two probably will. And then they’ll put it on Pirate Bay, for anyone to download for free.

      Come on, I thought you were supposed to be Internet-savvy…?

      All the best,
      Bellis

       
      • paddyK

        March 31, 2010 at 7:45 am

        Regarding Internet-savvy, it is pretty clear to me, who IS Internet-savvy, that downloading of media, both illegal and legal, is here to stay, regardless of your ethical standpoint.

        And an internet-savvy person would recognise this and find a way to work with it. And not accuse people of theft and hark back to the “old days” when things were better (and when there wasn’t any piracy…yeah right).

        If you find the majority of people breaking a certain law, perhaps it is time to review the way you apply that law instead of turning a big chunk of the population into criminals?

        And sure Bellis you may be “right” but you’re not being realistic. Reality will continue to function in the way it does regardless of your objections.

         
  18. Bellis

    March 31, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Paddy, you did notice, didn’t you, what I said in my first comment about pirate downloading? You know, that I am “…fighting a losing battle…”? :-)

    Honestly, I have never, for one moment, entertained the notion that downloading, illegal or otherwise, will go away. That, by the way, is the reason why I do absolutely nothing about the poeple uploading my copyrighted audiobooks for free downloading. No point. I could maybe get at one or two of them, but next week five others would have uploaded them. And so on, ad infinitum.

    But that said, what bugs me is when people can’t admit to their own morally questionable actions without trying to rationalize them into being morally right. For fuck’s sake, come right out and admit it – all pirate downloaders, like everybody else, prefer to get things for free rather than paying for them! So do I! If I could get everything I wanted for free, nobody would be happier than I!

    So why not just admit it, instead of trying to hide behind smoke screen-arguments designed to prove that what one is doing is morally right just because the opportunity to do it is there?

    Look, I will not hold myself up as a moral standard, but I freely admit that flying around like I do, helping pollute the air we all breathe, is morally questionable to say the least. I do it anyway.

    But hey, nobody’s perfect, and I would, at least once, just want to hear people admit that rather than portraying themselves as infallible saints or something.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     
    • paddyK

      March 31, 2010 at 9:06 am

      I happily admit it – I enjoy having access to free things. I would however happily pay (a small amount, max 2 dollars per item) to have LEGAL access to things I download but the services that exist to allow this are half-assed to say the least, and iTunes sucks big fat salty balls and should be soundly thrashed.

      Perhaps a “download” tax on broadband? Based perhaps on the number of gigabytes per month?

      But yes – I download stuff because I prefer free things to things that cost money, even if impacts negatively on other people. I still buy books though – reading on a screen is not my idea of fun.

       
      • Bellis

        March 31, 2010 at 12:20 pm

        Paddy, in all the various discussions on this subject I’ve been involved in – many, considering my line of work – you are the first person ever to flat out admit the above. Respect. And I mean it. Trying to perpetually hide behind the smoke screen-arguments is cowardly, I think. Either you stand up for whom you are and what you do, or you don’t. I know which alternative I prefer. Feel free to download my copyrighted translations of audiobooks from the pirate sites, should you feel like it. I hereby give you permission to do so legally.

        And I agree with your thoughts on having sites where you get legal access for a small fee. The broadband tax seems like a good idea. People like iTunes, however, shoot themselves in the foot. Trying to buy a song from their site, I was suddenly forced to sign up for whatever number of songs (I can’t remember) for a specified period of time – or, if that wasn’t the case, I simply didn’t understand how the whole thing worked, because it was too complicated for somebody not particularly Internet-savvy. In either case, I never visited the site again.

        Being a total bibliophile, with a private library consisting of several thousand volumes, I surmise that I don’t have to elaborate on my views regarding reading a book versus reading on a screen. :-)

        All the best,
        Bellis

         
  19. ladyfi

    April 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Er.. I was going to comment on the actual post, but got far too caught up in the comments. There you go!

     

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