I was watching Power Lunch on CNBC yesterday, which I always do, even when I'm writing. A musician, entrepreneur, and co-author of a business book was being interviewed.
He was asked about piracy.
Kudos to Bill Griffith, and especially Michelle Caruso-Carrera for asking their guest, 50 cents about piracy. Of course, they targeted music piracy. Too bad they didn't ask his co-host, who was also a guest, about book piracy.
Essentially, the mega-rich musician/author guest (whose name is 50-cents) said that he did not mind piracy at all, and that musicians looked on the theft of copyrighted musical works (he did not call it theft) as inevitable, and as promotion for his concerts and tours and merchandise.
I find this attitude, while understandable, essentially immoral. Musicians muddy the waters of what is right and wrong when they tell people that stealing is good for the victim. They undermine all copyright by confusing the public, and by saying they don't mind theft.
That makes the rest of us, who do mind internet piracy look bad.
It's a case of "I'm all right, Jack!"
How popular does a musician have to be, to get a tour? Or a merchandising deal? Maybe not so much.
However, authors aren't usually paid for doing book tours. It's completely the other way around. Authors go on book tours to promote the book. Speaking engagements aren't usually paid. Anyway, authors write. Speaking is a whole set of other skills.
Authors don't sell merchandise (unless they are George Lucas, or J K Rowling... good luck to them!). Most of us can't even sell T-shirts, coffeemugs and tote bags, although we could create them at Cafepress.
Why don't we? Because we respect the copyrights of the cover models, cover artists, and cover model photographers, who usually sell limited rights to the publishers to use the images on the cover of books and for the promotion of those books, but not on mouse pads, underwear, screen savers and other merchandise sold for profit.
The best we can do is transfer a snappy quote from our books onto a T-shirt.
Anyway, I need a concluding thought to tie in with my opening. Otherwise, I would not admit this thought had crossed my mind... but if I happen to see this musician's business book on some of the file-"sharing" sites, I shall hope that the CNBC Power Lunch team are also tracking this book, and that they will have their guests back to ask about book piracy!
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