Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Must Read!!

A few months ago now I became 'aware' of what a huge deal book piracy was, how it hurt the author and I was horrified at the extent of it and so did a post. Since on occasion I get passionate about things, I go what some might call overboard.

Because I'm a little fish in a big pond and this is important to me, I emailed some of the big fish and asked for their help in exposing this topic. They very graciously agreed to help. Jane of Dear Author did a post as did Aztec Lady and Karen Scott of It's My Blog. Smart Bitches have also done posts on it. I also contacted All About Romance, a site that has had a profound effect on me as a romance reader over the years. This is the place where I first found 'my people'. I heard back from Lynn Spencer and she was interested in exploring this issue herself. We exchanged a few emails and she took up the cause. Until then, she hadn't realized the extent of book piracy on our well loved books and the effect it has on authors.

Today she posted a well researched and almost sad post. She has done her research and it shows. This was brought home to me even further at the RWA conference when I had a short talk with one an author whose books I have really enjoyed. I asked her when her next book in the series she is writing is coming out and her response was she didn't know if she would keep it going. And one of the big reasons why is because of the direct result of piracy. She is a mid-list author whose works have been pirated and she is tired of working so hard on something she loves only to have it stolen from under her.

All of us have authors we adore and as readers who love them, it should hurt us too that they are being robbed of the fruits of the work they work so hard on. And - as Lynn points out in her post

"I was aware that book piracy was a big problem, but hearing people’s personal stories made it clear that this is a HUGE deal. Huge as in authors losing tens of thousands of copies of a single book to book piracy. For a midlist author, these losses could feasibly affect sales enough to result in lost contracts – and we as readers may end up losing a storytelling voice we value."
As others who have spoken on the subject, I don't know what all we as readers can do to help, but whatever it might be, I will be willing to do it and support those who brought me so many, many hours of enjoyment; who have taken me to worlds I never would have visited; back in history to ancient Rome, to Medieval England, to Scotland, to Regency and Victorian times; to other continents; to the old West. We have met and fallen in love with Vampires, with Werewolves and many other otherworldly creatures. Authors have shared with us what is in their imaginations. And I hate, hate, hate that their reward is to have their hearts work stolen by modern day internet pirates.

At the risk of bringing out my own little troll Amber and/or Anonymous (and isn't she/he a brave little soul??) again with her bizarro justifications for thievery, I strongly urge you to read Lynn's piece and perhaps linking it on your own blogs so that the word will get out that this kind of action is NOT to be tolerated. If enough of us raise a ruckus, maybe the publishers will get on board and track down these sites and work on cutting them off. I don't think its right that authors alone should be the police in this situation.

Who knows what a small pebble can do when thrown into a body of water can do?


CindyS said...

Kristie, you rock!

I had no idea it was huge until your post and even then I didn't really understand the enormity of the situation. Even though I don't want to read a book in digital format doesn't mean thousands of people wouldn't read it digitally if provided free.

This will sound crazy but maybe big name authors like Stephen King, (and now I'm blank) Nora Roberts obviously but I don't know who else would be heavy hitters got together to do a bit for Oprah. Oprah loves her Kindle but do her people know about the piracy and the problems it poses for all writers. What if one of her favorite authors didn't write their book because they knew it would be stolen?

That idea alone scares me. What if we never got our favourite books? Anne Stuart's Moonrise?, Lisa Kleypas' Dreaming of You?, Judith James' Broken Wing?

I often wonder what my life might be like if certain books, movies or songs were never done.


CindyS (going to copy this and post it at AAR too if okay)

CindyS said...

While I'm still thinking about it the 'big name' authors would have to maybe eat it a bit. Like, OH, J.K. Rowling - she's made tons of money right? What if she did a promo that said, 'sure, it might not hurt me now, but what if I had never written Harry Potter? What if HP was stolen and I had to go out and work outside my home and forget about writing?'

Okay, my mind is whirling. I think it can't just be about 'our' writers. It has to be about ALL writers. That the next 'great' will never happen because they may never be able to afford to write a book that will make them no money.


Mary G said...

Hi Kristie
Yeah. That Amber's a real piece of work. Shiloh Walker did a few posts on her blog about this subject & she had to actually close a post to more submissions because Amber wasn't getting it & Shiloh shut her down.All of us were against it except her - she was justifying it.She didn't get that "without permission" (her quote) means stealing. Personally I don't have an ereader yet. Humanity is not keeping up with theft on the net. Books aren't the only thing. I know everyone is clamoring for digital but (dare I say) maybe we should stick to paper while we figure this out. Thanks for giving voice to this issue.

Lea said...

Thank you for the heads-up Kristie, I will follow-up at the first opportunity.

Best to you.


Cecile Smutty Hussy said...

