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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Declare War on E-Pirates!

Let’s pretend we are at a friend’s house and she turns her back or leaves the room for a moment. A secret door opens in the wall and a stranger walks into her home and steals something precious, useful and valuable to her. The stranger disappears and the door closes. When our friend walks back into the room would we tell her what just happened? Of course we would! This is the exact situation that is happening to our friends who are e-authors. E-authors are being picked cleaned by pirated books and internet share sites.

With the good comes the bad. Any published e-author knows how much work is involved in promoting an ebook and how wonderful it feels to have a “Release Day”.

Sadly along with the traditional excitement of releasing a new book and waiting to get reader feedback or reviews comes a new tradition- Release-Day e-pirates! Actually the e-pirates show up before anyone else.

Literally within an hour of its release the requests went up on a pirate-share sites for “Beautiful Stranger”. By sundown the Downloads had begun. I raised the alarm to my publisher and copied and emailed pages that contained other Ellora’s Cave authors, including Amber Skyze’s new release “Pretend with Me” and many others...

It’s very frustrating to me that pirates are allowed to monetize their sites with lots of advertizing while openly encouraging a black-market of stolen content to be traded. Why can’t these guys be flagged and deprived of their revenues especially the blatant repeat offenders?

Intellectual property is one of the few things America is manufacturing these days and we should be doing a better job of protecting it. The pirate-share sites are an intolerable part of an unsustainable business model. The music industry stood up on its hind legs and roared and the publishing industry had better do the same. It’s time. There’s no tomorrow on this stuff. It’s time to demand basic protection and rights as artists. As it stands e-authors are the lowest on the totem pole and they are the golden goose.

The vast majority of readers are honest people but apparently a few of the readers we are reaching with our promotions are the same ones who are asking to illegally download our books on release day. I turned in a file-sharer who was offering a dozen current Ellora’s Cave titles on just one page. A campaign against e-piracy should be launched with the same fervor we promote our books. Too many people believe e-authors are paid royalties up front. They don’t understand or care that a single stolen book proliferates on the web and starves sales to the author. E-pirates need to understand they are stealing from someone who works hard and needs the money and often doesn’t make much money on ebooks to begin with.

Kelly, who fights pirates for Ellora’s Cave said her computer constantly, gets infected with malware and viruses galore from some of the share sites. So I ask the casual “e-thief” is it worth the time, hassle and expense of fixing your computer just to get a “free” download of a great book that was a bargain to begin with? There really are advantages to being honest…

The internet has given the world a whole new level of freedom but freedom comes with responsibility. Sharing files is stealing. Be responsible toward your fellow human beings. Let’s not use the web to steal from or abuse others. Report e-piracy when you see it. Piracy@ellorascave.com

XXOO Kat

11 comments:

  1. Kat, e-pirates need to be prosecuted as the thieves they are!

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  2. I agree they need to be prosecuted. Thanks for reporting Pretend With Me. It was frustrating to see it requested on release day and then available shortly later.
    We work too damn hard to have our work stolen.

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  3. I give you credit for fighting the good fight, but I think it's a losing battle. I actually have something up on my blog today regarding epirates - it will get worse as publishers insist upon higher prices for ebooks. There will be more pirates and more downloads and more file sharing. Yes, it's stealing, but the people doing it don't realize that if authors can't make money, they won't write...

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  4. First we educate the public, perhaps a few souls out there haven't really thought this through...
    Don't you think the issue lies in the ease with which this is done? How about some software that allows three downloads? How about some tracking? Try stealing a Microsoft product and see what happens... That this is done in the open between strangers and called "sharing" is outrageous.
    Other industries are getting a handle on this. The publishing industry needs to catch up. Going belly up and saying piracy is out of control is not enough.
    XXOO Kat

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  5. I don't really have a handle on "share" sites but it surprises me that they are allowed to advertise legally. Surely this aspect is down to Google? I read recently that MGM studios are being sold. They are hugely in debt and cited lack of DVD sales as part of the problems they're facing. This is another industry which suffers greatly from pirating. There are so many epublishers out there now, it surprises me that they haven't banded together to form an effective lobby against piracy. I think, if aproached, Google would try to solve the problem? It's surely worth a shot anyway.

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  6. This was sent to me by my White House source:

    "Last year President Obama appointed and the U.S. Senate confirmed Victoria Espinel to be the first U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. Her job is “to help protect the creativity of the American public” by coordinating with all the federal agencies that fight the infringement of intellectual property, which includes creating and selling counterfeit goods; pirating video games, music, and books; and infringing upon the many other creative works that are produced by artists in this country.
    As you know, the unauthorized copying, sale, and distribution of artists’ intellectual property directly impacts the ability of artists and creators to control the use of their own creativity, not to mention their ability to receive income they have earned from their labor. This impacts U.S. employment and the economy, and our ability to globally compete."

    Now, if you want to get some action going, try sending your complaints and thoughts to Ms. Espinel at this e-mail address:

    intellectualproperty@omb.eop.gov

    If enough of us give examples of how we are losing money to piracy and how many others are being damaged, some legal action and laws will come along the pike to protect us and others. Laws with teeth.

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  7. Thank you Fran!!! That's more like it!
    XXOO Kat

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  8. Until we can come up with a way to "label" our ebooks so they can't be transferred once bought, this will continue. There are too many people who just want things "free".
    Thank God for honest buyers and fans!
    Marianne/April

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  9. I don't know for sure how many of my book, Addiction is being pirated but I know I'm not making money from it. lol

    I'm afraid to go to the sites where they pirate e-books for fear of my computer being infected.

    We need protection, and we better get it soon.

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  10. I think the idea of being allowed to download a certain amount is a good one. I was thinking...that's the loose screw you can hear clanking in the background. lol When I buy paperbacks, someone inevitably says 'can I have that when you're finished?' I always say yes but I want it back. No author/publisher is ever expected to creep out from behind a bush and tell me that I can't share what I legally bought and paid for. When my mountain of books gets too high, I pack up the least favourites and give them to a charity who sells them in their bookshop. Again the author/publisher makes no money on this transaction. The only thing they can hope for is that people, who wouldn't normally read their work, get an opportunity to do so cheaply and may even become a fan.
    So it's a difficult one really. If someone is charging for your work then obviously it's illegal. How do you calculate how much revenue is lost if people are not charging? A number of those who received a 'shared' copy may never have read your book in the first place if they had to pay..but they may buy in the future if they've liked what they read? Just a thought.

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  11. Pirates are criminals.
    And since I live in Texas, and hubbie and I now own guns and a rifle, I say we shoot these suckers for stealing.
    No mercy for thieves.

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