Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday Gets Boarded by Pirates

Yeah, I'm writing a short story. I've always been writing something for the last five years. There's your "WIP Wednesday". Haha.

I love the discussion which started yesterday. Book piracy is a hot topic. It's a relatively new topic for books, too. Bootlegging movies and music has been a pretty easy task for years, long before digital copies and the 'net have made it even easier. Some bands built their reputation on bootlegged tapes (um, how about some Metallica irony, folks?). But books were harder to steal and mass produce--you needed a printing press or a really reliable photocopier and a boatload of patience.

Now we have e-books. Now we have Creative Commons licenses. Now we have pirates trading books.

At McLouth High School, we have a rule in the student handbook stating "all electronic devices will remain in student lockers during the school day". Right. Seen any cell phones lately? Out of 22 students in first period, 20 had a cell phone, MP3 player, or both (I surveyed them). How do you police a rule like that? Is it worth the time to try? My point: some people will do what they want regardless of laws or rules or moral order. They just will. It doesn't make it right. It just is.

I know piracy has hurt music sales. I used to download pirated music (before I saw the light), a practice I've given up because cheap, reliable, and convenient alternatives now exist. I know the music industry's lack of foresight and willingness to change has also hurt music sales. We can't blame the pirates for the whole mess.

So, when I tongue-in-cheek told people to steal my book, I'm acknowledging the reality of electronic piracy. I can't live in fear of it, just like I won't spend my teaching day seeking out every contraband electronic device I can find. I'm an English teacher. We read literature and write. We think. We don't have time for cat and mouse.

Students have always found a way to "goof off" in class. When I was younger, we did it with pencil and paper and passed notes. Now they text. Who knows what comes next?

I don't.

But I'm curious...


Barry Napier said...

I goofed off by hiding Spawn comics in my books...and Word Search puzzles. Yup...I was THAT cool.

S. Williams said...

I just day dreamed and stared out the window.

Michael Stone said...

I recently hooked up with an old school friend, who reminded me that I used to get through boring lessons by drawing famous dictators like Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin rising from a music box being wound by a clown. As you do.

Aaron Polson said...

Barry - I figured you for a Spawn fan. Good times.

S. - We didn't have windows in high school. Our building was an ex bomb shelter...well, almost.

Michael - I would pay good money to see those doodles.

Cate Gardner said...

I spent my time looking spaced out...Oh wait, that was today at work.

Rabid Fox said...

When electronically-enhanced mental telepathy hits the market, students will accomplish nothing in class beyond spamming dirty thoughts to one another--Ew, Doug! Are those your balls!

I don't know how it would go for me if I was a teen today. I was poor in the 90s, just before the cell phone craze hit huge, so I dodged that bullet. Today, I'd probably be shunned by the entire class as the Amish boy.

And, yes, no sense trying to enforce those rules. I've watched a couple of authors have meltdowns online from trying to thwart pirates. Can't remember their names, but I'm sure they're in Bellview.

Aaron Polson said...

Cate - Happens to all of us.

Gef - Anything I can do to stay out of Bellview. Anything.

Natalie L. Sin said...

Lazy kids today. Can't even pass a note.

Andrea Allison said...

I know what you mean about the music business. I read about this woman who is in a major legal battle over like 5 illegally downloaded songs. Thousands of dollars in fines over 5 songs. Sounds rather excessive.

Aaron Polson said...

Natalie - I know. So sad.

Andrea - Considering how many people get away with it...yes.