Ebook Piracy

I debated a long time about whether or not to discuss this and in the end, it seems I’m having a hard time not saying anything.

For those that don’t do ebook file sharing/pirating, you have no idea how grateful I, and other epubbed authors, are to you.

For those that do it, know it’s wrong and don’t care, well, you don’t need to read any further. You aren’t the ones I’m addressing.

This post is for those that either don’t realize it’s illegal, or those that realize it is, but they don’t realize it hurts authors.

Pirated ebooks infringe on my copyright. Filesharing sites infringe on my copyright. But it isn’t just that it’s illegal, it’s a practice that hurts authors. People who might have gone and bought those ebooks but then turn around and buy a batch for $20 or just use a sharing site, all of these adds up to less income for the writer.

Why should that matter to the reader? I mean, money is tight for everybody and if the reader can save a few bucks either filesharing or buying pirated ebooks, does it really hurt?

Yes. If you like that author, do you want them to keep writing and putting out more ebooks for you? Ebook publishing has some pros to it that you don’t find in print publishing~ quick release times, more frequent releases, shorter word length counts.

For those of us that write quick, doing both ebook and print makes sense….provided it’s worth it to the writer. I can write at my normal pace, keep up a steady flow of releases, keep my income steady. But when I see ebooks being illegally sold, keeping me from earning my rightful royalties, it makes me wonder if perhaps I shouldn’t focus more on the print side of my career. This is an issue I’ve discussed with fellow writers and I know I’m not the only one making career decisions and piracy has been a deciding factor for some.

I want to make it clear, I’m not trying to be greedy. I just want people to stop sharing my ebooks. I’m entitled to my rightful royalties on those ebooks. Writers are people just like anybody else, and we have the same expenses as anybody else. Our writing is what lets us pay those expenses.

I don’t want anybody thinking that I feel they are responsible for my income. They aren’t. I am. But when I write a book and publish it, it’s with the belief that I’m going to get compensated. That’s why I quit the day job. So I could write full time and make a living from it. Writing is my job. It’s how I provide for my kids. It’s how I pay my bills. It’s how I buy my own books, clothes, movies, etc, etc… this is my paycheck.

Speaking for me, my career is coming to a crossroads. A definitive decision now isn’t necessary, but that time is coming. I love romance. I love writing it. I plan to continue writing it. But there are other genres I want to explore. A deciding factor is going to be what happens over the next year with my epubs and if it looks like writing for my epubs isn’t as the wisest choice, then as much as I’d hate it, I’m going to move on.

I rarely ask anything from anybody. It’s just not in me. But those of you reading this that weren’t aware it was a legal thing, and more, one that has a negative impact on authors, I’d like you to consider all of this. For those are aware that filesharing & ebook piracy is wrong, but they don’t think it hurts anybody, I’m asking you to reconsider that viewpoint. It does hurt people-it hurts the authors and it hurts them in a place none of us like being hurt, right square in the wallet.

If anybody has questions about the legality of pirating ebooks, there is some info on it below. But if legel-eze bores you, I understand. It’s not all that fascinating for me either.


Focus on Intellectual Property Rights by Thomas G. Field, Jr

Why do countries such as the United States, Japan, and The Netherlands protect inventions; literary and artistic works…They do so because they know safeguarding these property rights fosters economic growth, provides incentives for technological innovation, and attracts investment that will create new jobs and opportunities for all their citizens.

If you’re still questioning on whether this really is a crime…anything copyrighted is protected under federal law. The cybercrime.gov site lists copyright piracy on their site.

From Copyright Basics @ Copyright, the US Copyright Office.

What Is Copyright

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.

Violating copyright is illegal. From the FAQs section at Copyright.gov

Section 501 of the copyright law states that “anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner …is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author.”

Writing is hard work. Every author I’ve ever known has worked hard to get published. It’s our creation… our intellectual property and we deserve to have that copyrighted work respected.