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I don't know that one can state as a fact that there's "no reason" a well-made hardcover book has to cost "so much."  I'm not sure how one can leap to this conclusion unless one is in the publishing business.    I might not want to pay so much, but I don't know for certain it doesn't cost a lot to print and distribute the book. 
 
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But the amounts should be reasonable.



I think that if mollison wants to sell his book for a skillion dollars a copy, it is his right.  And it's such a good book, I do wish he would sell it for something in my price range instead.  I could even try to imagine a business model for him with a lower priced book where he might make more money.  But it is his choice.  It is my choice whether it is worth it or not. 

Oh sure, I want it for a lower price, but I want lots of things.  Like pie.  It's good to want things.  Especially pie.

I have seen statements in the past where somebody said "they charge too much and that is wrong" to justify copying the book and giving it away for free.  And that strikes me as really wrong.  So I just felt the powerful need to express this. 

Frankly, I like the idea that permaculture is getting so popular that we are starting to get rock stars.  Experts that not only can charge crazy big amounts of money, but get it.  If they charge big gobs of money and get it, that makes me think that they are smart.  If they charge big bogs of money and don't get it, then I sorta internally question their business savvy.



 
                    
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paul wheaton wrote:

Frankly, I like the idea that permaculture is getting so popular that we are starting to get rock stars. 



Me too. And movie stars, like Daryl Hannah, Nicole Kidman and Ellen Paige. Especially Ellen Paige, who has helped raise the name recognition of Permaculture in eastern Canada and with young emo kids in the US. No telling how many people will make some positive changes in their lives because of that publicity, maybe some farmers/ag officials/businesspeople who wouldn't have otherwise heard of permaculture now think of it positively and are more open to it.

For those of you on a tight budget, here is 150 pages of quality material by Bill Mollison that is in the public domain. Lots of good principles for design there.

http://www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org/PDC_ALL.pdf
 
                            
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paul wheaton wrote:


Oh sure, I want it for a lower price, but I want lots of things.  Like pie.  It's good to want things.  Especially pie.



OMG I love pie 
 
                                    
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well i said in my post mollison can charge whatever he wants for his books.  and i can complain about them.  he seems to be using the textbook pricing model.  and that is a racket.  (of course if there was no copyright law prices would be driven down)

anyway, i dont feel that need to consult experts to say whether a thing is overpriced.  i've bought my share of books.
 
                    
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christhamrin wrote:
he seems to be using the textbook pricing model.  and that is a racket.  (of course if there was no copyright law prices would be driven down)



Are you sure? I think there is a 'tree tithe' or tax built into the price of each copy of Mollison's books - an extra charge that goes towards reforestation and permaculture development. I also heard he was using a pricing model similar to Tom's shoes - the price for the texts was raised to buy copies to give away free to various places where there is little hope that they could pay even for a cheap version of the book. This was also done with the laptop that they were making for third world villages - each purchase of a computer in the western world included a markup (close to 100%) to buy another to give away free.
 
                                    
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yes you might be right.  i was posting quickly before work and should have reviewed what i typed before hitting send!
 
                                      
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I've printed quite a number of books and I have to disagree with the whole pricing complaint.  Of course, if you get yourself a publisher who carries the cost, you can print a big book like that for under twenty dollars, but you would have to print over 25000 at a time.  To print more responsibly actually cost four and five times as much.

I will be self-publishing (which is what Mollison did) a book of about three hundred pages at 5 1/2 X 8 1/2 inches.  To have 500 printed with a good hard permanent bind and four color process will cost me around $57.00 per book.  My font size is 12pt, where the font size in "Permaculture" is much smaller.  "Permaculture" has 570 some odd pages and it's 8 1/2 X 11 inches.  That's three times the material.  Looks to me like he's just barely keeping the bills paid, and maybe not.

 
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If only there was some way to cheaply distribute information...
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I have seen statements in the past where somebody said "they charge too much and that is wrong" to justify copying the book and giving it away for free.  And that strikes me as really wrong.  So I just felt the powerful need to express this.



I'm with you in finding "they charge too much and that is wrong" misguided and incorrect.

