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The Courts Government News

Digital Shoplifting From Bookstores? 447

ipandithurts writes "According to a report from Tokyo via IOL, Japanese publishers have launched a campaign to stop 'digital shoplifters.' These 'digital shoplifters' are using cellphones to photograph magazine pages in bookstores, rather than buying them. 'Digital shoplifting is becoming a big problem as camera-equipped mobile handsets are spreading fast and their quality is improving greatly,' said Kenji Takahashi, an official at the Japan Magazine Publishers Association. Will entry into a bookstore soon include a 'cell-phone patdown?'"
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Digital Shoplifting From Bookstores?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:36AM (#6356376)
    People do obnoxious things like this [mobileasses.com] (man I have been waiting to slashdot them for a while).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:47AM (#6356428)
      What's wrong with taking pictures of people's asses? This site is quite amusing.

      Wait a minute, that's my ass! And it only got a 2!

      This site is goin down!!!

    • Actually this is the perfect answer. If the shop owners get a digital camera, a big one with a wicked obnoxious flash on top and when folks are reading (or phone photo'ing) magazines all he has to do is walk up and start flashing that monster xenon bulb connected to his digital camera at them. Pictures of them gathered around a nudie magazine, pictures of their butts, pix of the look on their faces ...

      Native American lore says that when you take someone's picture you capture a part of their soul. There
  • by God! Awful 2 ( 631283 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:36AM (#6356378) Journal
    Don't these people know there are bookstores where you can just go in, buy a coffee, sit around and read the magazine, then put it back on the shelf and leave?

    • by Adam9 ( 93947 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:39AM (#6356391) Journal
      Be careful. Some of these places even let you TAKE THEM HOME WITH YOU. They even let you do it with books too! And movies! And CDs! My god, they should be shut down immediately!

      Obviously, libraries are evil.
      • And there are sinister sister organizations that TRANSMIT CONTENT OVER THE AIRWAVES FOR FREE. If this continues, the 200 artists that are actually making money will start to starve too.
      • hmm, yes, my evil plan is taking shape. To allude authorities who will be looking for me in the bookstore, I will go to the library and take a picture of every book in there... with my phone! All the pictures will then be transmitted to my inbox, which has a one megabyte limit, so I will have to rotate pictures every 20 pages! I feel so sinister! Woo hahahahaha!
    • by BJH ( 11355 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:48AM (#6356432)
      Well, no, there aren't.
      There are a very few bookshops like that in central Tokyo, but otherwise, the floorspace is too valuable to be wasted on things like coffee bars or chairs.

    • by The Cydonian ( 603441 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:53AM (#6356454) Homepage Journal

      Not sure about other places, but the Kinokuniya (which is apparently a Japanese chain) store in Singapore has some of its books and magazines in shrinkwrap, ostensibly to stop buyers (and digital "shoplifters", if you like) from browsing through the books.

      If you ask me, that's simpler, yet more effective, than posters, paranoia and hype.

      • by horza ( 87255 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @08:26AM (#6357357) Homepage
        Why would I actually go into a bookshop if all the books are shrinkwrapped? The only advantage a bookshop has over Amazon.com is that I can randomly browse through books as the whim takes me. The goal of the book retailer is to increase their overall sales, and turning the store into basically a warehouse would lose more customers than rudimentary digital counterfeiting.

    • by Bakajin ( 323365 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:01AM (#6356481) Homepage Journal
      Yes they do. But more than that it is very customary for Japanese to browse magazines instead of purchasing them. My girlfriend often went to the bookstore to just look at magazines without purchasing, all part of the sport-window-shopping common there. You can often see 2 or 3 couples at a time standing together and just reading magazines in convenience stores, even late at night while they wait for rooms to open up in the love hotel nearby. This is probably part of the problem. They have been largely accustomed to enjoying magazines for free. Howeve I don't see the problem. If the magazine only has a few interesting pictures it it, it probably wasn't worth purchasing to the customer anyway. If the customer's are sending more photos through there phone, this generates more telecom revenue, and ultimately doesn't hurt the economy.
    • For those that live outside North America, the coffeeshop in a bookstore idea isn't very common. It is becoming more common in Australia, but unless you are in a large chain, it is rare.
    • by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:24AM (#6356565) Journal
      Okay, where to start:

      1) magazines are insanely priced here in Japan. A general purpose one (say, equiv to cosmo) would be 700 yen (think 6 dollars). A specialty one, say an hobby related RC magazine is a whopping 1,800 yen (about 15 dollars)*

      2) generally all stores you can go in and read, but you have to stand there and do it - that has never prevented hordes of people from standing by the magazine racks and browsing through everything; japanese people are usually very accustomed to be on their legs, many having to stand on the train for commute and walk between the trainstation and their destinations

