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LIBGirl
10-01-2011, 07:00 PM
Could an author get in trouble for publicly saying that they donít care if people download pirated versions of their books? Could they get in trouble if they themselves uploaded their books to pirate sites? I keep thinking about publish America authors, or any other author who gets trapped with a crappy publisher, and I wonder why those authors just donít upload their books to pirate sites and direct readers to go there for the free eBook versions. Is that illegal?

jennontheisland
10-01-2011, 07:06 PM
Illegal or not, it may be in breach of some of the terms of the contract, PA's and other publishers. That seems a greater risk, particularly for someone with a contract with a real publisher (i.e. not PA) since I don't think I've heard of anyone actually being criminally charged with book piracy.

As for not caring, lots of authors don't and have said so.

BenPanced
10-02-2011, 12:57 PM
Could an author get in trouble for publicly saying that they donít care if people download pirated versions of their books? Could they get in trouble if they themselves uploaded their books to pirate sites? I keep thinking about publish America authors, or any other author who gets trapped with a crappy publisher, and I wonder why those authors just donít upload their books to pirate sites and direct readers to go there for the free eBook versions. Is that illegal?
Crappy publisher or not, they signed a contract and they're bound to the terms as long as the contract is in force.

nchahine
10-02-2011, 07:47 PM
Didn't Paulo Coelho get caught pirating his own books?

Cyia
10-02-2011, 07:50 PM
There have been authors who not only don't complain about pirated books, but ask that those who acquire their books by free download post reviews, if they enjoyed the read. Rather than becoming a detriment to sales, the increase in positive reviews boosted them.

jennontheisland
10-02-2011, 07:51 PM
It's often unlikely that the piraters would have bought the book in the first place, so yeah, may as well make use of the jerks if you can.

ShyWriter
10-02-2011, 10:13 PM
Didn't Paulo Coelho get caught pirating his own books?

Yep http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Coelho#File_sharing

areteus
10-02-2011, 10:23 PM
It is, of course, remarkably easy for an author to pirate their own stuff. I mean, I have on my hard drive now several copies of my own work, including the published stuff, in a variety of formats (ranging from word to various ebook formats) which I could, very easily, upload to a download site.

I wouldn't because even though pirates are unlikely to buy the book even if the pirated version were impossible to get it still does not sit right. While I do sometimes beleive that DRM goes too far the other way (to the extent that my wife can buy an ebook but I cannot read the same file on my kindle without buying it myself...) I also do not wish to condone all out chaos that is likely to result from too many free copies in circulation.

Alitriona
10-02-2011, 10:58 PM
I'm against pirating. If someone doesn't obtain my books legally, I don't want them to read them. I would have no respect for an author who pirates their own work and, by doing so, encourages pirating. I imagine that author would then be in breach of their contract.

PrincessofPersia
10-03-2011, 02:05 AM
I'm against pirating.

While I don't support piracy, I also don't support the current DRM model. Not just with books either. When they loosen their action-figure death grip over media, I will support it more.

areteus
10-03-2011, 02:21 AM
While I don't support piracy, I also don't support the current DRM model. Not just with books either. When they loosen their action-figure death grip over media, I will support it more.

This is my thought exactly... Piracy - No! DRM - No! But the argument seems to be either/or... and not sure what the solution should be.

Stacia Kane
10-03-2011, 02:27 AM
I'm against pirating. If someone doesn't obtain my books legally, I don't want them to read them. I would have no respect for an author who pirates their own work and, by doing so, encourages pirating. I imagine that author would then be in breach of their contract.


Ditto.

PrincessofPersia
10-03-2011, 02:56 AM
This is my thought exactly... Piracy - No! DRM - No! But the argument seems to be either/or... and not sure what the solution should be.

Honestly, I'd take piracy over DRM, if only because it is more likely to lead to improvements (and it already has).

BenPanced
10-03-2011, 04:43 AM
REGARDLESS of personal feelings about DRM...

REGARDLESS of personal feelings about "piracy good/piracy bad"...

REGARDLESS of "self piracy good/self piracy bad"...

You signed a contract. You stand less legal hassle if somebody else is posting your material on pirate sites.

PrincessofPersia
10-03-2011, 07:16 AM
Does the contract usually state you can't state your opinions about piracy unless your opinion of it is negative? I've seen musicians with major record deals encourage piracy because it gets their name out to more people, and that's an area all over the place right now.

BenPanced
10-03-2011, 07:24 AM
You can talk till you're blue in the face about your stance on piracy, pro or con. Actually doing it with your own material could possibly land you a breach of contract notice from your publisher.

