Monday, January 23, 2012

Be careful what you wish for

As we have discussed in the past and will inevitably discuss again, as an author – regardless of whether or not you focus primarily on e-publishing – one of the things you’ll have to deal with is Internet piracy. Granted, to some authors, it’s water off a duck’s back. To those authors who live on their royalties and have families to support, it’s the absolute enemy.

I get so frustrated with people who casually pirate books with this attitude of entitlement. About a year ago on Facebook, I came across an icon someone had made that equated Internet piracy to car theft. “It’s like having your Porsche stolen—only it’s still there in the morning.”

Sorry, but that’s not only wrong, it’s insulting, and worse – it’s plain stupid.

I don’t care what your excuse is. “I’m a big fan, I don’t have money, I reaaaallly want to readdit!” None of these are good enough reasons to steal. And guess what? They never will be. It’s not legal to take a book to a copier and print off the pages for the same reason. Copyright protection. The artist or author is entitled to their percentage, as is the publisher.

Unless you weren’t alive last week, I’m sure you heard of SOPA. When I first heard of this legal measure being taken against online piracy, I was elated. I am, after all, one of those victimized by Internet assholes who don’t care how much their actions affect me and my family. I even explained to my husband that I would unapologetically support any action to halt Internet piracy.

About thirty seconds later, I ate my words.

You see, while SOPA might have sounded like the awesomest thing ever – and it truly did for those precious few seconds – I quickly learned what all it entailed. You put up a video of you and your friends drunkenly belting out “STAND BY YOUR MAN”, and suddenly that ain’t cool. You post a picture of Regis saying, “Is that your final answer?!” and the site could receive a cease and desist notification. Goodbye, Goodreads. So long, Youtube. And you better watch out, Facebook.

Thankfully, the Internet protest that occurred last Wednesday temporarily put a cease-fire on this bill, but that doesn’t mean we can all rest easy. There’s no telling what sort of riders our congressmen and senators will attempt to place into future pieces of legislation. So stay involved. These things do affect us. And if Wednesday was any indicator, citizens do have a voice. We can make ourselves heard.


LoriStrongin said...

Unfortunately, it looks like SOPA and PIPA were just red herrings for the real nasty of ACTA, which is funded by the movie and music industries. The censorship of that bill will put thousands of legitimate businessmen out on the streets, like wedding videographers, DJs, and cover bands. Basically, kiss all creative content goodbye.


Rosalie Stanton said...

Yeah, I JUST heard about that. And isn't that a global thing? WTF?

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