      3) Interestingly, the porn sections in japan are not shrinkwrapped - and I do wonder if this is where the digital shoplifting takes place more than anywhere else: while it's fine and good to look at naked ladies standing next to an obasan browsing through summer-cooking recipies, where you really want to be is the privacy of your home with such magazines (let's be realistic here). So I can imagine that being a good candidate for such "theft." Of course, the obasan next to you might be stealing recipies too, but frankly the phones don't have THAT good of resolution - text won't come out.

      now - you can stand and browse magazines ANYWHERE, including convenience stores (which, coincidentally, have adult sections - so if you suddenly have an urge to see pictures of naked woman at 3am, 7-E is the place to go), but nowhere I know have sit-down drinking coffee type.

      side note: the "adult section" should probably include PC games section, which, as far as I can tell, is by far occupied with hentai-themed games than anything else. But none of them is censored or in a separate area. stupid american "decency laws"

      other side note: the real popular stuff, they usually shrink wrap - this include popular comics, and game-hintguides, etc...

      * last note: there is no such thing as subscription, or subscription discounts in japan: you can get a subscription, but then the book seller where you get it from would just mail you the said magazines on an interval and charge you cover price plus postage (ok maybe 5% discount). silly, eh? no wonder people "steal" the content.
      • by BJH ( 11355 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @04:02AM (#6356676)
        Most magazines actually do have subscriptions - take a look at some of the computer magazines, for example Software Design. It's not very much cheaper (usually only the cost of consumption tax, if that).

        The reason for that is the way book distribution works in Japan. The publisher sends the book data to the printer, where it's printed; it's then shipped to the toritsugi company, which is basically a distributor. From there, it's sent to however many bookstores the publisher has paid for it to be sent to. Quite often, if the bookstore doesn't want the books it has been sent, they just leave them in the box and send them right back (at no cost to the bookstore).

        The problem is that publishers have no (easy) way of getting their books out to bookstores other than through the toritsugi, with which they have a rather uneasy relationship. If the publisher starts selling magazines directly to consumers by subscription at a discount, the toritsugi will start getting annoyed with them and may increase the cost for the publisher to distribute their other products. Thus, the publisher is blocked from offering cheaper subscriptions.
    • Nah (Score:3, Funny)

      by Cappy Red ( 576737 )
      They just want to feel like James Bond... or Peter Graves.

      Tonight on Biography, should you choose to accept it, you must retrieve a copy of the enemy's secret plans. Though their headquarters looks like a normal bookstore, do not be fooled. Every moment you spend within those walls, their operatives will be watching you, andpaying special attention to your consealed cameras. They've already been alerted to the briefcase camera, so you'll have to make do with the cell phone model. As usual, if you or an
  • by femto ( 459605 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:37AM (#6356381) Homepage
    Subject says it all.
  • by Mr.Coffee ( 168480 ) *
    I've been waiting for a story like this to come along for awhile now. IMHO this signifies the start of an unevitable transition to paperless media. with hard copy so easy to get for free, about the only for print media to ensure it's position would be to become exclusively mail-based.
  • I don't see a point. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aerojad ( 594561 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:38AM (#6356386) Homepage Journal
    If you're going to stand in a bookstore, taking 500 pictures of the latest fav-novel of your choice, and *not* get caught, then you probably deserve to get away with the pictures.

    On the other hand, if someone didn't spend so much money on the cell phone to take 600 pictures of a book, they probably could.. well.. buy the book.
    • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:08AM (#6356508)
      If you're going to stand in a bookstore, taking 500 pictures of the latest fav-novel of your choice, and *not* get caught, then you probably deserve to get away with the pictures.

      Reminds me of when I was a teenager and stopped at the mewsagent/bookshop on the way home to "browse" a few chapters of a porn novel that I was too chicken to buy. Only took a few days to get through them.

  • Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Have Blue ( 616 )
    How long before stores start installing cellphone jammers?

    All of modern technology seems to be going that way: A constant arms race between the people trying to sell a device to perform a function and the people trying to sell a device or service to prevent the function from being performed.
    • Erm, I doubt a cell phone jammer would prohibit someone from playing a game or taking a picture with his/her phone; it would only keep that person from making calls or send messages.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      the problem is not the cellphone half of the new devices.. these phones have digital cameras built in. you can't jam a digital camera.. it doesn't need a signal. i don't think we'll see stores installing EMP cannons anytime soon. but even then, it's just: power off, power on, *snap*.

      i think the publishers are seeing this as an analog to movie pirates with camcorders.. but i doubt it could ever be that much of a problem.

      and anyway, if i want to read a magazine and not buy it, i go the public library.
    • Cellphone jammers usually block the radio frequencies used by cell phones, so that you can't make any calls. This won't stop you from taking pictures with your phone and saving them in the phone's memory, tough.
    • How long before stores start installing cellphone jammers?

