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Friday, January 22, 2010

PHANTASM FRIDAY

PIRATES

I'm not talking about the "Arrgh" type of pirates, with the eyepatch, or even the swash-buckling Johnny Depp type of pirate, but rather Book Pirates. Yesterday I learned my e-book, Elfin Blood, had been uploaded to a pirate site. Do the copyright laws not matter to anyone anymore? Does a sense of justice and morality even exist these days? Us writers work hard pouring our souls and lots of time into our books only to have them stolen and passed around for free by folks who think the law doesn’t apply to them, or by folks who just don’t give a damn about others, or the law, or how stealing someone’s creation makes them feel naked and violated. I can’t decide which of these apply, maybe all, either way it ticks me off!

Grrrrrr….

I did a search on pirates and as an argument FOR piracy one person wrote that they’d purchased the book, therefore it was theirs to do with as they pleased and it was no different than sharing their print book with a friend. My response….@#$%&!...with a little bit of kicking mental furniture around. That’s plain and simple BS! A print book would be passed around to maybe a handful of pals, but uploading an e-book to the net is sharing it with the entire freaking world! I’m not condoning the passing of print books, but how can this so-called logic be justified? In my mind, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. It just doesn’t compute. A handful of friends or the entire world? Which would you prefer? I mean hello pirates just because you can do it, doesn't mean it's legal. It's no more legal than keeping money that was accidently deposited into your checking account. With this attitude no wonder some print authors refuse to allow their books to be published as e-books.

To all of you that think you have the right to upload an e-book after you purchase it, check out the first page or two of that book. I bet on one of those first few pages, they all say something like what is on page 2 of Elfin Blood:

“This book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any existing means without written permission from the publisher.”

Clearly uploading a book to a pirate site is copyright infringement. That means it is against the law and those guilty of the crime can face legal punishment! That means the owners of the site and the uploader are both guilty of the crime.

What's frustrating for me, if someone stole an artist's artwork, the law would be gunning for the thief. But pirate an e-book and even many in the industry shrug and say, 'That's just a necessary evil of this industry.' *SCREAMS* That doesn't make it okay, that doesn't mean something shouldn't be done about it and that is not an attitude I can embrace.

So, my wish for you pirate sites and all you immoral uploaders…I hope you pour your heart and soul into something, I hope you spend hours creating something…and then I hope it is stolen from you and passed around for free just as you have done to others, so that you can experience the horror of that violation too. I hope you learn that karma is a bitch and justice does eventually come to pass.

And with that, I’ll shut up…for now. Have a good weekend everyone.

20 Moonbeams (comments):

Carrie said...

It's not right, not at all.

Writers and ePubs that want to prevent this from happening need to do to book pirating sites what Metallica did to Napster - sue them to make your point.

The only problem with this is that, you get one site closed, and another one will go active and will stay that way until someone fights to get them shut down.

It's not just with books, but with movies and music too. They all are dealing with the same problems.

Gracen Miller said...

I'm not sure which makes me angrier, the fact that my book was pirated or the attitude toward it in the e-industry.

There is DRM (digital rights media) that stops this pirate abuse (until they create software to counter it), but no publisher is willing to implement it for fear of running off buyers. WTF? *shakes head* I can't understand how a legit purchaser would be offended by this!

Grrr...and then the lackadaisical attitude by authors, "it's just part of the industry", "a necessary evil"...all I'm hearing is "blah, blah, blah" (never thought that irritating line by my children would ever fit so perfectly in my lingo :D) and with those comments, I'm reading between the lines that they don't want to take up the gauntlet and fight for their rights. But then I have a strong sense of right and wrong (probably that legal side in me coming out), so sitting back and letting others fight while I do nothing is more than I can handle.

Molly Daniels said...

Did you contact your publisher and write a Cease and Desist letter? Don't know if that actually works, but it can't hurt.

On the flip side, you've gained popularity enough to be pirated:) (Tongue in cheek...no hate mail, please!)

Gracen Miller said...

I'm working on the cease and desist letter. The publisher is aware of it, provided she's read the NRP yahoo group discussion. She was having problems with her internet yesterday, so she may be a wee bit behind.

On the flip side...*thumps you on the back of the head* ;-) Nah...I'm not under any delusions that it's because I'm popular enough to be pirated.

BTW, I loved your new cover. Awesome cover art, kudos to you for being able to claim it as yours and kudos to your cover artist for her/his exceptional artwork! *hugs* Best of luck on it. I SWEAR I'm going to get to All She Ever Wanted. I'm rather behind on reading stuff these days. I'm trying to devote more time to writing, along with all the activities my boys have going on...eh, you know the routine. The joys and busyness of motherhood! LOL

*hugs*

J.A. Saare said...

