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Script Trading: The Sharers vs. the Traders

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#1
In light of the recent conversation about trading versus sharing...

There's a dichotomy between the exclusive sharers and the exclusive traders. Neither is going away, so let's accept that and get over it.

Exclusive sharers are generous, and certainly, most are honorable. They are serious about the craft, and we, as the script-acquiring community, need them.

Traders, are market stimulators, and are equally serious about the craft. They are reasonably interested in holding back rarer scripts that might be able to be used in trades for titles not yet out there.

Eventually, and inevitably, those traded scripts will find their way out into the sharing community.

Therefore, trading, while not sharing, is not unethical. It's free enterprise, and it's more. The sharers will get what they get through shares and leaks. Fair enough. Ultimately, the sharing community benefits. In fact, that is one of the only ways the sharing community benefits, as the scripts that become available mostly emerge first as traded scripts. The traders, meanwhile, will pry out the rarer titles, unavailable through sharing, and eventually feed them into the larger community.

So the real issue in the ongoing dispute isn't sharing vs. trading. It's how quickly the traded titles enter sharing. And that is out of either group's control. To condemn either group is folly.

So, either accept sharing as your choice, or enter the trading realm and adhere to its practices. But don't argue about why something is or isn't available. It's not gonna change anything, and you alienate yourself from any useful dialogues between the two factions.

For someone who just traded for a rare title and hopes to use it to get another, there's no question. He/she must hold it back until its trade value is seen as zero. If a sharer has a problem with that, the solution is to become a trader, not to complain or whine about it, or elevate one's standing as ethically superior.

And, before someone complains that that is easier said than done, know this:

I started as merely interested in the scene, with almost nothing--I had acquired hard copies for years, but only things that interested me as a writer. Then I began to expand into the online script collecting arena in order to get trade stock. I found scripts that weren't commonly available and, through effort, found traders who wanted them. That was 6 years ago. Now, I trade in the higher levels of the community.

It can be done as long as you play honorably, don't limit your thinking to web-surfing and free-downloads, and you have a little luck along the way--one Christmas a few years ago, I contacted Quinn (of 'Taint' fame) about a trade; he was sitting in an airport in Hawaii waiting to board a plane. For some reason, maybe the holiday spirit, he just started sending me scripts I had listed to him as 'wants' from his 'catalog titles' (older stuff); it kept up for better than an hour, dozens of scripts. He didn't have to do that, but he did. Dealing with people cordially can go a long way.

But, know this also: trading at the higher levels is getting harder. The highest level 6 years ago traded from archives of about 10,000 titles. Today the alpha traders have five times that. One group, at least (AKA - 'The Taint,' which used to offer an archive list called The Shadow Gallery), probably even more. I've even heard tell of one collector out there somewhere who may have sixty times that number I mentioned. So, finding something to trade that they want is a challenge. But it's not impossible. Honor your trade agreements. Make use of tagging, searchable by title and full writer name. Find a way to befriend selling writers and get their approval to trade some of their scripts. Find scripts in auctions and estate sales. Find them in hard copies owned by people who have long-since put them in storage, find them however you can. Those are the scripts for which the alpha-collectors will trade. That's how you can get to the most elusive scripts you want.

Just my 2 cents.

Ambrose
 
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#2
This should be stickied.

I admit to some bitching and moaning about high-end traders sitting on scripts to up their trade value, but while I prefer open sharing, I have nothing personal against those people and understand the reasoning behind it. Don't hate the player, hate the game.
 
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#3
Agreed. We’re sort of all in this together. I’m definitely guilty of bad behavior here and would like to tone it down some. It just gets my goat when certain posters act all high and mighty. I would never want anyone to suffer consequences (legal or otherwise) in their real lives for sharing screenplays. I’d also like to extend an olive branch to anyone here I’ve traded barbs with. It’s just a foolish way to proceed. I also hope Captain Chaos remains among us as some of his insights are invaluable.
 
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#4
The trader mentality I can understand (without caring for) the existence of but the sense of entitlement that often manifests within the sharing community is something I've come to dislike even more. There isn't a single script I absolutely must have, as much as I would like to. Not FANDANGO. Not John Carpenter's THE THING.
 
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#5
If we all shared, everyone would have access to everything. The net benefit to everyone would be immense.

If we all traded, the few hoard the wealth, and the many less privileged do without.

Sharing is much more efficient, compassionate and beneficial than trading.

The people who pretentiously status-signal as a part of their trading will seek inflated status in whatever they do. It's better if they claim status for their generosity than for their hoarding. They would be incentivized to share even more in the pursuit of ego glory.

Sharing is the way to go, IMHO. YMMV.
 