      Even more effective, use International Rescue's camera detectors [geocities.com].

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:58AM (#6356666)
      How long before stores start installing photo-jammers?
      All of modern technology seems to be going that way. A constant arms race between the people trying to sell a device to perform a function and the people trying to sell a device or service to prevent the function from being performed.
  • That's One Thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dirkdidit ( 550955 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:39AM (#6356389) Homepage
    It's one thing to photograph a 100 page magazine where half the pages are ads, but do you really think people will sit there in the store undetected while they take pictures of all 900 and some pages of the new Harry Potter book?

    Simple solution if they don't want people browsing the magazines with the risk of them photgraphing them, put them behind the counter.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's a brilliant idea, hell if people didn't know what's in it, they might buy MacWorld...
      • Most magazines have websites that say whats in the latest issue anyhow. I don't really see keeping them behind the counter as much of a problem. The stores could atleast keep the covers in good view so you could read the latest "What's In This Issue" blurb.
    • Re:That's One Thing (Score:3, Informative)

      by BJH ( 11355 )
      Unfortunately, your simple solution doesn't allow for the fact that an average bookstore in Tokyo could have half a dozen 10-foot racks packed with magazines. They're not going to be able to put them all behind the counter...
      • They're not going to be able to put them all behind the counter...

        But they can shrinkwrap them, as they do in some bookshops and many suoermarkets in Hong Kong (to stop browsers dogearing them rather than photographing them, I suspect).

  • You walk into the bookstore. Two army officers approach you with AK-47s. "Excuse me sit, could you step into the office here? Thank you. Now, you have been chosen at random to be strip-searched. This is not racial profiling. Please remove all of your clothes and bend over."
    • "Excuse me sit, could you step into the office here? Thank you. Now, you have been chosen at random to be strip-searched. This is not racial profiling. Please remove all of your clothes and bend over."

      I don't know about you, but if I'm the bookstore security guard, I would not choose a man to strip-search, for sure.

      Maybe you have different taste, but hey, that's fine with me :)
  • by incom ( 570967 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:39AM (#6356396)
    I suffer from lack of photographic memory, thus such devices are my aids. On a similar note, my ability to perfectly memorize movies and music is also impaired, thus I am justified in downloading MP3's and movies.
    • Imagine having a pair of glasses with a camera/microphone at the outside corner of each lens. You wear these everywhere you go, everything you see/hear gets recorded, you drop them in their holder next to your bed every night and they dump their contents to your personal memory backup. I'd start using something like this in a heartbeat, with appropriate protections (encrypted, password based on my biometrics, Fifth Amendment protected).

      This kind of thing will be feasible in ten to twenty years if Moore's
  • by Raindance ( 680694 ) * <johnsonmx&gmail,com> on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:39AM (#6356397) Homepage Journal
    It's troubling that the intellectually unwholesome analogy which the record and movie industry lobby groups in America, that copying is identical to stealing, is finding purchase in other cultures.

    Copying is one thing, stealing/shoplifting is another. Copying may not be good, but for goodness sake it's different than stealing! This press release, and the 'educational' campaign that it outlines, clouds thought in contexts where it need not be clouded.
    • For anyone wondering how "hacker" became distorted, this is kinda similar.

      I wonder if people with photographic memories will be arrested for staring at something too long without buying it.

    • by nettdata ( 88196 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:12AM (#6356523) Homepage
      If the guy copied the material, without having purchased it first, or took it home and photocopied it for all his friends, I don't care what you call it, it's still illegal.

      And rightly so.

      You can call it copyright infringement, which is probably the correct terminology, but "digitial shoplifting" is a pretty reasonable description of what he's doing, in my opinion. Because he's not copying something that he's purchased for his own use, he's STEALING it for his own use.

      The magazine is there to be bought. If he goes in, and gets the "service" of the magazine without paying for it, then that is wrong.

      (next bit not directed at you, just a generic rant)

      I'm really getting sick and tired of people with an overinflated sense of entitlement. "Everything should be free!" Well, welcome to the real world... it just doesn't work that way, nor should it.

      Now, if the people that "liberate digital content" gave back as well as they take, I'd probably not be that pissy over it... but the odds of that are EXTEMELY low. For that matter, I've found that most of the people that create things that are generally prone to "copyright infringement" are the first ones to pay for other people's works, while the ones that STEAL it are angst-ridden drama queens with that overinflated sense of self-entitlement.

      "But it's too expensive, and they're charging too much for it!". Then don't buy it! You don't NEED it, and it's not a human right for you to have it, so show some moral backbone and don't steal it.

