1. "…greedy buggers should die in a fire._"
YouTube, five months ago.
2. "…raucous readers have organized impromptu boycotts and gone to the Web sites of Amazon and Barnes &Noble to leave one-star ratings and negative comments for those books and their authors."
New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/technology/11reader.html?ref=business
3. "…destroy all copyright law,_ kill those who would attempt to enforce it …"
"Don't Copy That" discussion
Some parts of the internet have become downright ugly in the last couple of years, and much of the ugliness is directed at authors. "Anger at Authors" is the Answer to the Quiz.
Authors write books. They don't set prices. Publishers and retailers such as Amazon set prices.
Authors don't receive a commission on sales of expensive e-book reading equipment such as Kindles, iPads, Nooks, Sonys, computers, or even on flash drives and blank CDs. An author's income depends entirely on how many legal copies of her books are sold.
Authors don't put DRM on e-books. Publishers do.
Yet, according to the New York Times (and others) the quality of an author's writing is being reviewed on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble on the basis of how much a Kindle or a Nook costs, or how much an e-book costs, or whether an e-version of a hardback is available.
Contractual agreements with publishers and authors about how many readers will share an e-book are allegedly ignored by everyone from Google, to Amazon, to Yahoo, to EBay, to individuals on a pirate site who worry about being traced.
Romance novels are being copied illegally and "shared" online, and if the author dares to complain or point out that this sort of "sharing" is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the author is reviled, libeled, and threatened.
*Have you noticed discussions about hysterical authors making wild and ridiculous accusations that readers who share files are thieves and book pirates?
Mostly, authors don't answer back to defend themselves. If they do, they are ridiculed, their words are twisted, Amazon book reviews and search term tags are used as ways to hurl personal abuse at the author. There was a time when Amazon did not allow personal attacks.
It's a tough time to be an author. Just when the world needs escapism, humor, upbeat and affordable entertainment, authors are under attack from all sides.
I've had colleagues who were stalked. One of my author friends passed away. Another very good friend organized a fund raiser to help pay for our author friend's final medical expenses – not all authors are well paid, nor are we promptly paid. Some readers who were stalking my friends telephoned the funeral home to find out if my deceased friend was really dead!
Does all this unpleasantness really come down to reader anger over the price of a book? To the difference between the price of a hardback and an e-book? Why such outrage over book prices?
I understand that American paperbacks are much more expensive overseas. A paperback in America costs US$8.00 which is about the same as two Starbucks tall mochas (fancy coffee) or the cost of shipping one pound of wriggling red worms.
For comparison purposes, one of my paperbacks is available in India on Flipkart.com. Shipping is free. It has just been reduced from Rs. 338 to Rs 304. So I Googled "What can I buy for Rs 400?"
Two very nice haircuts, or two excellent pints of beer, or one meal in a fancy restaurant.
In my opinion, unlike a pound of wriggling red worms or a couple of pints of beer, a good Romance novel ought to entertain you for at least six hours… whether it is a paperback, or an e-book.
Do you wonder what the big deal is about sharing a few e-books with a best friend or two? ("Sharing" is obviously part of the problem.)
Readers may well ask, "Don't authors want readers to read their books and recommend those same books to all their friends?"
Yes, we do. But…. In the days of hardbacks and paperbacks, authors were delighted to be included in anthologies, to give books away as prizes and at conventions, to support libraries and used bookstores, to send boxes of our books to hospitals and to soldiers deployed overseas. Many of us still do.
In those bygone days, if an enthusiastic reader sold her gently used paperback to a used book store, that reader did not keep a copy of the book she'd sold.
If one patron at the library borrowed the only copy of a novel that the library had purchased, everyone else had to wait for that book to be returned. And you know how we treat library books. Sooner or later, if it's borrowed a lot, it has to be replaced.
Nowadays, it takes someone with a scanner and a bit of know-how about fifteen minutes to cut up a paperback, feed it into the machine and turn a paid-for paperback into an infinite number of e-books that were never paid for at all. It takes no time at all to download a book from one source, and upload it to several file sharing sites.
"But, the author won't miss it! How can it be stealing? These copies didn't exist before, and they didn't cost the author anything," bewildered readers protest. Ah, but it might cost some authors dearly.
You see, when a publisher signs a contract with an author they basically give her a loan. It is called an "advance", but it is a loan and they could ask for it back. Certainly, the publisher won't pay any royalties (the author's share of book sales) until enough copies of the author's book have sold to pay off the loan (or advance) and also to pay the editors, and the printers, and distributors, and booksellers.
This usually takes a year or two… with no income from the book at all.
Publishers calculate how many copies they think will sell, and they print about that many. A first run printing might only be 15,000 copies. If a lot fewer books sell, the author does not make "sell-through" and may not be offered another contract.
