Friday, June 12, 2009

Yo-ho! Yo-ho! A pirate's life...

Piracy is the hot topic on a lot of romance writer bulletin boards lately, and I don’t mean the kind where swashbuckling knaves make off with feisty heroines.

With books available in electronic format, it’s easy to share files, swap novels, and basically steal content without authors receiving a cent for their work.

Well, as you might imagine, though there are some authors who figure it’s no big deal, a lot of authors are up in arms over this, mad as hell at the pirates who are rampantly ripping them off.

I have a different attitude. I think it’s important that authors get paid for their work, but I think the bill should fall, not on the consumer, but on the internet providers who charge for the availability of this content in the first place. Would you pay $30 a month for your internet service if it DIDN’T come with any intellectual property? Think about it. No music. No video clips. No newspaper articles. Nothing that was created from the brains of artists, musicians, journalists, authors? Not even the photos I’ve included in this blog entry?

I don’t want to bore anyone with the details, but for decades, the music industry has had a brilliant model for this in ASCAP and BMI. These performance rights organizations charge nightclubs, restaurants, theaters--any venue where music is delivered to the consumer--a fee for that right, which they then distribute to the creators of the music, based on a sampling of what songs are being played.

Why can’t we do that with books? The internet providers pay a small fee for the content they’re delivering (research says that approximately $5 per month per IP address would be sufficient), and consumers can then enjoy unlimited downloads of any creative content they want! It’s sort of like cable TV or an all-you-can-eat buffet. An independent writer’s organization then does a sampling of what’s being downloaded and pays authors and publishers according to what books are most popular.

With that model, the current pirate sites would become amazing resources for distribution and the authors’ and publishers’ best friends!


Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007
DANGER'S KISS - Flirting with trouble May 2008

1 comment:

Mary Marvella said...

Pirates are cool. Being a pirate? Hmmm. I once had that fantasy. the I got older and realized I need my modern conveniences.