Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sorry, but that's just how it is....

I confess I have been a bit ambivalent in the past about copyright issues, and free-illegal downloads of material whether musical, visual or literary or otherwise. Kim Dotcom chooses to live here in New Zealand and I have looked askance at the way his home was raided and his family's life turned upside down (his wife was pregnant with twins at the time) as the FBI sought through local authorities to deal to Megaupload. I think the political and media agendas swirling around Mr Dotcom have muddied the waters somewhat. Partly I thought it was an insurmountable problem anyway - like a runaway iceberg or inertia. The floodgates have been opened and as we can't go back in time we just have to cope as best we can with the hand technology is dealing us. Partly I thought there could be long term tangible benefits in someone freely downloading my books (I still believe this is possible - Its another route to developing fans from a source we might not otherwise have access to). But this comment in particular from Nicola Morgan changed my mine and clarified the issue for me  - I don’t believe I have a right to earn a living from my writing. What I do believe is that if anyone is going to earn anything from my writing, that person should be me. Not only me, but me foremost, me in control. - you can read the whole post here. Nicola made lots of other terrific points but this one seemed to be the clincher for me. I also recommend following the link in Nicola's point 6. The other links in Nicola's post are probably excellent too I just haven't read them all yet.

I agree the folk who participate in the production or distribution and sale of my books with my consent should be able to share in the benefits of any income. But no affected individual should feel happy, that someone who had no involvement in the creation of the content he is allowing people to download, is making millions at the content providers' expense. Millions. Every year. This writing business is the thing I am good at. I spend my time creating content for books. Selling this content is how I attempt to generate income and if someone is giving it away on my behalf without my permission, or is associated with that process, and they are receiving income in doing so, then I feel LIVID. Stop and think how you might feel if some complete stranger, without your permission, received the income you were owed for the hours you worked (and please no cracks about the IRD here). And everyone around you just said, sorry, there's no point in complaining, everyone is doing it.

It is too, too easy to click a tab and download something illegally in the privacy of your home and the likelihood of being found out and punished is miniscule, and hey everyone does it, and no one will know and lets face it today's technology is just begging to be used this way and musicians and photographers and artists and writers and illustrators and, and, and, and just have to accept that this is how it is now and there are other ways that they can probably make money, I hear Countdown is hiring.........ARGHHHHH! Don't be a part of this problem folks, be part of the solution.

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