Posted on March 16, 2008 in copyright, DRM, File Sharing, HarperCollins, Neil Gaiman by Brian RoweComments Off

HarperCollins wants your feedback:

Say no to DRM and Yes to Sharing

here is my comment:

“Let us share. It is tough to get traditional offline readers interested in works if you can not download and print. Everyone I know who is exposed to Gaiman’s works is interested in owning their own copies. Distributing viral copies through file sharing and printing is like giving people the first hit of an addictive drug for free.”

Posted on February 28, 2008 in DRM, HarperCollins, IP, Neil Gaiman by Brian RoweView Comments

American Gods

Two weeks ago I blogged about how great it was that Neil Gaiman’s publisher was going to release one of his books for free. I didn’t think it was possible to fuck this up. Great writer, great books, the only result I could imagine was positive for Neil’s popularity and sales….

I was wrong. HarperCollins released American Gods online with terrible DRM with no download options. I voted for American Gods because it is a great book, but it is LONG and not a good choice for online only reading. With the DRM:

    You can’t download it.

    You can’t read it without an internet connection.

    You can’t tag it or link to cool stuff in it.

    You can’t cut and paste text.

    You can’t send people a chapter to try and get them interested.

If I had known it was going to be online-only I would have voted for a shorter book and not been so excited.

For more on the evils of DRM, see Defective by Design

Posted on February 10, 2008 in Neil Gaiman by Brian RoweView Comments

Neil Gaiman’s publisher HarperCollins has approved releasing one of Neil’s books online for Free. Here is the best part you get to choose which book to release.

“Which book, though…? Ah, that’s up to you.

What I want you to do is think — not about which of the books below is your favourite, but if you were giving one away to a friend who had never read anything of mine, what would it be? Where would you want them to start?”

It was a tough choice for me, I voted for twice (don’t tell) once for American Gods and once for Coraline. I have wanted to give copies of each of these books to total strangers and either would be great to have online. This is a great opportunity to show off the power of free online distribution to one of the Old Guard.

Neil’s Birthday Gift (Vote Here)
Thanks for the Image Boing Boing

Posted on December 28, 2007 in 3D, File Sharing, Freedom to Tinker, Neil Gaiman by Brian RoweComments Off

Author Neil Gaiman responded on his blog to a reader asking about file sharing of two movies he cowrote – Beowulf and Stardust. They have both been more popular with P2P than in the box office. His response is very practical: add value to the in-theater experience, legitimize downloads and self distribute.

Guest Blogger Mitch Golden at Freedom to Tinker makes very similar points about 3D yesterday: “you could just download this fantasy flick and see it on your widescreen monitor. But unless you give us $11 and sit in a dark theater with the polarized glasses, you won’t be seeing the half-naked Angelina Jolie literally popping off the screen!”

Full letter and response from Gaiman’s blog

Dear Neil,

I wonder how you feel about both Beowulf & Stardust being among the top 10 most P2P traded movies of the year?

Are you glad that they’re popular, or do you wish people would actually pay for them?



I’m simply glad that they’re popular.

I suspect that in a few years you’ll be able legitimately to download a film the same day it goes on general release, and go to cinemas for an experience you’ll not be able to get elsewhere (Beowulf is a much better film in 3D, and, interestingly, did 40% of its first week business on 700 3D screens. The 3D thing is not something you can experience from a pirated download, not yet,) and one day the people who made the film (including the writers) will be properly compensated for it. Because mostly the solution to piracy seems to be providing the pirated thing yourself…

Gaiman photo by Kimberly Butler