SEOTranslator - 12:25 am on Aug 17, 2011 (gmt 0)
OK, I'm an author. And I DON'T want my work to be pirated.
On the other hand, I live in Spain. There is here a special tax on CDs/DVDs, DVRs and yes, even hard disks to compensate authors for "piracy". So people think it's OK to pirate things because every time they buy a blank DVD they pay money, supposedly for the author. So they do not see it as a crime. I should also add that in Spain it not a crime to make a "private copy" of somebody else's work - it becomes a crime when you sell it.
So we have here the situation where legally everybody is allowed to make a private copy, and on top of that the government charges a tax that is then given to author's associations. Unfortunately, the money is spent first to run those associations, then distributed by the number of registered sales that each author makes. It comes down to that big selling authors get almost everything and guys with small sales -such as myself- get a few cents. The system is obviously flawed.
From my point of view, there are several ways to prevent piracy -and I've had a reasonable success with that-. Of course, for this approach to work you need to be an indie (self-publisher). The first one is to make the e-book so accessible and so cheap (and that means, not using DRMs, because that will cut very deeply in the cost) that people don't bother trying to get it for free. The second alternative is to GIVE the ebook for FREE, but asking for a donation -up to the reader- if he liked it. I've received that way donations ranging from a few cents to sixteen dollars (which is significantly more than what an author gets as IPR rights, which is usually 3-4% of the book price). Of course there are people that are not going to pay anything, but the ratio of people donating/downloading is actually surprisingly high. I've tried both methods and as a not widely read author I earn more money than through traditional publishing.
This obviously does NOT work for the traditional publishing or big selling authors - but for us that are not millionaires it is a way to make more money than we would otherwise. Forget DRM - it's useless and cuts into your profits. If you sell an ebook for $4.99 with DRM, you can easily sell it for $1.99 without DRM, and it will be also less pirated, so you will earn more money. And $2/sold copy is something that NO editor will offer you, unless it's a very technical or scientific work. But then, the book price would be close to eighty or ninety bucks.
But piracy can be also an opportunity. Write a nice ebook about whatever subject you want, insert a lot of links to resources, tools etc and make sure that those links point to your affiliate sites. Then MAKE SURE it is pirated - upload it yourself to some torrent and similar sites. When people read the pirated copies and click on the links, you are also getting a stream of visitors, and probably a significant number of conversions and associated commissions... ;)