Fight Pirates - Earn Booty! (No, not THAT kind of booty!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
(Note: there is a contest behind all of this, you just have to wade through the rant to get to it! LOL)

I hate pirates. Not the yargh matey, rape-pillage-plunder fellows. Those guys are okay. The pirates I despise with a passion are the ones who illegally post files for download.

In other words, scurvy thieves that even Captain Jack Sparrow wouldn't care to do business with.

Fellow author Nina Pierce had a great post today about file piracy. I've blogged about it before myself. is sponsoring a petition against it. Please go sign it!

(Note that the ranting part of this post isn't directed at my wonderful and law-abiding readers, only the jerks who post and download files illegally. And yes, not buying it from an authorized site is ILLEGAL.)

My latest book was available on file sharing sites less than twenty-four hours after it was released.

It's discouraging, to say the least. I don't know what these jerks think I and other authors make, but we can't afford to lose hundreds (or thousands) of sales to download sites. You pirate jerks are going to drive the writers you love to steal from right out of writing. (I'm just hoping you end up with a lovely virus on your hard drive from all those friggin torrent sites and peer-to-peer programs you love to use.)

If you are one of these jerks who posted my works and others for download, what the HELL is wrong with you? If you went and stole something out of a store, would you proudly go tell everyone about it? (Oh, maybe you would.) Do you pirate jerks not realize I'm WORKING for a living just like anyone else? Except, lucky you, you probably get paid every week or every other week. My biggest publisher pays QUARTERLY. And a lot of writers are in the same boat I'm in. That means we only get (count 'em) FOUR paychecks a year. If my hubby wasn't working, I could never do what I'm doing.

And those four checks, let me tell you what, they go to pay for all sorts of "fun" things, like putting new brakes and tires on the cars, replacing the ancient A/C system in our house, fixing the leaking roof, paying our property taxes, homeowner's insurance, and flood insurance (we live in Florida so YOU do the freaking math, sparky), you know, those sorts of "luxury" items. If my husband lost his job, at this point we're one paycheck away from disaster. When he retires in a few years, my income--four times a year--will basically be IT for us. So you stealing from me, hey, can my husband and son and I and six dogs come live with YOU if I can't pay my mortgage? Maybe you can just steal the files right from my laptop as soon as I write them and cut out the annoying middleman, right? (Jerks.)

Just like you, Mr./Mrs. Filesharing Pirate Asshole, I have bills to pay.

Okay, so on to the contest portion of my Ranting Wednesday post.

What do we do with these filesharing asshats? I'm talking wild and crazy, if you could do something to them (oh, say, in a book) without worrying about getting in trouble, what would you do? Shoot them into orbit a la Bugs Bunny?

You're playing for an electronic (yes, I understand the irony in this, believe me) copy of my book, "Cross Country Chaos." Make me laugh, make me spew coffee all over my laptop while reading your answer. Be creative. Be vindictive. Be scarily close to my own secret thoughts about what I wish I could do to these numbnuts (damn, my tin foil hat must have sprung a data leak) and leave your answer in the comments section. Make sure I have a way of getting in touch with you. If you are a fellow writer, feel free to put your website in your comments (after your answer) and shill your latest book. You must be of legal age in your place of residence to play, void where prohibited, your mileage may vary, don't take any wooden nickels, yadda yadda.

You can answer as many times as you'd like, but remember, the most creative, outlandish, beverage-spew-inducing answers are going to be the ones with the best chance of winning. I will pick a winner (what I determine is the best one) sometime this coming...oh, let's do Sunday afternoon. That'll give everyone plenty of time to think of something (or twenty).

Good luck, and cheer me the hell up with your answers!

*rant out*

21 reader comments:

  1. Regarding your piracy blog post... I'm a wee bit concerned about how you seem to be holding back and not really expressing your feelings.
    Seriously though, the entire industry is shaking up and although illegal, I agree with Eric Flint and Cory Doctorow on the subject. “I really feel like my problem isn’t piracy. It’s obscurity.”

