Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thievery Reaps No Rewards

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.


Paris said...

I'm so tired of pirates that I could scream and unfortunately, that seems to be the only retribution they face. I've put google alerts on my own work and the day my last book was released there was a chick asking for it on a file-sharing site!

Until someone gets nabbed and is forced to pay a huge fine or do time, I'm afraid the attitude isn't going to change. The music industry had the right idea.

Savanna Kougar said...

Yep, e-piracy is definitely getting a whole lot worse. That ebay thing is the pits, too!!! And, this kind of stealing will only continue given the economic times.
Personally, I'm skeptical that any kind of harsh-punishment legislation, or action, will stop it. Pickpocketing only escalated greatly when pickpockets were condemned to hanging in merry olde England. And, to my observation, crime operates that way. Look at the drug situation. The worse the punishment, the more it's flourished, and only gets bigger. Like the days of Prohibition.
I think there are other strategies that would work better.
Personally, I'd rather hire really good hackers to virus their sites. For example.

Serena Shay said...

These pirates should definitely walk the plank! I'm with Savanna, virus to their sites!!