I don’t know if it’s my short career as a published author, or if piracy has recently mushroomed out of control, but it seems like it’s everywhere and only getting worse. I’m on an email loop dedicated to authors fighting piracy so I’m informed about more instances of it than I could find myself with my little google alerts. Yesterday I was alerted to iOffer, an ebay-like auction site with over 12,575 auctions for ebooks, most of them collections of several titles to hundreds of books in each. These aren’t forums where pirates load up their books for free, these are thieves scanning our books and redistributing them for their own profit. It is an astronomical slap in the face to authors everywhere. Perhaps the biggest offense is made by iOffer and ebay themselves, because they take no responsibility for what is going on on their own sites.
I guess I’m writing this today because I want to point out that we authors aren’t alone in our victimry. Yes, I just made that word up. Another favorite hangout of mine is Deviant Art, and one of my favorite artists, Ana Cruz, found out last year a publishing house stole one of her images and used it on the cover of a book. (I’ll point out that on DA there are art galleries and resource galleries: images specifically used for stock, labeled as such. The images in the art galleries are identified as private, and are watermarked on full-view. I’ll also point out this is a Portuguese publisher none of us have probably ever heard of.)
Ana, aka Lunebleu, has been forced to hire a lawyer and pay thousands out of her own pocket because even after being notified they were using a stolen image, the publisher still insisted on using it, claiming they had found it on a free images site. This publisher obviously has the morals of a scum-sucking bottom feeder because any professional with a sliver of integrity would do the right thing once they learned the image was stolen property.
In reading Ana’s blog, I see she suffers the same emotional pain as writers do; depression, anger, the loss of motivation and the urge to dump it all in the loo. But in the end she keeps going because she loves her art, just as we as writers do.
Is there a moral to this blog? A point to end by? I guess it’s this: Piracy sucks and if you’re a pirate... well, you can finish the rest yourself.