    And here are some links with the details as to why DRM is bad and book piracy is not a problem, but rather an aid to our promo efforts.

    Baen's Universe has a wonderful series of articles by Eric Flint. He calls the Salvos Against Big Brother and are well worth the read. Here is one such:

    Good luck!

    Anthony Stevens

  1. OMG! I can't believe Mr. Stevens had the gall to write that. *blink*

    As for what I'd do, it can't be written publicly. It involves crosses (The XXX-large size), barbed wire, bears and honey, and maybe poison ivy for garnish. Because I'm nice that way. *evil*

    Have no fear. I have a rant of my own coming to a blog near you soon. I found one of mine on a site and suffice it to say, I was PISSED.

    Sorry, I don't buy "obscurity" as an excuse for theft. Theft is theft, whether it's a $1.00 candy bar or $10,000 car. Nice of him to make such an informative list of links.

    However this, :book piracy is not a problem, but rather an aid to our promo efforts. is a CROCK.

    People believing pirates and the thieves who download stolen books are going to go back and actually buy them legimately or buy future titles, are delusional.

    Before my ONE book was taken down, there were 125+ downloads from ONE site link. The book HASN'T EVEN SOLD THAT MANY!!! So don't come around expounding the beauty of piracy as promo. Quit smoking that crap. It's bad for you.

  1. Actually Diana, I have a lot of gall. But I can tell from the really short time it took for you to respond that you had not really read those informative links. Unless of course, you've already spent a great amount of time researching all of the multi-facets of this issue over the past few years.

    It might surprise you to know that I agree that theft is theft and a dollar is no different than a thousand. My stance is the same as those articles (from authors, editors and publishers btw, that earn much more than either of us) that ebook piracy is not a major problem. It's much more like kids, stealling candy than grand theft auto.

    As for your experience that 125 copies were downloaded, has it occurred to you that if it wasn't there, those people and their friends would...
    A) never have heard of you or...
    B) would never have paid the money in the first place?

    Either way, you got increased exposure and you did not lose those sales because they never would have been made in the first place.

    As an example, every book in the Baen Free Library had its sales figures INCREASE the month after it was posted online. Baen is a multi-million dollar publishing house that has been running this experiment for more than a few years now. Every one of John RIngo's best sellers is available for free and his sales continue to rise. He's a NYT best-selling author. So, I have a lot more faith in his experience and knowledge of the market. Same goes for Corey Doctorow, Eric Flint and many, many other authors.

    The bottom line is that we are lving the ancient Chinese curse of interesting times and although we disagree, I'm very glad we live in a society that allows reasonable discourse, such as this.

    Best of luck,

    Anthony Stevens

    PS: Are you going to do NaNoWriMo this year?

    PPS: I gave up smoking that crap back in the late 70s.

  1. Anthony, ah, Sir, you know I love and adore you, but I cannot agree with you on this point.

    Piracy is wrong, it's theft, pure and simple. If someone steals a book from a library when they have no intention of buying it from a bookstore, it's still theft. If they hand that same stolen book off to relatives, technically it's passing along stolen merchandise.

    By not going after the pirates, it's the same as giving them permission to continue to do what they're doing. They will never bring you any money, because when their friends/family mention buying your works, they'll say, "Oh, here, let me give you this file." And you still haven't made a sale.

    Personally, I can't pay my mortgage with that.

    The "obscurity" argument might be one some authors comfort themselves with, but I know from one site I lost over five HUNDRED downloads to thieves. And that's just on ONE site. Some of those thieves will most likely upload to other sites. Having your work stolen doesn't help make you less obscure -- it makes you obscure and short-changed money you should have made for your hard work.

    As for DRM, yes, I will agree with you there, it has its flaws, including making it difficult for law-abiding folks to easily use files in the legal way they intend to use them, while criminals crack them regardless.

    We're not talking one person sending one file to a friend. And frankly, this is a problem I've dealt with for years in the embroidery field, people illegally sharing/selling designs. This isn't a new argument by any stretch.

