Happy Friday everyone. Before we get to the more serious note of the post to come I want to take a moment to wish all my fellow Canadians, here and living abroad, a wonderful Canada Day. It’s a big one for us, we’re 150 years old! While some might argue that not all of Canada is 150, the city I live in being one of the youngest, it’s more the idea of Canada our ancestors had in mind when they first arrived that is the ripe old age. We’ve come a long way, we have a long way yet to go, but day by day we’re getting there in what sometimes seems baby steps on a universal scale – but hey, we’re still growing and learning more every year. So everyone have a fabulous day, enjoy those celebrations whatever they might be, and remember to be safe in your travels.
Now that the fun stuff’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. There have been a couple posts (I believe) done on NQ before on this subject, but in light of recent developments from an author “friend” (ie: never actually spoken to her, but she’s among my “friends” on FB, and she’s an author so she’s in the sister/brotherhood of authors) it bears touching on yet again. And this will sting – suck it up buttercup.
Merriam-Webster (online) definition: the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (such as a literary, musical, or artistic work)
For an author this means that when you, or your publisher copyright your work NO ONE may use it in part or whole for their own purposes without giving you, the work, and in some countries the publisher/publishing company credit and without permission. Otherwise, and this is where people apparently are stuck, it is THEFT.
Merriam-Webster (online) definition: the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.
Another word for this that authors use, is PIRACY.
Merriam-Webster (online) definition: the unauthorized copying, distribution, or use of another’s production (as a film) especially in infringement of a copyright.
There are way too many people in the world that think taking a book an author gave them free of charge, such as a prize or gift, and sharing it with others is okay. IT IS NOT OKAY! This is theft/piracy and also 1000% illegal. You are taking money out of an authors pocket each time you provide a free copy of their work (that you were GIFTED) to others without the authors, or their publishers, explicit written permission. And yes, to do something like give a copy to your sister, your mother, your fifth cousin three times removed on your fathers side, you do in fact require permission from the individual(s) that hold the copyright. They are the LEGAL owners of said property. You are only a visitor.
For example, since some folks seem to have so much damn trouble with the concept, think about it like this. If I were to come to your home, visit, and on my way out decide to take your TV with me. Would you be okay with that? Uh, likely not! “Well that’s hardly a comparison, it’s a TV (or other object), you’re talking about a book, they are not worth the same amount of money.” Oh really?
Authors spend hours, days, weeks, months and even YEARS working on their next story. That is time taken away from other pursuits, away from family, away from friends, and definitely far away from the peaceful path of sanity. That is time we deserve to be paid for. It’s not like (and I think I may be quoting Ravenna Tate here) you’d go to work for no money. Hell no! You expect to be paid for the hours, days, weeks, months, and yes YEARS you put into the job. No, I’m not talking about volunteer work – totally different. I’m talking about your primary means of making money to support your life. And while the majority of authors cannot live on what they make selling their books, it’s a nice little bonus every quarter that you can use for a car payment, that dental work you’d been putting off, an extra special treat for you, the kids, your significant other, or maybe to put away for a rainy day down the road. But for every book that someone STEALS (and yes, it is stealing – theft remember?) that is money that isn’t coming to us.
Did you know that there are actual sites out there that allow people who have zero relation to an artist, their producer/publisher, or even the work they have in their “hands”, to upload and SELL said work? There are. It is a constant, fucking battle that authors (and other artists) have to fight, in the middle of the worst winter blizzard ever, uphill both ways while wearing eighty pounds of protective gear. And honestly, the damn blizzard would be a sight easier to navigate then some of these fucking sites and their DMCA (take down) forms.
And, to top it all off, here’s another kick in the teeth for you of reality. Each book that sells at $2.99 a piece…we only get a small portion of that. Side note: Quit fucking bitching to authors about the price of their works already – trust me, you’re getting it damn cheap in my personal opinion and if you can’t afford it, you obviously don’t need it. Because the third party retailer takes their piece of the pie, our publishers (if you use one) takes a piece of the pie, and whatever is leftover (not much!) comes to you. So if you manage to sell a couple hundred books, you might, MIGHT, have enough to get a decent meal out on the town, and not your local fast food joint – but no alcohol included (totally dependent on where you live, sales and taxes, and the like). But for every book that is STOLEN by an unscrupulous asshole and freely given away, or worse SOLD illegally, the chances of being able to buy anything more than a burger from your local fast food chain gets slimmer and slimmer.
Now, before I totally lose my cool, here are some easy things to remember. And for those that seem to persistently insist that authors should give their books away free, WRITE THEM THE FUCK DOWN DUMBASS!
- Stealing/piracy/using materials not of your own design/construct is ILLEGAL
- Copyright infringement is a SERIOUS deal, and pisses authors off hugely (each country has their own copyright laws, and penalties – look up yours so you know what could very well happen if/when you are caught)
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (remember the TV analogy)
- For some authors, full-time and even part-time, that book you’ve just stolen and are giving away/selling as if you own it, might very well be life or death (some people aren’t on health plans and have to pay for everything, so I do mean it literally)
- If/when you are found out – there is no place on this Earth where you can hide from the wrath that will fall upon your head from a million authors world wide – not even kidding
- How do you look in stripes/orange?
- Remember not to drop the soap in the shower at the Federal detention center you’ll be in for a long, long, long time
The next time someone offers you a copy of their newest favorite authors book, say no. Get the authors name, get the title, and go purchase that shit for your own damn self, and then send the author that persons information. Just always keep in mind, the guards can’t be watching everything all the time in prison…