Dude, Where's My Intellectual Property?
The Internet's a wonderful thing, with the free and easy availability of information. Unfortunately, information created by artists, including writers, has increasingly been up for grabs by the unscrupulous.
Case in point: I've seen a pirated electronic copy of one of my books available on a "members only" site, which means that someone who is not me gets paid for the download. Every time the book gets out this way, an angel -- okay, not an angel but a writer -- loses her wings. Royalties are lost, and the sell-through percentage of shipped books declines, which more frequently than ever results in authors not being renewed to write more books. This is becoming a greater challenge to new authors' abilities to earn a living than either the sale of stripped books (boo! hiss!) or used booksellers and libraries (both of which I enjoy as much as the next reader).
I've also seen articles I've written for magazines, as well as one written for and posted on this blog, copied and re-posted elsewhere, without credit or permission. (Grrr) Since often, all the person would have had to do is ask or pay a small reprint fee if it's a for-profit venue, this seriously chaps my hide.
What makes me madder? Congress is considering an "Orphan Works Bill" that will make the theft of our creations more pervasive, more difficult to stop, and nearly impossible to punish. Many organizations of creative artists oppose this legislation, and there is now an online drive to collect petition signatures against the bill.
I hope you'll consider reading up at the Orphan Works Opposition Headquarters
website and following the dictates of your conscience.
The artist's life you save may be your own.