Thanks to a fellow writer, I found a pirate site offering my latest ebook for free. I’ve sent the usual take-down notice, so it should be gone shortly (these sites are generally pretty good about removing a title once asked to do so, but I shouldn’t have to ask!).
On their home page, I noticed they were fighting COICA. Those letters stand for Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. This was also posted: On Thursday, the 25th of November 2010, the Torrent Finder domain ( http://www.torrent-finder.com ), registered with Godaddy, was seized by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without any prior takedown notice or specific allegations of infringing activity. The Domain IP was suddenly changed without the registrar’s knowledge and the system displayed a “Pending Registry Action” message on the domain’s status. They asked their site users to help fight these actions.
I’m all for internet freedom until it allows people like this to take money out of my pocket. Piracy is not funny. We don’t allow it on our oceans, so why do we allow it online? I’ve heard that piracy actually benefits the writer because the reader will be so enthralled with our work they’ll run right out and buy the back list.
Uh, no. That rarely happens. I’m not vain enough to think my writing enthralls anyone. What does happen is they return to the pirate site for the back list or simply move on to another free ebook. It’s too easy these days to steal from others. Any law passed regarding this particular thievery needs to be very specific. Otherwise, innocents get caught in the net and internet freedom really is curtailed.
But why wait for the law to address this problem? Why not use DRM? I see both sides of this argument, but every time I find one of my titles offered as a free download, I lean toward using DRM.
Opponents say it’s inconvenient for the purchaser. Huh. Inconvenient to type in a password? Most people do that all day long these days. And if you want to loan the book to a friend, as people often do, you give them the password, too. I don’t see the big deal. But putting the book online and ‘loaning’ it to several thousand people falls outside acceptable behavior and becomes criminal.
It took me three months to write The Blue Paradise. Mostly, I enjoyed it, but not always. Writing is work for me. It doesn’t just flow out of my brain and onto the computer. After I submitted the manuscript, Dreamspinner’s staff adding finishing touches, including several edits and a cover. The people that did that get paid. This process lasts about six weeks. After the book is released, I have to wait until the next quarter to see if I made anything. Not one of my checks has ever been enough to pay for more than a couple weeks of groceries. Yup, you heard that right. Not one check, and I have seven titles out there!
And pirate sites think it’s okay to give my work away for nothing, and they want the law to protect their right to do so.