I think I’d be more excited if the DC didn’t have a soccer tournament this weekend. It’s been really hot, lately, triple digits and I don’t do well in the heat. We’re heading to a city that’s 10 degrees hotter than Petaluma. At least I don’t have to run around in it like the boys will. Still, nothing on Monday.

And, I can now start the count down to Vishous and Lover Unbound.

There’s a good hoo-ha going on now about SFWA and its boneheaded actions with an improper (from what I’ve heard) DCMA take-down notice to Scribd. Read about that in Cory Doctorow’s BoingBoing post. I laughed when I heard what they’d done. (I’ll come back later and stick in some links. Too late right now, I’m only holding out for the laundry). Only, really, it isn’t very funny. This whole DCMA thing is so completely stupid, and every bad thing smart people predicted would result from the DCMA has come to pass and worse. What a stupid-ass piece of Corporate-purchased legislation that was.

But here’s the thing: I don’t know where I stand on the whole file-sharing business. The entire issue is so unbelievably polarized between a Copyright is Evil faction (See, for example, Tech Dirt, a site that has an especial hatred for copyright) and the Protect our Corporate Profits faction (RIAA andMPAA) and I really just feel like people (writes and musicians etc) who create the stuff that gets copyrighted are stuck in the middle.

Copyright is not evil. It’s been around for hundreds of years because before there was copyright, authors, playwrights and musicians were ripped off. The creative folk are the Golden Goose, and copyright keeps corporations from killing us off. Copyright was the answer to an evil, so how can it be good to do away with it again?

I’m too tired to formulate an entire argument right now. But here’s my dilemma: I don’t know if it’s true that file sharing actually helps the holder of the copyrighted material that gets shared. I hear people say it. I’ve never seen proof.

I don’t make money writing unless people buy my books new. If readers have no incentive to buy new books, then I make no money and readers don’t get to read new stories. But I also think that punishing fans with stupid lawsuits seems like a bad thing. Some of my books are out of print, and so far I’m not too worked up about finding out someone scanned my books (I hope they did a good job!!) and posted them for downloading. I can see how that can bring me readers interested in my books that are in print. But does it? Or do the file-sharers wait for someone to hit the copy machine? Christine Feehan’s books are all in print (to my knowledge) Are the illegal copies on the net bringing her new fans who’ll shell out money for her books? Seems the obvious answer is no, cuz all the books of hers I’ve seen file-shared are still in print.

The Internet, so far, doesn’t touch the reach of print distribution. So does that mean it’s not a big deal? I’ve never heard what an Ellora’s Cave equivalent of a print run is. I know they’ve sold thousands of some titles, but I don’t believe they’ve ever sold hundreds of thousands of a title, let alone millions. Of course, 90% of writers would be happy with the thousands…

How does a writer make money writing if all her work is available for free? I’ve never seen ANYONE answer that question. I wish someone would explain to me whether and/or how a pool of free copies is good. Is the point that that pool of free copies will never exist to the exclusion of paid and that the consumers of free will never erode the pool of consumers who pay? Please, I wish someone would just calmly sit down and explain that without the political hysterics. Do file sharers ever convert to pay buyers?

That’s what I wanna know.


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2 Responses to “Fridayyyy!!”

  1. sybil says:

    LU is worth the wait I think. You will likey. uh… I think…

    The rest I am not really sure what you are talking about. I went to that one site. And honestly, people would feel safe downloading stuff from it to their computer?!? Don’t they know what nasty viruses are out there?

    As for free books leading to new books bought, I think there are a few examples of authors who gave away books that were later bought to print and did well. None romance though that I recall… I think scifi.

    I would be an example of that prolly as I am sent a lot of eARC’s from authors for review or to see about guest days. If I love the book and/or am going to have the author on to guest – I buy it. As well as it is very possible I will buy the next ones. Often if that book hadn’t been sent to me, when I had the window of time to read it, vs waiting for a printed whatever to mail… I may not have read it.

    I know some authors hate ubs with a passion. In your case I found Lord Ruin in a ubs and loved it. So I will buy the next books new and most likely end up giving away a copy. That may have happened without ubs – but I don’t think so. Seeing your name attached to CC was the reason I got that series. That was what… six books or so off a used book. Of course I don’t write so maybe it is easy for me to love ubs. Dunno

    LOL it is late and I am rambling *g* Night!

  2. Carolyn says:

    I’m going to marry Vishous, so I know I’ll love Lover Unbound. If you’ve read an ARC, I don’t even want to know. I’d just expire from jealousy.

    As a writer, I’m all for Used Book Stores. Same as a reader. For a lot of writers, a UBS is the only way to get a hold of their back list, and it’s a great way to decide to whether to take a risk on someone new. There’s nothing I hate more than spending $7-8 on a book that turns out to be awful. It makes me mad. A lot of Mary Balogh’s Trad Regencies can only be found used, and I’ve adored the one’s I’ve found. I buy her new.

    The issue’s a little different, maybe, for electronic file shares. That used book represents one sale for the author. It’s not a violation of copyright to re-sell a book. But when someone takes, say, Lord Ruin, and scans it, and loads that file in a place where others can download it, that is a copyright violation. The person who created the scanned file still possesses his or her copy of LR. If that copy of LR happend to be bought used, the scanner doesn’t even represent a sale for me.

    As a writer, my future income, in the form of an advance, depends upon past sales. Publishers want to know how my books did in the past to figure out how much to pay for books I haven’t written yet. If it’s true that file shares represent lost sales, then that’s lost income for me.

    However, at the moment, I am leaning toward it being fairly insignificant. I think. I don’t know.

    Thanks for the interesting comment.