Friday, May 22, 2009

A Rant - Stealing is stealing is stealing

Too often I live in a bubble and miss a lot of what is going on around me. But I just read something that horrified me and while somewhere in the recesses of my mind I knew it was going on, it's so far removed from anything I would ever do that it was kind of like a small brick hit me in the head.

As anyone who is any kind of regular here has probably gathered, I am a huge fan of Pamela Clare, both as a writer and as a person. I have had the opportunity to exchange emails with her and even better, meet her in person. She has a blog and her most recent post is about how a number of sites are offering up 'free' copies of her books. As I was reading along, I was appalled and horrified at what she was describing.

How on earth could anyone with even a semblance of a conscience actually have the audacity to do this kind of thing? Quite honestly it almost stuns me, but then the cynical side of me isn't surprised. I don't really care for the cynical side of me. I looked up the word audacity and it means among other things: bold or arrogant disregard of normal restraints.

What has happened to us as a society that some people think they are above the 'normal restraints'? Why is it that the one being stolen from is the one who is trying to track down and attempting to close these sites down. Frankly, while I was reading her post, I was amazed at how restrained she was in relating what's going on. She is "really ticked off". I am fucking and seriously pissed off that someone I respect is going through this - and it's not just her. She included links and I was revolted at how many authors works are being victimized by slime.

To those who do this kind of thing I say in my most harshest of tones - how dare you!!! Who the hell do you think you are and what gives you the right to steal from hard working authors who put their heart and soul into their writing. This is their living; their livelihood you are messing with. And why??? For some kind of pathetic jolly kick?? What a useless group you are.

And to those who download these files - you aren't any better - not any better at all. In fact you are worse!! You gotta know that what you are doing is wrong, yet you do it anyway. Sure I can understand the temptation. We are faced with temptation in one form or another every day. But that is why we have morals and scruples. We are faced with these kinds of choices every day and the decent person will make the right choice. If you visit these kinds of sites and download books that are stolen by slime then that is the wrong choice and you need to be called out on it. You need to feel shame in what you are doing and you need to stop. You need to get that conscience we were all born with working again. You need to think of the people you are ripping off and what it's costing them - both in sales and in anguish.

I know this goes on in other areas of entertainment and I'm just as upset with that too but novels and romance novels in particular are my passion. I have respect for authors, even those whose books I might not enjoy as much as others. Pamela states that the people who steal her books (and others) are a small but growing group. One of the best ways to stop them, is to stop using them, to think about how you would feel if you were robbed of the work that you do.


azteclady said...

Stealing is stealing, and all the justifications that those downloading stolen copies indulge in won't change that basic truth.

I'm sorry Ms Clare is yet another victim of it.

Pamela Clare said...

Thanks for your support, Kristie. Your post means a lot to me. It's not just me, of course. I can't tell you how many thousands of books these places are giving away. I'm certain it adds up to a really sizable sum in the end. It's really frustrating, because as soon as one bunch of links goes down, another pops up.

Azteclady, nice to see you! And thanks! I really appreciate your thoughts.

SarahT said...

I agree that stealing is stealing.

However, as long as the internet is not subject to organized, internationally-supported anti-piracy laws, I really don't see the problem going away.

Apart from making people aware of the issue, which Pamela Clare is doing, I don't see what else can be done. I don't think countries take the issue of piracy seriously, to be honest. How many people who've been caught with illegal downloads have actually been prosecuted? Not many, as far as I can tell.

lbgregg said...

Thank you. I just had one site remove Gobsmacked...but another has given away more than 300 copies of Happy Ending. It's beyond upsetting--it's sickening. Sarah hit it on the head--when these sites are international (this one in Russia, I believe) there's little one can do.


Thanks KJ.


Kristi said...

Great post, Kristie. I often wonder if the same people that download pirated copies would have the cojones to walk into a Barnes & Nobles or a Borders, stick a book under their jacket, and leave without paying for it? As you said, downloading pirated copies is the same thing - it's stealing. But I think the answer is no. They would be too scared to shoplift a book -- they might get caught (and embarrassed when the buzzer went off). Well, I hope some of them feel "caught" and embarrassed now. What they are doing is slimy and I hope that dirty feeling doesn't go away until they go out and by a copy of any book that they've downloaded.

Lea said...

Hi Kristie:

Great post and thank you for bringing attention to this disgusting situation. This has happened to a number of the authors that I have come to know and admire via their work, and chatting online. It is, to say the least reprehensible.

