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Old 21st December 2011, 10:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

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An award-winning Spanish novelist claims that the illegal downloading of ebooks has forced her to give up writing and start looking for a new job.
"Given that I have today discovered that more illegal copies of my book have been downloaded than I have sold, I am announcing officially that I will not publish another book for a long time," Lucía Etxebarria announced on her Facebook page.


If you thought some GRRM fans could be stroppy, that's nothing to some of those who have downloaded, for free, Etxebarria's books:
Quote:
Her vow to stop writing provoked a torrent of abuse from downloaders who filled her Facebook wall with insults. Some said they did not earn enough to buy her books.

"Literature is not a profit-making job, but a passion," said Kelly Sánchez, one of the least vitriolic critics. "If you had a real vocation then you wouldn't stop writing."
The entitlement lobby in full voice, it seems.

.

Last edited by Ursa major; 21st December 2011 at 10:54 PM. Reason: Correcting the faulty formatting.
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Old 21st December 2011, 10:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

Um, so authors don't have to eat then. And, of course, it takes no time to write a book, right? Just stick it down and get on with it. Ha ha. Passionately.
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Old 21st December 2011, 10:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

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"If you had a real vocation then you wouldn't stop writing."
What do they think she will live on? Clicks on her Like button?
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Old 21st December 2011, 10:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

Let me get this straight: There are writers who get paid for writing? I'm shocked and not a little disturbed to hear this.

Are illegal downloads depriving this author of a living income? Can she publish without publishing in such a way that illegal downloads are possible? Is every author prey to having their work illegally downloaded?

If I knew the answers to these questions, I might find which side to sympathise with.



At the moment, with the limitations of my current level of insight, I would personally just feel proud of having a following who wanted to read what I wrote.
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Old 21st December 2011, 10:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

It's like heavy industry, we can make them, somebody else can do it cheaper.

If she can't make a living due to theft, she has a right to make a stand.
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Old 21st December 2011, 10:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

As has been pointed out in another thread, book sharing is common even without epublishing. While downloads will make it more prevalent, my feeling is that people will usually buy what they really want, and that "pirates" would never have bought anyway. However, there remains the chance that good writing will convert a significant number of pirates into buyers of the author's inventory.

I remember I had a short-lived business publishing music to mp3.com, where independent muscians could earn significant royalties for people listening to their works. Unfortunately, a few weeks later Unviersal bought the site and killed it. However, I remember being quite chuffed to discover find people found my music interesting enough to put on file-sharing sites. I remember in the early days of this forum, one of those people joined up and became a major member through that, and very welcome he was.

Either way, as a prospective author, I'm not worried about file-sharing. If you believe there is art in what you do, it's more important to get the art out there. That's why most artists scrape a living, regardless.

Worth remembering the severe economic conditions in Spain at the moment are , not least high unemployment, especially among 18-25 year olds, is possibly exaggerating the issue, though.
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Old 21st December 2011, 10:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

How long would it take the free downloaders to complain if they weren't paid for their work?
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Old 21st December 2011, 10:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

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Originally Posted by I, Brian View Post
....as a prospective author, I'm not worried about file-sharing. If you believe there is art in what you do, it's more important to get the art out there....
That would be my own bottom-line knee-jerk response.

And if only I didn't write in cliches, maybe more people would be interested....
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Old 21st December 2011, 10:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

I think its sad that since the rise of eBooks this has increased. If only writers earned as much as actors and directors.... Or bankers. However, surely if writing is her passion she should keep going and I dunno not realise them or eBooks... Would this help I doubt it but it would probably cut down on her priating problem???
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Old 21st December 2011, 11:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

Even if you believe that one should be able to get things for free, it's still a bit of a cheek to complain when the creator of those things stops doing so.


And it doesn't provide a very attractive picture of humanity when some of us find it so easy to demand that others be, in effect, our slaves.
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Old 21st December 2011, 11:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

Ah, now, if we're discussing general rudeness among the human populace of this poor planet, well, all bets are off. Entitlement, however justifiably felt, makes morons of us all. I mean, I'd probably throw a massive hissy fit if the government here made us pay to visit our GPs. Oh, wait, they do that already. All right then, if we were forced to pay an "employment tax" on top of our income tax. Oh, hold on, they did that as well.

