Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

I hope I don’t offend anyone with the following essay. For the most part, I am addressing only certain people out there. The rest of you, please just bear with me.

Authors don’t make a lot of money. Some of us make a living, and are lucky and grateful to do so. But most of the authors who write and publish e-books are ordinary people, really. We’re not rich.

Do you know how it is I make my money? It’s not a mystery—it’s actually quite simple. People buy my books. The more people who pay to download my novels, the more money I get.

Yes, that’s right. People buy my books, with real money. Oh, yeah, I know they’re only e-books. Heck, an e-book can be stored on your pc, or on your iPhone, on your tablet or your e-reader.

And hey, if they’re on your pc, then you can copy and paste, right? Or upload to a file sharing group or site, or create a file sharing group or site yourself, using FaceBook or Dropbox, or any number of nifty tech sights, right?

Wrong. Oh, so very wrong! In fact it’s more than wrong it is actually criminal. The sharing of an e-book is theft. Authors say so; publishers say so; and considering the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that was approved by Congress and the Senate and signed into law by the President of the United States in 1998, the authorities say so. It is as much an act of theft, when you download a “free” copy of my book from one of those sites, as it would be if you opened my purse and took my wallet.

What I am having difficulty understanding is this: why do otherwise law-abiding people think it’s ok to steal an author’s intellectual property? Why do you think it’s acceptable to get free copies of books from these “sharing sites”, instead of paying for them?

I understand that these books cost money, and maybe you don’t have a lot of that, either. But that doesn’t make stealing them, right.

There are a lot of women who write romance, and erotic romance. Some of these women are single moms. Some are single women, with no one else to help support them. When you steal books from an author, you’re taking the milk away that her child needs. She can’t buy that new pair of sneakers to replace the worn out ones because you and your friends saw fit to read her books for free rather than paying for them.

You wouldn’t (I hope) steal candy from a baby—so don’t steal her groceries, either.

Maybe you don’t care. You want the books, you can’t afford them, so you take the books. Are you going to go to your local mall, next, and help yourself, without paying, to whatever is on display that you want? Why not? You’re already a thief. You already stole books. Why not steal makeup, or a sweater, jewelry, or a couple of CDs? Just tell the security guards when they apprehend you that, hey, “I wanted the necklace, I can’t afford it, so I just took it.” See how far that gets you, cupcake.

Ah, you say. You wouldn’t do that! That’s against the law!

Yes, it is. And so, too, is either downloading free e-books from a sharing site, or uploading them to a sharing site. It doesn’t matter that you upload the book you paid for so that others may enjoy it free. You are still breaking the law, and beggaring authors.

Please, stop. And if you didn’t know this was illegal, well, now you do. So I’ll say to you agiain, please, stop. And tell your friends to stop, too.



No comments:

Post a Comment