Lilith Saintcrow On Piracy

This one came across my feed this morning. I’ll warn you before I post the link: severe language warning.

Why? Because this author is angry. And you know what? I understand their anger. I really do. I’ve seen some hard numbers on the Piracy of my books. One site (just one, mind you) kept track of how “popular” piracy of my books was. If I sold half the copies that were pirated, I wouldn’t need my second job. I could be writing full time.

But I have to have it, because some people can’t wrap their heads around the concept that they should have to pay for other’s hard work. In their minds, the only hard work that’s worth monetary value is their own.

These justifications that you can read about in Saintcrow’s article? I’ve heard each and every one of them. Some to my face. These are real things said that even a low-selling author like myself hears about frequently.

So what Saintcrow’s reply is? I understand it. Oh, do I ever. I’ve thought about quite a lot. If people won’t pay authors for their work or support them, the author will stop producing. Inevitably but surely. You wouldn’t work your job, after all, if your paycheck was something your employer and all customers considered optional.

Saintcrow is right. There are dozens of justifications for this behavior, but every one of them is flimsier than a tissue-paper retaining wall. None of them hold up for more than a brief second, and many of them could be refuted by a kindergartner.

Right, that’s all I have to say. You can read Saintcrow’s rant here. Again, language warning, but she’s made some very valid points.

Don’t pirate, people.

Piracy

So earlier this week, over on that other fiction site I frequent and write for, there was a bit of a shock to the community. A large number of users logged on to find a public announcement that their work, their fanfiction, had been stolen an put up on the internet elsewhere. Not only that, but the site that was hosting it was selling it. Loosely. But they were. Because it was a pirate book site.

Naturally, quite a few people were incensed. Their work had been taken without their permission and was being redistributed by someone else. Worse still, the site redistributing it was taking money in return for it, for something that was supposed to be free. A public notice went up on how to contact the site with a DMCA takedown order, and everyone went back and forth on how ridiculous it was, how upset they were, etc.

They’d been given their first exposure to being on the receiving end of book piracy, and they didn’t like it.

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