book pirates

Interesting Discussion about E-book Piracy…

There’s an interesting discussion about e-book piracy over at the Dystel & Goderich blog, in a post written by Abby.

Those of you who follow me know that I’ve been posting and talking about this for a long time. I have not come to any conclusions about it and I’m not sure at this stage I ever will. I don’t advocate piracy because it’s against the law and I follow the law in every aspect of my life. But I have heard strong arguments from people who do pirate and in some cases I can understand their feelings.

I think this is going to be an ongoing topic for a while, especially as e-books begin to increase in popularity in the mainstream.

There is one thing I’m not so sure about, and that’s how e-book pirates feel about .99 e-books. Do they bother to pirate them or do they just ignore them? I really don’t have a clue. And if they do I’m not passing any judgments here and I encourage anonymous comments from now until forever on this comment thread.

In any event, Abby asks a few interesting questions.

The comment thread isn’t jammed, but has a few interesting POVs.

You can get there from here.

Are Book Pirates Following This Important News?

This is interesting. Below I’ve copied and pasted the basics from this link, verbatim. And there’s another link within this article that will lead you to a place where there is even more information. If you’ve ever pirated anything, you might want to check it out. If you’ve ever been pirated, you might want to check it out, too.

Basically, large Internet giants like Facebook and Google are protesting SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). They say it could lead to censorship. As an author who has experienced a great deal of piracy, I’ve learned a lot about this topic in the past three years. I’ve also refrained from forming any huge opinions as well. And I will continue to remain objective with regard to book pirates.

But I do have very strong opinions about censorship, especially if it involves online censorship. That’s something I can live without.

Google, Facebook, Amazon Planning Internet Blackout to Protest “Big Brother” SOPA Bill by Lauren Kelley

The debate over SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) has pitted Hollywood executives and the Republican-supported Chamber of Commerce against, well, basically everyone who enjoys the free and open Internet, with critics saying that the legislation could lead to widespread Internet censorship.

Among those critics are major websites like Facebook, Amazon, and Google, which are considering imposing an Internet “blackout” in protest of the bill. The Daily Mail reports:

The battle over the SOPA bill has seen leading web firms square off against Hollywood media companies in a trade-off between Internet freedom and intellectual property rights.

Now it could burst into the open as technology giants are planning to ‘censoring’ their own homepages, according to a leading Internet lobby group.

Sites such as Google, Amazon and Facebook could temporarily replace their usual homepage with a black screen and a message asking users to contact politicians and urge them to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act.

The move could come as early as January 24, when the bill is due to be debated in the House of Representatives.

One of the only major web companies to have supported SOPA is GoDaddy, which was shamed into reversing its support after throngs of customers (including heavy hitters like Wikipedia) moved their domain names elsewhere.

Read more about the background of the bill at the Daily Mail

Book Pirates, Matthew Delman, and Digital Rights Management

When I have more time, I’m going to expand on this post.

But right now I’d like to link to a fascinating web site I just found by a guy named Matthew Delman. It’s a wonderful web site, and even though I’ve only glanced at it, Mr. Delman looks like he knows what he’s doing.

You can get there from here, to read about book pirates and DRM. It looks like there’s a lot more to read as well.

I Wonder How Book Pirates Feel About .99 E-books


With all the .99 e-books out there, I couldn’t help wondering how people who pirate e-books feel about this.

I have, I think, two books on Amazon for .99. An Officer and His Gentleman and Pretty Man. I’m fine with it. No problem. But then I trust my publishers to price my books and I really don’t have any say in the matter.

This .99 e-book thing makes me wonder about book pirates. I know there are people in different countries who can’t buy and download books in different parts of the world, so they pirate. I’ve read their comments in a previous post I wrote and I can sympathize with them.

But not everyone pirates e-books because they can’t actually buy them. Studies show that most books are pirated right here in the US. I’ve also heard there are a lot of other reasons, mainly that readers aren’t sure about whether or not they’ll like a book and before they spend money they’d rather pirate the book first.

