Today, I'm making a plea to everyone to notify your elected officials that you support an author's right to earn a living from his or her writing.
It's easy. There's nothing to compose. You just click the link, fill out the form with your name and address and email. The website automatically directs your email letter to your elected representatives based on the home address you enter.
Why Do This?
I am one of too many authors who have their ebooks pirated every single day. There's something incredibly hurtful to know that thieves will steal your low-priced ebook and make it available on servers all over the world for others to download for free. I mean, is it too much to ask readers to pay $2.99 for a book? Would these same people go into bookstores and shoplift a low-priced book?
Is it too much to ask a reader to pay $.99? All my $.99 books have been pirated. That's right. People will steal $.99 from me. Thousands have. On a monthly basis, I have enough stolen from me that I could have paid all my bills if the sales had actually occurred.
What will happen eventually is that authors will just quit writing. Why write if you can't make enough to pay your bills? Why write if it's a knife in the heart every time you get another notice that your book is being made free on 10 servers in Romania or Malaysia or wherever?
DMCA Needs Clout
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is virtually worthless. Too much is required for the author to prove rights ownership. Nothing is required of the thieves who post books for free. Why shouldn't these pirates have to prove they are the rights owners before offering books?
Instead, these people set up websites and offer free downloads, sometimes with a subscription fee required of users. So the website owner gets paid and also monetizes their site and gets paid in ad revenue.
The same is true of the thieves who scan print books and offer "free books" on eBay and on other sites. If you come across a site offering free books and/or downloads, chances are the books are stolen or pirated. Do not patronize these sites please. If possible, notify one of the authors whose name you see that this is going on.
What does the author who labored to create the book get? Nada. Zip. Zero. There need to be penalties against web hosting sites who allow this criminal activity. In a world where theft of creative works goes unhindered, there will eventually be little creative work available.
I'm tired of working so hard and having my work stolen.
If you love books--love reading--support authors by contacting your elected reps. Only if copyright laws support writers and make it easier for them to maintain copyright protection, and harder for pirates, will this situation improve.