Readers of the first book may clamour for the next book, but if they didn't buy the first one, and are clamouring on a pirate site for another free read of the next one, they might have a long wait.
"The vast majority of people don't_ pirate stuff to sell it and make money, they pirate it because they can't afford to buy it, or don't want to deal with DRM."
Sharing might be compared to a "Tea Party" type response to the tyranny of DRM. If DRM is the problem, why do pirates "share" and sell the two of my books that are available as e-books? My e-books cost $2.00 from the publishers, and are offered as .pdf.
"…Sharing is an intellectual right!"
"Information should be free," the e-book collectors shout. "Freedom of Information!
We have a right to knowledge."
And, "…you cannot copyright ideas!"
No, you cannot copyright ideas or names or titles. (A Trademark is another matter.) However a Romance novel is not an idea, and it's not knowledge. It's the entertaining expression of an idea. It's the author's unique choice of how to tell a story.
I cannot copyright: "Boy meets girl. Boy decides to marry girl. Girl rejects boy. Boy decides to change his wicked ways and win her back. They live happily ever after." However, that's the basic plot of most Romance novels.
"Authors are stinking rich. They don't need a third yacht. They owe me a free read, because I cannot afford to pay for a book…"
We hear that a lot from the Robin Hoods of literature, and when we hear it, we mentally add, "…perhaps you shouldn't have spent all your money on your new iPad!"
An author's advance might be for as little as $1,000. (Remember, an advance is a loan.) New authors seldom get more than about $5,000. Authors may spend a year or more writing a book depending on whether they have a day job and a family, and also to some extent how much research and thought went into the book.
Humour, for instance, takes much longer to write. So does really good sex.
Most authors think themselves lucky to make $25,000 a year. An author probably has to write at least six, maybe more, "ordinary" books before she sees a regular income.
Thinking of how much longer it can take to write a love scene that is more than a description of the appearance and functioning of body parts brings me to a common excuse for stealing and sharing.
"And alot of crap is so bad not worth wsating a perfectly good CD-R on anyway."
Like, this commentator would know bad writing if he saw it? Maybe he was referring to a genre of music. However, if discussions about piracy are on your radar, you will often see pirates claiming that they wouldn't pay to read that Romance novel rubbish, so there's no harm in downloading it from a pirate site.
If this "only trash gets pirated" argument were true, why are international bestsellers by as Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, John Grisham, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyers, Dan Brown, Tom Clancy, Neil Gaiman, Stephanie Laurens, etc being "shared" on the pirate sites? And on Yahoo groups.
Another piratical rationale boils down to: "I can do it, so I will."
" I'll copy it all I want if I bought it, f*** you. good luck stoping piracy, it will NEVER_ end."
(Author's note. I have not edited spelling or punctuation, only rude words that might offend.)
"Copy copy copy - and what are you going to do about it ? And no I'm not stealing, I'm copying ;-)"
Somewhere along the way, these gentle readers honestly seem to believe that if they have purchased the technological equipment (a computer with a CD burner) they have a right to copy anything and everything. "If I can take it, I have a right to it."
Whether the reader has purchased a paperback or an e-book makes no difference. The author's copyright is the same.
Copyright gives the author absolute right to control the "Reproduction" or copying, and "Distribution" or sharing, and performance of the copyrighted work.
Copyright and Electronic Publishing
• The same copyright protections exist for the author of a work regardless of whether the work is in a database, CD-ROM, bulletin board, or on the Internet.
• The Internet IS NOT the public domain. There are both uncopyrighted and copyrighted materials available. Assume a work is copyrighted.
The reader's act of photocopying or scanning an author's book does not mean that the photocopies or .jpgs or .pdfs legally belong to the reader who made the copies. The same goes for music, and images, by the way.
The act of purchasing one e-book and burning copies onto CDs does not give the reader the right to sell or share those CDs, nor to upload the book to a storage site and post the URL on a file sharing site.
Moreover, the act of posting an illegally copied novel, or the fact that it is posted on the internet does not make the novel "public domain". Public Domain is something very different. Just because you downloaded it for nothing (even from the author's or publisher's site) does not automatically mean that you have the right to put it on any other sites.
We authors check our emails and find Google Alerts advertising our titles on one auction site or another. If the auction is for a print copy, we smile and silently bless the reader.
First Sale Doctrine applies to readers who purchase a paperback or a hardback. They bought it. They can sell it, it physically changes hands, and the original owner won't still have it once it's sold. Sadly, piracy hurts honest readers, too.
How's that? It's the law of supply and demand. If there were only 15,000 copies of my paperback ever printed, your used copy is one-in-fifteen-thousand. However, if some pirate creates 50,000 free reads of the same book, he devalues the gently used print novel that you might want to legitimately sell on Amazon or on EBay or donate for a charitable deduction.
