Monday, March 19, 2012
Arrrgh: The Ugly Truth About Piracy
This is a subject near, though not so dear, to my heart. I think most authors have probably dealt with it at some point or another, and it stinks! There's no knowing how many sales I've lost to illegal downloads. From what little data I've gathered (according to the few sites who have download stats), I've seen at least 300 in just a month. The likelihood of it being more is undeniable, since most sites don't list them.
For me, I've never personally illegally downloaded a book. I know for 99% of authors, we aren't rolling in the money, and I wouldn't take that away. (Not to mention the fact that it's wrong.) Whether an author for the Big Six or Indie, we don't make that much from one sale, and far be it for me to deny an author their measly percentage.
I think for a lot of people who aren't involved in the creative process, they can't really appreciate what this means to writers. They don't see the countless weeks, months, or years we spend crafting, revising, editing, formatting, pitching, promoting ... on and on. They don't realize that a story is a part of the person who created it. It's a labor of love that involves the very deepest part of us. It doesn't matter if you're a new author or a seasoned vet, that feeling of sharing your heart with the world never goes away. And to have someone simply take it and offer all you've strained to give is painful.
Yes, it's stealing. Let's not argue semantics. While you may not "take" the original copy, duplicating or reproducing is the same. The people who post and those who download it are on the same playing field as one who'd walk into a bookstore, take a copy off the shelf, and walk out without paying. The principle remains. You're taking what doesn't belong to you, and that's wrong no matter how you look at it. Don't be a douche-canoe.
Not to mention the fact that piracy is hugely disrespectful! How dare a person take something they had no hand in creating and pass if off as if someone had vomited it out with no effort. That's gross and graphic but true. It took two YEARS start to finish for Haven to hit the shelves. Two years. That's time away from my family and friends. Time I nearly had to invent by sitting up all hours of the night, pounding away on the keyboard, trying to get ideas to paper. It was time I spent editing and revising while everyone else enjoyed their summer vacation or weekends off. Two years eating into my plan for world domination.
I don't resent the hours spent birthing Haven; I resent the fact that people who pirate don't care. They're as bad as those who mooch. They want something for free ... they demand to be entertained but at someone else's expense. How selfish is that? It's easy to see why authors get discouraged or quit, especially when you add the insult of them losing money. So in the long run, piracy ends the very thing the thieves demand: a good book. See there, common thief, now you've ruined it for yourself.
The good thing is, more and more people are being prosecuted. They can run you down using your IP address. PC World has an interesting article here. "Buying" a program to allow you to download from a site is stealing. Finding a loophole in a legal program/site is stealing. And Karma is vicious, I assure you. Not to mention the fact, hacks stand a good chance of A) getting caught and prosecuted, or B) catching a nasty virus that could wipe out everything on their computer. I wouldn't be sad about either.
As always, happy (and legal) reading.