I would never conceive of doing such a thing, however I don't think any of us who want to see literature thrive would!

LB and Pamela, you are not alone, and whenever I see another that another author has been defiled by this thievery, I feel saddened and angry...


Anonymous said...

Kristie I also read Pamela's post. I think it's absolutely terrible in any aspect of the entertainment industry. But, I'm with you in that books are my passion and these authors work very hard and deserve to get what is due them for their efforts.

Kudos for a great post.


AnimeJune said...

WOW this makes me angry! Up to HUNDREDS of books given away without a single royalty? WHAT THE HELL?

This makes me pissed off, too! I have to say I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of Pamela Clare's books yet, but she shouldn't have any of her books stolen! I'm working on my own novel and I get so steamed about the thought of people stealing it!

I've always taken a stance on internet pirating. I'm an anime fan as well and the anime community where I live is all about pirating! People just download whole series onto their computers just because they don't want to wait until the show comes to North America - or worse, they just don't want to pay for it.

Same thing with music - back when everyone was downloading and saying bullshit like "Oh, Timberlake can afford it" or crap like that, I'd always think - "his songwriters can't afford it. The sound mixers can't afford it. The sound technicians and back up singers and musicians can't afford it." It boggles the mind.


So not only are they thieves, they're LAZY thieves who think paying $12 a YEAR for a library card is too damn much. RAAAAGH! ANIMEJUNE SMASH!

Carolyn Crane said...

This just disgusts me! There are no words. Great post.

Blanche said...

This just makes me so angry and I'm reading about this happening a lot lately! Stealing is stealing and I don't get why anyone would do this!

Lisa Marie Wilkinson said...

This happened to me, too, and with my debut novel that just came out in March. Fortunately, my publisher takes action when they learn about these sites, but they seem to pop up all over the internet. It is disheartening because the number of sold copies will have a strong bearing on whether or not I'll be able to continue selling to my publisher, and with free copies available for download, it's like being a racehorse hobbled before you even clear the gate.

Anonymous said...

I was once very ignorant about how easy it is to acquire stolen free digital music, movies, audiobooks, and ebooks online. Most of my college students do it and they do not see anything wrong with it -- it is their culture. My saying it it wrong, is -- to them -- the equivalent of my grandmother telling my mother not to have sex outside marriage. They think I am just behind the times.

I also want to add that it is getting hard to stay ignorant of the free stuff. If you asked me two years ago how to find free books or movies, I would have had no idea. Yet now, without trying to, I do have some idea. You can't avoid knowing about it when google searches put the stolen material in first place.

I have the money to buy whatever I want (and my wants are fairly modest, which helps), and the self-control not to steal, but I wonder how hard the temptation would be to resist otherwise.

Brandy said...

Delurking to say Fabulous Post! I agree wholeheartedly and applaud! What happened to morals and values? Where did they go?

Kristie (J) said...

Jessica: Yes - it is their culture very sadly. I have two sons and I know that this kind of thing goes on in the music and movie industry. You have students - who by their very appearance in your classes are looking to the future for employment. Ask them how they would feel if after going to school for years and years, after they finally have jobs and they begin to make money, how they would feel if someone came along and stole their money - just because the ones doing the stealing felt like it and didn't really see anything wrong with it. I think we really need to put young people in the position of asking how would they feel to have their life's work stolen from under them?

Lisa: I'm so sorry to hear that you too have been a victim. And it's such a good point that you raise. For every copy of your book that is stolen, that is one less that will show up on sales figures for your books and ultimately affect future contracts.

Blanche: I can only hope that they aren't really aware of what it is they are doing and if they can be made to see the end results of this kind of thing, they might stop.

CJ: We love our books and we love our authors. The thought that people are stealing their hard earned work just sickens me.

AnimeJune: It makes me furious too - just absolutely livid. In Pamela's post she said she saw a sight where THOUSANDS of books were being offered free. The mind boggles at the thought. I didn't realize it was so widespread until I read her post - and saw red.

Barbara: my heart broke for her reading that post. And it breaks for every author who this has happened to. I really believe that blinds need to go up on this situation and that we as readers need to express our outrage.

Lea: I don't know all that we can do to help this situation - but anything - anything I can do at all - I WILL do. Whether it's to stalk and expose those who are downloading or whether to calmly explain to them how it affects those authors whose work they are downloading - whatever - I will do it and do it gladly.

