Piracy is inevitable. There have been bootlegs and mix tapes as long as there has been recording equipment, and the digital age has made it easier than ever to share illegal content all over the world. It’s also a lot easier to track, which leads me to wonder if piracy is any more prevalent than it’s ever been or if it’s just a lot more obvious.
Either way, it becomes an even larger problem for creators. Bands that seem wildly popular have been dropped by their labels because their albums don’t sell, and now the same thing is starting to happen to writers. It’s one thing to see a couple thousand seeds for a book on a torrent site, but it’s a whole ‘nother matter to look at a royalty statement and learn the book is still in the hole. (Side note: I haven’t had this experience directly, but I’ve seen it happen to others.) It’s really frustrating when a fan talks about how much they just love the book they ganked from a torrent site, then are shocked because the writer isn’t being published anymore.
But again, this is inevitable. It doesn’t matter how they justify it to themselves, pirates are going to continue downloading their free books, consequences be damned. And here’s the other thing: there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. It doesn’t matter what kind of security or encryption is put on these things, it’ll be cracked in a week. Smack those people upside the head and move on. We have to put up with them just like we do people who will only borrow the book from friends & family, or who will wait until it shows up in remainder bins or on used book store shelves.
I ignore torrent sites. I know Werewolves: Call of the Wild was out there, and I’m sure The Pack: Winter Kill is on several sites right now, too. I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Chances are most of those people wouldn’t buy it anyway, and I’d be shocked if more than half of the pirates ever got around to actually reading it. I also ignore them because I don’t want to lose the product. If the now-canceled Terriers were to suddenly go viral on a torrent site, I’ll lose my shit.
It’s just not worth the heartache.
Remember, 1,000 True Fans can support a creator, but it also means 1,000 Paying Fans. Lost your job but just have to read the latest Keene novel? Gotta have The Sixth Gun but you got hit buy a bus and don’t have insurance? Fine, I understand the temptation to make the mouse clicks. Just remember, if you want to read the sequel, go back and actually pay for the book when you do have the money.
If you like a creator’s work, support it.