Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Book Piracy ~ Revisited . . .

“Back in the dim fringes of my always-right, exuberant, ill-informed past, I did steal a book or three.

“That was well before the commonality of digital books. Now, folks can steal a book with three mouse-clicks.”

I wrote that back in December of 2011 in the post, Do You Steal Books? ~and~ Do Authors Care?

I also jumped into the piracy controversy in these posts:

Ebook Piracy ~ Not A Bad Thing??

Free Books, Pirated Books, & Our Digital Age…

Copyright and Book Piracy

I’ll add a few snippets from those posts:

“…it would appear that instead of decreasing legal sales of ebooks, the appearance of any particular ebook on a pirate website can  actually increase the legal sales of that particular ebook…”


“…I’m being pirated. Google pointed to 8880 different sites where my work is being illegally shared.

“Copyright is unenforceable in a digital world. Period.

“People want to share files.

“There is ZERO reliable evidence that file-sharing hurts sales.”


“…the claims you make about piracy aren’t based on any real evidence.  I’d like to offer some data that argue for a different point of view.

“…the greater threat to many authors is obscurity, not piracy.

“There are no reliable studies of the impact of piracy in the book business.

“The Government Accounting Office recently ‘assessed the assessments’ of digital piracy and found them all lacking.

“So, here’s what I think you should do: ….work with authors to distinguish between the instance of piracy and its impact. A pirated file is not necessarily equivalent to a lost sale. Most authors want to make money, but I’d wager that all authors would like to be read.”


“The Copyright Clause in the U.S. Constitution reads: ‘To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.’ The copyright part of this clause—the part referring to authors—has become a stick to bludgeon technology, not just to protect authors’ rights.

“In theory, the office should be properly protecting authors’ rights while not interfering with activities that do not infringe on those rights. But a lot of the time it does not seem like the Copyright Office follows that theory. Far too often it seems eager to block technologies that have a chance of interfering rather than those that will, by necessity, interfere.”


Now, let me add a bit from an article on readwrite play, from January 10th, called Why Winning A $7,000 Piracy Lawsuit Could Be The Worst News Ever For Book Publishers:

“Earlier this week, the book publishing industry hit a milestone. For the first time ever, a publisher successfully sued consumers for pirating books via BitTorrent. As a result of the lawsuit, a pair of New York residents will pay $7,000 in damages to John Wiley and Sons, the company that puts out the ‘For Dummies’ series of instructional books….

“Like music and movies, e-books get pirated. But that doesn’t mean suing everyone you can find is the only possible response.”

BitTorrent is a legal site that is often used illegally to pirate books

Well, author Tim Ferriss decided to turn the tables on piracy and worked with BitTorrent to feature a free download package promoting his book, The 4-Hour Chef.

More from the article:

“Since debuting in November, Tim Ferriss’s BitTorrent content bundle has been downloaded more than 1.4 million times…it’s hard to imagine that the promotion didn’t help drive The 4-Hour Chef up the bestseller charts at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly…”.


Is piracy something to worry about or capitalize on?

Do you know of an author who’s had their book(s) pirated?

Did it bother them?

Should it bother an author?

Do, please, read the rest of those articles, if you’re the kind of reader who follows links, and/or, do, please, leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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2 responses to “Book Piracy ~ Revisited . . .

  1. Barbara Blackcinder February 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I can’t help but remember my own history with making cassette tapes, which, at the time was considered the biggest threat to artists and their product. Well, they were wrong of course. Those ‘pirated’ tapes were played over and over again, with different audiences, resulting in fans that went on to build their own ‘librarys’ of audio recordings. These were built up through completely legal purchases of the artists that they were exposed to ‘illegally’ (I have that in parenthesis since that time the laws have determined that making cassette tapes for you own use was not illegal). It was publicity pure and simple, and it worked way beyond the limitation of having made a couple of illegal tapes for friends. The recording industry hadn’t learned the lesson and repeated it with CDs, with the same results. While they never learned, perhaps the Book Industry will?


  2. Alexander M Zoltai February 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Perhaps, Barbara, perhaps……………….


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