Yesterday, the U.S. government unsealed an indictment against two Russian nationals who were behind a massive online piracy site.
When the online domains related to this site were seized I saw a lot of people on Twitter that got very upset about it. They were pissed that all their free content had been taken away from them. Some were very vicious towards one specific author whose fans they blamed for outing the site.
I was disgusted by that reaction.
Somewhere somehow someone has twisted piracy into this idea that “life is hard so I deserve free things from our corporate overlords and I’m just sticking it to the man when I consume pirated content.” Which is a bullshit fantasy unconnected from reality.
As someone who works very hard to create content that is not high-priced and is as available as I can make it through places like libraries, piracy pisses me off.
I mentioned here that within 24 hours of my posting my video content about Affinity on Udemy it was stolen and posted on another site. Someone deliberately went in, bought the courses, stole all of the content, and then requested a refund after they’d done so. I didn’t even get paid the cost of one person watching that course before they stole it.
I’m not some big corporation. I’m a single individual trying to make a living by producing creative content (books, audiobooks, video courses) and to have someone immediately steal what I produced is offensive.
That sort of theft makes it even harder for little guys like me to continue to do this. The big corporations that people are supposedly sticking it to will go on. They’ll raise their prices for everyone else who buys their product or simply not publish certain types of content.
It’s the little guys that get taken out by piracy.
And the authors who write for those big publishers, too. Because what happens is some author writes a book that sells well. But then book two gets pirated left and right and suddenly the sales for that author look like crap. The publisher sees that drop in sales and decides that the author didn’t really do well after all and drops the author.
The author that those people loved so much they just had to steal that author’s book loses their career. The big corporation that published them? Finds a new author to publish and carries on just fine.
So when people pirate they are actually screwing over the littlest players in the market. The solo entrepreneurs struggling to make enough to keep going and the authors who came up with that material in the first place.
It’s a really shitty thing to do.
Bravo to the DOJ for doing something to address it. I hope they do more.