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Pirates and Pirating

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on June 9, 2016

We have seafaring pirates, and we have book pirates. Let’s talk about the former type first.

Last weekend, my husband and I went to an exhibit at Plantation Historical Museum about Florida pirates. The seas off the coast of Florida have seen many shipwrecks along with pirates who’ve taken advantage of our broad coastline. I’ve a special fascination for these highwaymen of the seas as they play a role in Facials Can Be Fatal, my next full-length Bad Hair Day Mystery. This story delves into Florida history as described in my post below, Florida Escape.

After a grand introduction at the museum, the action went outside for a sword fight. Indoors were a variety of exhibits including these clever dioramas. I especially liked reading about the women pirates. Many of them disguised themselves as men and became quite famous. Today we have our modern version of seafaring pirates who steal boats instead of cargo, and they can be just as scary.

 

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From Boats to Books

Then we have pirates who steal books and offer them free to readers. I hope every download comes with hidden malware. Not a day goes by that I don’t get a notice one of my books is available online for free. I don’t bother to send takedown notices, because for every site I would shut down, two more will pop up. It’s an unstoppable plague. What readers need to know is how this hurts us. I’m not talking about my wonderful, loyal fans who follow my work. This doesn’t apply to you, and I am grateful to each and every one of you. But there’s a subculture out there that we all should be aware of since it affects us adversely.

I am not getting paid for these downloads. It robs me—and other authors—of royalties. Would you ask your doctor or financial advisor for free advice? Not really. So why should you expect authors to give away their products for free? We slave over our books for months. Our dedication takes time we could be spending with our families. Then we have certain marketing expenses. And for what? So people can steal our work and give it away without regard for an author’s rights.

I can understand if you’re on a budget. My response is to tell you to go to the library. You can get plenty of books there for free, and you can even ask your librarian to order a title you want. That counts toward an author’s sales. Or subscribe to BookBub or The Fussy Librarian and get their daily newsletter of free reads that are paid promotions by authors. Many authors offer free reads on their websites or books as giveaways. You can find plenty to read within legal means.

But don’t steal an author’s work by downloading her book from a dubious site. Or pretty soon, your favorite author will determine the negative return to her investment is going to put her out of business. Free books have their place. They help us gain new readers. But not when our work is pirated without permission. What can you do about it? Don’t support these sites. Support your authors instead! And again, my heartfelt thanks go to those readers who do value and respect our work. Hugs to you all!

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26 Responses to “Pirates and Pirating”

  1. maggietoussaint said

    I feel your pain, Nancy. I just grit my teeth when those notices about free downloads of my books cross my inbox. It is impossible to plug all the leaks and it makes me sad.

  2. Nancy,

    This has happened to me often as well and it is painful. No sooner is one of my novels published by a reputable publisher than it appears as a “free download” on a piracy site. I also think malware may well be connected. It’s frustrating. I always report it to the publisher but nothing seems to be done.

    • I think it would require a full-time employee to keep track of these things and to send constant take-down notices. And another site would only take its place. Supposedly many of them originate overseas.

  3. Reblogged this on Jeannie Hall Suspense and commented:
    Pirates… Of Both Kinds…

  4. Great post, Nancy! Interesting on one front and frustrating on the other.

  5. julie nish said

    thank you for posting this! and it is actually stealing, it really is! that is why I follow my favorite authors and subscribe to REAL websites that promote authors like you. I cant even imagine your frustration. just remember karma…

  6. Cynthia P said

    I hate those pirates! The last thing I want to see is an author giving up and for them to stop writing their books. I only accept free books legitimately!

  7. Amen. I couldn’t have said it better!

  8. authorlois said

    Nancy, I’ve mentioned this before but maybe not here. According to a speaker I heard two years ago who is both a published author and a cyber forensics investigator (so high up on the food chain that he meets with Homeland Security once a week,) most of these pirating sites really don’t have your books. They are either sites taking advantage of Amazon Affiliates links so that if you click, you’re brought directly to Amazon and the site gets a cut of the sale (and you do get your royalty), or they’re hackers. If the later, simply by clicking you run the risk of a trojan or malware entering your computer. This can lead to your files being stolen, your identity being stolen, or you becoming the victim of ransomware. He advised ignoring all the Google Alerts that lead you to these sites and NEVER click on the DMCA link. Don’t engage at all. Don’t even click to see if they really have your book. Sit on your hands! BTW, I’ve noticed that most of these Google Alerts I receive are for websites that are in Russia.

  9. bn100 said

    interesting museum

  10. Thanks for the post, Nancy. I spent so much time doing take down notices that it cut into my writing/marketing time. Besides, I was spinning my wheels over something I can’t stop. If I could cast spells, I’d curse all book pirates with a case of over-sized and very painful hemorrhoids.

  11. Darla said

    I would like to add if it’s ebooks they’re obssessed with, most libraries have an ebook program through Overdrive.

  12. Dina said

    I love the pirate costumes

  13. I’m sensitive to pirated products. When we buy DVDs or books online, we’re careful. Once we bought STAR WARS THE PHANTOM MENACE on eBay for what we thought was a good price. Turned out to be a poor quality pirated copy. The seller was overseas so we had little recourse except negative eBay feedback, but it taught us a lesson (Fortunately, that wasn’t a good movie anyway, but still…) Buying pirated media is like buying stolen goods from a fence. It’s criminal. I don’t need that negative energy in my life.

    • Yes, it’s illegal to buy from these sites that violate author’s rights and steal their work without paying royalties. It’s best to buy from the online bookstores. Or subscribe to BookBub or The Fussy Librarian or one of those valid services to try new authors for a bargain price.

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