Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Don't Pirate My Book(s)

The pirate laughs at my feeble attempt to
appeal to his sense of decency.
Because Chuck Wendig says.

Look, I'm at the very beginning of any kind of writing career, here, and I've only got one book out. Another is on its way and the third one is getting close, too, and that means I've got to say something about piracy.

Yesterday, Wendig did one of his famous 25 Things... lists about pirating books. He mentions things like buying and selling used books, mix-tapes and loaning books and such as examples of 'stealing' and yes, they are. To a degree. Buying used is akin to recycling (he said in the hopes that he didn't sound too desperate to justify a habit) even though it doesn't benefit the author/creator. Used cars? Same thing in my book. I think we should use things until they don't have any more use rather than just trashing them when they're not shiny and cool any more. But that's another post.

Mix-tapes are okay in my book, too, because it's about re-mixing various elements to create a mood. As long as the mix-tape isn't resold, I don't see a problem with it. At that point it becomes a compilation that should be sanctioned by a label and paid for. Re-mixing things to make money off them is stealing and should be avoided. (I'm looking at everyone who's taken a novel in the public domain and put fucking zombies into them. Stop that. Stop ir right now.) That's not clever, that's unimaginative.

Loaning books? Well, I have no issue with loaning things I paid for. Generally whomever I loan things to will return the favor, and both of us have paid for something. That's got to be okay.

I should confess at this point that I've torrented exactly one thing. As it turned out, the thing was freely available and in the public domain, with no copyright claim on it. I've always paid for music (or gotten it from someone who paid for it in return for something I paid for) and downloading things that aren't available yet has always bothered me. I want to wait for the final, approved version to hit the shelves. I don't want to watch something subtitled in Czechoslovakian (try typing that fast, American swine) that looks like it was photographed by a video camera in front of a TV at midnight on a busy street. I don't want to hear cat yowling for food while I'm trying to watch the movie, either.

What I want is for things that are popular to run in America at the same time as they do in England. (That's a Downton Abbey reference for those of you keeping score.) Because the world is so interconnected now, it makes sense for those kinds of things to happen. Sherlock should run at the same time in America as it does in England. That's going to stop all sorts of pirating. At least Doctor Who finally runs, though a few hours later. Ah, I'm wandering again.

Are there pirated copies of my one released book? Yep. I've discovered them out there. Are they virus-carriers? I don't know, I didn't download them. I did let the publisher know. I did what I could.

To be honest, I felt a kind of good when I found the files listed in small European countries. I felt like I'd made it as an author. Sort of. Of course it could be that someone just pirates everything he sees and throws it out for anyone who wants it.

But I don't want you to pirate my book. I want you to read it. Pay for it. Help me make more stories you might want to read by buying it. Help the property develop into other media. "Whoa, this would make a cool movie! They should make one!" If you buy it and get others to buy it, too, that might happen.

I understand pirating. I do. I don't participate in it because I like to support the artists and creators whose work I like. Don't blame them for price points. Don't punish them for a publisher's decision, either.

Finally, don't pirate my books. Please. I appreciate the thought, but it's hurtful. If you must, if you can't stop yourself from doing it, at least find some way to support the work so that I can continue to make more. Or maybe we'll be able to make a movie.