Justifications of a Book Pirate

November 16, 2013 For Discussion 9


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.


9 Responses to “Justifications of a Book Pirate”

  1. Octavia

    I was taking a nap during this whole debacle but when I woke up and saw the hoopla I wasn’t shocked but oh so disappointed. People will always steal things. That will never change, but for people to acknowledge their theft and then attempt to justify it is ridiculous. One can only hope there is a super special place in hell for these idiotic people.
    Octavia recently posted…Stop & Chat! ~The Evolution of Read. Sleep. Repeat.~My Profile

    • Stephanie

      If I used some of these justifications – especially the “I have to steal because I can’t afford it” one, I could have a lot of nice stuff, too.

  2. Kay @ It's a Book Life

    I don’t understand. There is this thing called a library where you can get a whole bunch of free movies and books so money should never be a reason to steal. I mean you have to return them but you can check them out again as many times as you want. Sigh. I just don’t understand some people. I guess I missed all of this stuff today while I was at work. Thanks for the post!
    Kay @ It’s a Book Life recently posted…NaNoWriMo is Half Over and I’m Kicking Its A**My Profile

    • Stephanie

      Some of the thieves use the excuse that they don’t have libraries in their area to justify it. I’m fortunate that my town has an incredible library, but there is a lot we DON’T have here. Like a beach. But I can’t go and steal the key to someone’s beach house just because they have it and I don’t.

  3. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    The title of your post reminds me of the old Sierra game-Hero’s Quest. The tag line was, “so you wanna be a hero” Did you play those? Was this a reference to them? If so we are even deeper soul mates than I knew.

    To the sad topic at hand. This just makes me shake my head that people could even debate that it is not stealing. I know that people steal–especially technology since it seems to ‘innocent’ to those doing it. I, for one, think of it as walking into Barnes and Noble and walking out with a book not paid for. It is the same thing. To think since it’s digital that makes any difference. Sigh. I really can’t add much to the topic since to me it is as easy as this downloading pirating (insert media) = stealing. To me and my morals stealing anything is wrong.
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Stacking the Shelves/Showcase SundayMy Profile

  4. David L. Dostaler

    Thanks for the kind words and support. I really enjoyed reading your article, and had a few chuckles over it. It may seem funny to the general public, but as an author, it strikes a little closer to home for me.

    I know it seems kind of silly to argue about it, but considering someone was willing to write back with contrary views, I felt compelled to reply.

    I would really appreciate any comments made in support of the arguments you’ve stated here. I know you might not have a lot of time, but even something small like, “No, it’s wrong,” would be appreciated, and also show that people who steal e-books aren’t the only ones willing to comment on the subject.

    Regardless, it’s good to know I’m not the only one who feels this way on the subject. I was starting to wonder if the majority of the general public prefers book piracy, judging by the number of comments for and against.

    Best Regards,

    David L. Dostaler,
    Author, Challenger RPG

  5. Ikao

    It’s weird how he proud of pirating books…
    Actually many book bloggers in my country read pirated ebooks. They said because of money and library here doesn’t provide import books. I was blamed as an arrogant person because I said pirating books is a crime, especially for book lovers. If you don’t have money, collect it to buy a book! Seriously I usually only buy 4-7 books a month when they have download illegaly books more than a hundred. It’s funny how they said I’m arrogant and rich. I’m not rich, but I don’t pirate books.

    You know what’s more funny?
    There is a local author who also pirates books.
    Ikao recently posted…Book Review : All Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillMy Profile

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