Kristi: I doubt they would steal from a store either - that would be - stealing; something they might be considering what they are doing by downloading as stealing - but it is!

Lisabea: You too? (((((hugs))))) my heart hurts for you. I don't know what can be done - but something has to be at least tried. We are a community and this is a community problem.

Sarah: I don't know what can be done - but letting those doing the downloading that they HURT others might be a start.

Pamela:(((( Hugs))))) Your post really made me aware of the situation and I thank you for that. I don't know what can be done - but I have to try something.

AL: I think we need to rip into those justifications and expose them and get to the nitty gritty of what they are really doing!

Kristie (J) said...

Brandy: Welcome out of delurking *g*
I think they are still there in many - we just have to dig away at the dirt that has covered them up and hidden them away. At least I truly hope that's the case. Some will never have them but I'm hoping the majority will.

orannia said...

It is so obvious that international law needs to be reviewed and updated to prevent this from happening - theft is theft, regardless of he item is in print or electronic format. And I can't believe the authors are having to police this on their own...

I hope this is sorted out quickly Pamela and LB!

azteclady said...

Well, there's the law, and there's educating readers.

As Ms Clare writers, there are many, many readers who believe writers are millionaires. Apparently they thing that having one book published translates into "easy street". The reality is vastly different, as we know.

But for people with few scruples, it's easier to 'take' from the rich than to steal from the poor. Educating readers everywhere about the financial realities of publishing would go, I think, a long way towards curbing the impulse downloads.

Well, at least I would like to think so.

lbgregg said...

Can you believe that the site I'm having the MOST trouble with is copyrighted? 0_o

Thanks for the support, everyone. And KJ--well, you know I think you're the bee's knees.


Shaymless Aymless said...

Here, Here!

Meljean said something earlier this year about something similar and I was outraged about that and this is even worse! Really, really don't like those people!

Amber said...

AnimeJune said...

WOW this makes me angry! Up to HUNDREDS of books given away without a single royalty? WHAT THE HELL?

Well said!! Just like the ?????? that are swapped and reswapped in book clubs, sold and resold in garage sales, sold and resold in second-hand book stores, BORROWED & BORROWED & BORROWED & BORROWED FROM A PUBLIC LIBRARY, lent to friends, family members and coworkers.

YES my dears - Given away without a SINGLE ROYALTY? WHAT THE HELL?

So what's really your point? I guess you guys are simply just comfortable with legalized 'stealing' then? As long as the law says its OK to enjoy creative content without having to pay for it, then 'I'm an honest person if I used those means appears to be your and yes Pamela's mentality' - swaps, library, second-hand book, and God don't try to stop me from sharing a book with my friend. Right!!

Quoting you Pamela "As for this discussion, it's over. You think it's okay to steal; I don't. So enjoy those stolen books. Try to spare a thought for the author who spent countless hours writing it, thinking she'd be getting paid.'

Seems you need to get a clue an rethink exactly what you thought you'd be getting paid for eh?

Is your creative content worth very much to you or are you simple fixated on the truckloads of media that you seem to perceive it gets copied onto - paper, computer hard drives, servers, USBs etc - that it gets copied onto?

I really hope that NOONE who downloads any of your books off the internet is so brainless to go out and buy a hardcopy of it. They would truly be an idiot to pay for something that it's creator doesn't truly value.

The next time any of you return anything to the store that wasn't damaged or spoiled - eg the dress that you wore only that one time; the shoe that just doesn't go right with that suit but you only figured that out after you had wore it; the meal that you didn't like; the book that you read the first few pages of or just skimmed through and decided it was not for you and I can go on - I guess you weren't stealing eh -you just used it for a time for free. Right. HELLO!

Yeah continue defending the First Amendment again, put a block on the blog!

Have a great day y'all.

Anonymous said...

AnimeJune you really rock girl!


Ahem - just let's ask the authors. Do you collect royalties every time someone borrows your book from that FREE place called the public library?

Does anyone at all ever collect royalties whenever a media item is borrowed from the library - music CD, DVD etc?

Educate yourselves and admit that all you library users are taking bread out of your favorite authors mouth. And how generous of them to allow you to do it as long as you agree with them that those other people who use those internet library are dishonest thieves.

Does anyone have a brain here to even acknowledge the contradiction here?

