Winning Feels Good

Winning feels good (if you let it). Don't stress over what you can't change. Do what you can, count your win, and then move on.

There’s been a lot of talk about piracy lately—about how we need to “do something about it” and “talk about it” and “make changes”.

Piracy sucks. I know authors are distraught when they see their books available to download illegally. And I was pissed when I found out that the entire sales page for one of my products (and the product itself) was copied over to another website and being sold there. It’s not cool. And the first question that runs through your head is, “How much money am I losing?”

Is it worth trying to change the world?

But despite how sucky this all is, I don’t think sitting down and trying to change the world is the answer here. People are always going to pirate. For every company who figures out a way to watermark, encrypt, or protect their products, there are 10,000 people out there who know how to remove that watermark, decrypt that code, and steal that product.

I don’t believe there’s a way to stop piracy. It’s like trying to rid the world of bad people, like hackers. There will always be people who want to hack, and there will always be people who are smart enough to figure it out. That’s why I believe sitting around talking about “preventative measures” or “making changes” or “combating piracy” is a waste of time. It’s going to happen.

So what can we do about piracy?

Yes, piracy will happen. But that doesn’t mean we have to ignore it. I just think we need to spend less time trying to PREVENT piracy and just focus on what we can do about it when it happens. What you can do is have that content taken down.

This post is called “Winning Feels Good” because I had some of my content stolen and I got it removed. And you know what? It was easy, and winning like that felt really good. I was proud of myself for doing something instead of sitting around complaining about bad people doing bad things.

I found out who was hosting the website (GoDaddy) and I filed a copyright infringement claim, providing all my evidence. Within a few days, GoDaddy replied and told me that they took the content down.

Sure, it’s a small victory, because the content can always be put back up again (either on this site or a totally different one). But hey, it’s one point for me and I’m keeping my damn point.

Take action, count your wins, and move on

Once again, I don’t think piracy is something we can stop. There will always be bad people, there will always be copy cats, and there will always be people who are smart enough to get what they want regardless of any obstacles.

If you sit around trying to “change the world” and remove piracy forever, you’re going to be sitting for a long fucking time.

If you visit these piracy sites and count how many times they’ve been downloaded to add up “lost revenue”, you’re just kidding yourself. If a book is illegally downloaded 50 times that doesn’t mean you lost 50 sales. Most people who pirate do so because they have no intention of buying your product. If that piracy site didn’t exist, they probably wouldn’t have bought the book legitimately, so it’s not really a “lost sale”. Don’t make yourself feel bad about these downloads that lead to an inaccurate number of “lost revenue”.

Bad, dishonest people are part of life

There’s nothing we can do about that. File your DMCA take down notices and move on. Work hard on your products/services and give people a damn good reason to buy from you and not steal from some sketchy illegal site that will probably give them malware anyway.

Have you ever had something stolen or copied?

Did you file a copyright infringement complaint? How was the process for you?

Photo of Ashley
I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

Don't miss my next post!

Sign up to get my blog posts sent directly to your inbox (plus exclusive store discounts!).

You might like these


  1. I’m sorry some of your designs got stolen, but glad you got it resolved to your satisfaction. I’ve had some content re-posted without my permission, but the site did have a link back to me. So that was kind of a gray area. Great post!

    Midnyte Reader recently posted: City of Masks - Audio.
    1. Yeah that is kind of a weird area. If it was the entire post, I still wouldn’t appreciate them doing that. 🙁

  2. I agree that book piracy is never going to be stopped, but I think some preventative measures can be useful. Even just talking about it can be useful. Some people are just determined to steal, but I think there is at least a handful of readers, often young ones, who just haven’t come to a full understanding they ARE stealing and that it DOES hurt people. If we convince just one of those people to stop pirating book and to respect the idea that creative and intellectual work deserve to be compensated, I think that’s a victory, too.

    1. I think it depends on the platform. For example, a panel at BEA about stopping plagiarism probably won’t help much because it’s going to be full of people who want to prevent it—not full of people who can learn that what they’re doing is wrong.

      But I definitely do think it’s worth educating young people about it directly. 🙂

  3. I agree about dealing with the piracy when it happens. It’s the same with people who won’t pay bills or shop online because they’re afraid personal info will be stolen. I shred everything as a preventative, and check my accounts often, but I still take advantage of all the modern conveniences that are available to us today.
    When I was teaching I worked with students a lot on plagiarism and copyright infringement with their research papers, and it really does bother me when people download movies or music illegally. My nephews are always watching something I consider pirated online, but telling me it’s not illegal because “It’s hosted in China, and we’re not downloading, it’s a stream, so it’s OK.” I tell them it’s still not morally OK because a lot of people worked on that film, but you’re right, they wouldn’t have paid for it in the first place!

    Elizabeth recently posted: A Letter to CBS
    1. Yeah it sucks when people always try to justify it.

