Sunday, 2 February 2014

Pirates exist, and not just the dishy ones from the romance books.

Some time ago, there was a wonderful ground swell against book pirates. It was gratifying as an author to see so many in our community rally together in support of authors. It was almost easy to think we'd accomplished something and that book pirates somehow drifted into the seas of oblivion.

They haven't. And just when one pirate goes down with his ship, it seems another hoists the flag. The abuse doesn't seem to stop.

We all know stealing is bad. It's one of the first things our parents teach us when we are kids. It ranks right up there with not cussing and respecting your teachers. You just don't do it. And yet somehow it's become acceptable to sit back and download a free book from some shifty site. After all, authors make tons of money, right? Surely, we're all rolling in it. Well, that's not usually the case.

I don't know too many indie or small-press authors who write full-time. The lucky ones have been able to make it a full-time job, but most of us work elsewhere to pay the bills. And frankly, I got into writing for pleasure, not money, anyway.

So why am I ticked off when someone illegally downloads my books? Because they are worth something. Like any work of art, like any craft, they took time (read: months) to create. And not only do they reflect my work, they reflect the labors of others: editors, graphic artists, cover models, photographers, and so many people who work in the publishing field. If one steals from me, one steals from many.

What do you do to combat this evil? Oh, and I'm not being melodramatic. This is evil. Well, firstly, tell the author in question. We can then send take down notices or have our publishers do so. Can you report pirates? Well, it certainly doesn't hurt to try. I know many who've reported them to sites such as Google and Paypal. It always helps to hit them where it hurts: their chest of gold coin. And most importantly, we must resist downloading from pirate sites.

Chances are, your favorite author already has freebie books out there. Most of us take part in regular giveaways and sales. So even if one doesn't want to pay full price, there are often options. I know I have two freebie anthologies on the market, ones I am happy to share without a cost attached.

Thank you to everyone who has made legal purchases of my books. Because of your support, I can continue to write and bring you more stories filled with adventure, action and romance.

Heck, one of these days, I might even write a pirate hero. Just not today.

16 comments:

  1. Absolutely right, Rosanna. Within three weeks of the release of my debut novel last January, it was on a pirate site. The months of labour involved in it and any small profits were hijacked by these criminals. Very frustrating. Thanks for posting.

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    1. How awful, Suzanne! And your debut. I remember when that happened to me. You feel so cheated, after such hard work. Hopefully one day we'll shut these people down.

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  2. The latest pirate site my books are on is pure evil. Not only do they NOT have contact information, but when others located the serving host and email addy of the owner, both have denied any involvement. Wish I knew how to cuss them out in their own foreign language.

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    1. I hear you, Sheri. Truly disheartening.

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  3. Thanks for a thoughtful post, Rosanna. I just went through a huge battle with General E-books. They finally took 12 books of mine down, but I had to threaten legal action. I'd no sooner finished dealing with them, than someone pointed out another site that had, you guessed it, the same 12 books. Dealing with illegal sites could turn into a full time job.
    Everything you say is absolutely true. If I ran the universe, I'd see the pirates were held to answer for stealing intellectual property. Alas, I don't. I'm just another author in a sea of authors trying to get by.
    If your post raises awareness, it will have done its job.
    Thank you for taking the time (and blog space) to post it.

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    1. My pleasure, Ann, and thanks for your comment. It does feel like a full-time job some days.

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  4. An interesting and thought provoking post, Rosanna. Yes, I too have books on pirate sites as I imagine every author does and its time consuming and frustrating to have to deal with it. There are so many legally free books I don't understand why anyone would want an illegal copy. Unfortunately as long as people download the pirated books, pirates will keep opening more sites.

    Thank you for raising this subject, its a horrible one, but the more people realise how it affects authors, editors, artists etc hopefully the less will go to these sites.

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    1. We are fighting what seems like a losing battle, Diane, but hopefully the more we speak out in our community, people will act accordingly. Thank you.

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  5. Both my books are up on the same pirate site as Sheri's. My books have been downloaded over 1200 times on this site--at $1 each download. So this pirate is making money from my hard work! That makes me so mad. While sales of my books on the legit sites are down--and both my books are only $2.99 for 100K + words, which isn't a lot.
    To those who have purchased my books legally, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    And to those who think authors are rich, well think again. Most don't even make enough a month to pay their electric bill.

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    1. It's like someone stealing another person's paycheck, isn't it, Brenda? I'm so sorry your stuff was stolen by that site too. I'm afraid to look if mine is there.

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  6. Right on, sister.

    I've been published as an e-book author since 1998. And since 1998 there have been pirating sites. They are like roaches - hard to kill and they hide in the dark and move quickly from one place to another.

    I just sent a major web service provider an e-mail with everything they need to know to take down a site offering pirated books of mine and of many other indie, self-published, and NY print authors. This is not rocket science -- it was obvious what the site was doing was illegal as hell. All they had to do was go and look at it since most of the downloads seem to have been taken from other pirating sites that have already been reported and taken down. Thus, the migrating roach comparison.

    The web service provider wanted even more information on my books that I could not get without exposing myself to the malware that was also reported on the illegal site. The site should be taken down for that alone.

    BTW I gave them the laws violated, showed them my books were with a publisher thus not just my copyright was being violated but the contract I had with my publisher was being violated, and showed them I was who I said I was, and that the copyright was in me and the exclusive right to sell was in my publisher.

    But they wanted more. More I really didn't need to provide to prove my case (I'm a lawyer btw - so my take-down notice was specific).

    At that point, I threw up my hands. I'm old. I'm tired. I stopped practicing law and began writing romance to get away from shit like this.

    Like Rosanna, I write because I like to and not because I need the money to pay the electric bill. But it is the principal of the thing and there are authors that this thievery will hurt since they do need to make rent and buy food with their royalties.

    Maybe the NY publishers will go after the site since they have employees who get paid to protect their companies' exclusive rights to sell an author's work. I'm fairly sure if Hachette or Penguin sent a take-down notice for a pirating site -- it would get taken down -- NO FURTHER QUESTIONS asked.

    Hey, I know, let's report these to the biggest elephant in the room - let's tell Amazon. They're losing sales too. They make money off our books and these pirating sites are interfering with their commissions on selling our books.

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    1. Well said, Monette, and thank you. Telling Amazon is a great idea. I'm sure if they got bombarded with enough emails, they'd step up to the plate. It's just sad we have to take these actions, and contemplate these steps. I know I pay $50 for each copyright certificate. That should bloody well be enough to stop a pirate.

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  7. It would be nice to have a list of responsible book sellers and publisher sites. . . Baring that a list of known pirate sites. . . just saying.

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    1. I think, Diana, in general, any link you get from an author's site is reputable. We generally link to our publishers or Amazon or a well-established site. And in another site is offering a book free, where it isn't free anywhere else, you've got yourself a pirate. An author will always advertise her own freebies because we want those sales. It would be hard to compile a list, as pirates change all the time. Thanks for your comment.

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  8. I am torn on this one. On one hand I think we should maybe share some of the pirate website to help each other send take down notices but on the other hand the more we mention the sites names the more traffic we might inadvertently be sending them. Does that make sense?

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    1. I agree TD. As much as I am angry at this pirate, I won't give them air time.

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