History seems to enjoy walking the plank with our pirates, both real and imagined. We know the stories of Sir Francis Drake, Captain Kidd, and Blackbeard, along with our fictionalized Captain Jack Sparrow. We’ve figured out a way to glamorize and chastise them at the same time.
Today, there’s a new definition of piracy as it relates to authors, their copyrighted works, and the distribution of these works in digital form. For free.
I use alerts such as Talkwalker and Google to notify me if I receive press on the internet. Usually, it’s great fun. Sometimes, not so much. Every one of my books has been pirated. My books are being offered for free and I’m out royalties.
People ask me how this can be and how it works and the answer is there are several different scenarios. A common model is an internet entity that forms a book club. Members pay a nominal fee and then must submit digital books that they have presumably legally purchased. Those books go into the free library.
Like the parting of the Red Sea, let’s take a look at two sides of Piracy in Publishing.
There are now a great many piracy sites and my books are all over them. I fume. I cry. I want to correct a wrong. After all, a crime has been committed against me. I attended a seminar and the presenter is a copyright infringement lawyer. Yes. We could go that route. And the lawyer wins. She did offer up a few words for all of us to learn and use. Cease and desist. And by the way, the courts are most vested in prosecuting these entities. The problem is that they are just that. Entities. They hole up under umbrella host sites that claim no liability. If you are lucky enough to spend hours trying to connect with them and finally get a comment form, most times you can forget about the scales of justice. They often fix the CAPTCHA’s so that you can never give a right answer. Example: Are you human? Yes. Sorry. That answer is incorrect. Well, last time I looked I was human!
Let’s say that my great uncle hasn’t left me two million dollars in his will, but he can get my book into the hands of 50,000 readers. The problem is it’s free. I get no royalties. That problem is juxtaposed to the fact that I’m an unknown. As the proverbial saying goes, you can’t get something from nothing.
Who knows? They likely might have never found my book, but they might enjoy that free read. They might even pass the word along.
Ahoy mates! Which sea will you be sailing? I’m confident in saying I will no longer waste my time trying to go after these pirates, but there is one thing I can do and that is to get the end user aware of the situation. That person may choose to wait for my own free days. Maybe.
Oh, free days coming up with this post. The first time TRACKS will be offered for FREE! By me!