Sent my first cease and desist notification to ebook pirates this week.
I’ve watched my fellow authors do the circuit of sending such letters in waves, usually to several piracy sites at once. It goes like this:
A site surfaces with illegal lending, selling, or flat out plagiarism.
- Letters are sent.
- Things die down for a while, until another collection of such thieves surfaces with my friends’ hard work and dreams in their teeth.
- More letters.
Sometimes the sites are taken down, sometimes they’re not. Rest assured even if they do vanish, they just resurface someplace else, with a different domain, different look, tons of subscribers.
I knew it would happen to me sooner or later, and I paid close attention to how my friends handled it. I happen to have very informed comrades who generously share their literary experiences, a true luxury amongst authors.
None of them like sending those letters, but they tolerate it as part of the job. They tilt one windmill then move on to the next.
They are more graceful than I am.
It’s one thing to be mad at people who supply ripped off ebooks. It’s the people who thoughtlessly (?) steal/plagiarize/lend them that I don’t get. They say they’re fans of authors, but don’t they get that without support, authors can’t write?
I could go on about how hard I freaking work in every area of my life, though especially in writing and publishing.
I could go on about karma and how it’s a bitch, except that I don’t really believe in karma–the New Age fangled-kind, or justice, for that matter. But I know all about balance, so if that’s karma, the bitch comes sooner or later.
I could go on about fuck you for stealing my work.
I could go on about art and how if you’re fond of how it moves you to feel something better than your mundane but you don’t feed the artist, it’s energetically impossible to sustain the buzz.
So few make the connection between stealing power and expecting to be empowered.
We no longer have a sense of reciprocity. We are so privileged–and inversely think we are so underprivileged–that we can just take what we want because it’s there, because we can. Then when we do, we don’t understand why the literary magick can’t sustain us to another download.
It’s all connected.
Am I broke? No. I’m also not making a king’s ransom, either, and I won’t ever expect to as long as people willfully rip off my work.
The bottom line is if you’re that fucking broke, just ask me. Seriously, if you can’t put up the $1.99 for a freaking ebook and the disarray of your life needs emergency imaginative distraction, just ask me for a copy, because I really have been there. I have been broke with no idea where it was going to come from. I’m OK with paying what I can forward.
But if you don’t ask me and instead choose to steal copies of my work and that of others who bust their asses to do something they love everyday, how do you expect things to ever change for yourself? How do you think stealing from someone is going to improve where you are in life? What will have to be stolen from you before you understand it’s all connected?