I've been dealing with piracy since November. I jumped through the hoops, followed the take down procedure, and was blown off.

In a bid to enlighten those doing the actual pirating, I took my disgruntlement directly to the person(s) uploading/requesting/sharing (and it's 'sharing' not 'stealing' to them) and asked them to remove my work from the site and to stop sharing it illegally.

I got banned as a result.

I should state this now -- I have no problem with people sharing my stories with a friend or two (as I would with a paperback). It's great to spread the word and garner a wider audience. However, sharing a book between a handful of friends is not the same as placing the story onto a filesharing site for anyone and everyone to download for free. That's when it becomes a problem and is not "okay".

What's truly sad is these people know what they are doing is wrong. It's not as if they are all teenagers or young twenty-somethings. I know from joining Authors Against E-Book Theft that several of the offenders are grandmother's, stay-at-home mothers, and business women.

If you'd like me to direct you to the group, shoot me an email and I'll send it to you. jasaare at gmail dot com. They have great templates, and are doing all they can to take action and spread the word.

All My Best!

Jaime

Gracen Miller said...

Jaime, I agree with everything you just said. I wouldn't have complaints with folks sharing to a handful of their friends, but sharing with the world wide web...Grrr.

I sent you an e-mail, by the way. I'm having trouble joining the stupid pirate site and I didn't even join with my penname, but with my real name and they still don't want me.

Thanks so much for your comments and your offer to provide helpful information.

~huggles~

BrennaLyons said...

Actually, the fact is that DRM doesn't work. At all. It's broken and passed within weeks of a new one coming out. All it does is punish honest readers, strip away the benefits of e-books, and add cost to the books. The pirates...the ones the industry wants to stop, are not inconvenienced by DRM.

And even having nothing but print doesn't work, because some pirate slits the spine, OCR scans the whole book, and puts it out on pirate sites.

Between the pirate sites in other countries...the lack of real punishment even in the US and othe Berne countries...and on and on... Stopping it seems a physical impossibility. All we can do is slow it down. That means spending a LOT of time watching Google Alerts, doing Clusty searches, sending take-down notices...oh, and educating those who are willing to be educated in what the law actually says.

IF an e-book was only capable of being passed to one hand at a time and would be permanently lost by the last person who read it... IF an e-book had a wear-down built in, like paper books will fall apart eventually... THEN I would agree that sharing an e-book was no different than sharing a paper book.

Copyright specifically covers making illegal copies and distributing them. Even incidental sharing of a book with a few friends (which I personally don't mind much, since it's no different in scale than library copies of paper books or used book stores for paper books...unless it becomes a book train that can easily spread to 10,000 illegal copies in a little over a dozen passes) breaks this law.
The main problem with incidental sharing is that people don't always know where the files are on their own computers and back-ups. Passing a single file by e-mail means that (even if you delete the file from your C drive) you will still have a copy in your sent mail, a temporary copy with your ISP, and any backup copies you may have made (or your computer may have made automatically). And the same files (e-mail, C drive, backups, and temporary ISP) on the other side. Even a well-meaning person who wants to delete the original and pass along like a paper book will likely err in execution of the task.

Passing it on a pirate site or blog or selling multiple copies illegally breaks both copying and distribution laws, no matter how it is excused away.

And there is no excuse that is appropriate to illegally selling e-books or pirating charity books.

Brenna

Molly Daniels said...

(rubs back of head) I TOLD you I was teasing:)

Fortunately, that's not happened to me (yet).

Margay said...

This makes me so angry. How would these people feel if someone stole the work they had slaved to create for months? Not right at all.
Margay

Cherie De Sues said...

Pirating of digital music, videos and now eBooks has been going on for quite some time. As an author, I'm disgruntled by the leeches who supply eBooks to customers without paying an author.

However, from the beginning of time, opportunistic people have taken advantage of the weak or defenseless. Their customers are disloyal, "what's-in-this-for-me" individuals that wouldn't buy my eBook or Novel anyway...

So I blow it off and keep writing great stories for the fans who ARE loyal and willing to purchase what they want. I write for them.

Tara S Nichols said...

Aw Gracen, I'm so sorry that has happened to you. It is such a violation and feels so frustrating to know that people don't care about the person who put the work in to what the pirate is about to enjoy. At least half of my stories have been offered by other people on websites and it is a constant struggle to get them taken down. I have to prove my identity which is the hardest. What felt the worst was when A Pleasurable Cure For Death came out and a pirate put it up the very next day. It angers me and has made a difference in what I write. I'm not sure what we can do about it yet but I do love the idea of a pirate getting a virus from an illegal download. Mwahahahaha. (No I can't make that happen, sigh)

Gracen Miller said...

