The Birdcage Archives

Thursday 10 March 2011

Piracy of Books -- The Time Has Come

Hello Gentle Reader

I appear to be in a lovely mood today so I decided I'll give you all a second blog to read. Aren't I enjoyably nice. Please hold your praise. So while I was just surfing the web as they say, I stumbled across an article about books that are being pirated. I thought I had written a blog earlier saying that Ursula Le Guin was outraged at the Authors Guild based on the fact that this Guild was not doing enough to protect the works of deceased authors, and allowing them to be uploaded on the computer, via google, without paying royalties to the estate or whoever owns the royalties. Anyhow, below is a link to Ursula Le Guin's letter of resignation based on her disagreement with the "Google Settlement," that had outraged her -- and rightfully so. Also is a article about this disagreement and how Ursula Le Guin is fighting back -- You Go Girl!

So today while surfing I found another article talking about pirating books. I mean in the day and age of E-books (why not I-books?) and Kindle (which I thought was a chocolate) people have found new(er) ways to find and read books. Hey its not bad if you're reading right? What the hell do I care if you are reading, or how you're reading. But apparently this e-readers are now being used to download books illegally, without paying proper royalties, to the authors that have written the book. Does this sound familiar? Do we remember the case of Napster versus the music industry? Well I do, not to mention that I didn't give a damn either; and that still goes on. So the music industry of superficial pop culture oriented songs, and otherwise, mind numbing music, was the first to be hit by this new wave of technology and the now "digital theft," that can be done in today’s world. Now television shows are pirated, and movies are being pirated, and music and books, its like the world has gone free! Except we still need money, we still go to our boring day to day jobs, come home deal with the mundane tasks, and go to bed, only do this repeating cycle with slight variations, tomorrow, and the day after that. So this idea that the world has gone free is not a utopian idea, but it has grinded the gears of a few people -- actors, directions, singers, musicians, and now authors.

Before I thought nothing of it. I didn't care, why should I care, music? television? movies? What I didn't care, and I'll admit that. But now that books are being pirated, it’s like someone has let a match under my ass, and I have picked up arms to go to war!

So now we must ask ourselves what shall we do, to stop this? How can we teach these young kids to read, and enjoy a good story -- even if it is crap; but pay for the books not just simply pirate them and steal them. Should we make commercials? Like the following:

I mean lets face it shall we? People wouldn't (or the majority) wouldn't steal a purse from a little old lady on the street? People wouldn't (again majority) would wilfully rob a bank, or steal a car. Why is illegally downloading media seen as an exempt? Or is it not seen as an exempt but rather just a way to do it. We have to question ourselves now how do we stop this? How do we prevent further destruction, and theft of books, music, movies, television, shows and other forms of media? Maybe there is no way. I remember supporting Wikileaks in a few blogs back, which takes stolen confidential documents, and presents them to the world, now I wonder if that is right, seeing as this whole pirating theft and other forms of digital thievery has become acceptable among today’s youth and other generations as well.

According to the article that I have read (and a link will be placed soon I promise) some authors like novelist Chris Cleave (author of "The Other Hand," and "The Little Bee.") Do not see these people pirating them as evil or nasty or mean, but rather look at them in a different sense: (From the article)

"I don't blame anyone. They don't do it [download books illegally] because they are evil but because they don't understand," he said. "In the music industry, when the price of music went down to zero – as it arguably now is because of filesharing - artists didn't mind that much. My music friends love it because they can make money through gigs and merchandising, they can put their faces on T-shirts. But I'm not a rock star and I don't have that as an option. If readers lose the habit of paying me for my work, I can't work. Writing is how I make my living."

And he is right this how authors make their living. Words are their living, writing is their living, entertaining and telling stories is their living. With pirating and thievery they are now taking away that living. As Chris Cleave pointed out authors don't have the option of doing gigs and selling merchandise. They don't go out selling shirts with their faces on them without a quote on the back. The merchandise they do sell is their books, which is now being taken away from them.

This what angers novelists and writers like David Hewson who said in the article that will be posted soon:

"I spent a year of my life working on [each of] those books," he said. "They cost me time and money. Hosts of people at my publishers, people who also have the right to be paid for their work, were involved. What gives some thieving toe-rag the right to take all that work we've put in, steal it, then regurgitate it for the masses?" He added: "They are not Robin Hood, taking from the rich to give to the poor. I find it offensive."

And David Hewson is right it is offensive, because when you work at something to make it perfect, to make it work, to entertain and to be enjoyed and that work is just tossed aside as simply meaning nothing or worth nothing, then it becomes offensive. Which is why he is angry that his work is making others money who don't bother to pay him any money back, for that work. Authors don't get to live in big fancy houses of mansions with three kitchens ten bathrooms and twenty three rooms only a small minority of authors are given that luxury and its time that, the public knows that you steal, you get no more. Because if authors cannot make their living off of writing then their stories that are left untold and unsaid, can no longer be produced because they are, unfeasible, and what’s the point of writing a new one, when they have to get a job to support themselves and do what they love -- its just not doable. Its just not going to happen. I look forward to reading the next David Mitchell book or the next Margaret Atwood book of fiction, or the next book by Nobel Laureate in Literature of 2009 Herta Muller. It is offensive it is wrong, and if you love books, don't steal them because easy come easy go.

As the new campaign against books being pirated says:

"People Who Love Books Don't Steal Books"

And the promised link:

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always Stay Well Read
Also Don't Steal Books


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