      I saw a ridiculous one recently where a reader pirated a book because she claimed she wanted to “check the ending” before the bought the book. What even… O_O

  4. I have had posts and content stolen from my website but when I sent a message to the people, I got no response. It was very frustrating. This all happened years ago. If I knew then what I know now, I would report them to their hosting company like you did.

    You’re totally right, Ashley. I’d rather spend my time focusing on what I can do!

    1. Contacting the hosting is a great idea for the future. 🙂 If it’s one of the bigger, more well known hosts, they will comply with all DMCA take down notices. I was actually very pleasantly surprised at how swiftly GoDaddy acted on my complaint!

  5. I have mix feeling about piracy and the way we deal with it nowadays.
    Very often, I feel like DRMs (copy protection) come across as “anti-sharing” feature. We human share stuff: music we like, movies, games, books, even clothes. When this sharing was limited to close friends and family, rare were the people to complain about it. It was just normal.
    Now you can put anything in digital format online and you get thousands of people downloading the thing. What to make of it?
    I have published a casual game last year and seriously, piracy HURTS tremendously. Basically, if everyone who played the game had paid it, we could… have made a second game. And it’s not like the game was expensive (5$) or (I think), bad, since our rating is rather good on Google Play and iTunes. It’s just that some people made it easy to download it for free on illegal websites. Visitors might not even have known it was an illegal copy. Those websites were not in North America nor in Europe. So what can you do? Nothing. You send mails but you are ignored.
    16 500 illegal copies of our game were installed in just one country (I won’t say which one to avoid, well…). And it’s the copies we know about because the stats feature wasn’t cracked/removed.
    When it’s possible to contact someone to complain about the pirating, it’s good. When they do something about it, it’s even better. But I believe in the majority of the serious cases, complaining isn’t an option: if the copying is from another country, it’s going much more difficult to claim your copyright. Some just don’t care at all. They do what they want because… well, what are you going to do unless you’re a billionaire?
    On the other hand, I am, as a user, annoyed at DRMs. I recently installed an old video game that wouldn’t work on recent OS because of the DRM. I buy DRM-free games on preferably. I prefer for buying ebooks. I’m annoyed when I can’t share music, movie or an ebook with someone because I bought it, and the product is just “for me”. I still believe sharing (with friends and family) is part of what we are and I don’t mind people sharing our game, if they did, to their close friends.
    What I mind is mass-sharing through free download websites or torrents of products made by people who need the income to keep working in their field.

    Angélique recently posted: Review: The Bear by Claire Cameron
    1. I totally get where you’re coming from. There are certain things that I DESPISE and some of those are:

      * DRM. I get why it’s there, but I feel like I should be able to install an application on both of my computers, or put a book on two of my Kindles or whatever. You know?

      * Country restrictions. I feel like this is such a stupid thing in a digital age. I have a Netflix subscription. If something is available on Netflix US but not available on Netflix UK (where I live) then that’s basically ENCOURAGING me to pirate. I’m pissed because it’s on Netflix but I’m being told I can’t watch it. And I know it’s not Netflix’s fault, it’s stupid territory rights or whatever, but it’s things like that that make no sense.

      * Annoying price differences between countries with digital products that have no shipping costs. Sometimes a game is $30 USD in the US, but £30 GBP in the UK. That’s $45.17 USD. I’ve seen a lot of cases like this and it just pisses me off that we have to pay more in the UK for no reason. And no, it’s not VAT being added or something, it’s like they just put up the same price but threw a pound sign in front of it, which actually makes it cost significantly more.

      Some of these companies just dig themselves into holes. When they do things like that, it makes me understand why people might want to pirate. :/

      1. I’m in a ranting mood! I’ll add:
        * When you buy a digital movie HD (Google Play, iTunes, whatever) with your computer and you can watch it on your TV because the DRM doesn’t allow you to plug your computer to your TV.
        * When an online purchase is worst quality than a pirated version: SD, not working, no subtitle or when you HAVE TO watch it dubbed.
        * When you buy a multiplayer/co-op game but you can’t play it with your soulmate because it’s ONE FREAKING SERIAL KEY PER PLAYER (come on, who’s going to pay up to $70*2 to play ONE video game???)
        * When you buy an ebook that locks the display settings (font type, font size, line height and so on) and it just doesn’t read well on your eReader! And I’m not even talking about PDFs.

        Ok. I’ll go and pour myself a cup of chamomile tea to cool off :p

  6. I’m glad you “won” this round! On the one had it’s hard to believe someone would do something so heinous (aren’t they afraid of repercussions if they get caught??) but on the other hand it’s like you said, those people probably won’t buy the products anyways. I used to work in retail during high school and one of the main reasons our products went up in prices was to compensate for those who were shoplifting. So piracy just doesn’t hurt those who created the product, but everyone who may want to utilize it/buy it legally as well.

    Cristina @ Girl in the Pages recently posted: Princess on the Brink (#8) by Meg Cabot- Reread Mini Review

Recent Posts

    Random Posts