Yesterday, I found an eBay seller who is selling e-books. I won't get into the rant about how that's illegal, unless they are your own e-books...or you're the publisher or distributor and have contracted permission from the copyright owner to sell them. That goes without saying...or so I thought.
Now, what makes this one so very unique is that she's selling (among the true pirated copies of NY Times bestselling authors like Grisham) copies of FREE reads, offered by authors of Phaze. The idiot... (I will explain why I believe this person is an idiot shortly.) The idiot doesn't even have the excuse of believing it's okay to resell a used e-book, as you would a print book, because she's offering FIVE lots of the same ten books. How stupid do you have to be to actually believe you have the right to do that? It's probably not stupidity, of course. She's probably well aware of what she's doing, but...
Now, why is she stupid? Beyond the fact that she's pirating NY Times bestsellers on eBay... Beyond the fact that she claims that re-selling e-books is fine... Beyond the fact that she's selling multiple copies of the same books... Aw, come on. I expect that from any pirate.
When contacted with a C&D from the publisher, she demanded proof that the books were contracted works. Uh...check the covers and the copyright page, anyone? When presented with that, she claimed she "purchased" them from ARe (as if we don't know they are free reads?), so it was okay for someone to purchase them from her. eBay currently has a formal complaint in their inbox, and may they cancel her account for violations of law, the TOS...and rank stupidity. Stupidity should be painful.
But, back to the thrust of my blog post today. Someone raised the following question of me, and I felt it deserved an answer.
If it's a free read, wouldn't you want people passing it around? Why would you stop a pirate who's passing free books?
When I first found the pirate, I debated that question for about .5 seconds. This is what I came up with.
If they were giving it away for free, I wouldn't say word one. They could put it on BitTorrent, and I wouldn't care. Well, I would, but only because it sets a bad example, because people seeing it pass don't know it's a free read. Ideally, it would pass with a note that the author had given permission for it to pass, which is the best of all worlds. It's a free read, and I want it to pass as far and wide as I can manage. In fact, I would gladly give direct links to every free read I have available and encourage readers to pass them, with a note of my permission.
Why a problem then? Because the idiot is selling them! They are free reads. They are my gift to readers and potential readers. Selling them is taking advantage of the readers I adore, and I can't abide by that.
What I find immensely amusing about the whole thing is that pirates often say they are trying to help authors and readers by pirating books. Bunk, but... In this case, you have a self-serving pirate who is hurting other readers in pursuit of a few bucks. Pathetic.