Feb. 6th, 2013

jaunthie: (Seamask)
A strange thing to celebrate, perhaps, but definitely a topic well worth discussion, because e-piracy is a real problem.

A little background: Author Chuck Wendig wrote a post on his blog about piracy, declared Feb. 6th to be International Please Don't Pirate My Book Day, and invited others to write, blog, or post on this theme today.

Now as many of you know, I am an aspiring fiction writer. My pay-the-bills job also involves writing in a technical capacity. And e-piracy affects both my aspirational career, and my real-life one. A

s someone who would *love* to make a living by my own creative writing, I admit that e-piracy seems like a huge barrier to that dream. The vast majority of fiction writers can't make their livings solely by their books and stories, even when sales are good. Most of them don't have the resources to defend themselves against aggressive pirates, either. Some resist electronic editions of their works, simply because piracy seems such a threat. How is this good for writers, or for book-lovers, or for anyone?

 And more to the point, I can't understand stealing from someone whom you don't even know, particularly if you profess to be a fan of their work. That just baffles me. If you like something a person does, you show it by stealing from them? WTF???

I understand not having a lot of money to spend on things. Been there, done that, still have some of the habits I learned when I was trying to stretch every penny far enough to be able to buy things like groceries. And you know what? During that time, despite being a huge bookworm, I didn't steal books. I borrowed books from the library. I saved up to be able to buy exactly TWO books in that time period, neither of which was terribly expensive, both of which I desperately wanted. I made friends with other bookworms, and happily accepted the loan of books and shared book recommendations. And I wrote. I wrote scenes and stories that I wanted to read.

Nowadays, of course, there are so many more resources available for free to people than there were then. There's gutenberg.org, and free e-book editions and samplers from many different presses, and the wikipedia ebook library, and on and on. Not to mention more freely-available fanfiction than anyone could read in a LIFETIME.

So I don't understand people who try to justify stealing books by claiming that they can't afford them. (I happen to agree that the pricing of ebooks often seems arbitrary and out of hand, but that's a different question, one that is being worked out as we move into a new world of publishing.) There are VAST QUANTITIES of books already available to EVERYONE for FREE. So don't tell me you can't afford to buy something to read. And don't pretend that you have some kind of RIGHT to someone else's work. That's someone's blood and sweat and tears, someone who probably struggles to pay the bills just as much (if not more) than you do.

And then there's my pay-the-bills work, where I really HAVE had my work - my research, my writing - copied and reprinted wholesale, with no acknowledgement of the source, much less payment. Where other people have gotten credit and praise for their plagarism of my words and effort.

Let me tell you: that sucks big hairy donkey balls. It feels awful, enraging and saddening and sickening all at the same time. And that's without directly impacting my ability to earn a living, at least in the short term. I can't truly know how much worse it might be, seeing piracy going on when it really does affect your bottom line - but I can use my imagination, and it makes the very idea of risking my stories in the e-pirating age seem like utter lunacy.

There you have it. Some of my thoughts on piracy, and along with it, my devout wish that no one pirates ANYONE's books, much less any of my own.
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