Authors Without A Yacht (AWaY) discussion

Off Topic > How to reach a pirate

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message 1: by Ilovetoread (last edited Jun 04, 2010 03:17PM) (new)

Ilovetoread | 51 comments I read a blog or post, I don't remember where but it expressed the view point that pirates don't see author's as real people. While I don't believe this is true of all of them I do think that it's true of a large percentage of them.

You would think it would be almost impossible for them not to realize that authors are real people, who have homes to keep up, families to support and other needs that are no different or less costly than they are for the pirates. We all have the same basic needs. For some people I think they know what they're doing is wrong so they don't let themselves think about it. They just think up excuses as for why what they are doing is okay.

I think many people will agree part of this fight is educating the people who don't realize what the full fallout of their actions are so I suggest not letting them ignore you (you being the authors) but reach them where they live or on their level so to speak.

A lot of author's give away free reads. I've seen complaints about how pirates post them when they're already free and meant as a gift from author to reader not pirate to pirate. So I suggest before you post that next free read on your website that you join the pirate sites and post your links to the sites they use for pirating. But don't just give them the book. Include a personal letter explaining how authors appreciate their readers and that your glad they enjoy you work but also explain to them the effect piracy is having on you. Encourage them to purchase your next book instead of downloading from a pirate site and ask them to please help the authors with this problem by talking to their pirate friends about the cost of piracy to the authors.

I know some people will say no way to this next suggestion. With so much of your work being stolen you probrably feel like not giving them another thing for free. I suggest that in the letter you also offer an incentive such as if they send you proof of purchase of your next book you will send them an autographed book marker, or a discount coupon if that's something you can arrange towards the purchase of the next book.

As part of doing this I suggest that when you post on the pirate sites you don't reveal who you are. If you do that then they might just go to your site looking for the free read. By doing it the way I suggest I think the pirate/author relationship now becomes personal.For some of them it will make no difference but maybe it will win some over or at least start a rapport with them.

Maybe it's a dumb idea, I don't know but I think it has a potential to reach many of the pirates.

message 2: by Crystalwizard (new)

Crystalwizard | 2 comments Before you flame me, please read my entire post:

I just have to ask how many of the people on this list have "borrowed" someone else's words without meaning to steal them, yet stole. Quoted them in something, perhaps, and didn't cite the source. Put up a link to a story they found on the web, without checking to make sure it was public domain. Did other things like that.

THOSE acts are theft too, and technically piracy though no one would ever call them that, and they would likely never go to court.

My point is that most people who are pirating someone else's stuff DO know that someone else has a vested interest in it, owns it, they just don't see what they are doing as wrong.

A lot of the pirate sites see themselves as online libraries, even though they aren't officially recognized as such, who are helping get the author's works out into the public. (not all, but a lot do). And with libraries now making books available online in e-format, there might not be a whole lot of difference.

It's a proven fact that books which are given away for free DO result in increased sales of the print version.

It's also pretty much a proven fact that people who are going to buy a book/record/other item are going to do so whether it's available for free or not and that those who just download it and don't buy it WOULDN'T BE BUYING IT ANYWAY.

instead of griping about how much you're losing, USE THEM!

If someone's giving your book away for free, then they've built you a fan base. snag those people, add them to your mailing list, get them on board with your other books.

If you find that your book is on a download site and there have been 50,000 downloads USE THAT IN YOUR MARKETING! You might not be able to say best selling (but maybe you are on that site) but you certainly can brag about the fact that many people downloaded a copy.

You can't stop piracy, you can't stop theft. Couldn't stop it when most places were dial up BBSs. You're certainly not going to stop it now that it's all Internet based and a lot of it is in countries that aren't going to take steps to shut down the sites. And free websites are so easy to get and to move to.

So don't gripe, moan, and gnash your teeth, USE the situation to your advantage.

message 3: by Ilovetoread (last edited Jun 04, 2010 11:31PM) (new)

Ilovetoread | 51 comments I'm thinking my post did not come across as I intended. Maybe I should just delete it. I expected that some people wouldn't agree with it as a solution because it's not a solution.

If asked what I think about whether the pirates know they're doing something wrong/illegal, I'd say yes the majority of them do. But I've watched a lot of converstations between pirates and I think they fall into a few seperate categories. One is what I'll call the hardcore pirate. No matter what this one's not going to stop. They don't care about how they're affecting others. Then they're are some in the middle, They upload a lot and download a lot but they aren't neccisarily doing it for the money. It's more of a social outlet for them. Wrong or not they see the pirating group as their friends and since their friends post books they want then they post books the friends want.

Yes they know it's illegal too and some of them question what they're doing but mostly they try not to think about it. Some of these people are reachable. Then the third group is people who have just stumbled onto piracy. Maybe they were searchng on line for a book title and author and came across a link to a pirtate site and they might think at firth 'maybe I shouldn't do this', but then they think to themselves "who's it going to hurt" if I just download a few of these books for my own use.

These pirates at this point have no intention of uploading anything, most of them don't post on the sites, or thank the pirate uploader. They lurk and look and find the books they want and go on until next time. Obviously they too know what they're doing wrong but I think many of them are reachable.

You might not like my suggestion on how to reach them. But my opinion is piracy isn't going to be stopped. At best we can hope it will be reduced and other ways will be discovered to create profit for the author.

