Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Let's talk about Piracy...


I need to speak for a moment about piracy. Before I do, I want to clarify by saying that sharing a book that you love with your friend so she can love it too is NOT piracy. That’s sharing your love of reading, and hopefully opening your friend up to a new reading experience. This is not what this post is about.
All artists who publish their work struggle daily with piracy. I hire a service, Muso, that works every day to find files that have been shared without my permission and sends those distributors what we call a DMCA notice, which requires that distributor, by law, to abide by copyright law and remove the material that they don’t have permission to distribute.
Usually for free.
It’s painful and time consuming and a pain in the ass.
But today it’s gone a step farther.
I noticed yesterday that my newest release, TIED WITH ME, was “on sale” on Amazon for $3.03. The regular price is $3.99, and I did not put the book on sale. Because it’s self published, I hold all control of the price of the book. When I contacted my representative at Amazon, I was told that they were price matching with Google Play.
I was stunned. I don’t offer my books on Google Play. I’d never uploaded the file for sale on Google Play.
After emailing colleagues, my agent and publicist, I came to the realization that my book had been illegally uploaded onto Google Play. Someone had posed as the publisher and put my book up for sale on Google Play.
WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.
I would like to say that upon receiving my phone calls and emails today, Google Play has done everything in their power to make this situation right by taking the steps to have it removed from the site.
However, that doesn’t eclipse the big problem. A “publisher” by the name of Gesserit Publishing, based in North Carolina, is the person who uploaded and sold my book.
I’m going to make sure that they don’t get away with it.
To my colleagues, all self-published authors, if you have NOT uploaded your books to Google Play, I suggest you look to see if they’re offered for sale there and file a DMCA if they are without your permission. I’m quite sure I’m not this despicable person’s only victim.
To put this in perspective, imagine working 60+ hours a week and when payday rolls around, your check is given to someone else. Someone who did nothing to earn it.
I’m an artist, yes, but I’m also a savvy businesswoman. I work hard. We all do. My books are reasonably priced. There is no need to steal from me or anyone else.
I’m looking into legal action regarding this matter. I’m devastated that someone was able to upload and SELL my work on a major retailer, and am determined to get to the bottom of it. Gesserit Publishing, which I’m sure is an alias, will not get away with this.
To the vast majority of you who read and love my books through legal and moral means, thank you. It means the world to me and to other authors to know that you invest your time and your hard-earned money into our work. I know that you’re on a budget. We all are. I appreciate you, more than you know, for choosing to spend even a small amount of your money on my work.

Kristen Proby