Don’t Steal My Books

So that rant I was thinking about yesterday…well. One more straw was added to the camel’s back, and I’m going to go there. If you have a problem with four-letter words, don’t read any further. Go find some rainbows or ponies or something.

Here we go.

Why do I have to keep explaining to people that stealing is wrong? You’d think that should be a given. You’d think people wouldn’t argue.

To the person who sent me a little note about a “just-released study” “proving” that ebook piracy actually “helps” me: number one, I’m pretty sure that “study” doesn’t say what you think it does, and number two, how can I put this politely…

Oh, I can’t. I can’t be polite about this.

Fuck you.

E-piracy is “not a black and white issue,” you say. FUCK that. Taking without paying for is called stealing. Piracy is people stealing my fucking books, and it doesn’t get much more black and white than STEALING IS WRONG.

Even if that study says what you thought it did, you would still be asking me to believe that potential sales (which I can’t see and nobody has any way of proving) are somehow equivalent to the thousands of downloaded copies I can see people STEALING. If you even try to pull out the “well, maybe those people stealing it wouldn’t have bought it in the first place, so you should be grateful”, I will only repeat, fuck you very much. This is like saying car theft increases brand visibility, so nobody should be worried or upset about it. It’s just plain ridiculous.

The other thing I’ve had thrown at me lately–once when I politely asked someone to stop stealing my books, and again when someone on Facebook was trying to justify piracy–is that I shouldn’t be writing for the money anyway, implying that I’m somehow “lesser” because I expect people not to steal books I’ve written. I’ve already written about that canard. I don’t write “just for” the money, and even if I did it wouldn’t make me any less of a human being who doesn’t deserve to have her work stolen. Trying to say you’re justified in stealing my work because I shouldn’t be writing for money is so incredibly stupid, I can’t even talk to you if you’re going to be that willfully, obstinately stupid.

“But Publisher X GIVES AWAY ebooks and it HELPS THEIR SALES!” you wail.

Publisher X chooses to offer some of their list for discount or free, for varying reasons. They have a choice, and the content creator (the person who spent the effort to write and revise it in the first damn place) is part of that choice. This is not in any way, shape, or form an equivalent to people fucking stealing. Why do I even have to explain this?

I have a suspicion of why: because e-pirates know what they’re doing is wrong. They dress it up in silly stupid arguments like the above because they are trying to cover up theft with a pretty name. It’s not a new human behavior, (for lo, theft and greed in their many forms have been with us from the beginning) but it’s not one I have to condone either.

It’s very simple.

Piracy is stealing. Stealing is wrong. Pirating my books means I can afford to write less stories for you. If the first two sentences of this paragraph aren’t enough to stop you, maybe the third will be.

Comments are closed because I will not listen to one more idiot bleating about how epiracy is somehow beneficial to me, or how I should really be grateful to the jackasses stealing my work, or how it’s not really stealing because everybody feels like they deserve something for free and that’s what the Internet is about, or any of the other red herrings, false equivalencies, downright lies, or self-serving idiocy that one or two assholes always have to throw into the pot every time an author objects to people STEALING his or her work. (ETA: Like another one I just noticed, the “publishers charge too much, so we’re RIGHT to steal, because we’re customers!” OMG. There just aren’t words for the stupid.) Today I am just done with explaining. If you didn’t learn in elementary school that stealing is wrong, I doubt I’m going to be able to teach you now over the Internet. But even that doesn’t make stealing any less goddamn wrong.

Over and out.

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