by Kyle Perkins.
Not saying that I condone book piracy, or piracy of any kind, but trying to defeat piracy is a pointless and time consuming venture that will only end in pain. Don’t believe me? Click here. Here. Here. Or here.
The way that torrenting work is, when someone creates a torrent, they announce it and use public trackers, meaning anyone can recreate the torrent and put it on hundreds of sites. A lot of it is automatic, meaning as soon as a torrent is uploaded, many sites automatically recreate the torrent for distribution on their site. That’s with only ONE tracker. Most people use dozens of trackers when they upload a torrent, so everything I just said multiplied.
To make matters worse, most of these sites are hosted in countries where piracy isn’t illegal, and you have absolutely no recourse. Some sites may remove your copyrighted files after you jump through a million hoops to prove the work is yours, but then it goes up on their mirror sites, where you’ll have to do the same process again, and that’s just ONE site. Keep in mind that if it’s on one, it’s on hundreds, so everything I just said, multiplied again.
So you can see why your efforts could be better spent doing something productive, but if you want to feel like you’re doing something, sure, give it a shot. I like to stay optimistic. I look at it as free advertising, and free exposure in general. Even if someone pirates my book 10k times, doesn’t mean 10k were going to buy it, in fact, that’s 10k people that absolutely weren’t going to buy it. I mean they went through the trouble of pirating over paying the 99 cents. So at least that is 10k more people familiar with my work.
Many gamers pirate games just to demo it and see if they like it before they purchase, and I have to assume that some of these pirates are pirating one of our books to see if they like us, then purchase our other books if they do. There is nothing that can be done about piracy, so we might as well take some good from it. Getting bent out of shape over it does nothing to help the situation, and just alerts people that your book is available for free somewhere.
I know it sounds like pirates are just stealing money directly from your pocket, but the truth is, they were never going to buy, so you lost nothing, and gained exposure. Most indie authors give their books away for free on a daily basis through competitions and giveaways anyway. You know the power of exposure, or you wouldn’t do that. So really, does it actually harm you? Probably not in any way.
Studies have actually shown that piracy HELPS the entertainment industry. Sources: Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. So on and so on. Now, like I said, I am not condoning or condemning piracy, but it is part of the internet age and isn’t going anywhere. So, take it for what it is, exposure. Try and see some positives that may come out of it. Some entire unheard of gaming developers that didn’t have the money to get off the ground are now triple A markets due to the exposure given by pirates. All of the figures for “lost money” are complete BS, as some people can’t afford books and movies, so they pirate them. If they then tell fifty people how amazing it was, a percentage of them will buy it, which not only made up for the pirated product, but lets you profit. Here is some objective research on the matter.
Realizing you may be losing out on money lost to pirates is definitely a shitty feeling, and I don’t blame indie authors for lashing out and getting upset, but they’re not ACTUALLY losing anything. Anyway, I hope this article just gives a little insight into the matter. So people aren’t spinning their tires trying to fight a faceless and massive enemy that is too big to lose. Instead, be proactive, and protect your future titles from being pirated, as the already torrented ones are a lost cause. More info on how to protect your work can be found here or here.
Also, stop sending your books out as mobi and word documents to people’s emails. They can then save it and upload directly to a torrenting site. Instead, send your mobi files directly to kindle, that way they have no way to retrieve and duplicate it. If you don’t know how, click Here. If you send your books out to someone’s email as a word or mobi file, you’re asking for it to be pirated.
Keep in mind that plagiarism is not the same as piracy, and that is a particular person stealing your work. THAT is lost money, and your enemy has a face. Take them to court, and they will have to send you every penny they ever made from your work.