Anonymous said...

Get a clue ladies.

Do you ever pay to borrow books from your public library? Who then pays the royalties for the books that are borrowed.

If you really are as honest as you claim, why don't you ask your librarian who pays the royalties for all the items borrowed if you don't.

Report back your findings, I'm sure we'd all be interested to know.

Anonymous said...

'Writers do not make a lot of money, and whether or not they get published again depends on their numbers of legitimate, tallied sales. Publishers don't care if 300 copies of an author's book have been downloaded online if only 50 copies have been bought in real life - because the publishers don't get money from those 300 books and they only publish writers who are financial viable.

That means the authors you love to read might not be picked up again by publishers because they're not making enough sales - and that means no more great novels from those authors.'

Shouldn't the authors be leveraging to have greater control with the publishing houses then? As you say the publishers don't care.

Turns out that the author actually only gets about 1/5th of the sale price of the book - all the rest goes to the publisher, advertising, media etc. And darling these starving authors are quite content with that!

So for argument sake. Let's say a book sells for $5.00. 1/5 means the author gets $1in their pocket whereas the consumer puts out 5 times that much!!!!!

Authors need to start viewing their readers as their bread and butter and not their copyrighted content as such.

If I am to empathize with the plight of the poor authors, then maybe I would be less inclined to download a book from the internet if I could really believe that a much greater percentage of what goes out of my pocket goes directly to them.

I seriously object to paying 4/5th the price of a book to people (publishers and associated support industry) who themselves don't respect the creative process or the amount of work you and these authors say they put into writing a book. As you and the authors say - the publishers only care about the amount of $$ they collected, very little consideration is given to the merit of the work.

When authors start to really respect their creative content and demand better conditions, start marketing their books themselves etc., then maybe I'd be inclined to do the bleeding heart deal for them.

Anonymous said...

Really, I'm paying $5 and they are getting $1.


Anonymous said...


'Educating readers everywhere about the financial realities of publishing would go, I think, a long way towards curbing the impulse downloads.'

I wouldn't be too sure of that. Reality is publishers don't care about creative content only $$$.

No matter how the publishers may try to 'educate' the public, their nasty little secret will come out and just might backfire and give further justification for internet downloading.

If the publishers don't value their authors enough to restructure and give them a better cut, why would the internet downloaders do so?

Kristie (J) said...

Amber an Anonymous because I can only gather you are the same person - I will say this only once - and anymore responses and I will delete you - your justifications for STEALING don't hold a drop of water for me.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead - delete this. That will really go a long way towards solving the problem.

If ALL you want to do is complain, gripe, finger-point, bash and think that that will accomplish something positive - that's your choice. Enjoy swimming in your sea of powerlessness, because that is what it is.

Opening your minds, acquiring real knowledge, educating yourselves and these authors about ALL the reasons why this situation exists is the only way to bring any kind of permanent resolution to this situation.

If you and others are really interested in solving the problem and ensuring that authors get a better deal, then open your minds, get ALL the facts, see all points of view, engage in useful dialogue with the other side and go from there.

Obviously, you all like being at war! Well don't complain if more and more of your favourite authors stop getting published.

Where is the incentive for these stealing SOBs to stop doing what they are doing? Morality? Get real! The law? Get real - take a page out of the book on the war on drugs. Your bashing, labelling, demonizing and sheer obstinacy to engage in meaningful dialogue? We see how effective that is.

The further you guys back yourselves into your self-righteous corner the further they will back themselves into theirs.

And if you think restricting people's freedom on the internet will cut it - time will tell. Today their freedom, tomorrow yours.

Go on press that button and score one for the First Amendment. Only don't complain when your voice get's deleted too.

Anonymous said...


Yes, libraries! Libraries are evil, evil places. One single copy of a book, movie or music album is borrowed and abused by tens, if not hundreds of self-centred, ignorant pirates. Hell, they even have copiers in most libraries allowing pirates to copy every book on the shelves.

The nerdy book worm with no money, he shouldn’t be able to read (and copy) every book in existence for free right? But he can! “Mommy, I want to go to to the library,” he asks his mother innocently. “Of course son,” she replies, secretly happy that her son can get smart(er) for just the cost of transport.

But seriously.. what if...

Imagine if publishers and authors suddenly decide to shut down libraries because they don’t want people to have free access to the works they publish. Wouldn’t that be a shame?'