Sunday, December 21, 2014

Different Takes on the Book Piracy Issue

From the start of the ebook revolution, piracy has been a thorny issue for authors. Some are outraged while others feel that it has increased their visibility and ultimately helped boost sales. I recently read an interesting piece in WritersWeekly, where site owner, Angela Hoy, answered a writer’s question about whether to worry if her book had been pirated.

Hoy maintains that there are far more honest book buyers than dishonest ones, and that people who choose the illegal route probably wouldn’t pay for a book anyway. Hoy also runs a publishing service and maintains that ebooks are still profitable for her business, despite piracy issues. In fact, she says she has little piracy problems as she doesn’t put any security on a book. After all, hackers have the capability to quickly break codes. Secondly, Hoy states that secure ebooks are not available to blind readers which is discriminatory and subjects her to lawsuits.

In an earlier article, Hoy writes that many of those websites that list an author’s ebook for free are overseas operators who don’t actually have the book. They obtain the title, ISBN, price, etc. from other sources, then list it on their site to entice people there. When would-be customers try to download a copy of the book, they wind up with some sort of malware in their computers.

While Hoy may not be overly worried about piracy, law enforcement agencies certainly are. Some of you probably heard that authorities recently shut down the huge, Stockholm-based site called Pirate Bay. The site has been on law enforcement’s radar for some time and has been in and out of court for nearly a decade to fight for the right to exist. However, authorities were finally able to shut them down through copyright infringement laws. As the Dec. 13th Yahoo article says, this success will not stop the piracy trade. Incidentally, one of Pirate Bay’s owners claims he doesn’t care that they shut it down, implying that he has other means of keeping himself busy. Hmm. If that was true, why did he battle so hard with the courts to keep the site going in the first place? Let’s be honest. The issue won’t likely go away, but at least we can decide how we’ll respond to it.

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