Why (most) authors and publishers need not fear online piracy

In a dire article in London's Times yesterday, reporter Ben Hoyle opened with the self-evidently ludicrous statement that "book piracy on the Internet will ultimately drive authors to stop writing unless radical methods are devised to compensate them for lost sales." Internet piracy, no matter how pervasive, is not about to bring the worldwide production of literature to a grinding halt, just as rampant music piracy isn't stopping my neighbor's kid from playing his drum kit in the garage every day before dinner. But the piece does raise the real question of whether the best writers will continue to work to their full potential in a world where their main product can be had for free.

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