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Dec 10, 2007
Blog Post

SherpaBlog: A Public Apology to Jack Johnson & New Age Records

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Anne Holland, Content Director

While studying guidebooks about Nepal yesterday, I was appalled to see one of them blithely suggest shopping for cheap, pirated CDs and DVDs here.

I immediately turned on my laptop to dash off an email to the publisher.

I planned to say, ďAs a company *completely* financially dependent on the sanctity of your copyright, how can you recommend supporting breaking other peopleís? Everyone who creates or publishes content -- every blogger, writer, video maker, etc. -- has an ethical obligation to defend copyright. That means not just your own copyright but the copyright of others.Ē

Many Americans, in particular, donít realize the true damage of copyright pirating. Whatís the big deal? Hollywood studios and music stars make gazillions anyway, donít they?

The fact is, routine copyright pirating has devastated the local music and movie industries of many second- and third-world countries, including places such as Madagascar and Morocco where talented and beloved artists canít make a living because they are ripped off so much.

Copyright pirating also strikes closer to home -- hundreds of millions of Google AdSense dollars are at risk in the legitimate blogging community. Nearly every single independent blogger I know who makes significant income from their content has had to fight at least one, more often many, plagiarizers who scrape their content for AdSense profit.

Sherpa has had its share of problems, most notably when one marketer, who shall remain nameless, posted illicit PDF copies of our Guides on a private website that he charged a $1,000 month subscription fee to. In the publishing world, this is not an unusual occurrence.

Anyhow, when I turned on my brand new laptop to register my righteous indignation to the publishers of that travel guide, I noticed something horrible. When the IT department back at the main office set up my new PC for me, they forgot to transition over my music files. My iTunes folder was empty.

Iím supposed to be writing a new 300-page Sherpa Handbook this winter. I canít write a Handbook without my music playing! And, trust me, thereís no place Iíve found to purchase legit CDs here. Plus, at 128k max speeds, local ďbroadbandĒ wonít support purchased iTunes downloads.

So I, the great defender of the American copyright, slunk into a local music store to buy some pirated CDs. At first, I pledged to buy only CDs that I already owned copies of. Itís sort of an ethically grayer area than buying content you didnít already pay for legitimately.

But then Jack Johnsonís ĎIn Between Dreamsí CD was playing on one of the shopís sidewalk speakers ... and it sounded so good. I had meant to buy it in the past -- the real thing, I mean. I couldnít help myself. I stepped up to the counter and said, ĎGive me that oneĒ and, $5 later, owned it illegally.

Then I went straight to my local cybercafe and logged onto to my account at Amazon.com (one-click ordering is a godsend when youíre dealing with slow Internet speed) to buy a legit copy of Jackís album. Itís en route to my home in the US right now, then my step-son will forward it to me here. Iíll throw out this copy as soon as I get the real thing in my hands. So, Jack and New Age Records, you have my money.

And, now, you have my apology as well.


Comments about this Blog Entry

Dec 10, 2007 - Michael F. Hollander of Racing Information Systems says:
So your convenience means that the money you spent on pirated media goes right back to the drug cartels that are running this scam. Certainly Jack Johnson deserves your apology, but so do the others from whom you stole content. This type of copying isn't justified on any basis. People wonder why WGA members are so intent on being paid for their work. It's clear that when a even a respected blogger/content director sends money to pirates, there's a problem.


Dec 11, 2007 - Christopher Woodland of TruePresence says:
Ann - check out spiralfrog.com - I have downloaded some Jack Johnson for free there -just have to answer a survey every month.


Dec 11, 2007 - Ken Krogue of www.InsideSales.com says:
Anne, I couldn't help but notice your blog on software piracy. Having come from a background (way back) of software and electronic publishing, I cannot help but agree with you. But I also know it doesn't go away. Hence my move to hosted software-as-a-service. The closest I have found to solving the problem. I remember in a past life as marketing director selling electronically published copies of the Bible and other religious writings, we had over 40% of our software in the market as illegally pirated copies. And that was in the US. A sad commentary...


Dec 12, 2007 - Anne Holland of MarketingSherpa says:
Michael, Thank you for your very honest and direct reply to my blog. If I had suspected any funds would support drug cartels (i.e., the evil of drugs piled on the evil of copyright piracy), then I probably would have buckled down to an entire winter sans music. However, given what I do know about the local shops in Pokhara, Nepal, where I am living, it's doubtful in the extreme that any funds are going toward drugs ... or, indeed, anything besides the shopkeeper barely scraping a living. (The average income is the lowest in Asia, bar none.) CDs are apparently all burned locally here in town. The shopkeepers get the originals from CDs that local tourists, UN staff and various aid workers leave behind in hotel rooms when they depart. That said, you're right. I was unethical in buying a pirated CD.



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