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Steal This Book? There’s a Price

The New York Times – I have about 400 offers to buy illegal copies of my own work. Something is very wrong – “Most of them, it turns out, are phishing scams, asking gullible users to hand over credit card information before proceeding to their ostensibly free copy. The real theft happens elsewhere, though, according to publishing industry experts who track the rapid growth of book piracy. It happens in a bewildering assortment of venues, including “piracy libraries” that turn up in Google searches, illegal PDFs on eBay, counterfeit physical copies on Amazon, private file-sharing groups on Facebook, and person-to-person sharing via thumb drive. “There are people out there that just want everything to be free,” says Mary Rasenberger, the executive director of the Authors Guild (where I am a member), “and it’s like a religion to them.” Some piracy sites, she says, even advise users how to buy a digital copy of a book, strip out the digital rights management (D.R.M.) intended to protect the author’s rights, upload the book to a file-sharing site, and then return the book for a refund, “so they don’t even have to pay for the original.” Some sites are so insanely bent on copyright piracy that they offer their followers wedding vows, in which the couple solemnly commits to support the copying culture. “They don’t understand that writers need to get paid, and publishers are not going to publish books if they can’t make money on them.”..

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