Digital piracy is rarely discussed in the publishing world, so seeing an unauthorized PDF of my book for the first time on the web for free download was a shocker. Then add the extra punch that the site owner invites people to pay to join, and the first month is free. How did this jerk get the PDF? And what nerve to sell something that isn’t theirs.
The even bigger shocker is how some of my fellow authors have given up on chasing down pirated copies of their books. They say there are so many it’s not worth taking time away from writing and other things they enjoy.
Piracy is cybercrime. It drastically changed the music, movie, and book publishing industries, and it’s spawned other industries to help stop it. But why does piracy continue?
My theory? No one’s looking. People do it thinking no one will care.
A June 6, 2018 Digital Music News article says 53% of UK adults surveyed felt accessing media content illegally is wrong, but did it anyway.
It takes two. One steals the file and makes it available. You have a say in whether pirates are successful. Don’t download from shady sites. Besides, if they steal what they’re selling, they’ll steal and sell the personal information you provide.
Someone I know recently captured an unauthorized version of my book trailer from the web to play for a group. The intention was good, but the video quality suffered since it was pirated.
I found the first copyright violation instance with a simple Google alert on the book title and author name. I contacted the company that owns the site and they disabled the link three days later, but hundreds of other titles remain. I spent about an hour contacting the site owner that I should have spent writing or doing something else productive.
Authors overwhelmingly use Blasty to monitor for copyright infringement. Monitoring is free, but the company requires payment to blast the violator with notices about DMCA—the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It’s $156 per year for Blasty to monitor and send automated notifications for copyright infringement. It took me about a minute to set up a free monitoring account. Another author recently shared with an author email group, “They have taken down over 4k pirates offering my work in the last year.”
Wow. I’m not endorsing the service, but speechless at the number of people who will steal content for their own profit.
Last time best-selling crime writer Sue Coletta checked the pirate sites, her books neared 1,000. “If I wasted time trying to get every book off these sites, I’d be sending copyright notices full-time, with no time to write another book, never mind market my existing ones,” Sue said. “Sometimes we need to pick our battles.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on piracy. Do you sneak freebies online sometime? Are you one of the travelers who pinch cushy pillows, soft blankets and brandy glasses from your first-class flights? Are you a stickler for honesty? Please message me on Twitter, Facebook or on my website if you’re willing to share.
Please consider carefully before you swipe a book, piece of art, video, song, or anything without paying.
Think twice before you download!
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