PrincessofPersia
10-03-2011, 07:27 AM
You can talk till you're blue in the face about your stance on piracy, pro or con. Actually doing it with your own material could possibly land you a breach of contract notice from your publisher.

That's what I thought. The OP's first question was about talking about it, and I only saw one person comment on that (now that I reread the thread, I missed a few).

Cyia
10-03-2011, 07:40 AM
Does the contract usually state you can't state your opinions about piracy unless your opinion of it is negative? I've seen musicians with major record deals encourage piracy because it gets their name out to more people, and that's an area all over the place right now.


INAL, but I would assume it's an extension of "defending your copyright".

kuwisdelu
10-03-2011, 07:42 AM
INAL, but I would assume it's an extension of "defending your copyright".

If I remember correctly, you're not required to defend a copyright in order to keep it. That's trademarks.

You can encourage piracy all you like. It's only if you upload it yourself when it's not allowed by your contract that you might get into trouble.

PrincessofPersia
10-03-2011, 08:04 AM
INAL, but I would assume it's an extension of "defending your copyright".

Sorry, but what is INAL?

And no, you don't have to defend a copyright. I don't know for sure, but I assume that you are no longer the sole copyright holder once the publisher buys your novel. So, encouraging piracy doesn't really do anything except give your publisher a headache maybe.

BenPanced
10-03-2011, 08:11 AM
I'm Not A Lawyer

You own the copyright to anything you create. Again, unless you contract says otherwise (such as the case of a work for hire or a lousy contract), what you've sold are the rights to publish the document.

PrincessofPersia
10-03-2011, 08:31 AM
I'm Not A Lawyer

You own the copyright to anything you create. Again, unless you contract says otherwise (such as the case of a work for hire or a lousy contract), what you've sold are the rights to publish the document.

Ah, okay. That makes sense. Too many internet lingoisms. And yes, that makes perfect sense. I'm running on three hours of sleep, so I'm a little slow.

areteus
10-03-2011, 12:46 PM
I disagree about piracy being better than DRM. Neither option is palatable and I am not convinced that improvements can be made to the work by piracy. What it does do is hurt the writers (not the publishers) because it reduces their income. Any comments about piracy 'making something available for all' and 'sticking it to the large corporations' are bullshit because small companies and self published authors get just as much piracy as the larger companies and if a writer's work does not get great sales (due in part to huge piracy downloads...) then that writer does not get any of their future work published (not profitable, so they get dumped to protect the publisher's bottom line) and that only harms the writer. Those arguments are people trying to justify what are criminal activities with the veneer of revolution when all it really means is that they want something for free.

But DRM is far too stringent and there are issues revolving around ownership of the files. Not sure how it works so well in ebooks (not had much experience with them as yet) but in music there is nothing to stop a record company withdrawing the right to a particular company (say Napster or Itunes) to sell a particular track which means that everyone who has bought it automatically loses the right to play a track they have legitimately bought before the rights reverted. It's happened to me a few times - you synch your device and some tracks don't synch and are no longer available on that provider's listings.

Now, some music artists have made use of digital formats to their advantage. Radiohead offered an album on a 'pay what you think it deserves' option which meant you could get a full download of the entire album for a limited time for as little as $1 (but could offer to pay more than that if you wanted). I imagine most only paid $1 but the stunt got the band noticed and did awaken the whole concept of piracy again. A few other bands have also done this. There have also been some bands, especially unknown ones, who have offered track downloads for free in an attempt to lever themselves into the digital download charts and therefore push themselves into the spotlight.

Now, this last point is something worth thinking about with respect to ebooks... I think this is linked to the 99c Amazon downloads issue on self published books. Is it possible for someone to offer a book for free in order to push it into the spotlight? Bearing in mind, I am not sure many of the music artists who do this succeed... Is this what could be meant by an author 'pirating' thier own book in a legitimate fashion?

KTC
10-03-2011, 03:09 PM
Didn't Paulo Coelho get caught pirating his own books?

I can't believe people buy his books. I wouldn't take one for free. But, sorry, off topic. Oops.

Torgo
10-03-2011, 03:40 PM
Saying you don't mind if people pirate your books? I think that'd probably be legally OK unless your publisher is feeling vindictive and has nice broad clauses in your contract to beat you over the head with. Uploading your stuff to pirate sites? A no-no.

Cyia
10-03-2011, 03:41 PM
Is it possible for someone to offer a book for free in order to push it into the spotlight?

Yes, and people do it all the time. It still doesn't serve as an advantage when there are thousands of others doing the same thing and the writing stinks.

(It's slightly different if you're using book 1 of a series as a loss leader to entice people to buy the others.)


