Monday, May 21, 2012

On Piracy

Yay! I have a computer again! :) I hate not having a computer. First of all, some of my best friends live in it. Second, I couldn't write for a week. I did write in a notebook when I had time, but I still missed my computer. Anyway, it's good to be back in internetland.

 I wanted to talk about piracy today. And not the hot swashbuckling kind. I'm pretty sure every knows what piracy is, but just in case...

Definition: The unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc.

We've all heard of it. It's getting to be a bigger problem now days and bottom line? It sucks. That's really all there is to it. Every industry has this problem. Movies, music and now books. People losing thousands of dollars when their product is downloaded for free.

Over the past week, a few author friends of mine found their books on pirating sites. People have been downloading their books for free. Some have had their books on the sites for months and had no idea. One girl had her new release downloaded 100 times. Another, 1000 times. There was another author who had a series of 3 e-books and they were downloaded 10,000 times. Do you have any idea how much money she lost because of this site? I'm sick for this girl. We as authors work SO hard to get our books into the best shape possible. We work even harder when we secure an agent or publisher or decide to self-publish our books. If you found out your book was being downloaded for free on some pirating site, I think you'd be devastated. I know I would. And I'm sure most publishers fight to get them taken down, but once they find the book, the damage has already been done.

Now, there's a difference between getting a book on Amazon for free vs a pirating site. Amazon places books for free sometimes. I'm not sure if the author has any say in it, (you authors that have done this, let me know) but most of the time it's a marketing tool. Place your book for free and you have a lot of people interested. Then with other books in the series, people will be willing to buy it to find out what happens next.

Pirating takes a copyrighted book and puts it on the internet illegally. It needs to stop. I wish there was more we could do about it, and I'm sure it will just get worse. But keep in mind when you come across a pirating site, (some can be very legit sounding) think about the author that worked so hard on his/her books. Buy it from a known source. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or your local bookstore. Hopefully book piracy will diminish a little if we keep our eyes open.

Any thoughts on this? Have you ever had your material on a piracy site and found about about it later?

21 comments:

Jenny Morris said...

This is really sad and happens way more than we want to know. Music, movies, books. It's all up for grabs. And it's sad because that is people's mentality. I deserve it for free.

Hopefully they will find a better way to regulate this.

S.P. Bowers said...

Sorry your friends are having this problem. It's not a fun thing to have to face. Though,on the bright side, people wanted their books! That's cool. Their books were good enough to pirate. That probably won't make them feel better but it was worth a shot.

Leslie Pugh said...

That would make me feel sick as well to know it was happening to my book or to friends. It's sad how easy it probably is to have something pirated and there needs to be a way for it to be stopped.

Jessie Humphries said...

I have family members/friends who think they are clever for finding out how to do this stuff. I think they have deluded themselves. Its no different than walking into a store and stealing stuff off the shelf. Somehow its sort of socially acceptable.

Jolene Perry said...

Well, and the REALLY sad thing (yes, I've seen ALL my books on these sites) is that Steph Campbell (she wrote a post on this last week) made a comment on one of the sites because this woman was asking about My Heart For Yours, and where she might find it.
Steph wrote back - Yes! I know where you can find it! IT's .99 on amazon, and .99 on barnes and noble!

And wow did she get trash-talked.

Also - people buy ebooks for .99, and then return them. REALLY???
It's a BUCK!
Sad, sad...

prerna pickett said...

gah! An issue that will be around for some time. Can't stand people who do it.

Meredith said...

Ugh, that's awful! Also, there's this thing called a library. Or paying for the e-books, which are pretty cheap anyways!

Ruth Josse said...

Sickening! I hadn't really thought of this being a problem with books. Again, sickening.

Donna said...

I have seen this way too often. I will often shop around for the best price on an e-book (seeing as how I am super impatient and can't wait for a printed book to be delivered) and I have been sent to these sites much too frequently. Now I have just bookmarked my favorite 4 or 5 booksellers and price compare with them. Or I check out my ebooks from the library.

Stephanie McGee said...

It's awful. And I'm sorry to say but in some ways Amazon and the ebook culture in general have engendered the attitude of "I should be able to have it for free." In some ways big box stores and e-retailers have contributed to the de-valuing of the arts and literature to the point where this becomes a standard line of thinking in some circles.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Yes! I found a foreign site selling pirated ebook copies of my YA series last year. Crappy part is there isn't much you can do about the foreign ones.

Angela Brown said...

I haven't experienced this on the writer side. But as a reader, I recall getting a book sent to my smartphone from someone. I thought, "Wow, free book!" until it donned on me that it was a pirated version of the novel. I just couldn't read it knowing that I wouldn't want people pirating my story once I actually publish one of my stories. So I didn't read it. I just couldn't.

JEFritz said...

Thankfully, I've never had anything pirated and I hate that it happens at all. People feel like they can do anything on the internet, but if they wouldn't go into a bookstore and steal why should they do online? Ugh.

Jemi Fraser said...

I didn't realize there were pirating sites - how sad! What a shame people are losing out like that - so not fair.

I know a few authors who have managed to have their books go for free on Amazon et al, but you're right - those were for marketing strategies!

elizabeth seckman said...

This is sad. And yes, the ones on Amazon are free at the author's permission. World Castle (the publisher I am signed with) runs free weekends and authors volunteer to list their work. It moves you up in the ratings and gains a new author exposure.

Leslie Rose said...

The pirating sites are new news to me. Awful. I hope they're blasted away soon.

Patti said...

My husband is a graphic artist and he has had a few of his logos stolen, so we know how it feels. It is hard to protect yourself. Not sure what the best way is.

Angela Cothran said...

Hello!? It's stealing!!! Where have the morals gone? I blame MTV :)

Ru said...

Sometimes authors have to be proactive. One of my jobs back in my marketing assistant days at an indie publisher was to find sites like these and send cease and desist notices. It wasn't hard to find them and the notices worked 99% of the time. But the fact is, the publisher had me do it just because I had some free time -- normally, no one would be doing that. Authors who are concerned should really be doing this for themselves, I'm sure the publisher would be happy to provide a standard cease and desist letter.

Elana Johnson said...

It is a huge problem. So much so that publishers have avenues for their authors so that sites can be contacted and have the books taken down.

So sorry for your friends. :(

Carol Riggs said...

Ugh, that's horrible! Most ebooks aren't even that spendy. Shame on those sites, and the people who put the books there...