Well, I’ve made it to the big leagues. One of my books (that I know of) is being pirated. Arrrr.
About a month ago I was ego-surfing, because occasionally I find some interesting stuff. Unfortunately, this was one of those times. Buried quite a few pages into the search results, I came across a website (which I will not name here) that was offering a PDF copy of Fantasy Noir for download.
My first instinct was to contact the person in charge and ask them politely to remove it. Well, there was no contact information. So, seeing as though the file was being stored on Megaupload, I decided to contact them to see if they could remove the file from their server. Unfortunately, they required the actual file URL, which I couldn’t get because the offending site requires you to take one of several surveys in order to get to the file. I wasn’t prepared to give out my information and get possible adware on my laptop. So I did a WHOIS lookup to see if I could get the contact info from the domain registrar information. It was sketchy, almost certainly fake, but I used it to send a cease and desist letter anyway.
It is now seven days past the one month deadline that I gave to take down the file and it’s still up.
The next step is to email the registrar to see if this person has hosting through their service. If he does, there’s a chance that they can coerce him into taking it down. If he just has the domain name through them, then I’m stuck.
What I’ve been asking myself, though, is why do I care? I mean, beyond the principle of the thing, I electively choose not to use DRM on my ebooks. And I’ve always been a proponent of pushing free ebooks to gather interest in ebooks for purchase. And I think what it comes down to is that it’s one thing if I choose to offer something of mine for free and/or encourage people to spread it around, but it’s another to have that same something being given away behind my back.
In all honesty, I’m a hypocrite. I’ve downloaded music and applications, and even though I always have the intention of buying them outright when I have the money (and I have on many occasions), I’m still doing it. That doesn’t provide me much moral ground to stand on, or at the very least any ground that’s very solid. “Let he who who has not sinned cast the first stone” and all of that. So I guess all I can hope for at this point is that if someone downloads Fantasy Noir for free and likes it, that the person will either buy a legit copy of it or pay for one of my other books.
Otherwise, if you plan on reading any of my books, please pay for them. If for some reason you can’t afford a book you really want, or if you feel that the price point is unfair, contact me about it. I’m more than willing to listen to your arguments and possibly work something out. I’d rather you tell me to my face that you think $3.99 is highway robbery for what I’m offering than going behind my back and buying a “bootleg” version.
Then again, here’s a reality check for myself – how many people are actually downloading the illegally free version of Fantasy Noir? I’m gonna guess probably not enough to warrant this entire post. Wish I had thought of that before I typed it all out…