E-book Piracy

Thesis by @RWhiteAuthor for English-123 October 2020

Digital eBook Piracy has become a massive problem for authors, publishers, and book distributors worldwide. There are several arguments and opposing views on the subject. Some companies and blogs discuss eBook piracy and counterargue this issue by ignoring the pirate websites. (Nettles, 155) It is usually not worth getting into removing the title from the website in the first place because the company usually scrapes Amazon for a title, blurb, and cover to sell their malware, virus, or infected document.

In many cases, the download is not even a copy of the book. As an author, eBook piracy strikes bitterness as pirate websites are on the rise. Piracy becomes a growing issue for authors, publishers, and book distributors as digital content become available in the digital age.

It is essential that authors and publishers must come together on digital piracy because authors should get compensation for stolen intellectual property. More substantial DRM encryption securities are needed. Congress should pass a digital copyright law to protect authors and their books.

One point to address is getting publishing companies such as KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) to compensate authors for lost royalties. After further research, it is noted in an article on selfpublishingadvice.org, “KDP Piracy Victims May be Eligible for Compensation.” (Doppler, 18) Published in 2019, Kindle rewards authors lost royalties if they prove their book has been pirated. A rule in the terms and conditions should become a standard for all publishing companies, to allow authors compensation if their work is stolen. Online Publishing companies need to find ways to make it possible for authors to receive their lost royalties. The website owner should be responsible for each download’s cost, which could be a start to lessen pirate websites from offering free books in the first place.

A second point to address would be to build better encryption for DRM encryption. Watermarks should be an industry standard on the book’s pages in ebook and print editions, making it harder for people to crack with simple software. Following some research, in the article “Publishing house HarperCollins plans to introduce digital watermarks to control ebooks piracy?” (Kandala, 2014) found in The Economic Times e-paper, HarperCollins is introducing watermarks in each of their books hoping to curb eBook piracy. Although what is needed is a way to add these watermarks to print editions. With pirates scanning the print version and creating a PDF file to make it free online, it is harder to track. A watermark placed on the print and digital editions, tracking watermarks as soon as the uploaded files are on piracy websites, makes it easier to locate stolen property. No matter what kind of encryption we come up with, it needs to be available on a large scale across all platforms. Businesses need to work together to create a DRM for each e-reader, phone, or tablet that will work effectively with all devices that can not be hacked and deleted. Adding the invisible watermark is only added protection to help track pirated content.

A third point to address is the DMCA and Congress. It has been in our constitution for over two hundred years that it is essential to protect the artist’s work and writing. However, “Congress has yet to pass an effective digital copyright law.” (Spencer, 64) With 90% of books being digitally available in the technology age, it is essential to follow through with a law to protect digital content, making it easier to protect an author’s intellectual property. Authors and publishers need to convince Congress that digital copyright laws are needed to support authors in protecting their writing more than ever with the available technology. Another critical way to combat eBook piracy is to change the way people think. When a book becomes available many go straight to google searching for a free copy of the book and not purchase it. Teaching the newer generations about copyright law and infringement will help curb some illegal content downloaded on the internet.

Digital Piracy will continue to be an issue unless authors and publishers come together to create a system that will allow publishers to pay for lost royalties to authors from all publishing platforms. Replacing royalties to authors once pirated only takes care of that compensation. If professionals in the writing industry want to stop digital property piracy, these fundamental elements are needed. Publishing platforms need better software and more advanced secure digital media encryption. Another approach is petitioning Congress to enact digital copyright laws to protect authors’ rights; intellectual property owners can stop eBook piracy; before it gets out of control.

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Works Cited:


Doppler, J. “Piracy Victims may be Eligible for Compensation.” self Publishing Advice. n.p., April 18 2019. Web https://selfpublishingadvice.org/piracy-book-payments-amazon-kdp/

Ginsburg, Jane C., et al. Copyright and Piracy : An Interdisciplinary Critique. Cambridge University Press, 2010. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=337632&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Mooney, John. “Irish-run website investigated over ebook piracy operation.” Sunday Times December 18 2011: n. page. ebscohost. Web https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgit&AN=edsgit.A275168825&site=eds-live&scope=site

Nettles, James P. “Tools of the Trade.” Business Essentials for Writers. : Amazon, 2019. 155-157. Print.

Kandala, Satya. “Publishing House Harpercollins Plans to Introduce Digital Watermarks to Control eBooks Piracy.” Economic Times November 28 2014 Global ed.: n. pag. Gale Opposing Viewpoints. Web. . http://bi.gale.com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/global/article/GALE%7CA391723668?u=nhc_main

SPENCER, LINDA. “Digital Piracy.” Publishers Weekly, vol. 263, no. 45, Nov. 2016, p. 64. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=119300822&site=ehost-live.

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