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#6
If we all shared, everyone would have access to everything. The net benefit to everyone would be immense.

If we all traded, the few hoard the wealth, and the many less privileged do without.

Sharing is much more efficient, compassionate and beneficial than trading.

The people who pretentiously status-signal as a part of their trading will seek inflated status in whatever they do. It's better if they claim status for their generosity than for their hoarding. They would be incentivized to share even more in the pursuit of ego glory.

Sharing is the way to go, IMHO. YMMV.
This is not black and white situation. Sure, some cases have something to do with ego/status, but if everyone had access to everything, it would be a massive disaster, much bigger than Deadpool's one. There needs be some kind of hierarchy to keep the balance. And if you really really want something, you have to put some effort to get it. That's how this world works, not just script trading, like it or not.
 
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#8
This back and forth reminds me of the film CONTACT with Jodie Foster and the following dialogue:

David Drumlin
I know you must think this is all very unfair. Maybe that's an understatement. What you don't know is I agree. I wish the world was a place where fair was the bottom line, where the kind of idealism you showed at the hearing was rewarded, not taken advantage of. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world.

Ellie Arroway
Funny, I've always believed that the world is what we make of it.
 
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#10
I expressed it in B&W terms for clarity.

Security of active development items like Deadpool is a seperate argument. Let's confine our conversation to non-Deadpool like material. Then we can talk about the underlying philosophies at work.

You only have to put effort into getting something if it is scarce. If I really, really want light on my desk, I flick a switch. It requires negligible effort because electricity is not scarce here. It's abundant, so little effort is required to get it.

Supply and demand govern how much effort/money/barter you need to contribute to get what you want. Digital files and the internet create limitless supply. Digital files are intrinsically not scarce. When people share, others get what they want with minimal effort, because supply vastly exceeds demand.

Trading requires creating artificial scarcity. A PDF file is by nature not a rare or scarce thing. It can be instantly broadcast worldwide at what amounts to no cost at all.

By the way, @KDCoolman, I do appreciate your contributions here. Especially the times you've traded for something that you end up sharing with us.

This is becoming a battle between capitalism and socialism.
Not really. Capitalism and socialism function in a zero-sum game. There is a finite amount of money in an economy, and if you give more to one, another gets less.

Digital goods are not like money; they are not zero-sum. Sharing doesn't reduce your inventory. You can only spend a dollar once, but you can share a file endlessly, and you still have the original file.

I fundamentally believe that Sharers and Traders have very different goals. I think most sharers want to read scripts. I think traders are having fun hunting and haggling like at a flea market. I think they also get a thrill when they bag a hard-to-find title.

We should all be able to co-exist. If it were up to me, I'd prefer everyone shared, but that's just me.
 
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#12
I hadn't planned on coming back into this discussion, but I have a couple points.

RE: "Sharing doesn't reduce your inventory."

Well, it sometimes does, when you can no longer trade for something that isn't yet out and about (but eventually would be thanks to the trade scene).

The other point is that most traders (if not all of them) are also sharers. Make of it what you will, but trading generates, and sharing is, while a sharer's inventory is not reduced, still a kind of "zero-sum" situation. The "pie" of sharers gets bigger, but without new material appearing (most often due to trades), the "pieces" don't.

This trader will go on record as in favor of sharing.

Ambrose
 
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#13
It's nice to have differing opinions without rancor. Especially on Election Day here in the USA. ;)

You're arguing that sharing reduces the value of your inventory in a market created by artificial scarcity. If no-one traded, the value of your files would be unchanged by sharing. It is the artificial scarcity of the trading market that causes the value to be lost. (I would also argue that the value is artificial, since the digital files are intrinisically not scarce.)

I'm not convinced that trading generates new material. I think new material becomes available, and because of trading, people hoard it for their own benefit.

I do appreciate traders who share.
 
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#16
There's a way to test that theory. Perhaps everyone that trades should stop sharing and then we can if sharing is impacted.
Deal.

I was about to drop you Where Eagles Dare and a non post production draft of The Shining but that plan is currently on hold.

Good luck! You'll still share that super rare thing we talked about though right? It's only fair.
 
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#17
I can attest to Ambrose, I started as someone who wanted to read scripts to study the craft, five years ago. I was a middle class trader for the last two, the reason I became a sharer again, (for the most part), is the scripts I had to trade (as a middle class trader) became available too quickly, something I admit I contributed a little too.

However, Ambrose is right and I will double down on the fact. The biggest way to level up in this field is by being cordial to not just the traders but sharers as well. Many times a fellow sharer reaches trader status and thanks to your cordial nature will be more than happy to just give you titles upon request.

Be good to each other and party on dudes!!
 
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