An unaccustomed third blog in two days but this one poses some interesting questions. A friend of mine just sent me a link to a “pirate” site, one where downloadable books are free. I’m not going to post the link as I feel this would contribute to the problem although it isn’t all that hard to find. I was quite surprised to find “White Wolf Moon” listed on there and I must confess I’m not sure what to think.
My first thought was that this might explain why quite a few people have said they’ve downloaded it and have made such specific comments that verified they actually had read it all yet these downloads aren’t showing up in my “Royalties” folder. My next thought was how to get the title off this site but other than hiring a lawyer to provide a “Proof of Ownership” document to send to the owners of the site, at my expense of course, there’s really nothing I can do. It appears that copyright laws these days are non-existent.
I suppose it’s to be expected. Photographs are continually being stolen and used without the permission of the photographer so why not books? (The pirate flag above is a copyright free download) People are downloading free music from certain sites…movies too. The pirates running these sites ask for “donations” in exchange for the free products they provide. Apparently they’re doing it solely out of the kindness of their hearts. On this site they tell us that this is their way of making culture available to everyone, not just those who can afford it and that the donations just pay for the upkeep of their charitable organization. They’re affording the underprivileged, those with ereaders anyway, the same access to literature as the well-to-do experience.
As I said, I’m not sure what to think. If I were Stephen King perhaps I’d raise a little hell although his titles are there as well so maybe a few free downloads doesn’t affect his bottom line and it’s just not worth the bother.
I also look at it from the standpoint that if there weren’t people downloading free and occasionally “donating” to the cause then sites like this might not exist.
I think generally the ebook reader is up front and honest and doesn’t have a problem spending .99 or 4.99 for a title. It’s the same sort of mentality as when we closed the bookshop where I worked. Our regular customers were great people and very rarely mentioned price, the ones that came in for the closing out sale were pretty much all strangers and…well, not so great.
The market must be there for these pirate sites to exist…fostered by a segment of the population that wants everything for nothing with no thought to the people that spend their lives creating the art, photographs, music, or films that they enjoy. I wonder what any of them would say if we asked them to provide whatever they do free of charge? Joe the plumber who downloads free books…come and fix my toilet, free of course.
Maybe I’m over-reacting but I think of the thousands of hours learning and honing a craft…then more hours writing/editing that book…then (in some cases) the costs of self-publishing only to have it given away by someone who has no interest in the book, any book for that matter, in exchange for a donation that fits snugly into his own wallet and I get a little cranky. I won’t even touch on the numerous spelling mistakes on their site because, well…they wouldn’t understand. These are the critters at the bottom of the food chain. These are the leeches who are content to sit fat on their butts and live off the work of others simply because they don’t have the wherewithal to accomplish anything on their own.
Okay…off my soapbox now.