If someone would be willing to buy a particular book/film/song, but chooses not to because they can get it for free on the internet, that choice is immoral.

On the other hand, if someone can not afford to pay for information through regular channels, or never would have paid in any case, but manages to get a copy anyway without destroying the original or otherwise interfering with the business in question, I think their actions are much more justifiable than theft.

It's very difficult to distinguish between these two, and in my opinion, a tremendous amount of the latter gets mistaken for the former: the RIAA and MPAA would argue that the internet is preventing more business than they have ever done.
 
                                    
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I'm with you in finding "they charge too much and that is wrong" misguided and incorrect.  If someone would be willing to buy a particular book/film/song, but chooses not to because they can get it for free on the internet, that choice is immoral.



I'll be quick and get back to reading actual permie threads.   There are two separate issues as I see it.  

1)  is the price of a book in the current marketplace good, high or low etc

2) either A - the act of using works under copyright without paying for them is immoral  B - the system of intellectual property itself immoral.  (the "intellectual property" an author is granted imposes on the rights of those who purchase their book ie actual property and the author profits through state granted monopoly on their book)

if i am partial to the latter choice in 2) then, unless i have a major aversion to shaming, there would need to be other compelling reasons to purchase a book beyond other people trying to shame me including enjoying real books, pricing, wanting to support the author etc.
 
                                      
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"Permaculture" per Mollison, is a system driven by an ethic.  That system is itself designed to bring about surpluses - surpluses of food, surpluses of energy, what have you.  By the foundational ethic, when a surplus of whatever kind are produced, they are returned into the system.  This exciting paradigm shift is perhaps what makes the system important culturally.

I consider Toby Hemenway's book "Gaia's Garden" to be one of the jewels of my library.  I willingly paid $30.00 for the book and consider it money well spent.  (Thank you Toby).  The book contains perhaps one sixth the content of Mollison's "Permaculture."  It's smaller and worth the money.  "Permaculture" is bigger, fuller, more comprehensive, and contains a great deal more information and techniques than "Gaia's Garden."  Both are worth the money. 

Now, if the information in these two books were identical, I would really take exception to $185.00.  Fact is, they are identically priced, in terms of the information provided.  If "Permaculture's" price is misuse, then so is "Gaia's Gardens."  Mollison sells his book and obtains a surplus.  That surplus is returned into the system through the underwritten training he has provided over the years, as well as the large-scale planting of trees

Plumbers plumb.  Loggers log.  Mechanics mechanic.  Doctors doctor.  Writers write.  Shame or no shame, a person ought to be able to expect to make a living.  By the formula I'm getting from you, I know I could make what you do for a living at least as immoral as writing and copyrighting a book. 

In my state, if you say to someone that you are a Neurosurgeon, you had better be one.  To say that you are when you are not is a felony and you will go to jail.  "Permaculture" is a design system which has been defined.  Permaculture is "....".  Whatever we put between those quotes ought to be accurate.  When we say "Permaculture" we are actually using sort of an acronym.  We're really saying, "There's this here design system developed by Bill Mollison and Jeff Holgren that ..."  What the internet and "open source" has obtained for us is a way to say, "There's this design system developed by, oh, well, you don't need to know that, it's not important, that ..."  I think that just sucks.  Open source is great, but I wouldn't go into my mechanic's shop and wait till he's working on a car and then take the money from his till.  To do so, or to do anything like it, is absolutely contrary to anybody's definition of "Permaculture." 

I am designing and implementing.  When my food forest is "popping," as Toby Hemenway puts it, I will make my system open to anybody.  I'll want everybody to see it and to learn maybe a little bit that they can use in designing their own.  I'll let people on my network know of the demonstration and I'll organize events around it.  I'll suggest a donation amount, but I will also gratefully accept whatever amount of money they decide is appropriate for the experience.  That's the way I operate.  I expect dollars to be attached and I'm alright with that.  I don't see anything immoral in it, any more than gratefully accepting whatever a sick person feels is appropriate for the services I render them as a Medicine Man.