      Really makes you wonder about the state of family values these days...

      *sigh* ...end rant...

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:41AM (#6356620) Homepage Journal
        Your rant is foolish. The above poster did not disagree that it is not illegal. Hell, they didn't even say it shouldn't be illegal. What they said is that it is not as bad as actual theft, which is a problem for two reasons. First, because it deprives the retail outlet of revenue, and second, because it deprives them of stock, which is part of their assets.

        You are not actually stealing something unless you are depriving someone else of an object. Money only counts if you take the money directly; depriving someone of a sale is not theft. HOWEVER, interfering with someone doing legal business is illegal, and so is violation of copyright.

        So you're a little bit right, in that it is illegal, it should be illegal, and it is arguably immoral. But your flaming of the comment you flamed is goofy, because the poor guy doesn't actually appear to disagree with you. You were out of place.

      • Amazing perspective from a first worlder who recieved a "free" ride courtesy of all the third worlders and minimium wagers who do most of the real work. Lets face it, most wealth is not earned but transferred. In these days of massive immorality from the top down, it's hypocritical to denounce the poor while supporting the rich.

        It's amazing how someone can subvert markets and democracy and be seen as a good guy, while others who share, are labelled as criminals.

        My advice, tend your own garden before compl
    • by AceM2 ( 655504 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:23AM (#6356562) Journal
      They may not be EXACTLY the same thing, since you're not actually removing a product from distribution, but..... I'll never understand why you people say that you don't have to play by the rules if you don't have money.. Sure, someone can still buy the magazine so you aren't stealing it off the shelf, but the price tag is there for a reason.. Saying you wouldn't buy it anyway is just an excuse to be lazy.. If it's not worth a few bucks, not even an hour of work at mcdonalds, why in the hell are people standing there copying the things? I mean come on.. We have radios for music if you don't have the cash to buy cds, and you're allowed to browse magazines if you just want to catch an article in one of those.. If you wanna live in a socialism or whatever.. Then make that point known.. However, the countries where most music, magazines, movies, etc are being produced (and at least the ones most people seem to enjoy) are capitalist countries. Everyone works to get ahead.. Most of us play by the rules, we give money so other people can have it.. This system works great because of people playing by the rules..
      If you like the product, just...pay for it.. You wanna make a stand and buy free music instead that's one thing.. It's totally different though if you're going to benefit from other people's work without paying for it..
    • Do you get just as pissed when the media refers to "crackers" as "hackers"?

      How many people on the planet do you think give a flying about the difference between the two? In most peoples minds a hacker = a bad computer guy and a cracker = is either a type of food or a slur against white people.

      And to most folks copying IP without renumeration = stealing. I know you and RMS and the other open sourcers burn at the thought of this but thats just the way it is.
  • Digital magazines? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:40AM (#6356398)
    Isn't paper obsolete yet?

    We need a cheap source of e-readers / tablets. I mean *super* cheap, like $10 each. When they're everywhere, sell all magazine content digitally, pass the savings through lack of physical printing on to the consumer and be done with it.
    • by oneishy ( 669590 )

      The recent success of 'downloadable music' sites should be a wakeup call! This is where the paper industry can one-up the music industry. Clearly they are beginning to realize a demand for works to be distributed in digital format. Now all they have to do is fulfill that need [and make money], instead of trying to kill another distribution method [and spend money].

    • We need a cheap source of e-readers / tablets. I mean *super* cheap, like $10 each.

      Wait about 2 years. I'm sure some asian company will figure out how to mass produce e-readers for that sort of price. Meanwhile American companies will still be charging $400.

      I just bought a true rms digital multimeter for $7 at a local discount electronics store, "SuperPower" batteries included! Thing even measures inductance and capacitance. It's enclosed in the cheapest plastic I've ever seen (the typical oily imported
  • by hussar ( 87373 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:40AM (#6356401) Homepage
    There is clearly a requirement here for some sort of DRM for printed materials. What about something like those 3D glasses they used to hand out in theaters. Make it so you can only read the magazine with those glasses on.

    Might have some interesting side effects for Playboy magazine.

    (This is a joke - unless you want to patent this idea. Then it is prior art.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:42AM (#6356406)
    Between this, the problems with music/movie/software piracy and copyright abuse and confusion, and even micropayment schemes, it is becoming apparent that technology is fast approaching a point where it will be hard for companies that provide a service, specifically concerning information and even products whose sole purpose is to inform (books and magazines) to continue to justify why we have to pay for the material the book is made out of and the shelves that hold the books and the people that make and stock them when we could do it all digitally. as it becomes easier to store, move and view digital information, business built around the fact that the info had to physically get out there are panicking, how much worse can it get?
  • Newspapers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Strandman ( 583695 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:42AM (#6356407)
    I remember when all the newspapers began to publish their work on the internet. Everyone said that none would buy the paper version anymore and that the newspapers would have to charge money for viewing their news on the net.

