Monday, August 10, 2009

Going Viral...the good and the bad

I've entered the video world. Our recent guest, the delightful, deLovely Fran Lee very kindly created a book video for Protect and Defend, my shapeshifter novel. I wanted to have something created in time to send to Ellora's Cave so it will run at Romanticon. Fran was a trooper! In spite of my being kind of picky (actually, I think I was a pain) she created a gorgeous montage of images featuring my book cover (which was created by the talented Dar Albert).

I'm kind of picky (imagine that) about the music though. I decided to find royalty free music to use. Now, let me explain...royalty free isn't free music. It is a composition that you pay for so you can use the rights to the music however you'd like. But let's be clear...I paid for a blanket license. I really like the piece I found, called Rescue from the Ocean by Dmitriy Lukyanov.

Why the emphatic commentary about buying the music? Okay - ahead. E-piracy. Actually Piracy makes it sound cool. Like Long John Silver and treasure maps. Let's call it what it is...stealing. Swindling. Fraud. Theft.

Do you know there's a dude over in Sweden who actually ran for a European Union seat on a "theft is good" platform? He founded the Pirate political party. I kid you not. What's worse is people voted for him. A LOT of people. He WON a seat. According to a Reuters article "The party wants to deregulate copyright, abolish the patent system and reduce surveillance on the Internet." In other words, this party wants to take away my right to own my own intellectual property. That sucks.

You know, I'm all for open source code and stuff like that, but there's a huge difference between the voluntary sharing of something (fiction, music, software, art) by the author of the work and someone taking an item (fiction, music, software, art) and uploading it somewhere for everyone and his brother/sister to download without regards to the creator's wishes. That's the clean way of referring to it. Essentially, these people uploading my books to pirate sites are stealing from me (and other authors and creative people when they do it to them). They might as well have run up behind me on the street and grabbed my purse. Broken into my home and stolen my stuff or hotwired my car.

Electronic piracy is one of the negative aspects of "going viral." People lose control of what belongs to them. No matter how much they might want to call it back (like a public diatribe against an ex on YouTube), they can't because everyone has heard about it, seen it (Paris Hilton having sex, anyone) or they've downloaded it for their own enjoyment.

I know friends who have lost money to piracy and I've lost money because those books that would have SOLD to someone and earned me royalty money to live on while I keep writing have been given away. And not by me. No. Someone uploaded my book to a pirate site and I get nothing from those downloads. I'm gaining new readers, I hear you say? Am I? Those readers who liked my books and downloaded them from pirates in the first place will probably do the same thing with my next book...and the nauseum. The best I can hope for is word of mouth advertising, but if that word of mouth is praising the pirates instead of my book, I gain nothing. I LOSE.

As a result of the e-piracy, I'm not going to give e-books as prizes anymore. I don't believe it's my loyal readers who are doing this...but there are always trolls out there. People who hang out somewhere (blogs and web sites) looking to profit off others by winning contests. So to you loyal folks out there - this isn't directed at you, unless of course, you've uploaded my book (or someone else's book) to some site thinking it was no biggie. Now you know better. It is a VERY biggie so PLEASE take it down. Today.

Some may ask what's the difference between e-book sharing and a library. Property ownership. Yes, the library may lend the book out to many many people to read, but they get that book back in the end. If they don't get a book back, they level fines against the borrow (in most cases) and/or charge replacement costs if they don't get the book back at all. The book has been paid for. The writer gets their royalities from the sale. To be very clear...the library did NOT buy ONE copy then scan it, make 50 copies, and put them on the shelves because they needed 50 copies for lending purposes but didn't want to pay for them. One copy purchased. One copy lended. One copy returned. If two books are needed, two are purchased. Stawman killed.

So, my Anti-piracy rant is at an end...for now. Back to the most excellent video Fran created for me... ;-)

The song that I purchased was a little longer than the original montage that Fran created, so our long-suffering heroine Fran added to it and tweaked it a bit. She rocks better than the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith rolled into one! The video is "just right" now (says Goldilocks) and it really works - at least I think so. LOL

Now, what we all want is for our videos to go person plays it then links to it and someone else links etc until we're all infected. So here's to going viral - in the GOOD way. Hope you like the video. Let me know what you think!


Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Francesca, I completely agree with you about e-swindling. As authors we've suffered over our craft, spent tons o' time, done lots of research. If we were paid by the hour we'd all be fairly well off, by today's standards.
What is it with people and thinking it's okay to let artists starve? I don't get that. I never have. It's as though the creative effort is worth nothing.
Another point, it's different if a person shares a book with a friend because it's one book. Sharing is not X times X copies to everyone out there who wants it.
It truly saddens me that we, as artists, are so undervalued at times.

Crystal Kauffman said...

This is a topic that hit me hard last week, a week in which I grew six new gray hairs. I plan on posting something similar on my blog and on my website, but you said it so much better.

Okay, now back to what I said about RWA. Remember, I told you "change will come."

It will come here, too. What we need is new technology. Soon there will be single use license keys, like on software. Unique product codes, that will identify the original purchaser. And with us writers spreading the word, telling our fans "If you like our books, please don't steal them. Because if you do, there won't be any more."

Serena Shay said...

Hi Francesca,
Sorry I didn't get by here yesterday. :(

grrrr Piracy, you're right that word only glamorizes what they are doing!

Unique product codes would be a great change in how ebooks are handled, lets hope it comes soon!

Fabulous trailer!! The music fit it perfectly!!

Paris said...

My internet was out yesterday or I would have responded sooner;-)I've half a mind (okay, that can't be proven) to start calling it E-Theft, since romance writers tend to glamorize pirates, usually giving them a perfectly reasonable motivation for what they do but the only motivation here is stealing the product because they don't want to pay for it.

Theft has such a nasty negative ring to it. It serves them right. Not that people who think like this think they are thieves. I'm not giving away any book downloads either.

Great video trailer by the way--loved your pick of the music too;-)