Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why is Science Fiction So Popular With Pirates?

This morning, E-Bay very kindly sent me my regular daily update of the ebooks that I might care to purchase from their honest vendors.

http://books.shop.ebay.com/i.html?_trksid=m194&_sacat=377&_odkw=&_dmpt=US_Fiction_Books&_osacat=377&_nkw=ebooks&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:US:1172

I post this link to make a point. I do not encourage anyone to actually bid on any of these items. I do encourage you all to click the Report button as and when you see an ebook or ebook-on-CD being offered that you know for a fact ought not to be on EBay.

There are Immortals, Jules Verne, Star Trek, Harry Potter, the usual Vampires, A Princess of Mars.... I won't advertise. Some of the classic, sci-fi collections are probably out of copyright, and may be legal. Some most definitely are not!

Who is selling this stuff? What motivates them? Who put them up to it? Why do they think they can get away with it?

Don't they know that they are breaking the law... several laws? Do they realize that if they sell stolen ebooks through EBay and PayPal, their real names and addresses are available to the FBI and anyone else who might care to prosecute them?

Are they reporting their illegal income to the IRS? If they are using the USPS to mail their bootlegged CDs across state lines, are they aware that they are compounding their crimes?

Who are these science fiction fans with an outrageous sense of their own invulnerability?

Apparently, a lot of them are young males! Surprise. A Publishers' Lunch report on a Verso study claims that

"questionable downloading, while affecting all age and gender brackets, is concentrated disproportionately among younger male readers. Among males aged 18-34, over 45 percent report engaging in such downloading activity within the past twelve months."

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6714772.html

I googled "males 18-34" and found http://crimespace.ning.com/forum/topics/ebook-piracy-facts
where a commentator offered this enlightening theory:

"My guess is most 18-34 agers don't read mysteries, but rather sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, anything that doesn't require a lot of intellect, anything that stimulates the imagination and provides rapid pace. All normal, of course."
My own reading of online commentary would tend to back up what Dan said.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUCyvw4w_yk

and on a more refined level on CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/01/01/ebook.piracy/index.html#comment-27819047

It does seem to be largely young gentlemen who are eager to discuss the merits of stealing. Robin Hood lives in cyber space! He's redistributing intellectual property; disseminating knowledge. From what I've seen on a pirate-hosting site, a lot of these young men are especially interested in sharing carnal knowledge with one another. That, and text books, and science fiction... and vampire stories. Half of them must yearn to be Edward.

Now, I'm all in favor of as many people as possible reading science fiction. It may not be educational, exactly, but it is aspirational and inspiring. Scientists seem to follow where fiction has led. This is a good thing. However, fiction and non-fiction authors need tangible encouragement. The better they are paid, the more time they can spend on research and thought, and excellence in the quality of their content and in their writing. Right now, most of us are not very well paid.

"Net Neutrality" isn't going to help if "Net Neutrality" is Orwellian 1984-speak for leveling the playing field for pirates.... as if it's not already an uphill battle for authors and publishers!

EFF Files Comments on Net Neutrality | Electronic Frontier Foundation

"We know from bitter experience that dragnet copyright enforcement efforts often end up inflicting collateral damage on lawful activities," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Neutrality regulations should not excuse ISPs that discriminate against or block innocent content just because they claim it was done to protect copyrights or cater to law enforcement."

My problem with this is the definition of "lawful" and "innocent". Too many Internet users, especially "EBayers" don't know what "lawful" and "innocent" mean. They don't seem to grasp the first principle of what an ebook is, or what copyright notices in the fronts of books say or mean.

For those who have never noticed, here's a selection of front matter warnings from a variety of publishing houses:

St. Martin's Press copyright notices.  
"No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews. For information address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010."


Harlequin:
"All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying or recording or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher, Harlequin Enterprises limited..."



Dorchester Publishing:
"All rights reserved. No part of this book in whole may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law."


Resplendence:

Warning: All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringe-ment without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Total-e-Bound
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.

LooseId
All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.


LL Publications/Logical-Lust Publications
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied, transmitted, or recorded by any means whatsoever, including printing, photocopying, file transfer, or any form of data storage, mechanical or electronic, without the express written consent of the publisher. In addition, no part of this publication may be lent, re-sold, hired, or otherwise circulated or distributed, in any form whatsoever, without the express written consent of the publisher.