Brenna, thanks for the feedback. I wasn't aware that DRM was already so ineffective. I figured if it was actually implemented, it'd end up being like the host of programs out there that you can purchase to hack a DVD.

I'm new to this frustrating matter, but I don't plan on remaining uneducated or sit back and take a do nothing approach.

Gracen Miller said...

Molly, I hope it never happens to you. I DO wish you oodles and oodles of success, just no piracy to go along with it! =)

Gracen Miller said...

Margay, as spiteful as it sounds, I wish all of them would have something stolen that they've poured their heart and soul. Only then will they know how it feels, IF it would change their ways, I don't know.

Gracen Miller said...

Cherie, I agree with you totally and I think you have the right attitude. BUT if everyone blew it off and did nothing, then chaos would reign more supreme than it does now.

Some people are inherently fighters, others aren't, and that's okay. I'm a paralegal. 90% of my work is writing Briefs to the Supreme Court of Alabama fighting for our client's rights. If there weren't people out there fighting, there would be no OSHA laws, no worker's compensation laws, no personal injury law, no medical malpractice laws, nothing out there to protect the little people from those with all the cash. So, to sit back and do nothing, I just can't do it. Someone has to fight for us all and I don't mind being in the middle of that fray.

Unfortunately, the lawyers I work for only practice domestic and personal injury law. But, I know of an attorney here in Alabama that fights for the "little people" and I'm going to start gathering as much information I can and send it to him. It wouldn't be the first time he's taken a bite out of a colassal problem. And if he says no, well, I'm not the type of person that takes "no" as an answer to well...but what I do know is it's going to take someone big with a lot of clout to make headway--even if it's baby steps headway--in this matter. This isn't a problem that's going to go away, but is only going to get worse until something is done. I'm not unrealistic enough to believe I can do that, but maybe if the right people get behind it, then something can be accomplished.

Do I live in fantasy world, most of the time, yes. Maybe all this is ideally a fantasy, but thinking it made me sleep better last night because it gave me a focus and a goal.

Gracen Miller said...

Tara, I'm sorry it's happened to you as well, and everyone else out there. It is terribly frustrating as you say, but I refuse to be a wiilling victim. I wish I could, I truly do, because then it'd probably be easier to stop nagging over this. But, I just don't work that way.

I love the evil way you think! LOL A virus...*giggles*...awesome idea! Too bad we wouldn't get to see their faces when they downloaded it! *pouts*

Gracen Miller said...

OR all the anti-viruses out there would do their job and find a FIX for the virus. Grrr...LOL

Carrie said...

The problem with anti-piracy software, is that there is always a hack created the second it exists. That's why firewalls need to be constantly updated.

The truth of the matter is, you need to be more explicit in the wording on the book cover to begin with (will give you a better legal leg to stand on and will remove room for argument). You need to specifically state that sharing, uploading, etc. is illegal and anyone caught will be punished to the full extent of the law.

What I would suggest, is that there is someone responsible for shutting down illegal file sharing, but it's a painstaking business. However, you might gain some help there.

As I said before, until people are willing to do what it takes to shut these sites down (as in Metallica suing Napster and forcing them to shut down), this will continue to go on unchecked. The Internet is a big place and the government hasn't wanted to take on the task of trying to "rule" it until big money (movie and music companies) finally stood up and spoke out about it.

Franny Armstrong-ParaNovelGirl said...

Yowzer! I'm glad I'm on your side! LOL
You go gettum tigra!

Perhaps someday we'll have self-distruct eBooks like in the movies. READ NOW FOR IN TEN SECONDS...
And poof! The book is gone.

Following copyright laws is as important for a writer as a reader. The thing is, we don't all have the money and fame (yet) to battle these criminals in court.

Thanks for speaking your mind.
Hugs
Franny

Kate said...

It's the pits when this happens. One of my stories was put up on a pirate site literally hours after its release, and when I asked them to take it down I got a very rude response! Most of these sites are run out of Russia or India so you can't trace them or prosecute them.

A couple of years ago a friend in the software engineering industry who was working on some newfangled techy stuff said he had problems daily with people hacking the systems. In his opinion, soon everything digital would have to be given away because of the rampant piracy. He wasn't condoning it - these people are effectively putting him out of a job - but he said it's almost impossible to legislate against. Scary thought :/