Damn it, I guess I'm just too dashed civilised to deserve a free health service.

Oh, that's ok, they took most of that away already.

Note to self: Be rude to someone about that tomorrow.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 12:18 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

This is not the first writer I have heard who had this problem ... except that the other writer (I forget her name) was cancelled by her publisher because her book earned practically no money, meanwhile there were thousands and thousands of pirated downloads.

Which, if true, would rather shoot down the idea that if people like something enough they will turn around and pay money for it even after they've been able to get it for free.

But, hey, if writers are supposed to work merely out of passion, why not actors, musicians, dancers, engineers, computer programmers, accountants, doctors ... if you don't have a passion for what you are doing and aren't happy just because people want to avail themselves of your services, you're obviously in the wrong job.

Right? Is everyone willing to live by that principle, or is it only writers who aren't supposed to be paid for what they do?

When only the writers who are willing to work for free are writing, I think we will see that only writers who are willing to turn out garbage are writing.

Why? Because those who put little effort, time, or passion into their writing are the only ones who will be able to fit it into their busy schedules.

I mean give me a f---ing break. Most of us get paid less for a year or two of work than most people make in a couple of months. And those with comfortable jobs who can afford all their little electronic toys they use to read a writer's pirated work are going to take our pittance away because we're supposed to do it all for love and be glad they deign to read our work which they don't even value enough to pay for the same as they pay for all their other entertainment? We do do it for love. Otherwise we'd spend our time doing something that would allow us to maintain a decent standard of living.

Last edited by Teresa Edgerton; 22nd December 2011 at 03:14 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 22nd December 2011, 01:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

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Originally Posted by I, Brian View Post
As has been pointed out in another thread, book sharing is common even without epublishing.
At least there's one book bought in the first place. At least the author gets some revenue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Interference View Post

If I knew the answers to these questions, I might find which side to sympathise with.
I wouldn't have thought that's a difficult decision. One side is making something, the other side is stealing it.


Excellent post, Teresa.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 01:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

Not sure it's that simple, which is why I would like to know how things are done these days.

For example, if books are being bought, scanned in and freely distributed, piratically, then I would consider that on the immoral side of illegal and some invocation of Law might be necessary.

If the book is being distributed solely electronically and being stolen, then the author should consider paper only for her next book and get better advisors.

There are undoubtedly other considerations to be accounted, but I don't know 'em. Others will.

General overview of my current thinking: The author should cut losses, feel flattered at the extent of the piracy and exercise appropriate caution in future publications. Piracy will be bound to occur, now as ever, but it can, perhaps, be minimised. But to suggest she'll never write again - well, I wonder if that isn't just a ploy. How can a writer stop writing? How can a painter stop painting? Or an actor stop acting, even if they revert to the amateur arena.

Secondly, those who rant and rail against the withdrawal of freebies should catch themselves on and stop committing crimes. But those who are upset with the author for never writing again have a point and perhaps polite urging ought to do the trick.

Thirdly, I'm not an expert, but since when were such things simple decisions? The author must consider her true fans and paying customers first, her true pirating fans second and the morons last. Like musicians, authors' works are relatively easy to circulate after paying only the cover price. A lot of books I've read, I've borrowed or bought in book sales. But I also bought a lot new - in an actual shop. One I bought as an electronic download and have never deliberately shared it with anyone - not including friends who use my computer.

Were it a simple right or wrong issue, you and I would never borrow a book again.

Again, this is just my current thinking on the matter and, as always, I'm open to (preferably polite ) persuasion.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 02:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Author to give up Writing due to Illegal Downloads

Hi Interference, I wouldn't dream of discussing this with you in anything but a polite manner.

My basic thoughts on the matter are this, some things are illegal (theft) some things aren't (borrowing and lending).
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