I’m a capitalist. I’m an author investing time and effort into my books to make money off my intellectual property. If you’re not familiar with the term Intellectual Property, it’s essentially the end result of someone’s brain power that’s put into some type of media format, print or digital. In my case, it’s a BOOK. So when I found out yesterday that Congress is actually trying to do something about ePiracy I was thrilled.
The basic premise of the 14 page bill (Here’s the link. Can you BELIEVE they were so succinct?) is that the Justice Department will be able to block access to foreign sites that are allowing the free download of Copyrighted – Intellectual Property – files. These same foreign sites are charging fees and earning money off of advertisements on their sites. And these bastards are not returning even a portion of the earnings to MOI! Nor are they paying any Taxes to the US. It’s money going into another country’s till. Essentially, these pirates are making money off of good old-fashion American know how.
Here’s a pretty good explanation (in Layman’s terms) of the bill from a domestic and global perspective from PCMagazine.
The American Resistance
Now, like all things, there are opponents to this BIPARTISAN bill. Some Congressmen who are saying this bill will cause problems. (Here’s an article on their argument) I think their concerns are valid, but inconsequential compared to the loss of monies and intellectual property to foreign interests who are stealing American brainpower and making money off of that. And it’s not just eBooks I’m talking here. This bill protects, music, films, software, practically anything that is in digital form. Let’s face it, society runs on money, and our economy is bad right now, when I think of the money I’ve lost in sales to these SOBs, that’s money I could have been throwing at the economy in the terms of goods and services. Just today the paper said that businesses are waiting on consumers to start buying and consumers are waiting on businesses to start hiring. Catch-22.
Personally, Congress’ plan is a nicer solution to ePiracy than my evil plan to create a nasty virus that obliterates the computer/eReader of someone who downloads one of my pirated works. Although I still do love the idea of that virus throwing up a screen with the Jolly Roger on it with the words “Do Not Fuck With An Author’s Copyright” directly beneath the graphic.
Why is this important to readers who buy their books? Simple economics. Eventually, you WILL reap the price of ePiracy. Business always passes on the cost to consumers. Sometime in the next 5 to 7 years, I predict that eBook sales will be a strong component on the Publisher’s bottom line (I only missed by a year the recent escalation percentage). Currently ePiracy is only really impacting individual authors’ royalty statements, the impact on Publishers’ balance sheets hasn’t really been seen yet, However, when the Publisher’s balance sheet is affected, they will do the same thing that every other business does. They will pass on the cost of loss (ePiracy) to you the consumer.
So if you have thoughts good or bad on this bill why don’t you give your Congressman/Congresswoman a call, a personal email (those generic ones don’t get ANY attention) or snail letter, and tell them how you feel. Let them know that you’re paying attention to what they’re doing. With the election coming up in November, voters are getting more attention at the moment than normal. So your voice will be heard, no matter what your position on this or any other issue. All I ask is that you speak up for or against this measure. If you’d like to review Copyright Alliance’s position on this and how to contact Congress see their post here.
And just for kicks, here’s a replay of…
REAL WORLD IMPACT
Over the past five years, ePirates have stolen the following estimated amounts from me…These figures were calculated based on the number of downloads I found at different pirate sites, multiplied by an average cost of the royalties I would have earned from sales directly from the publisher and from eRetailer sites such as Fictionwise, B&N, Amazon, etc.
Since 2006 — Approximately $15,000 sales for my book Obsession (more than 20k downloads from one site alone)
Since 2007 — Approximately $10,000 sales for my book Mirage
Since 2008 — Approximately $13,000 sales for my book Dangerous
That amount of of money would have almost helped me quit the day job to write faster and more. So I would have accomplished a couple things here. I would have thrown money into the economy, I would have freed up a full-time job for someone else (who would have dones the same), and the foreign countries wouldn’t be making money of my American intellect. Sounds logical doesn’t it?