Thursday, July 8, 2010
Ebook Piracy Hurts Us All--Don't do it!
Yes, the economy is bad for many of us.
Yes, a lot of readers' book budgets have had to be slashed.
No, that does not excuse anybody for stealing ebooks, which is what downloading books free from unauthorized sites is doing.
Why? First, stealing copyrighted material is punishable in the US and many other jurisdictions by imprisonment and stiff fines. I'd hate to see readers who like my books spending time behind bars.
Downloading files from untrustworthy sites (and what could be less trustworthy than sites devoted to violating the law?) can result in nasty viruses invading your computer and the accompanying $$$ expense to get the viruses cleaned.
More important, stealing ebooks is depriving not only the publishers but the authors of sales, and a percentage of sales is what author earnings are based upon. Apart from what you may think, most authors earn less than average incomes (most of us aren't millionaires, not that it's any fairer to steal from John Grisham or Nora Roberts than it is to pirate struggling authors' works). They've been as adversely affected by the economy as anyone else.
You don't care? That's bad, because if the books you love don't pay off for their publishers, the publishers may stop publishing the books. If they don't, they most certainly will redouble their efforts to prevent piracy and prosecute pirates.
Do you wonder why there are fewer contests through which authors give away free ebooks? Chalk it up to piracy. Too many authors have discovered the books they've given away appearing on pirate sites. While I haven't (to my knowledge) had any contest prizes uploaded at pirate sites, I've heeded warnings and discontinued holding contests.
It's terribly disheartening to see a book released today and showing up on a pirate site within a few hours! Please consider before taking free downloads that you're not only stealing from the books' authors and publishers, you're also risking huge fines and time in prison--not to mention the viruses that often lurk (or so I'm told) in files offered for download.