Sunday, March 10, 2013

Income vs Piracy

I think we're asking the wrong question: how do we let people pay for [music]?
-Amanda Palmer, in her TED talk, "The Art of Asking"

I had this belief--which was completely erroneous--that if people up on the web and if you didn't tell them to take it down, you would lose your copyright. ... And then I started to notice... places where I was being pirated... I was selling more and more books.
-Neil Gaiman, in his interview on Copyright and Piracy, available on Youtube

Put simply, I want to treat my readers as partners and not crooks. There is no future in calling your most active promoters crooks.
-Cory Doctorow

Copyright isn't there to keep people from experiencing art. It's not an exclusive club. It's just a manner to show attribution, to give credit where credit is due. Neil Gaiman, further along in the interview above, asks his readers two questions, and I've paraphrased them here:

How many of you found your favorite author by buying a book? How many of you found your favorite author by borrowing a book?

As I hope you can guess, the latter group is much larger than the former. Borrowing, being lent, sharing, that's what major corporations who are afraid to lose their copyrights and income, that's what they're calling piracy.

Now, I'm part of the minority. My two most favoritest authors (yes, I butchered that on purpose), one of them being Neil Gaiman, I found by browsing bookstores and buying books. Nonetheless, practically everyone else on my "Top Authors" list was found from borrowing.

If you visit publishing stores, you'll find scarce few of my own publications listed for free. That's not to say I don't share this same belief, and my end goal is to reach Amanda and Cory's position, where I can afford to give it away. But if you visit my websites--here and deviantArt--you'll actually find everything written openly and free. All I'm actually "selling" is the convenience of having all the pieces gathered together in one place.

But I don't make a living off my writing. I'm not there yet. Not even close. It's my aim, my goal, and when I reach that point, then you'll see all those prices disappear. Instead of telling you to pay for those conveniences, I'll ask, just as I don't demand that you support my blog, I just ask. 

(And if you really really hate the links, let me know, and they'll go away. I'm just trying to get to the point where I don't need them, and then they'll go away on their own. It's not easy being a writer with so many other voices clamoring for attention.)