Publishers Weekly posted an article talking about a book piracy study released today by the Attributor. PW article is here; their link to the original article wasn’t working. My thanks to Rich at Attributor, who contacted me with a link to their study results, including methodology, here.
Publishers could be losing out on as much as $3 billion to online book piracy, a new report released today by Attributor estimates. Attributor, whose FairShare Guardian service monitors the Web for illegally posted content, tracked 913 books in 14 subjects in the final quarter of 2009 and estimated that more than 9 million copies of books were illegally downloaded from the 25 sites it tracked.
Anyone seeing any possible problems here? Here are two that jumped out at me right off the bat.
- The $3 billion figure assumes that everyone who downloaded an illegal copy of the book would have otherwise gone out and purchased a legal copy.
- Attributor is a company specializing in anti-piracy solutions. Hardly an objective or trustworthy source, in this case.
Please don’t take this as approval of illegal file-sharing. I’ve made some stories available for free over on my web site (left sidebar), so I’m all for sharing some free fiction. But when you upload a copy of one of my books to a file sharing site, you’re being a dick. (Downloading a copy? Lesser dick.) If you don’t want to pay $7.99, no problem. Go to a used bookstore. Go to your local library.
That said, I don’t think piracy is the end of the world. I just wish we could get more trustworthy data & discussion, and less dogma.
::Takes a deep breath:: So please feel free to talk piracy and file-sharing, but be aware that over-the-top extremism may be heavily mocked, regardless of what side it’s coming from.