Friday, October 08, 2010

Guest Blog: How Do We Prevent EBook Piracy

Cherish D'Angelo aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif with her back against the wall!

Now, that strikes me as a thoroughly clever image to accompany this spirited author's commentary on piracy.

Over to Cherish:

Thank you for inviting me to be a guest blogger during my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour, which launches my contemporary romantic suspense, Lancelot's Lady. Today I'll be discussing the controversial issue of ebook piracy and offering my thoughts on how we can prevent it.

 How Do We Prevent Ebook Piracy?

I believe the key to solving or resolving the piracy issue is to understand WHY people engage in piracy. The first reason is they have a sense of entitlement. They believe they should get things for free. They also believe they should be able to share an ebook just as they would a print book. What they don't understand is the issue of making copies and breaking copyright laws. Educating readers is crucial to diminishing the amount of piracy that occurs.

Copyright is in place to protect authors. It's the only real protection we have. Copyright means the author (or publisher) has the right to make copies of a work―either in print or as ebooks, audio etc. Authors and publishers are the ones who have the right to authorize who distributes the author's work. Making and selling copies of works is the way authors make an income from their profession. When someone shares a file illegally, they're acting as an unauthorized distributor. Neither the author nor publisher is paid. Some pirates are even going so far as to sell authors' ebooks so that they are making an income. That is theft.

I understand that people like to share a book they've read. Some will even say they do it to help the author. If they really want to help the author, they should encourage their friends to buy the book or ebook. DRM, digital rights management, is set in place with some ebooks to help prevent piracy.

Many people don't like DRM because it prevents them from sharing between their own devices. That needs to be addressed. I have no problem with someone wanting to have my ebooks on their computer, iPhone and ereader. But what stops them from then sharing the file with friends by giving them their own copy of the file?

So how do we prevent ebook piracy? That's a difficult question to answer. I believe educating readers is part of the solution. They need to understand the laws and why they're in place. But will they really care about whether the author can afford to pay their bills? Probably not. They want the immediate gratification of a good read, not an insight into the author's finances.

 If I had the power to stop piracy, I probably would start with closing down all file sharing websites. Most are sharing pirated material. If you want to share something you've written, email it as an attached PDF or whatever. Too easy. But this doesn't stop someone from emailing a PDF ebook they bought or got from another pirate.

Next I'd instigate stricter laws for those participating in illegal file sharing. Higher fines paid directly to the author and/or publisher would be set in place. Do I really want to penalize readers though? No, of course not. But our society revolves around laws. I have to follow them. Why shouldn't everyone else?

Ebook pricing plays a part in piracy. Most people believe ebooks should be priced lower than the print version. I happen to agree. I've said it for years: ebooks just don't have the same overhead as a huge print run of books that have to be stored. Once publishers start to realize that consumers won't pay the steep price of today's ebooks, we'll start seeing lower prices as the majority.

Regardless of publishers who are marketing ebooks at well over $10, readers still have choices. There are thousands of ebooks selling for less than $5, some by well-known bestselling authors and some by lesser known authors. There are ebooks selling for less than $2 and some for less than a dollar.

People don't have to illegally download ebooks when they can get them inexpensively or for free. Many authors, including me, often give books away for free. I regularly have contests with free ebook prizes. Just take a look at this virtual book tour. I'm not only giving away my ebooks throughout my tour, I'm also giving away other authors' ebooks―with their permission.

Please help me prevent ebook piracy. Show an author you support them and help enable them to continue writing and doing what they love. Buy an ebook today, whether it's mine or someone else's, and please…do not illegally download ebooks. On behalf of all authors, I thank you.

By the way, my ebooks are all under $5, with the most expensive at $4.99 for a new release. My least expensive ebook is only $0.99, with the majority at $1.99 and $2.99.

Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at and Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.

Where do you read most―on the couch, in bed, in the bath, on a bus, at work?

Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.


RowenaBCherry said...

Welcome, Cherish!

Your article is timely. I hope you noticed that the government wishes to hear from anyone with a stake in copyright.

Please follow the link and email them.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Hi Rowena, I think we're going to see ebook theft in the news even more during the next year. I'll check out that link!


JM said...

I went to a panel that touched on this at the World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne. For Australians, DRM is the precise reason a lot of piracy happens. A lot of people don't understand why an ebook on sale in the US can't be on sale in Australia. At the moment, the only option for honest people who want an ebook that is restricted is to either not read the book or download it and send the author a check (which people at the conference have said they've done).

We're certainly still seeing growing pains with ebooks, but I'm looking forward to what the future will bring.

jmfictionscribe at

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

I agree that all ebooks should be sold universally and made available legally for sale to all countries.

From what I see and hear though, DRM doesn't seem to be the main reason why people are illegally downloading in North America (and probably elsewhere). People just don't want to pay when they can get it for free. It's a mindset.

What they don't realize (or if they do, they just don't care) is that this hurts authors, publishers and book/ebook retailers.

I own my copyright. That means I'm the only one who is allowed, by law, to make copies of my work--or I can assign someone else (ie. publisher) to do that. Authors should be paid for their creativeness, time and hard work.

Sadly, the majority of pirates will never think to compensate the author; they'll just steal the work. Many will go on to pirate that ebook thousands of times over.

I'm all for a form of DRM. Ebooks shouldn't be able to be given away freely unless by the author/publisher. I do believe that consumers should have the ability to transfer ebooks from their PC & laptop to their ereader and smartphone easily. This is where technology needs to play catch-up. :-)



Pam S (pams00) said...


Great enlightening post on piracy!

I don't feel ebooks should be there for the "picking" so to speak by bypassing the authors etc.

I think it would be neat to set up some sort of swapping system perhaps so that an ebook or pieces perhaps? could be shared with usergroups (a limited amount that is) for a temporary period. Sort of like the Nook library I think (don't own a Nook so not entirely sure).

I hate DRM. I understand the reasoning behind it and can totally see its purpose. But I have really hard time getting the adobe digtal or whatever it is to work on my pc. It crashes somehow and so some of the ebooks I've purchased were pointless. Also I got a netgalley act but have not been able to review alot of the books for this reason.

In terms of prices I think $5 or so is a fair price to ask for an author's work. Admittedly, If it is much more I'll just go get the print if available or it may stay on my wishlist a while (unfortunately my money is really tight right now and as a single mom without steady pay my book budget has gotten limited).

Pam S
pams00 @

JM said...

I'm all for a form of DRM, too, that will help authors take care of this. I can't even begin to imagine how much money is lost every day for authors.

Sarah Lynne said...

I am playing catch up!! I had a wedding to go to and got behind. Sometimes even stalkers take a break!!!

P.s Thank you for stalking me!!!

sarahcoulsey03 at gmail dot com

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