Something that doesn’t sit well with me

Hi, folks–

Took a little hiatus there. Hope everyone’s well. A writer colleague of mine sent me the link to this article, and it kind of irritated me. No, not the fact that my colleague sent me the article. THAT didn’t irritate me The topic of the article did.

It’s from The Telegraph in the UK and it’s titled “E-books drive older women to digital piracy.”

And I started gnashing my teeth before I even read it. Why? Because book and music piracy is totally not cool. It’s just not. It’s not only unethical, but it’s theft. Plain and simple. Here’s my take on it.

And here’s a quote from the article:

One in eight women over 35 who own such devices admit to having downloaded an unlicensed e-book.
That compares to just one in 20 women over 35 who admit to having engaged in digital music piracy.
News that a group formerly unwilling to infringe copyright are changing their behaviour as e-books take off will worry publishing executives, who fear they could suffer similar a similar fate to the record labels that have struggled to replace lost physical sales.
The picture across the entire e-reader and tablet markets is even more troubling for the publishing industry. Some 29 per cent of e-reader owners of both genders and all ages admit piracy. For tablets the figure rises to 36 per cent.


That’s pretty unsettling. And disappointing, especially if you’re a writer. As an individual, I choose not to rip people off, and I choose to pay artists and writers for the work they produce, as well as support the industries that publish them. Now, I also support libraries and ebook libraries. Here’s why. That’s a whole other issue. The point is, I’m bummed that technology has, in a weird way, created new pirates. Or perhaps that people have allowed themselves to be lured into it. I’m all for ebooks and ebook readers. But it does make me sad that people use the power of technology for not-so-nice things. Double-edged sword, technology.

Anyway, hope you’re getting through your post-Rapture depression. 8)

Neither a borrower nor a lender be: ebook loaning

Hi, folks. I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, a writers’ association that helps women writers of mysteries, crime fiction, and suspense/thrillers meet each other, network, and help writers. I’m on their updates list, and they send out links that might be of interest to us.

Today, one such link is HERE. It’s called “The Rise of the Ebook Lending Library and the Death of Ebook Pirating.” Now, I’ve spoken about book piracy before. You can find that post here, if you’re interested.

Read the article and then check out the comments. Especially by the book pirate who has stolen 15,000 ebooks. And then brags about it. And then says he’ll never pay for anything again. He’s also stolen movies and games, if I remember correctly. And he’s proud of it.

Okay, so here’s where I am on this ebook lending thing. I don’t mind it. It’s like a library. I’m also really supportive of libraries, because of the idea of a public service that allows anybody and everybody to access reading material and then bring it back to that institution. These are legitimately sanctioned businesses, and taxes pay for their upkeep and book purchases. In other words, if you’re a taxpayer, you are purchasing books for libraries. Also, I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to accumulate things, so I use libraries a lot. I also use Netflix so I can still watch movies but send them back when I’m done (or stream them).

Here’s the difference between Netflix and piracy. I PAY for the service. I PAY to receive movies in the mail that I watch and then send back. I PAY to stream movies. And I don’t mind doing it because I want the people who made those movies and acted in them to receive monies via royalties for the work that they did/do. Even if I thought the movie sucked, I pay artists and entertainers for what they provide. With regard to libraries, I pay for that service with my taxes. I would really like it, too, if there were an ebook service like Netflix, where I could pay, say, $15/mo. to download books and read them and then, if I liked them, pay another buck or two to keep it. Why? Because I believe in supporting artists for the work they do. I believe, too, in supporting the industries in which they participate.

Having said that, with regard to piracy, I’m a realist. There are always going to be a**holes who want something for nothing at the expense of artists. That’s a reality. I don’t realistically think that it will ever stop because there is always a percentage of the population that has no problem stealing and/or that will justify stealing with all kinds of excuses. The only thing that will slow electronic piracy down at this point is if the apocalypse happens, the grid collapses, and there is no longer any electricity to run computers. That will put an end to ebook (and other digital) piracy, until someone figures out how to harness the sun more efficiently to generate electricity (in that scenario). And then it’ll just start all over again because humans are inherently flawed in that regard.

