Book pirates be warned

"Six inches of bloody stump": one author's threat to those who illegally post his work

As e-books increase in number and variety, so do their pirated versions, often appearing unauthorized on websites like Scribd and Wattpad or file-sharing services like RapidShare and MediaFire. Some publishers react aggressively—John Wiley & Sons, a textbook publisher that also issues the Dummies series, employs three full-time staff members to trawl for unauthorized copies—while others hate the publicity, believing it only encourages the pirates. Authors too, differ in their responses. Cory Doctorow, perhaps the most prominent novelist proponent of open copyright, issues free electronic versions of his books the same day the hardcovers go on sale, in the belief that obscurity is a far greater problem for most writers than piracy. But veteran SF writer Harlan Ellison views unauthorized digital copies as a direct assault on his wallet. So far he’s sued 240 people for posting to the Internet without permission: “If you put your hand in my pocket, you’ll drag back six inches of bloody stump.” 

The New York Times

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