An Immodest Proposal

Will piracy destroy ebooks?

This makes me so mad! Do we want authors to stop writing because jerks are stealing their work? Gah! How does a certain very well known site that shall remain nameless get away with it? And I’m not talking about Pirate Bay.

This isn’t a post about how crappy piracy is. It’s crappy. Pirates are assholes. Bleah. This is just to ask the question: What are writers and publishers to do about these thieves?

Here is my immodest proposal: The day a book comes out, I think the publisher should upload the file to every pirate site they can find — including that site that pretends to be legit but is loaded with pirated copyrighted material.

Think I’m crazy? Here’s the twist: The pirate files should be loaded with viruses.

Instead of saying sweetly, oh, well you shouldn’t download a pirated file because there might be a virus in it, why not make sure the files are packed with viruses? Why not cause as much misery for the pirates as they do to working writers?

Don’t think of it as spreading a virus. Think of it as inoculation.

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4 Responses to “An Immodest Proposal”

  1. atsiko Says:

    Haha. That’s a pretty common suggestion nowadays. It won’t work of course, because it’s illegal. Amd it will get people sued, without any sort of evidence that it is worth the legal fees and possible settlements or damages. Nor is it likely to be effective for long. Then you’ll just have created a better network of scanners who can upload non-infected versions and authenticate them between sites.

  2. Likari Says:

    I know. I’m just fantasizing.

  3. Anne Frasier Says:

    it’s gloomy out there, that’s for sure. years ago, i was always bitching about used books. really made a lot of people mad. one of my books was dedicated to the people who bought it new. some readers read the dedication and said they would never read me again. so when readers aren’t willing to stand up for the writers they’re reading, who will? i’m not against used books, but i am against the way used books are sold, sometimes hitting shelves before the release date. and i don’t know how many times i received a fan letter that started: I buy all of your books used. Why aren’t you writing romance anymore?

    sorry. went off on tangent. saw people on twitter yesterday promoting and advocating buying used books as part of green movement. i kind of think of used books are another form of piracy, but not the consumer’s fault.

  4. likari Says:

    This is probably off track too, but this article about purposely free downloads is a bit encouraging: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/23/books/23kindle.html

    Make sure you read the second page, about Lauren Dane’s Samhain real sales related to a free digital download.

    I think the big publishers will come up with effective means to deal with piracy as soon as the buy-model is cemented in the consumer’s habits. In a way, piracy is helping to grow the e market. They may be more valuable to the industry as they are right now. After all, a publishing corporation’s long-term interests are not necessarily in perfect sympathy with an individual author, or even a cohort of authors.


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