I recently read an fascinating post on book piracy, where an anonymous person (drunk on their own sense of entitlement perhaps) posted a letter to author Chuck Wendig, where this person outlined their reasons for stealing Chuck’s books.
Well worth a read, especially Chuck’s responses.
But here’s my favourite point from the letter-writer:
1) I cannot afford buying all the books I wish to read; as simple as that.
Wow. I can’t afford a villa in the South of France. Guess I’d better just go take one.
I also can’t afford to buy every book or album I’d like to buy but I respect the art and the artist enough not to steal from them.
One of the classic responses thieves give for similar actions, is that by downloading art without paying for it, they’re “giving the artist more exposure.”
That later, they might go to a band’s show or buy a book and become a fan.
In my music class we often talk about piracy and its relationship to file sharing. I bring up the days of swapping mixed tapes with them, or use Metallica as an example of fans sharing and building a base with such tapes. We also discuss YouTube as a place to sample an album without buying it, much like a listening station used to allow in music stores.
So the sharing of content among users might build a set of loyal fans, which is awesome.
But we also discuss the revolutionary idea of libraries.
With libraries, it’s possible to obtain a book without paying for it, legally, and to become a fan and still support an artist. Tell a friend how much you loved the book. Save up and buy the artist’s next work. Review the book you borrowed, mention it online somewhere.
Do it without ripping artists off first. Because, what does it cost to borrow something from a library? Exactly.
[I understand some books are priced quite high, and that for some folks, libraries are distant or non-existent. But I still don’t believe in refusing to financially support an artist. Find a way.]