Phaze
All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Warning: the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.


Mundania
All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.



Under The Moon... 
Excluding legitimate review sites and review publications, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

Copying, scanning, uploading, selling and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without permission from the publisher is illegal, punishable by law and will be prosecuted.

--

What all these publishers are saying is "You do not have the right to make a copy of this book!" and also "You do not have the right to 'share' or sell COPIES that you have made of this book."

Too many people think that if they scan a paperback or hardback novel, or cut and paste an ebook,  and put it on a CD they have somehow created something new and original that is theirs to do with as they please.

Well no. It's still the same copyrighted story that took a hardworking author months or even years to imagine, research, write, hone, polish and promote.

Taking a bunch of favorite novels, copying them all, putting them all onto a CD and calling them "My Private Collection Of My Own Favorite Sci-Fi Novels" does not make them "yours". The authors still own the copyright. You cannot burn ten or more copies of this "Private SF Collection" and sell them on EBay or iOffer or Facebook or Blogger or Wordpress or any other virtual bookstore.

Nor are you free (legally) to upload them to pirate sites. If you didn't write every word of it yourself, from your own imagination, then it is not yours.

An author has the right to make copies or to give written permission to someone else to make copies. An author has the right to perform her work. An author has the right to control the distribution of her work.

First Sale Doctrine confuses a lot of people. Basically, this is what it says. If you bought a hardback or a paperback (or a vinyl record, or a DVD etc) from a legitimate seller, you may sell it, or give it away. But, you cannot keep a copy. Once you give it away or sell it, you do not have it any more.

With an ebook, you cannot give it away or sell it because it is impossible to do that without creating a copy or six.

If some crook tells you they have "Re-Sell rights", do take a moment to think about that. Is it logical that 3,000 ebayers have all personally met with King, Knight, Kenyon, Grisham, Rowling, Roth, Harris et alia, and all have personally been given a signed contract from each of those authors?

If those authors are still living and making a living from their writing, is it logical that they would give every EBayer the right to resell their books and to pocket all the profits (apart from EBay's listing fees and PayPal's payment fees and the post office's postage fees if unlawfully copied CDs are being sent through the mail?)

No. It isn't.

Until every blank CD costs the same as it would cost to purchase a library of books (which isn't going to happen) authors aren't going to get paid for bootlegged and burned CDs.

So, do authors everywhere a favor. If you see an unbelievable bargain collection of authors' fiction for sale somewhere, click to "Report" it. Tell the author. Tell the publisher.

Thank you.

Thanks, too, to Pamela Fryer and Brenna Lyons for collecting some of these samples of publishers' copyright notices.

Rowena Cherry

PS for authors.
If you are on LinkedIn.com please join the White House group, and keep the discussion about e-book piracy alive.

http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&gid=2199632&discuss\
ionID=12370276&commentID=10500759&report.success=8ULbKyXO6NDvmoK7o030UNOYGZKrvdh\
BhypZ_w8EpQrrQI-BBjkmxwkEOwBjLE28YyDIxcyEO7_TA_giuRN#commentID_10500759



PPS for everyone
Kid Rock rocks! See his "Steal Everything" video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpCADfZD-eg&feature=autofb

Other blogs on piracy (not all about alien romance fiction by any means):

http://www.RosesOfProse.blogspot.com

http://www.nicolepeeler.com/2010/01/on-piracy/

http://leslirichardson.blogspot.com/2010/01/publishing-pirate-prattle-and-pay.html
 

3 comments:

  1. great post. I've linked to it over on my blogsite.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Tess. I should have remembered to link your recent guest post, which was excellent.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Good news" from ebay this morning.

    An item that I've been watching, "True Blood Sookie Stackhouse Chron. ebooks 1-9 vampire!" has been relisted.

    I thought that repeat infringers were supposed to have their accounts frozen.

    John Grisham is being ripped off, too. 16 of his ebooks are being sold.

    Nora... 149 of her ebooks are being hawked for about $7, and ebay is now guaranteeing satisfaction for the buyer.

    Good grief! EBay now has an entire category for ARCs. Do they not know that ARCs aren't supposed to be sold?

    ReplyDelete