On the Bandwagon

Posted on January 11, 2010


You go to work; you work your hiney off all day long, making sure you’ve done your job to the best of your ability. You work forty hours this week. When your paycheck arrives you discover you’ve been paid for exactly five hours of work!

You go to the boss with irritation, probably even anger in your heart. You’ve worked damn hard and now you’re not getting paid for it? What’s the deal? The boss shakes her/his head sadly and says I’m sorry. There’s just nothing I can do about it. You are great at your job but unfortunately this is the way things are. The goods or services you rendered were accessed but the purchasers refused to pay for them so there is no money in the till to pay you for your full due.

How are you going to pay your mortgage? How are you going to make sure the orthodontist gets paid? Gas for your vehicle? Yeah not getting any this week! Groceries? Forget it! Can’t afford it. You want to quit. After all you work your butt off and you deserve to see more for your services. It’s unfair! You worked diligently and your pay is a pittance of what it should be. You love what you do but now you’re going to have to quit?

How about putting it this way: Would you go into a store and pick up a candy bar without paying for it? Would you walk into Barnes and Noble, grab a book from the shelf, slip it into your coat and walk out with it? Of course you wouldn’t! Shoplifting is a crime! You wouldn’t do that!

Would you log into your computer and go to a file sharing site, look for a book and download it without paying for it? You would? Why? It’s not like “borrowing” a book from the library. File sharing and downloading a book like that is illegal.

Yep. I’m talking about piracy. I am simply amazed at the sheer volume of people who believe that their not doing anything wrong! They know it’s wrong to steal from their employer. They wouldn’t take so much as a staple without approval. But they see no harm in using a file sharing service such as RapidShare, or any of the other thousand piracy sites on the Internet.

This is theft plain and simple. I know of one case where an author had her brand new release file share downloaded well over one THOUSAND times. ONE THOUSAND! Multiply the average royalty—for the sake of this demonstration we’ll use 1.80. Shocked at such a low number? Did you know that the average author ONLY receives 1.80 per copy of their work sold!

So…1.80 x 1,000= 1800.00. That’s right! The file-sharing people have now cost the author 1800$! That’s gas for several months. Several trips to the grocery store…dentist or doc visits… Instead, her royalty check arrives and it’s for 43.20 because out of all the copies of her work out there only 24 people paid for it.

And what kills me is all of those people out there illegally downloading the books—90% of them don’t care. They don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. Well they are. It’s illegal and it is a FEDERAL CRIME. No police will be involved—we’re talking FEDERAL OFFICERS.

I know I’m probably talking into the wind. The ones who do it, not caring that they’re stealing will continue to do so until they are caught. When they are, I pity them. Not only will they have to make restitution for the theft, they will be sued for lost wages suffered by the author. We all want our books read and none of us want to hire lawyers and go through the hassle of dealing with the courts but rest assured we will do it.

The ones who truly were unaware that file sharing like this is illegal—please make note and cease your activities.

Yeah, I know, none of you wanted to have to read this and I hated getting into it because it hasn’t touched me personally—YET. But I have several author friends who are consistently learning their books are being illegally downloaded. She and I do not have the same reader circles (as far as I know) so I felt that I should say something to my loyal readers. I’m sure none of you would illegally download but I’m willing to bet you know someone who has. Maybe you could be helpful and pass the message along?

Thanks much!
See ya later!