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Since learning that my book got pirated (it’s since been taken down, at my request), I’ve had a number of fabulous conversations with people about this issue. The question of the rights and wrongs of piracy is both fascinating and profoundly relevant to creators seeking to get their work “out there” in the digital environment.
So, I thought I’d do a follow up post, summarizing the positions and issues (and thereby add my voice to the multitudes on this topic).
Digital is a mixed blessing. Free distribution means that indie creators:
- no longer have the expense of a per-unit cost for producing their works; and
- no longer need to rely on the supply chains and distribution channels that they previously needed to get their work “out there.”
It’s all basically free. Which means that those bent on piracy have the same ease of no-cost reproducibility and distribution as do the creators.
People I’ve chatted with–both online and in person–have tended towards either one or the other of two general positions (with lots of grey in between as well, of course): what I’ll call the legal or principles-based position, and the functional or outcomes-based position. I should note, briefly, that the names are meant to be descriptive rather than value-based (in case that’s not obvious!). Also: Most of these folks are creators, or are sympathetic to creators, so their views are in the context of whether or not a creator should exercise his or her rights.
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