If you decide to start a book piracy website, you may find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having to defend yourself against irate authors, publishers, and good ol’ regular people who don’t condone the facilitation of theft. If you find your morality or the legality of your actions challenged, here’s what you can say to these buzzkills:
- “Not everyone can afford books. I’m really just a charitable organization.”
- “Piracy actually helps authors because it promotes their books.”
- “I’m no different than YouTube and Facebook.”
- “Authors don’t really NEED publishers. I’m just getting rid of the middleman.”
- “I encourage the thieves who come to my site to make a donation to the authors of the books they’ve stolen.” (Stephanie: LOL. I’d love to see this data.)
- “J.K Rowling is rich enough already. No one should have to pay for her books anymore.”
- “My girlfriend is a writer who is unable to get published, and she has no problem with piracy, so why should you?”
What is it about books/movies/music that makes thieves feel perfectly entitled to steal them? Is it just the ease with which it can done online? I could write a long list of goods I would like to possess but cannot afford. An endless supply of books and a house in Maui would be part of that list. But since I don’t have a massive sense of entitlement, and because I choose not to steal, I must do without. Using the pirate’s logic, since I can’t afford everything I want, why can’t I just take them? So what if that Maui developer stood to make a profit of $10MM by selling his house to someone who actually could afford it? He makes plenty of money selling other houses, and I’ll be sure to tell everyone how great THIS house is. I’m actually helping him to promote his business, you see, and my actions will cause him to sell even more houses. This is a statistical fact, so don’t try to argue with me, and really, he should be thanking me.
Even if there was concrete evidence that piracy ultimately leads to higher book sales, the fact remains that there are authors and publishers who DO NOT WANT their books distributed in this manner. As for me: I want to lose weight. If, against my will, you cut out my tongue and staple my mouth shut, it’s a certainty that I will lose weight. But this is not the method I would choose to accomplish my goals, I don’t want you forcing this nethod upon me, and guess what – it’s also a crime.
If you think the above justifications sound ridiculous, this is how the owner of a piracy site justified his actions in the comment section of this post on Challenger RPG. On his personal site, Travis McCrea proudly proclaims his membership in various piracy organizations (although he claimed on Twitter last night that he has since resigned), and he states:
“Being able to represent the Pirate movement within North America is a great honor for me, and something that I hold with high respect.”
Pirates wouldn’t exist if there was not a steady supply of people ready and willing to steal. But I was particularly disheartened to see a post this morning from a book blogger declaring that she steals books and is not ashamed of it. A book blogger! Even when a few authors told her via Twitter how damaging her actions are, she insisted she is in the right. No, it’s not right. Not being able to afford every book that has ever been published is not a justification to steal them. Neither does the fact that you occasionally deign to open up your wallet to pay for a book.
I’ll give you a moment for some LOL’s as I leave you all with this, the proud title of the owner of TUEBL:
Travis McCrea – Owner/Cheif Librarian TUEBL
Yes, that is actually how he spells “Chief.” It seems that being a “Cheif Librarian” and knowing how to spell don’t necessarily go hand in hand.