Monday, 22 December 2014

An Open Letter to E-Book Pirate Maraya21

Dear Maraya21,

Recently I received an electronic notification that you have uploaded unauthorized copies of my four Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novels to eight different pirate websites on the internet. Needless to say, I was very upset.

Not understanding why I had been targeted, I visited one of these sites and discovered you've made more than 100 uploads of copyrighted material belonging to dozens of authors. Visiting the page you've created for my e-books, I found an exchange of comments between you and an anonymous person--not myself or anyone I know--that was very interesting. Anonymous said:

  • Just love the ego/vanity thing you got going on with your name inserted not only in the metadata, but in the books themselves... hilarious. I guess if you're going to steal ebooks, you may as well get your name all over the real author's work as much as you can.

To which you replied:

  • First i do not STEAL ebooks, i PAY for them. With actual money. So that is why i tag the books with my name so other people would not take my work and present it as theirs. I do not tag books that i haven't paid for. Second i do not erase or alter ANYTHING inside the books, especially the Authors name! I put my tags on empty spaces and anyone reading the books would know that. Thrid [sic] since i PAY for my books i have the right to tag them. But if you people not like [sic] having ebooks then i can very easily stop and spend the money on shoes and stuff..

Wow, so much here to respond to, so much to say. I left a comment of my own, but unfortunately someone deleted it. Here's what I said to you, in case you've forgotten:

  • Hello, I'm the actual author of the books you're distributing. First, thank you for buying your own personal copies of my novels. I appreciate it. I should mention, though, that it took me about a year to write each of these books. I only sell enough copies to pay for the cost of publishing the next one. I will never make enough to come close to paying for my time. I'd ask, then, as a matter of dignity, that you respect the investment of time, energy and stress I put into these books and please take them down again. Beyond that, I hold the exclusive copyright on these works throughout the world. Period. You do not have the right to put your name in the metadata or text, nor do you have the right to distribute them to anyone else. Period. So I ask you, respectfully, to please withdraw them from the various sites where you've posted them... Please. Thank you.

Too bad this comment was deleted, but I think, Maraya21, I covered the basics there. Just to be sure, though, let me reiterate: as per s. 501 of the Copyright Act, Title 17, United States Code, you have infringed my exclusive rights as copyright owner to claim sole ownership of these works and to distribute them. Read the subsequent sections of the act to see what my remedies are against you.

But enough about me. Let's talk about you. Curious to know more about Maraya21 the bold pirate, I ran a Google search on your handle and found information that I have passed on to the authorities. I've filed a complaint with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center of Homeland Security against you. I've also encouraged other authors victimized by you to file their own complaints. Hopefully, they will.

What will the future bring? For my part, I'm trying to set aside the feelings of violation and humiliation that go along with being a victim and write new novels that I hope no one will steal from me in the future. It's not easy, knowing that my e-books are being downloaded for free with your name in them, as though we were collaborators. I write and publish them, and you make illegal copies and distribute them for free, waving the skull-and-crossbones while shutting off my very modest source of revenue. Works for you, apparently, but it definitely doesn't work for me.

And for your part? Perhaps very soon an ICE team will knock on your door with a warrant to seize your computers and documents, freeze your bank accounts, and put an end to your night-time career as a pirate. Then you'll dearly wish you'd spent your money on "shoes and stuff" instead of my e-books. Think about it. Perhaps if you do, you'll understand the wisdom of removing my novels from the various sites to which you've uploaded them. Please, as an act of dignity and respect for all MY HARD WORK, take them down now.

Thank you,

the author

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