Well, you can’t get cheaper than .99 a book. I’m interested in buying Shirley Maclaine’s new non-fiction book and I’m not getting anywhere close to the .99 deal her publishers are charging for her book at 9.99. Seriously. .99 a book beats the price of a hot dog at the ballpark, a cup of coffee at the local bodega, and certainly a gallon of gasoline in these wonderful times of hope and change. Actually, there’s not much you can get for .99 anymore.

A Comment About Astatalk and Other File Sharing Sites

Evidently, there’s been quite an uproar over what Astatalk did last week regarding fiction. I’ve read about it in a few places and a good friend who is a literary agent sent me an e-mail about it last Thursday.

Over the past year or so, I’ve taken a step back with regard to all things related to book pirates, file sharing, and even Astatalk. I’ve even written updates to previous posts, stating that I’m more interested now in learning why people pirate books (or anything), and that I’d like to continue to learn by encouraging their anonymous comments and protecting their privacy. There’s been an interesting, ongoing discussion on this particular post I wrote a while ago.

And just so everyone knows this for certain, don’t blame me if Astatalk won’t let you download fiction anymore. I haven’t filed an abuse form, made a single complaint, or written a negative post about book pirating or Astatalk in well over a year. I decided, after reading many of the comments to my pirate posts, to remain objective about the entire topic, making only one claim, which is that I personally do not, and never will, pirate books or anything else myself. Whatever decision Astatalk made, or whatever prompted them to make this decision, had nothing to do with me. I’m just one small writer in a large sea of many, and I don’t have that kind of power.

Link To Confessions of a Book Pirate…

I ran across this interview the other day and decided to post a link. It’s titled, CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK PIRATE, from themillions.com web site, and I think people on both sides of the book pirate issue might be interested in reading it.

Once again, the person in this interview makes some interesting points. Some of which revolve around a “moral” issue, not a legal issue. Especially when he makes this comment:

In truth, I think it is clear that morally, the act of pirating a product is, in fact, the moral equivalent of stealing… although that nagging question of what the person who has been stolen from is missing still lingers. Realistically and financially, however, I feel the impact of e-piracy is overrated, at least in terms of ebooks.

To me, personally, speaking as a reader and not a writer, it’s more than a moral issue. It’s a legal issue. Frankly, I believe in the law and I follow the law, whether it be speeding down the highway or downloading an illegal file. For me, there are no gray areas when it comes to the law. The law is the law, I have respect for the law, and I don’t care about the moral ramifications one way or the other. Evidently, though, a lot of people don’t agree with me.

I also found this comment interesting, when the pirate was asked whether or not he worries about getting into trouble for scanning and downloading books:

I’ve debated doing some newer authors and books, but I would need to protect myself better and resolve the moral dilemma of actually causing noticeable financial harm to the author whose work I love enough to spend so much time working on getting a nice e-copy if I were to do so.

Here we go again with the moral dilemma. I’m glad this person at least considers the fact that he is taking money out of the pockets of some very poor people, because new authors rarely have enough money to pay their rent. And when a book they’ve written is pirated every single penny taken from them causes noticeable financial harm. I know some authors who become physically and emotionally sick over it. Actually, the statement, “noticeable financial harm” sounds rather glib to me. Who is this guy to judge what constitutes noticeable financial harm to anyone?

Anyway…if you’re interested in this topic, please check out the link above and read the entire interview. I’m not weighing in with any specific opinions and I encourage anonymous comments. This is partly because I think everyone seems to have a different opinion about book pirating these days, and partly because I’m struggling to come to terms with this myself.

Facebook Account Update and Comments About Book Piracy

First, my facebook account was just enabled again…after being disabled for twenty four hours for no apparent reason. Evidently, there’s no clear cut reason why this happens and to be honest I’m not taking the time to pursue it. It’s back up and running, and that’s all I care about. As much as I do enjoy facebook, I can also live without it if I have to. And in the grand scheme of my life, facebook isn’t all that significant.

I’d also like to thank the people who have been commenting on a post I wrote about book pirates. I’m learning a lot of things I didn’t know, especially about what motivates people to pirate books. In many ways this is a difficult position for an author, because the people pirating the books are fans. So I’m learning a lot I didn’t know, and I encourage anyone to comment on the topic.