Re: e-publishing fiction

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 06:29:13 MDT

>From: Charlie Stross <>
>A couple of thoughts:


>2. Don't encrypt/obfuscate it, but use steganography to track it and
> get it removed from web sites or warez sites. If it's HTML, embed
> some trackable strings in comments -- or better, in the whitespace
> between words. Then poll the web search engines regularly to look
> for those strings. Brand each download with an ID stamp specific to
> the customer. If it shows up on a website via Altavista, you can then
> identify the customer who leaked it. Put this in the license up front,
> and you'll be able to tell 'em, "this is unencrypted; you have a
> license to use it 'just like a book' (harking back to the old Borland
> license of the 1980's). You must _not_ put it on a file server. If you
> you owe me a $2 fee for every download and a flat $500 license fee, and
> I will send a debt collection agency after you."
>3. This is probably going to work because the _real_ threat to you is
> people sticking the work on a file server or CD ROM, not people passing
> one copy to a buddy to read (which they do with your paper book


A couple of thoughts:

Wouldn't this plan basically require you to "customize" the book for every
single person who downloaded it? In effect giving everybody a slightly
different version of the story?

How much bite do you think there would be in the collection agency threat?
That's pretty much the same threat that software vendors use to prevent
piracy. Lotta good its done them.


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

Get Your Private, Free Email at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:12 MDT