First Sale Doctrine does most emphatically not apply to e-books. (Because you cannot sell an e-book without creating a copy.)
Sadly, all too often, we receive an email from EBay or eCRATER or iOffer drawing our attention to a collection of e-books, and the seller has posted an explanation like this… describing our novels:
"Now you can start your own home EBOOK BUSINESS and Sell ebooks and Resell ebooks. Choose from over 1,500 ebook titles to use ANYWAY YOU WISH! All come with totally FREE EBOOK RESALE RIGHTS and EBOOK RESELL RIGHTS. Each ebook is only $2 to $3 and you can purchase as many as you want. You can purchase any ebook for $2 to $3 and then sell it as many times as you want. Set your own prices! Never pay us or anyone else again. You will own the ebooks and will never have to pay royalties or commissions!"
Please understand that if they are selling an assortment of bestsellers from their "private collection" you can bet that vendors like this have not only created illegal copies of the e-books, but they are lying to potential customers. They don't have ReSell rights.
"But…" --as one disillusioned but honest (auction site) vendor wrote to me-- "if 3,000 other (auction site vendors) are selling CDs with e-books burned onto them, how can it possibly be illegal?"
Do take a moment to think about that. Is it logical that 3,000 EBayers have all personally met with King, Knight, Kenyon, Grisham, Rowling, Roth, Harris et alia, and all have personally been given a signed contract from each of those authors?
Is it logical that they would give 3,000 other people the right to resell their books and to pocket all the profits?
No. It isn't. Authors don't sell their copyrights. They assign various rights to their publishers for a limited number of years. The copyright always belongs to the author, for life plus seventy years.
Publishers and authors are worried about allowing Google to sell e-books on line and keep a 37% commission. Are we really going to sell one book to one person for about $7.99 and allow her to sell as many copies of it as she pleases for $2.00?
This brings me to a point I really hope I can be clear about. There are two types of so-called "pirates"... the ones who know perfectly well that what they are doing is illegal, and they enjoy doing it, and perhaps they profit from it, (and they probably don't read, anyway). And there are the innocent book-loving readers whom no one in their right mind would call "a pirate", who have no idea that by joining Yahoo groups that offer free e-book downloads, or by buying .pdfs and CDs from "private collections" they might be doing anything wrong.
Into which category would you put this little group from the scene below? Do you think they know that what they are doing is wrong? (One of the members of this secretive book sharing site spent two days on Twitter.com, uploading links to 1100 novels and software programs. One of my friends told Silicon Valley about it.)
"Well, a few romance authors found out about this place and they are really
pissed off and they are having a campaign to remove [NAME OF PIRATE SITE]. I'm just letting you know... so we could be a little more discreet so the place doesn't get close down! :D
User from Zurich:
"It appears [OUR PIRATE ACCOUNT AT] twitter has been suspended :("
"i agree with [First User's Name] here - when one shares a book on this forum, we're trying to be as discreet as we can, … we are sharing books and sure people who download them can use those to post them somewhere else...but on a share like this, these are my links being publicized and so is my account on the file sharing websites. not cool i think."
User from India:
"[User 2's name] is right. I'm too concerned of this."
(Presumably, he means that he is also upset that his links –to bootlegged files-- have been uploaded on Twitter, and copyright owners could find out who he is from his account at the file sharing websites.
User from Zurich:
Need to keep in mind that sites like Twitter are hosted in the US, so linking to
pirated software on them could be classed as a breach of the DMCA act and
software companies would be complaining to Twitter etc.
If you would like to know what the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is and what the law says about copyright, The Copyright Office or the Library Of Congress is as close to the true source as you can get in America. The Copyright Office issues copyright.
"Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and if not, what is the penalty for doing so?
Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights."
By the way, in America, Copyright lasts for the life of the author + 70 years.
Indian and American copyright law is very similar.
Maharaj Krishen Kaw, Secretary to Government of India, wrote in 1999:
"There is an acute lack of awareness on various issues relating to copyright and related rights amongst stakeholders, enforcement agencies, professional users like the scientific and academic communities and members of the public…"
You can read more here:
Of course, if you own an e-book, you can make a point of looking at the very front, at the copyright notices. Here's a selection. It's a bit long, but the variations are interesting.
St. Martin's Press copyright notices.
"No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews. For information address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010."
"All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying or recording or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher, Harlequin Enterprises limited..."
Warning: All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringe-ment without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Under The Moon...
Excluding legitimate review sites and review publications, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
Copying, scanning, uploading, selling and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without permission from the publisher is illegal, punishable by law and will be prosecuted.
What all these publishers are saying is "You do not have the right to make a copy of this book!" and also "You do not have the right to 'share' or sell COPIES that you have made of this book."
Too many people think that if they scan a paperback or hardback novel, or cut and paste an e-book, and put it on a CD they have somehow created something new and original that is theirs to do with as they please.