    What we're railing against is the wholesale theft of our work in the hundreds or thousands (or more) of copies. We're not talking one book that fell off the back of the truck, so to speak. We're talking pirates who systematically steal fleets of trucks and try to defend their actions as noble or justified.

  1. And Diana, great retribution, btw! When you get your rant up on your blog, let me know, I'll add the link to my post. (Post it in the comments here.)

  1. No, I didn't read all your links Anthony. I've heard both sides of the story for the last three+ years.

    I can agree DRM is a problematic thorn in all of this, but I can't abide the idea that

    ""A) never have heard of you or...
    B) would never have paid the money in the first place?""

    Because to be honest, the people who are on these sites aren't looking for new names/items/wonders of whatever new *fill in the blank*. They are simply doing it because they can, and will continue to do so.

    And the second isn't even logical. What that tells me is because they can't afford my work, or don't feel obligated to pay for it, that I should "okay" them because now they do have my name/work/book/whatever to share with another group of countless entities, yet creating another level of theft?

    I'm sorry. If my right to earn a living is of no concern to pirates and theives, then their lack of funds is not my concern.

    Yes, that's harsh, but I don't steal someone's biweekly paycheck. I don't steal someone's grocery cart. I don't take away a person's livlihood.

    Yet, that is what they do to every author who is suffering at any level of pirating.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Sorry Anthony but taking stuff that doesn't belong to you is stealing, no matter how you try to justify it.

  1. Okay, this is what I don't get. If your book, meaning mine and other authors' titles, are pubbed by a legitimate publisher, small print/epublishing or the Big Guys, how is that even considered acceptable to file-share them?
    That would be like people copying a book copyrighted to the publisher or author and then, giving it away or selling it. Yep, it's prosecution time. Illegal is illegal. The work, the book is copyrighted.
    The argument that this is exposure for those of us not in Stephen King's rarified realm as an author, IS CRAP!!! IMHO.
    Yeah, like any of those e-swindlers are going to purchase my future books. They stole them before, they'll steal them again, if they can.
    Okay, I will grant this, I noticed two people from spanish-speaking countries file-shared one of my books. Yeah, they have trouble getting them in those countries, sometimes, as I understand it, or they did. I might have a some sympathy for that.
    Still, I work damn, damn hard on my books. I don't just crank them out. I don't know any author who does. And, what am I rewarded with?
    Others who think it's just okey dokey to steal what I've mentally and emotionally slaved over as an artist, to make the very best I could.
    You know what really galls me, beyond the stealing of my work and my little livelihood... yaeh, right, I'm living high off the hog... champagne every night... I wish!!!
    What gals me is the lack of respect for artists in our country, in our world, from where I stand.
    Gee, don't bother paying most artists/authors what they're worth in the first place, then steal from them. Yep, that's right deny them any way to make a real living.
    Oh, and why bother stealing? Just write your own stories. Yep, it's easy peasy... fingers on the keyboard... and write!
    Well, I am a big believer in karma. If you steal, you'll be stolen from... in one way or another, and in a way that mirrors what you've done to the individual you stole from.
    Gee, it's not like there aren't libraries. It's not like there aren't books available that are no longer copyrighted. Read those for free.
    As long as artists/authors are considered to be second class, less than... whether it's conscious or unconscious in expression, this problem will persist and no amount of new laws or prosecution will correct it.

    As far as retribution... I say, no matter what they do... no matter how much they spend... every electronic gadget they have goes haywire and/or is infected with viruses until they beg forgiveness and change their ways.

  1. My e-book was pirated and was downloaded countless times.

    My sales did not increase.

    Mr. Stevens is incorrect in his theory.