Mollison put his life into providing an incredible insight for us.  I think it's the height and breadth of immorality to parrot his words as if they are my own without even giving any credit to him at least for giving expression to them.  I have a very high opinion of my own opinion, and I do think that now and again I do have an original idea.  But I also know that most of what I have learned about sustainable design has originated in Mollison's work.  I think we ought to follow his great example.  He wrote a big book that is full of information he got from his own research, and also from the work of others. Whenever he used the work of others in his book, he meticulously gave credit to those other sources.  We should too. 

Don't offer a course on "Eco-Agriculture" and use exact quotes from Mollison and Holmgren, and fail to give credit where it is due.  That to me is just like pirating a movie off the internet.  It's stealing from the till when the clerk isn't looking.  It is not a practice that will ever be sustainable, for, though it must be admitted that you benefit, and you think that's good, yet you deprive another - injure another - by your benefiting.   
 
                                    
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What the internet and "open source" has obtained for us is a way to say, "There's this design system developed by, oh, well, you don't need to know that, it's not important, that ..."  I think that just sucks.

 

there are several different open source licenses available most of which include requiring attribution so they agree - it is important.  but by its nature open source, free software, crowd sourcing and the like points to the fact that ideas, code, art etc aren't created from nothing (ex nihilo nihil fit) they are social.

Open source is great, but I wouldn't go into my mechanic's shop and wait till he's working on a car and then take the money from his till.  To do so, or to do anything like it, is absolutely contrary to anybody's definition of "Permaculture."



nor would i.  there is no debate about that being stealing.

Don't offer a course on "Eco-Agriculture" and use exact quotes from Mollison and Holmgren, and fail to give credit where it is due.  That to me is just like pirating a movie off the internet.  It's stealing from the till when the clerk isn't looking.



if you take credit for other people's work that is fraud.  to me it is not like pirating a movie off the internet nor is it like stealing from the till when the clerk isn't looking.
 
                          
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christhamrin wrote:
was this comment responding to something specifically?  as someone who does not believe in the legitimacy of copyright law i find the occasional comments about hoping people are sent to jail for reading unpleasant.  meanwhile bill mollison charges 100+$ for his books!  but then we aren't supposed to talk about politics, right?



So you do not believe in private property rights?  Please tell me where you live.  I'll drop by and browse around and see if you have anything I like.
 
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If you'd like a copy of anything I own I'd be glad to make you one.
 
                                    
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So you do not believe in private property rights?  Please tell me where you live.  I'll drop by and browse around and see if you have anything I like.



no, the opposite actually.  i think 'intellectual property rights' infringe on actual property rights.  i thought i made that clear in my posts, but i am trying to tread carefully as i am new to this forum.  actually i was thinking about this thread some more while shoveling and i might have more to say connecting things back towards permaculture, pdc, etc.
 
                          
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christhamrin wrote:
no, the opposite actually.  i think 'intellectual property rights' infringe on actual property rights.  i thought i made that clear in my posts, but i am trying to tread carefully as i am new to this forum.  actually i was thinking about this thread some more while shoveling and i might have more to say connecting things back towards permaculture, pdc, etc.



So you do not believe that intellectual property is "actual" property?   
 
paul wheaton
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Every time somebody brings up the third ethic, debate gets going and then folks don't talk about the stuff I want to talk about.

These forums are for talking about practical solutions for a better world.    Mostly about how permaculture techniques can be used to nurture a better life and to make more money. 

If folks wanna debate about the third ethic, then please head on over to the PRI forum.  They're cool with talking about that there. 

And comments about "you have to do permaculture the way I say or else you cannot call it permaculture" are usually deleted.

I am now closing this thread.


 
paul wheaton
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This thread is still locked. 

I've received several emails about this thread.  Mostly from folks that want to make sure they have not upset me.  No problem - I'm feeling good about all of the people in this thread.  I think this topic is just something that gets ....  into an icky space.  It's the topic that is the problem here, not the people. 

In the last couple of months I've heard from so many people about what an awful person I am - and a lot of the focus has been on how I discourage talk of the third ethic.  So, to help bring some clarity to this, I decided to put my rant into a thread in the tinkering forum.  Please take a look at the third ethic.

 
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