Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wild Card Weekend -- PIRATES!

Ahoy! It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day so Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke thought she'd pull a fast one and talk about pirates o' a far more sinister sort... Aye.

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! That's what every author thinks when they open their email to find a Google Alert, proudly showing their work is being handed out for free and without permission. Pirates have taken your work and offered it up to anyone who can click a mouse. I'm glad they thought it was good enough to want to pass to friends, but since I get doubloons based on the number of books bought, not the number of books's fair to say I'm being hornswaggled.

Batten down the hatches, I'm about to send the most common excuses straight off the plank and into Davy Jones' locker!

Isn't it the same as passing a paperback on to a friend? Yo ho ho, a friend is someone who helps you move, not someone who has access to your mainframe. A friend gives you a ride, they don't take you for one. A friend doesn't give you a virus that can erase every picture you've taken for the last three years. Plus, when you pass it on, you no longer have it and probably won't get it back. Giving copies away is the same as xeroxing every page and passing it around the office. See, it starts to feel as dirty as that copy of the CFO's butt everyone found after the office holiday party.

Isn't it the same as a used book store? Not so much. as much as I hate not getting royalties for what I've written, I hate the idea of tossing a book in a landfill more (do not get me started on stripping covers.) Plus, you've given away your copy to the used book store, library, chartity sale, whatever. You don't have it. Your single copy is somewhere else. But like that 8 1/2 by 11 of the CFO's nether regions, multiple copies only multiply, getting spread around until it winds up at the corporate office in Timbuktu.

Isn't file sharing just like using the library? Are you a library? I'm not saying libraries are privateers, but there are some serious rules and guidelines they follow to keep copyrighted material safe. And again...they just have the one physical copy that they paid for. They share what they've purchased, they don't share copies of it.

From my crow's nest, those are the ones I hear too often. If you know of another excuse, let us have it. I'm sure there are a few lassies more than ready to explain why scallywags should dole out pieces of eight, rather than looting our royalties.

I wish we could scuttle internet piracy. A lot of parties would have to be involved. Perhaps if internet providers got on board and run a shot across the bow, threatening to slow the connection speed to dial up levels when these son of a biscuit eaters pass out things that don't belong to them, we might see it slow down. Or maybe the providor would suspend them completely. But with all the providers out there, they'd likely find another only to pillage again.

I'm not a fan on $2 million punishments for posting copyrighted material, but I'm also not a fan of seeing how many 'reads' my book has and doing the math to see it could have paid for me to go to RWA this year. All expenses. Since I didn't have it in the budget, it seems the pirates won that battle.

Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! Enough of this bilge-sucking, booty stealing talk! WHO'S ACTUALLY TALKED LIKE A PIRATE TODAY?

Jenna is not writing much of anything, and won't be until September October. In the meantime, Compromising Positions is available with chocolate, Kama Sutra yoga, a decade old crush and a steady addiction to sugar. To find out what Jenna is up to now...check out her website or blog.


  1. Avast, me hearties! You couldn't do me a favour and change the image for the cartoon pirate you are using to this wikipedia one could you?

    Only I've got to pay for the bandwidth serving up that image on people's sites, so if you could kindly use the wikipedia version, then I won't have to call you a scurvy swab and send ye to Davy Jones' locker.

    [This Talk Like a Pirate thing is fun]

  2. Here's one: It's my book and I can do what I want with it.

    Well, not to split hairs, but yes, it is your BOOK, because you purchased it. But the words within it are MINE. I OWN them. That's why right inside the cover it says you can't reproduce it.

    Lending and getting back is not the same as making copies and giving them away.

  3. A familiar one is that people who pirate stuff wouldn't buy it anyway. Well, duh...

  4. I've heard a lot, but this one is my pet peeve: 'I don't have enough money to afford it right now' I hate that excuse b/c it's total bs. Seriously, everyone is broke or struggling or whatever and other people manage to buy books instead of stealing them. There's no excuse for stealing and that's all pirating is.

  5. My favorite excuse is "Who am I hurting anyways? Authors are rich." Not so. Many authors struggle to pay the bills. Sure, J.K. Rowling could pay for us all to go to Disney World, but she's the exception. Use the library if you don't have the money to buy a book. That way we still get the library sales.

  6. I don't know about the US, but here in the UK the writer gets a small payment when one of their books is borrowed from a library, so the "file sharing is just like using the library" thing is even more flawed here.

    And the used book store, well I certainly buy used books sometimes, but if I find an author I really like and want to check out all their other stuff I'm not going to head back to the used book store on the off-chance they'll have all the others, I'm heading to Amazon or wherever, to buy them. Someone who read an illegally shared copy will just go back to their pirate friend and say, hey got any more by that writer? So there's a definite difference there. The same thing really with borrowing a book from a friend. I wouldn't borrow one, decide I like it then expect my friend to loan me one after the other of all the writer's other books, that's just rude!

    The writer might not get a payment from the used or borrowed book, but they might gain a new fan who'll subsequently buy their other books. All they'll get from the pirate copy is peoplee who'll steal their other books.

  7. Excellent comments, all. Jenna, terrific post--thank you :-).

    Here's another bit of rationalizing I've seen: spreading free copies around is good promotion for the authors. It builds readership! Authors should be grateful for the service.

    As Jenna said so well: aarrgghh!