Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I find it interesting that Dear Author castigates authors for lack of enthusiastic response to DA initiatives on the the issue of plagiarism, but also castigates them for too much enthusiasm on the issue of piracy.

Yes, Dear Author is "a reader blog and our focus is for the readers" but I am having a little trouble seeing the two issues as vastely different from a reader point of view--they both relate to the quality, integrity and sustainability of the product the reader is consuming.

But I suppose there is an obvious symmetry of author and reader point of view, if you compare the old EREC post: Breaking News: Plagiarism, Still Bad,and new Dear Author post: Piracy Is Bad.


Belinda M. said...

Thanks Emily, excellent points made here.

Anonymous said...

I didn't like the tone of the DA post, either. Their invitation for we humble authors to post our concerns came off as rather patronizing.

Anonymous said...

Bless you, Emily, for voicing my thoughts almost verbatim.

Jane pisses me off royally from time to time, but this one actually made me unsubscribe from DA. The patronizing tone was unacceptable.

veinglory said...

I think the difference comes down to emotional investment.

Readers care more about plagiarism because they feel the reader is being cheated by the (offending) author.

Authors care more about piracy because the feel the author is being stolen from by the (offending) reader.

Then both non-offending parties get offended by the (implied) accusation.

Anonymous said...

Jane is a lawyer who advocates "open source," which is essentially the destruction of copyright. She thinks that everything should be free (for her to use/borrow/shred at will), which essentially means authors should be slaves generating only free content for her entertainment.

Selah March said...

Thank you, Emily.

Anonymous said...

Been a pretty unpleasant vibe around DA for the last wee bit.

What I don't get - aren't authors readers first? I must have missed the welcome-to-being-an-author-you-can-never-be-a-reader-again packet.

Anonymous said...

What I really don't understand (and I mean this sincerely) is why DA and other readers are upset at authors?

Authors are angry about piracy since people are stealing their IP. Shouldn't they be? Shouldn't most readers be angry about this, too? Stealing is a crime. Shouldn't the publishers be attacking this problem?

Sorry if I sound like a simpleton, but I don't get it. I think that authors and legit readers would be aligned on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Emily, you are my hero. That blog upset me - I feel like a villain for wanting to make a few bucks from my hard-earned work. Very snarky in tone. You have voiced my thoughts completely. I must remain anonymous for fear of winding up on their author blacklist and earning one of their scathing book reviews. Bless you Emily!

Hot Sauce Reviews said...

The way I see, the problem here is that both sides are drawing battle lines in the sand, mostly because of the pile-on nature of the comment function of the blogs.

Jane's initial post was about authors overreacting to the act of sharing of Kindle books. It is in the comments section that things escalate into a "us vs them" event, things get heated, et cetera.

Jane is actually on the same side as the authors. But she is also trying to say that readers also deserve the benefit of the doubt. Her latest post is, to me, a reaction to some authors either refusing or remain unable to see her POV and instead turn the whole issue into something else altogether.

veinglory said...

I can see where the post came from. But I read the 'Piracy is Bad' post first and it does seem to stereotype all writers as people bothering DA with their off topic and irritating little problems.

I certainly think a few authors jumped the gun in villified legal sharing. On the other hand the majority of ebook authors are dealing with a legitimate and exponentially growing problem with these torrent sites--there seems to be a new one every day.

The approach that 'all sharing is bad' seems to me to be an effort to make the issue clear and black-and-white which obviously is not fair to readers.

But the approach of creating a grudging one post ghetto for any pircay related comments is not exactly generous to authors either.

I guess the only small point I wanted to drop into the mix is that blogs that dive into some writing issues should be suprised if others are dragged to their door.

Hot Sauce Reviews said...

No argument from me there.

But I still believe that authors are wasting their time "educating" readers. Those who won't pirate, won't. Those who will, will. The challenge here is to create a compelling reason for people to obtain legal downloads as opposed to getting them for free.

And to do that, we need to bang publishers, agents, lawmakers, people in the media, etc - people in the position to make a change.

Readers and authors screaming at each other is a waste of time. Meanwhile, NYC is still trying to further the agenda that ebooks should cost more than dead tree books.

veinglory said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Pirating is more about convenience and alternatives (and temperament). Any education on the issue needs to be subtle to avoid being counter-productive.

Teddy Pig said...

Well, I think it sucks that authors are somehow forced to run around trying to play The Little Dutch Boy of the internet. This is supposedly a technology game and the publishers are really the ones who can invest long term in trying to find the pirated eBooks out there using programs that could do this better than some author Googling away every day.

I hear the frustration from both the consumers and the authors and I keep coming back to the publishers.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, Teddy, that each publisher has individual policies. I have one big publisher that gladly handles any link I forward and aggressively sends out DMCA notices. Another one basically said "don't bother telling us" and now a third big publisher has said "here's the letter we send out, you do it." Most publishers are washing their hands of the situation and foisting it back on the authors.

(I agree with you btw. I also think some of the bigger publishers would have deeper pockets to pursue this too, especially those forums that aid and abet illegal activity)

jessica said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with the post on dear author. Maybe if was an author I'd find it patronizing and insulting but being a regular person with no dog in this fight I don't find anything wrong with the post.

note: I'm not a DA fanatic or fan so lets not start the "theiy're sending out the cheerleaders" thing okay.