Kristie... ****clapping***** a very well deserved post you have here! I remember when you did the post a while back on this. It really touched me as to how big this problem was.
I agree with Cindy... It scares me to think that the next great american novel or anyplace novel might not never get written because of piracy!
Thanks for bring the awareness to the front for us!!!
We might be little stones in a big pond... but if we all gang up... all of our little stones will equal one huge boulder! Hopefully

Anonymous said...

I want everyone to get their cut. Authors work hard to write a book and should be paid for it. That said I probably should point out that I don't have an ereader and only read books in print form. But color me stupid here - if I buy an author's book in print, read it then hand it to a co-worker or friend to read, why is that OK, but to give them my ecopy its suddenly illegal? I can buy a print book, read it and sell it on Ebay when I am done and that is totally legal, but I can't read an ebook then share it with a friend? What am I not getting here? I think I have to look into this more.


CindyS said...

MsMoonlight - I don't think the problem is sharing your digital copy with your friends. I still think that is fine in reality - after all, it's just one or two people. It's when someone puts the e-book online free for anyone that things go sideways.

I wonder what e-pubs, e-authors would say if a reader wanted to sell the e-story they bought and paid for on e-bay (geez, that's a lot of e's). I guess they would argue that we are stealing copy but if you are only selling the one copy you purchased with your own money I can't see what the problem would be.

I'm thinking this may be bigger than I can grasp - where should lines be drawn? I don't think buying a book in a UBS is a problem and I don't think sharing books I've paid for with my one friend who also reads is a problem. I know there are authors out there that would argue this but I think it's a small point if one at all.

It's possible that the only option is for authors who have been published in paper not take the option of putting their work up digitally - but from what I can tell people are scanning the books (am I right?) too and then putting the book up for free.

Wow, my head is spinning.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Cindy, that makes sense (yes I did get all those "e" words).
This reminds me of back when VCR's first came out, everyone was taping movies off HBO (etc) then giving them to others. The counter that channels began putting their label somewhere on the screen to identify where the movie was coming from. The vcr tapes were made so that they couldn't be copied or duplicated with a vcr. Seems to me, ebook publishers are going to have to come up with something along those lines but as time proves, whatever the next thing is, some people will take advantage of it-abusing it like they've always done unfortunetly.
Just a question here to anyone, are copyright laws ever really enforced these days? If they are, I never hear about it unless its someone stealing something like computer programs etc - I never hear about anyone arrested for stealing copyrighted books. Maybe more enforcement... *shrug*


Mary G said...

Hi Ms M & all.
From what I've read on various blogs, copyright laws have not kept up with epublishing. It's not for lack of want so much as it is hard to police as is any fraud on the internet.

azteclady said...

Mostly, I think (and have repeated myself a bit on this *cough*) what is needed is educating the potential 'customers' of the pirates/filesharers.

Many of them honestly haven't ever thought of what it means--in the long run--for them if everyone pirates stuff: that stuff won't be made/written/developed. And then they'll complain because the stuff they want/enjoy is not there.

I think that if more people understood that, in the end, they are shooting themselves in the foot by contributing to piracy and filesharing, fewer of them would do it.

[Or perhaps I'm just deluded...]

Pamela Clare said...

Kristie, you're my hero.

I'm trying to catch up on all manner of blogs, etc., due to a massive writing push that left me out of touch with the world. Plus, my son got H1N1...

It is a huge problem, and I can't tell how much it meant to me when you took up this issue and brought attention to it.

I think the true pirates -- the people who upload these files to torrent sites and file-sharing sites -- know perfectly well that what they're doing is illegal. Yesterday, I found my I-Team series back on a file-sharing site, and the person who'd posted it had made some comment about books being free for everyone. What a nice sentiment -- except that I need to buy medicine for my son and food and such.

I had to shut down my post on the topic because of the troll you mentioned and her friends, who bombarded me and even tracked down my workplace and sent emails to my publisher telling him how evil I am. It was insane! Did they think they were going to get me fired?!?

Thanks, Kristie, for bravely raising the issue and drawing so much attention to it.


Mary G said...

Hi Pamela
Hope your son is better soon. Scary when they're sick. Just ordered Ride The Fire cause of you know who LOL. Take Care

Pamela Clare said...

Thanks, Mary, on both counts.

Benjamin is well and off to work again today. He recovered pretty quickly.

LOL on ordering RTF (and thanks!). I've told Kristie many times that she deserve to have a bronze plaque with her name on it put inside the book. :-)

Mary G said...

LOL Pamela
When I see Kristie again, I'll get her to sign it. It'll be the next best thing to you signing it. Glad Benjamin (love that name)is better.

orannia said...

Thank you Kristie. Off to read Lynn's post :)