    I think this is these "doomsday" warnings all over again
    • FYI, the bulk of newspaper revenue is from advertisements, not actual newstand revenue.
    • Re:Newspapers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jayoyayo ( 650349 ) <justin@@@iraq4u...com> on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:37AM (#6356608)
      it will happen eventually-- but give it a generation. when people like me, who were introduced to online news sources early in life become the head of households, print newspaper readership will decline severely. it is already begining to happen, newspapers basically just print yesterday's news and all the other interesting content they offer is available online from their website or from other online sources. once it becomes more and more common for the average person to find out about breaking news instantly then you can kiss print papers goodbye. enjoy those inky fingers while you can, it seems very possible we'll be telling stories to our grandchildren about how the news use to be printed on paper and delivered to our house every morning. sheesh, it already sounds ancient.
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:42AM (#6356408) Homepage Journal
    The problem with any society is that there is always going to be some low life that does not want to work for what they have. Rather they want to take it without appreciation for the investment in time and effort that any thing worth while takes to either manufacture or compensate the creator of that item for. Technology will always facillitate this and will open new pathways for old crimes.

  • by Black Art ( 3335 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:43AM (#6356412)
    ... in Japanese?

    They probably caught one person doing it and had to make a big stink about it.

    This is pretty bogus if you think about it. Try taking a picture of a magazine page at a news stand and see just how readable it is.

    Must be a slow news day in Japan. I guess Godzilla and Gamera are shacking up in Mexico again...
  • I can't think of anyone in thier right mind that would actually want to try and read these photos rather than the actual magazine/book ?

    And if they want to print them out, they'll probably end up spending almost as much as buying the damn thing in the first place, plus the quality will suck.

    Ok - so they want to read them on screen - sure, wonderful to read 50 pages of a bit skew maybe slightly blurry text :)

    Storm in a tea-cup.
    • I can't think of anyone in thier right mind that would actually want to try and read these photos rather than the actual magazine/book ?

      Thats wbat I first thought about crappy divx movies done by sneaking a video camera into a theatre, but those have caught on pretty well.
    • Ok - so they want to read them on screen - sure, wonderful to read 50 pages of a bit skew maybe slightly blurry text :)

      RTFA... some who did this were young women who wanted to get a few images of hairstyles to show their hairdresser, or of clothes to show their friends or help in finding them in a shop. As ever, no one buys, or pirates, glossy (men's or women's) magazines to "read the articles" (somewhat like Slashdot).

  • libraries (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zumbojo ( 615389 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:45AM (#6356424) Homepage
    Perhaps money intended to be allocated to preventing digital shoplifting would be best invested in or donated to libraries - the books are free to borrow and if there isn't a copy available, you either wait until it's returned or suck it up and buy the book. I mean sweet merciful crap - taking 1000 pictures in a readable quality (a quality you would WANT to read) would amount to like 700MB. That's a hella-expensive phone/camera/mailbox.
  • ...When I read the article, I thought "who the hell is cheap enough to take bad screenshots of a magazine to read it" and then I remembered that Edge magazine costs 12 fricking euros and they had an E3 special feature with a different edition for each platform, plus an E3 coverage edition.

    That was something I was really interested in, then I realised that with the money I was about to spend on videogame magazines I could actually buy a videogame.
  • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:47AM (#6356429) Homepage
    I'm not too current on cell phones (I still use an original StarTac) but do these things have a high enough resolution to take a good snapshot of a page of a book or magazine? From the demos I've seen, I'm guessing the resolution of the cameras found on most phones is 640x480 at most.

    Is this really a problem or is this just some case where *one* crazy guy walked into a bookstore and started taking snapshots with his phone (or camera)?
    • Don't bet on it - the latest cellphones in Japan have 1.3 megapixel cameras, and it won't be long before that breaks 2 or 3 megapixels.
  • by rexguo ( 555504 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:50AM (#6356445) Homepage
    What about those savants with photographic memory? I'm sure their mental images have much higher resolution than a camera phone. Extrapolating, what about those with good aural memory who can playback a tune they heard, or even transcribe it onto musical score?
  • Libraries (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Thursday July 03, 2003 @02:59AM (#6356476) Homepage
    They can go to all this effort or just goto the library and then get a copy for free and read it in the comfort of their own home or am I missing something?