Anyway, I try to appeal to the “ethical” side of people. I try to point out that piracy is really shitty (unless it involves sailing ships and 18th-century sea battles) and it hurts a lot of artists, and by extension, the industries that legitimately support them. But that argument just isn’t going to resonate with thieves, especially the hardcore ones like that guy who commented on the article above.

So basically, back to the matter at hand. No, I don’t have problems with ebook lending. I’d rather somebody logged into a site and shared their books with other readers from a sanctioned industry site (even for free) with certain restrictions than downloaded gajillions from a torrent site. Will ebook lending stop piracy? No. Somebody will steal those books, too. See my comment about human nature, above. But maybe it’ll make major piracy sites less attractive, and more of a hassle than just doing something legitimate.

Here’s hoping, anyway.

Happy Monday!

Sometimes pirates are so. not. cool.

Rant originally posted August 3, 2010 at

Hi, folks.

On June 28, 2010, a copy of one of my books was uploaded to a website that doesn’t do much by way of policing its users. That upload may have cost my publisher and me quite a few sales, because other users most likely downloaded it. My book wasn’t the only one there. I saw several titles by colleagues and I spent a lot of time alerting them and the publishers about what was going on in this dark corner of the web.

Here’s the thing. If you make unauthorized copies of something and then distribute it online, you are stealing. If you do not have written permission from the rights-holder(s) of that work to make reproductions and distribute it, you are engaging in theft and copyright infringement. If you are downloading pirated copies of stolen work, you are a thief, too.

This particular part of this particular site is geared toward lesfic readers. It’s also home to several users that I and a bunch of my colleagues are watching. A few of them are busy little pirates, and have over a hundred illegally reproduced and uploaded titles that they distribute to whomever wants them. A few are so out of bounds that they actually request a donation from downloaders. That’s right. They are making money off a book they did not write, they did not edit, they did not produce, they did not publish, they did not market, and whose copyright they are violating. That’s like coming into my house, picking up my wallet, taking part of my paycheck, and leaving.

Now, I don’t mind if people buy one of my books and share it with a few real friends. And I have been known to send free copies of my books to people I know who are having a harder financial time than I am, and who I know would buy that book if they could. So yes, pass it around among 3 or 4 of your friends. Talk about it. Recommend it. Enjoy it.

But don’t steal it. If you take that book, scan it, and post it online so dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of people can read it, you have taken a lot of money away from my publisher and from me, and by extension, you’ve impacted your fellow readers who are supporting us by buying our work. Because if that publisher isn’t getting paid, she can’t stay in business.

This is lesfic we’re talking about. It ain’t a big community. Many readers meet their fave authors in person, as well as their fave publishers. For every hundred books that are downloaded for free, that’s a bill I’m going to have a hard time paying. Some of you may know my dog, Taylor. If not, you can find her on Facebook and find out some of the medical issues she has. Some of you probably have pets yourselves. My royalties–which aren’t much, because this is a small, select audience–help pay for her medicine. I don’t have kids. Taylor’s the closest thing I’ve got to that.

Every book you steal from me affects her, as well.

My royalties also help pay my rent. I’m extremely grateful that I get those royalties, because if I have any left over, they go into an emergency account.

Every book you steal from me diminishes my emergency account. And in this day and age, every bit you save is important.

My royalties also help pay for transportation to get me to work. I have to work. But I’m not making anything even close to a six-figure salary. I’m barely scraping by, like most of you.

Every book you steal from me means I scrape harder. I count on those royalties to help me with certain bills. But every book you steal leaves me tightening my belt a little more. And certain things, like Taylor, come first in my world. So do family emergencies. And sometimes there are car situations. Or plumbing problems. Like any of the many things that can crop up.

Every book you steal from me hits me where it hurts.

I, like 99 percent of my fellow authors, work a full-time day job. I try to make a lot of stuff available for free online for readers. There are also many, many sites that offer even novels that authors post–with permission–for people to see, read, enjoy, and share. But published works are a direct result of many people working to produce something. Producers work hard. And I, personally, think that paying producers for their hard work is a reasonable thing to do. It shows you support our missions, you support the publishers who are making lesfic available to you, and you would like to keep that author writing.

Every book you steal from me ensures that my publisher doesn’t get paid, I don’t get paid, and other readers suffer because without money to keep the publishers going, they can’t pay the producers, either, and thus another resource may tank.

Every book you steal from me screws us all.