I’m on a lot of author loops and there has been much discussion about copyright laws and piracy. So today’s blog is about this serious topic.

My comment is a question to you as regards copyright and whether places like Google Books should be allowed to post my entire book for anyone to read for free. Why should the books I produce be given away free unless I want them to be free? I work hard on my stories. They are a commodity like anything else manufactured. Sears does not give away their tools for free. Starbucks doesn’t give away their coffee for free, so why should the right to sell my work be given to someone else so they can give it away for free? I work hard on each story. They take years of my life. And Google and other pirates want to just give that away? So… if I want to advertise on Google, will they give me that for free? Yeah, I didn’t think so. These pirates are taking money out of my pocket the same as any thief stealing from a store. They think they have a right to my work – to give it away. But why? Why do they have the right to give away what I produced? It is *my* work – not theirs. I make almost no money off my work as it is, and giving away copies takes money away from me.

To illustrate this a little better, let me use an example. One of my friends recently self-published a book. It’s a really good action-adventure romance story and the second in a series. She has been following sales and checking “free” sites frequently. So far… she’s had three sales – all of them to friends of hers (yes, I was one), and over 2000 free downloads from various sites. Two thousand! That’s two thousand sales she is out of.

And yes, back years ago, when the internet was new, things like free downloads didn’t garner much attention because people didn’t know about copyright laws back then. But we do now. It’s common knowledge that, unless the person who made the product agrees that it can be free, they should be paid for it. Pirate sites who blatantly ignore copyright laws and ethics should not be allowed to continue with their thievery.

On occasion, sellers and authors do offer their works for free. That’s fine. That’s legitimate. But be sure the site you’re getting it from is a legitimate site and not a pirate.

Please think, the next time you go to download something. Is it free because the seller and author offered it for free? Or is it free because the site owner grabbed a copy and doesn’t want to pay for the work?

Thanks – I’ll get off my soapbox now.


2 thoughts on “Piracy

  1. Let me preface with I think reading someone’s book without permission is wrong period.
    I think english needs a better word for intalecual property theft. IP theft infractions are not equal to sales but, they are proportional to sales.
    You said three people paid for the book properly; they were all friends of the author. Then, the book was downloaded approx. 2000 times on an alternate site. There are a very limited number of ways the book could have been transfered to that pirate site I’ll list the top ones:
    – friends gave it away (unlikely ish)
    – site posted to gave it away
    – any one if the 4 people who had legal access to the book had a book stealing virus
    – site posted to sold rights to the book (il/legally)
    – someone stole the book from the site posted to
    – …

    My point is there are a number of ways to point the blame and probably very little hard evidence _unless_ the site is at fault.

    Anyway, nice post


  2. Yikes, forgot to answer the question . No, Google and the like should not be allowed by law to display books unless they get explicit authorization from the rights holder of the book. (obviously, if the book is old and the rights are in the public doman they do not need to ask permission)


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