Saturday, December 4, 2010

Well, now I've heard it all

People justify e-book piracy in all kinds of ways, but this one is the best ever.

What if someone in an impoverished nation illegally downloads a book? What if in the process of reading that book that individual is profoundly changed? What if that profound impact moves that person in such a manner that they in turn spread that impact to others?

It's bad enough when someone steals from you. But it's adding insult to injury when they try to make this seem like a good thing. Piracy is stealing, not a Rosa Parks-esque act of rebellion against The Man that will eventually make the world a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race.

As for the what-if story, I was hoping the profound change wrought in the hypothetical e-book pirate would be a realization that they had deliberately defrauded the author who wrote the book and the publisher who produced it. Then they could decide never to do it again, and would encourage others to buy their e-books legally.

That would be a happy ending for everyone.


Anonymous said...

Just when I thought I had read every excuse for the perpetuation of thievery, along comes another one. There have been numerous violations which have been proven to have a primarily first-country audience, so any defense which cites the beneficial outcomes for impoverished individuals can be easily countered.

The harsh truth is that most (if not all) of the illegal downloads which have been brought to the notice of the authors whose work is being misappropriated is due solely to people wanting something for nothing. There are no excuse for that, and their attempts to legitimize the theft is trollish. Don't give them the satisfaction of responding to their nonsense.

Maria Zannini said...

Somebody is always trying to justify their behavior.

Why not just say it's the author's fault for not giving the work away?

Unknown said...

Wow, that's really just...Wow

gypsyscarlett said...

Ugh. Trying to turn thievery into a noble act.

Why is it that the same people who would never consider stealing a car or clothes or whatever, persist on thinking it's somehow okay to steal a book or music or a film online? Somehow, they totally disregard the fact that someone worked extremely hard to produce those works, and are trying to make some kind of livlihood from them.

JH said...

Putting everything else aside, there's whole lotta white man's burden going on in that argument.

If only information were free, the poor people of the world could receive the wisdom of our fantasy novels...!

Marian Perera said...

bigwords88 : And speaking as someone who came from such an impoverished country, I didn't see too many people in Sri Lanka downloading books to their Kindles or Nooks. Illegally or otherwise.

Maria : Yeah, you'd think authors would consider the needs of impoverished people in Third World countries before selling their books for the best deals...

Lela Gwenn : My sentiments exactly, until I recovered enough to write a post about it.

Tasha : Yes, it's the same as going to a bricks-and-mortar bookstore and making an identical copy of any book there. It's a ripoff.

JH : "there's whole lotta white man's burden going on in that argument" - that says it all. :D