  1. Nice Rant. Honestly I can't even count how many of these type of posts I've read from pissed off writers. I don't blame them one bit either. I actually read not to long ago about some "pirates" getting a virus from an ebook they downloaded. Then having the gall to email the author and bitch at her, cause they stole her book and got a virus. Personally I think it was Karma.
    Now what I'd like to do to them... First I'd make them sit down and write a manuscript then force them to submit it over and over. Making sure they read every rejection letter they got. Rewrite- Submit again. Then once it got published. Take their copy and upload it to a pirate site. Then Force them to promote said book while I happily tell everyone where to get it for free. After all this then we get into the honey and fire ants. (insert insane evil laugh here)

  1. Pirates getting viruses from the files they download is a particularly favorite fantasy of mine. LOL

    Them having their identity stolen by hackers who install malware into peer-to-peer and shared files so it downloads all their stored personal and credit card and banking info (and that does happen too) is another favorite karmic retribution I like to see happen.

  1. That would be pretty fair, they steal money from us. Have their money stolen from them. See how they like it.

  1. Having your e-book pirated is an aid to promo? Are you kidding? So now all the people who steal my book are now going to run back and buy more legitimately? No, they post on these horrible pirate sites with requests for my other books free that are not already on the list. So what good is that to aid in promo? The argument is that I would never have had those sales in the first place? Not true. These people are already readers. If they couldn't steal the books, they would be forced to buy them. And they would if they wanted to read. They didn't find out about pirating and suddenly think, you know I think I'll become a reader. That's crazy.

  1. Brenda,

    I totally agree with you. That same thing's happened to me, one gets posted and more are requested. And I'm seeing overall sales go down for each new release in direct proportion to how soon a pirated copy is posted.

    Frankly, I wish the pirates hated my writing so they wouldn't post my files to begin with. Then at least I wouldn't be losing as many sales.

  1. Brenda said :These people are already readers. If they couldn't steal the books, they would be forced to buy them. And they would if they wanted to read. They didn't find out about pirating and suddenly think, you know I think I'll become a reader. That's crazy.

    Oh how I agree with this! They may not buy, but for god's sakes, they wouldn't be stealing it, either, that's for sure.

  1. Just to let you know, I signed the petition and sent it around. I also put your blog on my RSS.

    I fear the day when I will have to stop writing because I've been worn down by thieves. Might as well kill myself then.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Theft is wrong on any level. Read your Bible, Book of Exodus, chapter 20, verse 15, "Thou shall not steal." There is no qualifier to this, stealing a candybar is as bad as stealing a lamborghini.

    So as far as appropriate punishment, I'm a Florida redneck girl and cattle rancher, so I say we tie them up, douse them with sugarwater, leave them outside all night with our nice and vicious mosquitos, then drop them off in a nice swampy area to play with the hungry momma alligators. (After stirring up the babies, of course!)
    I have only recently become a fan of ebooks, mostly thanks to your Triple Trouble books (I love that they are set in the area I grew up in and still have a family ranch in and combine shifters with my heritage!) I can see how easy it would be for someone to think, I'll just loan this book to my friend as if it was a hard copy, but by doing so you open the doors wide for trouble. I do keep a backup copy of purchased ebooks due to a history of computer problems and crashed hard drives. I have one copy on an external drive and one copy on my ereader. I don't think this is wrong, as I am not sharing these files with anyone else and once I read the book, I generally delete it from the reader to free up space for more books!

  1. *LOL* Lisa!! A girl after my own heart! *LOL*

    Generally, creating an archived/back-up copy of a file that isn't distributed to anyone is usually considered acceptable use of a file, yes. So you're fine there. :)

    I love Arcadia. I wish I could get over there more often, it's beautiful Old Florida at its finest.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Hmmm, I am not overly creative, but would love to be. Probably why I am a reader in awe of writers, but not a writer myself. However, I do believe in an eye for an eye. So, I liked Jade's answer. They steal your books, so they should have to do the same thing you do. Write a book, spend hours on it, get rejections, do edits. When they FINALLY get it published, then they should have it stolen from them.

    melissaconatser at gmail dot com

  1. I would put them in solitary confinement, while in straitjackets and run a never ending recording of

    Bueller.........Bueller............Ferris Bueller


  1. I'm curious as to what y'all think of this development.

    After all, you know that none of those readers paid for that content. Only one copy was purchased by the library.

    I wonder how many are being saved to their local hard drives?