    • Re:Libraries (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BJH ( 11355 )
      Japanese libraries tend not to carry all magazines (or even most of them).
      Also, the libraries can often be quite a way away, as there tends to be only one library per ward/city area.
  • First of all, is 1 page of a magazine (or 3, or 4, or 10) really worth this much hooplah? Who's going to stand there and photograph every page...? I just don't see how this could EVEN be a problem... at least with mp3s/pirated movies you can see WHY someone would do this, but who the heck wants to open tons of images to read a lame magazine article that you can probably get online in a number of minutes? Assanine, totally assanine
    • > Who's is going to stand there and photograph every page...?

      Is it so much more unrealistic then somebody going to a Star Wars movie and sets up his video camera in the middle of the movie theatre? That's happened too!
      Don't underestimate what people are willing to do if they can save a buck...

      > ..., but who the heck wants to open tons of images to read a lame magazine article that you can probably get online in a number of minutes?

      Magazines maybe, but whole books never go (fully) online. So flippin
      • Yes, I did mean asinine. When I previewed it didn't catch my eye, but when I had submitted, it stood out like a huge sore..

        Sorry, I get tired and my brain starts to spell things instinctively... hehe sometimes I catch myself spelling "your" "yoor".. pretty embarassing :(
      • And to reply to your comments.

        I know that people will do it, I just fail to see the use..

        The joy of books and magazines is that you can take them with you wherever you go, read them at your leisure.. instead of being strapped down to a computer..

        Now, I know the possibility of handheld devices comes up, and sure.. that would work to an extent, I guess..

        Maybe if you used the camera pictures with a form of OCR... that would be interesting to see..
  • by achurch ( 201270 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:14AM (#6356534) Homepage

    The local newspapers' articles were light on content so I can't say for sure, but I suspect the main "violators" are teenage kids who don't have a lot of pocket money in the first place. That aside, though, this has all the markings of an industry not being able to cope with technology. The main "victims" seem to be information magazines and books--restaurant guides and whatnot--but given that the same information is already available with a quick Internet search, I fail to see what effect disallowing pictures would have on readers, other than driving them away. I guess alienating your customer base is the "in" thing these days...

    (I'll save my comments that you could do this just as easily with pen and paper for another post.)

  • I read the article. I saw no mention of any crime being commited. The article mentions that bookstores are going to put up posters urging magazine readers to "refrain from recording information with camera-mounted cellphones and other devices".

    Aside from someone (the newspaper? the publishers?) calling this "digital shoplifting", thus implying a crime, I see nothing worse than rudeness.

    I was wondering, if instead of a phone camera, what if you just walked in with a real, good camera and started clicking

  • by darnok ( 650458 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:23AM (#6356563)
    Here in Australia, there's been a fuss about people taking camera phones into gym change rooms. One of the current affairs TV shows did an "expose" (pardon the pun) where they showed just how easy it was for a woman reporter to go into a gym change room with a hidden cell phone; we got to see lots of pixellated naughty bits on TV while we were eating dinner.

    Given this, I can see that camera phones will get killed off in the near future, before they get a chance to become deeply entrenched. At the moment, there's no real "killer app" for these devices and not huge market penetration, so I wouldn't expect a massive public outcry if governments were to ban either the phones themselves or legislate to stop phone networks carrying MMS data (which would be as good as banning the phones themselves).
    • In Australia, maybe. But here in Japan, the camera-cellphone thingy is already a hit. Most teenagers have it, many adults have it. And, as far as my experience goes, most people that have it use it regularly. I think it's quite convenience as a kind of notepad, because you take it with you everywhere and thus can take notes instantly everywhere too.

      And here comes the problem. People browse magazine in book store and find a small tidbit of information that they want. Maybe a map, maybe date of some special

  • by 73939133 ( 676561 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:25AM (#6356566)
    Stores have the right to restrict whether you can or cannot take pictures on their premises: if they see you taking a picture, they can ask you to leave, or they can prohibit cameras on their premises altogether.

    But that's all they can do. Being able to keep you from taking pictures doesn't mean that the act of taking pictures itself would be illegal. In fact, the article itself states that it is not.

    This basically means that stores have a choice: disgruntle their customers or live with it. It doesn't sound like a big problem to me.
  • by TyrranzzX ( 617713 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:28AM (#6356576) Journal
    People won't pay for what they don't value, and ultamatly, as technology progresses and if control of that technology stays in the hands of people, we'll begin to see new kinds of media such as people throwing up e-newspapers and instead of asking for payment, ask for donations.

    The store owners are simply angry becuase an old system they've been using for years is finally beginning to fade away into obsolecence. What people are doing isn't even a crime; as far as the law is conserned you can take all the pictures you want in public in america you want. If you go into a store, it's considered rude to try to make a copy of something that way like it's rude to stand there and read the magazine in the store without buying it.
  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:38AM (#6356609)
    This will turn into a hidden digital camera arms race. The techy consumer will be taking pictures of magazines and the magazine stand will be watching our every move just like they do in the Las Vegas Casinos.