Bearing in mind, I am not sure many of the music artists who do this succeed... Depends on your definition of succeed. You can get a ton of downloads, as it's free, but if you're planning to make a career of it, you're not making money.


Is this what could be meant by an author 'pirating' thier own book in a legitimate fashion?No. What's being discussed is an author taking an e-version or PDF version of their book and uploading it to a pirate site or file sharing site.

When you sign a contract with a publisher, you get an e-copy (I assume this is standard, as it's in my contract) for yourself, just like you get a certain number of physical copies for yourself.

You also have clauses that say you're not going to compete with your publisher in such a way that you do things to make them lose money. If they're charging for your book, and you're handing out free copies, then that would be in violation of that. (I'd forgotten about this one when I made the "defending copyright" post.)

nchahine
10-03-2011, 04:16 PM
I can't believe people buy his books. I wouldn't take one for free. But, sorry, off topic. Oops.

:eek: Unbelievable! Coelho is great!

But back on topic. Neil Gaiman used to be against piracy until he realized it his sales were increasing from it. But I agree, for the majority of artists, it wouldn't help them.

DRM is a whole 'nother monster, though. It should die an agonizing death.

Torgo
10-03-2011, 04:23 PM
Neil Gaiman used to be against piracy until he realized it his sales were increasing from it.

Nobody, not even Gaiman, really knows what the effect of piracy on sales is.

areteus
10-03-2011, 04:27 PM
No. What's being discussed is an author taking an e-version or PDF version of their book and uploading it to a pirate site or file sharing site.

When you sign a contract with a publisher, you get an e-copy (I assume this is standard, as it's in my contract) for yourself, just like you get a certain number of physical copies for yourself.

You also have clauses that say you're not going to compete with your publisher in such a way that you do things to make them lose money. If they're charging for your book, and you're handing out free copies, then that would be in violation of that. (I'd forgotten about this one when I made the "defending copyright" post.)

Aware of all that and that was not the point I was making... the point I was making was doing this legitimately, in synch with the publisher in order to make a point (see how we are embracing the new media!) or to stick one to the pirates (see how we make it easier to get it legitimately and incidentally, here are some adverts which are what is really paying for this... plus while the first one is free the rest will cost...) or just in an attempt to make media headlines and/or get into best seller lists.

I don't think anyone here is now in any doubt that pirating your own books without the publisher's consent is a bad thing to do. Frankly, I would consider anyone who did think it was ok to upload your own work to a pirate site and think it was ok under their contract to be an idiot... or someone who was looking to deliberately undermine thier publisher as part of some other game (perhaps one called 'lets see how far we can push this before they terminate me?')*. But I am now wondering what could be the benefits of such an approach. As stated, there are thousands of authors practically giving books away for nothing anyway without the thousands of 'free' ones you can steal from pirate sites. So, where is the money in auto-pirating? Why steal even the small amount of money you might get from royalties by making it easier to get access to your work illegally?

About the best use for the free ebook copies that you get from a publisher is to send them to reviewers and/or friends to read. Or give them away in contests to readers. And one thing to consider... most publishers now DRM lock the free copies too (and give you a number of free download links you can send to reviewers) to prevent you or one of your reviewers or friends pirating it. About the only electronic copy you are likely to have that is not DRM locked is the proof copy and that is not always the best quality version (especially if you made lots of changes...)


*Not sure myself what would be the benefits here other than in a situation where you are locked into a contract you felt you couldn't get out of any other way. However, I have read too many stories on here of authors who have been stuck in such contracts and other authors who have done really stupid things post contract signing not to think that this is something unlikely to happen...

Becky Black
10-03-2011, 04:54 PM
...I keep thinking about publish America authors, or any other author who gets trapped with a crappy publisher, and I wonder why those authors just don’t upload their books to pirate sites and direct readers to go there for the free eBook versions. Is that illegal?

I'd think while that might feel satisfying that you're sticking it to a firm you think are a bunch of shysters, it's still breaking a contract and putting yourself in the wrong legally.

Also, if it's known you've done that it could make perfectly legitimate publishers wary of you. They could fear that if they enter a contract with you and one day you fall out over something, you might decide they are dodgy too and think it's okay to treat them the same way as you treated the other more obviously bad publisher.

nchahine
10-03-2011, 06:12 PM
Nobody, not even Gaiman, really knows what the effect of piracy on sales is.

If you're talking in general, then I'd agree. Regarding his own sales, though, Gaiman and his publisher would know better.

I wonder about Cory Doctorow and how his experiment is going, since he's giving his books away for free.