It's very easy to push things out of our mind that we don't want to think about. I just thought a letter passed to them in this matter might get more notice then blogs against piracy that they probrably won't read. I was trying for a suggestion on how to reach them person to person.

message 4: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Ilovetoread and Crystalwizard,

Welcome to both of you and thank you both for your suggestions. They are great talking points.

It is astounding in this day and age that there are so many different and restricting laws, and that some people obey more laws than others.

For instance, it is either illegal or a violation of TOS to snag names and email addresses and to add them to a mailing list without the active consent of the person being signed up.

Amazing. A pirate may (illegally) copy and share a novel, but the author may not legally copy the names and contact info of the recipients of that pirate's largess... unless to sue them.

It is also illegal in some states (a violation of the sweepstakes laws) to offer someone a prize in return for any "consideration", so an author in some states cannot offer to give a prize or the chance at a prize for anyone who can prove that she purchased a novel or signed up for a mailing list.

As for the idea of quoting how many downloads there may have been as a marketing tool.... hmmm. One could be a laughing stock. There are sites like freepdf and nowdownloadfree (those may not be the exact names) that are scam sites.

They claim to have every book ever written, and they boast thousands upon thousands of downloads for each book.

The problem is, they boast thousands of downloads even for titles that never were written, by authors who don't exist.

I demonstrated this by looking for Mating Nerd by Rosennna Bumfodder Crustyauthor and from the results, I might assume that I'd been pirated over 117,000 times.

If I then look up Mating Net by Rowena Beaumont Cherry and see 115,000 downloads, can I in good conscience boast in my marketing that I've been downloaded 115,000 times?


message 5: by Rowena, Group Owner (last edited Jun 05, 2010 11:37AM) (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Another blog where the author offers to communicate constructively with pirates.

message 6: by Ilovetoread (new)

Ilovetoread | 51 comments I'm having a lot of thoughts on both these blogs that I'm not going to repeat. Most of them are about nathan's. I can completely understand an author feeling anger at pirates. If I were in your shoes I'd be damned pissed off too. In private conversations with friends in the same field I have no doubt I'd do some angry venting. In a public blog my opinion changes. Slinging mud which is how I view nathan's blog is going to promote sympathy towards the pirate and it's going to incite them to pirate more if for no other reason than retaliation. I applaud authors who are fighting piracy in an adult manner, using legal channels. I particularly applaud the ones who are trying to educate people.

message 7: by Ilovetoread (new)

Ilovetoread | 51 comments I just looked at Nathan's blog again. Is Nathan 'spank me' or just posting the conversation on his site. My first reaction would not be the same if Nathan is not the 'spank me' person. If I were an author I would not want 'spank me' as my representative.

message 8: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Dear Ilovetoread,

My impression is that a public conversation was reposted. This happens quite often on the internet. Nothing is private.

If nothing else, this is a shocking warning to anyone and everyone that there's no "Miranda" when you go on line. You have to assume that you've been Mirandized and that anything you say may be taken down and used against you.

I have no idea who Nathan is or who "Spank Me" is, but I assumed from reading the transcript that they are different people, and probably of different genders. But, my impression might be wrong.

Also, you have to remember that no one necessarily tells the truth about themselves online.

Some things are beyond question.

Whoever the uploader really is, there is no denying that she uploaded and shared 1,307 authors' books that she had no right to upload and did not own. This was documented on the website in public view.

Also, by her own comments, it appears that she uploaded books that she had not read, as soon as she purchased them. That puts her firmly in the "hard core" category that you mentioned in your earlier post.

I think the "Spank Me" character gave the uploader an opportunity to show herself to be a genuine book lover.
If the uploader had chanced to say something nice and insightful about a book by whoever "Spank Me" really is, or one of "Spank Me's" friends, I can well imagine that the conversation might have taken a very different turn.

All unauthorized "sharing" is illegal, but it is incomprehensible to me what motivates someone to buy a new book, and without even reading it, share it with potentially millions of strangers.

In case you are still feeling sorry for the uploader, she is on other pirate sites as well. I hear that authors have tried the private, personal messages asking her nicely to stop, and she has ignored them.

However, you make a good point about the transcript. It is ugly. It probably doesn't belong here.

message 9: by Ilovetoread (new)

Ilovetoread | 51 comments Rowena I agree with everything you said and the only thing I can add is that I have/had no sympathy what so ever for the uploader. You reap what you sew.

I probrably shouldn't comment on posts or blogs right after I read them because what I'll say will be my first reaction and it's not always thought out.

My reaction was based on the ugliness as you say and it was ugly on both the uploader and spankme's parts. I read a discussion on another site where pirates were talking about Nathan's blog and suggested it was a 'scene', as in the entire situation made up for attention. I find that sad and idiotic.

If spankme is an author he or she can hardly be blamed for feeling inclined to lash out or react. That said it still comes across to me as mudslinging and because of that alone I think it's more likely to inflame a pirate to do more rather than cause them to consider their actions. Of course that's just my opinion and having no idea what Nathan or Spankme's true intent was.

One of the things I admire most about AwAy and you Rowena is the effort to educate people and also the encouragement to debate and explore all sides of the issue.

message 10: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Thank you very much for your kind words.

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