    No, seriously, this might actually enhance the word-of-mouth publicity for certain magazines. If I were a porno magazine owner in Japan, (let's face it, I bet porno is the first thing people are copying), I'd embed the magazine logo and its url in each photograph worth taking.

    And before banning anything, I'd also run some numbers on the effect of digital cameras on the marketplace. Here in the US, Barnes&Noble and Borders let us open and read books for hours on end. In Europe, some book chains have started doing this as well (I've read many books that way). This practice seems profitable for them, otherwise, I don't think they would be doing it.

  • Just Browsing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ctar ( 211926 ) <christophertar@@@gmail...com> on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:40AM (#6356619) Homepage
    I live in Japan. I can't imagine that this makes any significant difference in peoples buying habits. People already spend lots of time reading magazines in 7-11 and Lawsons and similar convenience stores, with no intention of buying in the first place. I'm sure this is a natural extension of that habit. I doubt if its ever to actually steal or retain the original information. Its probably more like jotting down a note. Also, people spend lots of time holding their open phones facing outwards sending email! So, I would think its difficult to distinguish when someone's taking a picture, and when someone's just emailing their friend. Finally, I think in Japan the notion of intellectual property and the illegality of it is not as severe as it is in the states. Its more a social issue, and I can't imagine any laws developing from this, or similar IP issues.
  • by alizard ( 107678 ) <alizard.ecis@com> on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:48AM (#6356637) Homepage
    How many people have been arrested for digital "theft" so far? Even if this isn't illegal (and I think it is), a "disorderly conduct" charge or something like that could probably be made to stick.

    No newsstand or any other specific place was cited. No quotes from anyone who actually did it or actual "victims" were used. The closest anyone comes is the one who said that she took pictures out of a hair style catalogue to a hairdresser to avoid taking the actual (heavy) book. A human face is the sort of thing highly compressed low-res images do best. There's a very big difference between this (which probably is fair usage and grabbing a magazine full of text and images frame-by-frame.

    Hand scanners might make sense, but low-res mobile phone cams?

    How many newsstands are going to let a cell phone user stand and photograph every page a 100 page magazine? What's the quality going to be like? JPGs including text images are rather hard to read unless a very low level of compression is used. Are mobile phones that much better at handling text detail in uploadable pictures? More to the point, isn't the pixel count in a mobile phonecam low enough that reproducing copy that might be typeset at 1200-2400 dpi is sort of hopeless?

    What's the billing per image as uploaded via mobile? At more than 10 cents USD / frame, it would be generally cheaper to buy the magazine even assuming the user's time is worth nothing.

    Has anyone actually seen this done and what the results look like?

    If this really is a serious concern, spend the extra penny and shrinkwrap the suckers. Busting the shrinkwrap is vandalism of merchandise. No new law is needed.

    I think some content providers are trying to get some PR support for anti-technology copy control legislation of some sort in Japan... i.e. something that looks good to elected officials who don't think terribly hard about what they're being asked to support.

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @03:59AM (#6356669) Homepage
    Wait a couple years, until you can buy a high resolution camcorder that is the size of your thumb, sneak it into the movie theater, tape it to your forehead, and record the entire movie without anyone being able to tell what you're doing.

    They'll need a whole new Orwellian pseudo-crime-name for that... I suggest "digital molestation of kittens".

  • by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @04:50AM (#6356794)
    I've scanned through the replies and see the usual slashdot excuses and irrelevancies:
    • the magazines are too expensive
    • porn-related and other lame jokes
    • it's not "stealing" it's "infringement"
    • and so on..
    (I'm surprised i haven't seen anybody screaming about corporations have abused 'fair use' yet).

    Now, this is slashdot, so I shouldn't be surprised, but I was hoping against hope that for one /. would actually live up to its own tripe and condemn the violators while not blaming the technology. In fact, I was hoping against all hope that somebody might actually suggest a credible scheme or two to curb such behavior. "Japaneses publishers should lower their prices" is not a credible scheme.

    Do we have anybody with any credible schemes to prevent this, short of shrink-wrapping magazines, which sounds like sort of a cop-out?

    • Do we have anybody with any credible schemes to prevent this, short of shrink-wrapping magazines, which sounds like sort of a cop-out?

      Why is that a cop-out? A high-tech solution (of the kind most /.ers would propose) will always have some sort of work-around, but low-tech solutions are more robust. For instance, there's a reason why electronic internet voting hasn't really taken off in many places yet: there are authentication and verification problems that simply vanish (or become much less of a problem)

    • Shrink wrapping is credible.
      So is putting them behind the counter.