Well no. It's still the same copyrighted story that took a hardworking author months or even years to imagine, research, write, hone, polish and promote.
Taking a bunch of favorite novels, copying them all, putting them all onto a CD and calling them "My Private E-Book Collection" does not make them "yours". The authors still own the copyright. You cannot burn copies of this "Private Collection" and sell them on EBay or iOffer or Facebook or Blogger or Wordpress or any other virtual bookstore.
Nor are you free (legally) to upload them to pirate sites.
Bottom line. If you didn't write every word of it yourself, from your own imagination, then it is not yours.
An author has the right to make copies or to give written permission to someone else to make copies. An author has the right to perform her work. An author has the right to control the distribution of her work.
What is the right thing to do?
If you see an unbelievable bargain collection of authors' fiction for sale somewhere, report it. Tell the author. Tell the publisher. Don't click the corporate advertisements on suspicious sites, and at all costs do not donate to pirate sites that request a contribution so they can "buy" more ebooks to share.
And if you like, you could report the pirates here (click on the category):
You might win a million dollars for your good deed.
Rowena Beaumont Cherry
Valentine's Special: $5.00 for both Mating Net and Forced Mate together on licensed vendor EBookisle.net. Available as .pdf .
Mating Net: $2.00 http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/matingnet.htm
Forced Mate: $2.00 from Rowena Cherry on http://www.jexbo.com/items/108
Copyright and Digital Files
Can I backup my computer software?
Yes, under certain conditions as provided by section 117 of the Copyright Act. Although the precise term used under section 117 is “archival” copy, not “backup” copy, these terms today are used interchangeably. This privilege extends only to computer programs and not to other types of works.
Under section 117, you or someone you authorize may make a copy of an original computer program if:
• the new copy is being made for archival (i.e., backup) purposes only;
• you are the legal owner of the copy; and
• any copy made for archival purposes is either destroyed, or transferred with the original copy, once the original copy is sold, given away, or otherwise transferred.
You are not permitted under section 117 to make a backup copy of other material on a computer's hard drive, such as other copyrighted works that have been downloaded (e.g., music, films).
It is also important to check the terms of sale or license agreement of the original copy of software in case any special conditions have been put in place by the copyright owner that might affect your ability or right under section 117 to make a backup copy. There is no other provision in the Copyright Act that specifically authorizes the making of backup copies of works other than computer programs even if those works are distributed as digital copies.
Is it legal to sell backup copies of computer software (in online auctions or on website)? Is it legal to buy and use a backup copy of software I already own?
No. The Copyright Act does not permit anyone to sell backup copies to third parties separately from the original copy of the software. If you lawfully own a computer program, you may sell or transfer that lawful copy together with a lawfully made backup copy of the software, but you may not sell the backup copy alone.
We have been made aware of websites that are offering to sell “backup” copies of software via download over the Internet or in a custom-burned CD-R format, under the guise that section 117 permits this. Section 117 does NOT permit the sale of backup copies. Again, section 117 does not allow you to sell backup copies to someone else except when such backup copies are sold together with the original lawfully owned copy. It does not allow anyone to solely distribute “backup” copies to the public. In addition to being a violation of the exclusive right of distribution, such activity is also likely to be a violation of the terms of the license to the software. In many cases these sites appear to be a front for distribution of illegal copies, which is copyright infringement. You should be wary of sites that offer to sell you a backup copy.
And if you do buy an illegal backup copy, you will be engaging in copyright infringement if you load that illegal copy onto your computer, i.e., the unauthorized reproduction of the infringing computer program into memory. Lesson: if you want a backup copy of a lawfully owned computer program, back it up yourself.
Can I copyright my website?
The original authorship appearing on a website may be protected by copyright. This includes writings, artwork, photographs, and other forms of authorship protected by copyright. Procedures for registering the contents of a website may be found in Circular 66, Copyright Registration for Online Works.
Can I copyright my domain name?
Copyright law does not protect domain names. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit organization that has assumed the responsibility for domain name system management, administers the assignation of domain names through accredited registers.
Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and if not, what is the penalty for doing so?
Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights.
Whether or not a particular work is being made available under the authority of the copyright owner is a question of fact. But since any original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium (including a computer file) is protected by federal copyright law upon creation, in the absence of clear information to the contrary, most works may be assumed to be protected by federal copyright law.
Since the files distributed over peer-to-peer networks are primarily copyrighted works, there is a risk of liability for downloading material from these networks. To avoid these risks, there are currently many "authorized" services on the Internet that allow consumers to purchase copyrighted works online, whether music, ebooks, or motion pictures. By purchasing works through authorized services, consumers can avoid the risks of infringement liability and can limit their exposure to other potential risks, e.g., viruses, unexpected material, or spyware.
For more information on this issue, see the Register of Copyrights' testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.