Sunday, September 09, 2012

Authors.... You Don't Need To Pay Someone To Get Pirated

This week, my pirate-hunting eye was drawn to a post titled "Authors: Piracy Is Not Your Enemy."

In my opinion, authors do not need to pay any self-styled promotions company (that "loves helping people use technology to change the world"), if they believe that piracy is good for business. Authors could perfectly well do a giveaway on Amazon, or on Goodreads, or on Scribd or on a myriad (which may not be an exaggeration!) other sites that are only to happy to copy and distribute "free"content for commercial benefit for themselves (not for the authors).

Out of fairness, I should concede that this (IMHO) misguided advice was offered in 2009. Nevertheless, it remains "up" and no retraction has been published. Thus, one must assume that "Author Media" (Snort) still has an EFF/DOJ view of the relative value of authors' copyright vs the virtues of using expendable content to promote new tech.

Interestingly, Author Media people tout the benefits to authors of copyright infringement, but appear to wish to protect their own copyrights on the content of their blog. "Feel free to link up to any of the Author Media blog articles! We just ask that you cite your sources. :)"

Linking to an online article would equate to linking to chapter excerpts on an author's website (good); not to snagging entire works of fiction, and distributing those copyrighted works for profit with the permission of the copyright owner, and without compensation to the copyright owner.

CJ Cherryh is not the only notable author to comment recently on the effects of ebook piracy on authors. She has been quoted as estimating that piracy reduces any author's backlist royalties by up to 90%, and that that 90% can be compared to a large bite out of an author's retirement income.

Would you like your pension cut by 90%?

Authors' income is being cut, legally and illegally all over America.

Legally: I saw one analysis of the "settlement" approved by Judge Denise Cote where authors and booksellers are being punished (allegedly) because the DOJ contends that a few CEOs (who don't have the cojones or the cash to defend themselves) conspired together at a meeting. Allegedly. Since when are innocent bystanders penalized when an unproven crime is alleged to have been committed?

I also thoroughly appreciated Bob Kohn's 5-page cartoon summary of the reasons why the DOJ is out of order.

Why is it that an acronym confers the impression that something or someone is trustworthy and infallible?

In closing: EPIC (the Electronically Published group) has some fine resources for non-members on its site. Among them:

Position On Copyright


Sample DMCA notice

In my opinion, any DMCA notice should also contain a statement to the effect that the information (including all live links to pirated content) are for the benefit of the recipient only for the purpose of removing the infringing links, and no information contained in the DMCA notice may be disseminated, published or otherwise shared with third parties.

Unfortunately, Google and others are in the habit of publishing private DMCA notices, thus subjecting authors to obloquy and real harm, and also thus providing live links (that Google knows are illegal) to copyrighted material.

So, include a privacy statement.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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