      For my suggest I say the charge rent for floor space. the first tent minutes free, 100 yen for every ten minute block after th first ten minutes.

      you would have to get the cooperaration of all the nearby shops.

      here is another one:
      Sell drinks.
  • by khalido ( 601247 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @05:10AM (#6356829) Homepage
    Here in Pakistan, foreign books and magazines start at 10 dollars (no matter what the actual price) and go up to 50 dollars. Local books are priced from 5 to 25 dollars. Here, a middle class salaried person makes around a 100 dollars or less a month. He/she has to support a family. You can imagine that books are the last thing they are every going to buy. Even for the well off, buying a book is something which has to be planned in advance, budgeted, then finally bought. Since we have low literacy rates here, there isn't much local content of high quality available. Magazines are one thing, but as long as books are priced beyond your typical consumer, there is something wrong with the business model. If the costs have been covered in the first world then there should be cheaper priced editions available in the rest of the world. The problem is not that playboy is too expensive, it is that technical books and magazines are priced well beyond reason. Our govt. is too blame also as they do not do anything at all about getting books into the country, providing translations etc. Anyways my point was, over here our main source of new content is Piracy. either someone gets one copy and reprints it here, or they get a scanned copy from a agent/pirater abroad etc. etc. So the more piracy going on the more stuff we get to read. The choice isn't about pirating or buying. It's about being able to read the damn things. Pakistan has a developing IT industry, and 99% of the students don't have enough money to buy ONE copy of a typical academic book per year.
  • Cell Phone Jamming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rit ( 64731 ) <bwmcadams@gmail. ... minus physicist> on Thursday July 03, 2003 @07:05AM (#6357053) Homepage
    Why pat down? There have been numerous items of news on people who've come up with devices to block cellphone signals. I believe there was a Slashdot story a few years ago about a guy who came up with wooden panels for movie theatre seats, etc. that could completely block cell signals.

    This is what we need. Just last week I was in Barnes and Noble and some dimwitted, inconsiderate ignoramus was chatting loudly on her mobile. I consider the bookstore to be like the library - it should have a certain level of quiet. Having yammering idiots with cell phones stuck to their heads ( which are often stuck up their asses in return ) yacking away kind of defeats all that.

    By blocking the cell signal outright, you'd eliminate the Cameras ( from what I've seen alot of these camera phones lack the storage to do a picture locally - rather, they send them off to a server for storage almost immediately ... ), and the idiots.
    • by vidarh ( 309115 )
      And you'd also stop legitimate emergency phone calls or pages, such as from a hospital trying to get hold of a surgeon or similar. As for eliminating the cameras, I wonder what phones you've seen - mine has a few MB's for storage, and it's certainly not top of the range (I couldn't care less about the camera, it came as a free add on, I bought the phone because it's triband, since I do occasionally travel to the US)
  • I use my digicam (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rtphokie ( 518490 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @08:39AM (#6357418)

    I travel to washington DC from time to time and like to visit the gift shops at the smithsoneon museums. The one in the basement of American History has a particularly good collection of books for sale. If the book is reasonable, I buy it. If it's overpriced, I take out the digital camera (not an unusual thing to have in a musuem) and snap a photo of the ISBN number then visit Half.com [half.com] when I get back to the office and buy it, often for half of what I saw it for in the bookstore.

    This is the only reason I can see for having a camera equiped phone, a different sort of notepad.

  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Thursday July 03, 2003 @01:02PM (#6359699)
    This is horseshit.

    Man, there's a lot of it out there today!

    Magazines are destroyed if they don't sell; the covers returned to the publisher for a refund. So the bookstore doesn't lose a dime, unlike if an actual product was stolen. As such, this IS not the same as shoplifting. The only money being 'lost' is that of a potential sale, which probably wouldn't happen anyway, since the 'thief' is clearly not concerned with the content of the article, (since you can't hope to read comprehensive text from a 120 x 120 dpi JPG image.)

    As for the publisher, point of purchase sales, except in the cases of maybe the 5 or 6 leading magaaines, don't account for ANY significant amount of income. The publishers make virtually ALL their money from the advertisers. So they have no reason to care! --Heck, the simple fact that ANYBODY is bothering to leaf through their rag looking for pictures of dresses to scan, should make them happy.

    All in all, this sounds like just another dumb excuse to clamp down on society with ever-increasing thumbscrews of social control.

    Thank goodness people are wise enough to impeach stupid and dangerous leaders.


  • by Triv ( 181010 ) * on Thursday July 03, 2003 @01:21PM (#6360014) Journal

    People do this all the time at the Barnes & Noble where I used to work, except they would plop down in the art section with a stack of books, whip out a bigass digital camera and start snapping away. When politely informed that they were breaking the law and would be removed from the store if they continued they got amazingly indignant, like we actually WERE a library.

    Sometimes I cannot believe the ballsiness of people.


Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson