Monday, July 23, 2012

Internet Piracy Never Quits

The trouble with copyright pirates is they just don't go away. They come at you from all kinds of places, thinking that they can get away with what they are doing a disappear. The Internet makes it easy to destroy the value of copyrighted work, something you've created and should be able to benefit from, and makes enforcement of your copyrights very difficult.

A friend alerted me to a new site promoting copyright infringement which calls itself a "library" and claims, because it is in Canada, that what they are doing is perfect legal and they can continue to do it. They claim, rightly, that they are not bound by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but they would not be protected by it anyway if they were in the U.S. because they are not a service provider or ISP. They are a destination website, earning money by, it appears, advertising, and making current and not so current work available for download. While encouraging others to upload digital copies of books.

I have an iPad I love. I am married to a writer. Many of my best friends are working writers. They've earned the right to royalties for the works they create. I pay for the books I download. Happily. Using this site is the same thing as shoplifting a book from a store. It is theft.

If you are creator of intellectual property, you should be concerned about the mentality of these thieves. While I am not a Canadian lawyer, I do believe that Canada does adhere to the Berne Convention and there is probably recourse against the individual(s) who are doing this. If you are an author, you might want to check out their growing collection at this website and take action. Isn't it lovely that they take donations via Paypal?

They also have a Facebook page, but if you call them out for the thieves that they are, they will use that to harass your account. Here is the Facebook page.

Dealing with Internet piracy is like playing whack-a-mole. I did it for almost three years as the lawyer for the Science Fiction Writers of America and for Harlan Ellison. I have friends who have found putting work up for free can increase sales, but they are choosing to share their work, and that is not the same thing as having it taken without permission.

If you know an author, let them know this is happening and they should try to get their publishers to do something. Unlike 12 years ago, there are plenty of legitimate ways to get this material, so publishers are probably a lot more concerned about losing digital income than they were when I contacted them back then.

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