By A.J. Llewellyn
Author Shiloh Walker recently posted an impassioned and honest blog about what rampant ebook theft has done to her. This morning I view with dismay that 18 books of mine have managed to be uploaded illegally on theft sites, I find it ironic that this was the day I wanted to tell you a few home truths.
With significant input from my editor, Jay Austin and the permission of the author involved, I'm going to tell you what theft does.
Want to know what happens when a best-selling author's work gets pirated within days of a new release?
How about not a single sale!
No, it has nothing to do with the publisher and nothing to do with the author and nothing to do with the book and nothing to do with the economy.
It has to do with the fact someone gave the book to multiple pirate/thief sites the day after it was released.
How would you feel if you spent hours upon hours, days, weeks, sometimes even months, writing a story readers asked you for, endured the endless agony of edits, watched the artist create a cover—and those are not cheap and artists do not work for free either—watched the formatting process, watched the placement of an ISBN, and watched the release of your book to the world only to turn around have someone give it to a bunch of thieves the next day?
Not a single soul outside of the publisher asked the author for permission to sell or giveaway one copy of the eBook, let alone give it to the world. The author received 1 sale for the month of September, yet everyone is telling the author how much they enjoyed the book.
It's incidents like this that make an author wonder if writing is worth it because it hurts to know someone would take your hard work and throw it into cyberspace ocean for the sharks, leaving you to earn not even a single penny for the time you spent writing.
Should I mention that the cover artist, editor and company lost their rightful share as well? Hey, truth is, if it keeps going, there won’t be any authors, editors, artists, or publishers because no one wants to work for free and businesses can’t operate on no profit. Authors work to write a story to make a few bucks, not to have it distributed to pirate/thief sites. Okay, so it was one book. Yeah, right. While it may not seem like such a loss because it was only one book, it’s been happening to one particular author’s books for a while now. In other words, it’s happening with all this author’s books. It’s making this author wonder what they are writing for and what they are get out of the hard work.
Think it’s easy? Try it—with a publisher, not a vanity press, not a self-publish site, but a legitimate, legal, contract-bound publisher. Fact is, any copy made or given beyond the first copy purchased is called stolen goods. The point is, without is a contract, authorizing, facilitating or transferring any file not called SHAREWARE is considered stolen goods. Some of these sites charge to allow the downloads, meaning they’re getting paid for facilitating the transfer of stolen files someone uploaded to them because anything beyond the first copy purchased is stolen goods. Those companies need reported to the Better Business Bureau of the state they reside in and they need reported to the Federal Trade Commission for the sale of stolen property.
Such reports will help the FTC, BBB and FBI to track down who is making the file available to the pirate/thief site because that person is going to suffer the biggest penalty. Yeah, the site will get slammed for facilitating piracy, but the true thief is the one who put the file on the host site because that person is who made the file available and will suffer the biggest penalty for pirating stolen goods. Authors don't make millions and pirating means authors make nothing.
In order to understand what pirating does, look at Sweden. Sweden has almost no bands left to make their music because the pirating thieves have stolen so much from the Swedish musicians that they can't make a living making music. Uploading eBooks to pirating sites, even just a link, makes you the pirate/thief that will receive the hardest penalty. Don’t be a pirate, don’t be a thief…when you give someone your eBook or a link to your eBook, you’re doing just that, pirating, stealing, distributing stolen goods.
It boils down to one thing, paying the authors zero for their hard work and that means that ultimately the reader, as much as the author suffers when the author quits providing books to be stolen by greedy thieves.