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.