by Will Viharo
The good thing about the digital revolution is that anyone with an artistic project (music, book, film) can now upload it to the Internet, find an audience, and maybe even make a profit. The problem is possible patrons can also be potential pirates, and steal it! How’s a novice author to protect his intellectual property?
The issue of eBook piracy is a relatively new problem that is sending shockwaves throughout the industry, rattling the nerves (and pocketbooks) of indie authors and established publishing houses alike.
One report quotes a study by Dutch firm GfK that claims only 10% of eBooks currently in circulation on the world's tablets, e-readers, smartphones and other various devices have actually been purchased! This same article details a lawsuit by Rightcorp, which owns several major music companies including BMG, against Internet service provider Cox Communications for lost revenue due to pirated eBooks, as well as MP3s, claiming they're not offering enough protection against these electronic predators.
The big boys can take care of themselves, since they have the technological resources to combat piracy. For instance, according to this article, HarperCollins, in collaboration with eBook distribution company LibreDigital, are now embedding eBooks with invisible watermarks that allow the transaction to be tracked and traced, like police planting a bug on a getaway car.
But how do you keep your precious eBook out of the hands of that 90% of illegal downloaders? (Or make that freeloaders!)
Extras Cost Extra
Basically, you have similar tools at your disposal – but for an extra price.
Just like an indie author can pay for editorial services, professional cover art, and even increased visibility on various marketing platforms, he or she can also pay for protection against piracy.
Numerous companies are jumping into the fray to fill this gap. The major one right now is MUSO, a London based company that provides paid security for all your software, including published eBooks.
Of course, as this post posits, it may be beneficial for a struggling new author to have his or her works in circulation, even if they're rip-offs. Why? Exposure. But if it’s not your choice to share something for free, it may set a dangerous precedent.
Bottom line: in this day and age, any hacker with the will and skill can probably access anything online, including your eBook.
Beyond securing your eBook via companies like MUSO, the reality is, there's not much you can really do about it right now, just like you can't positively protect all your personal information, like credit card and social security numbers. It's the nature of the world we live in. All that's really in your power is writing a book worth stealing!
Want to keep pace with this evolving marketplace? Learn how to avoid pitfalls by joining the conversation on Facebook and Twitter pages, and reading blogs like this one to learn how to customize your social media platforms and build a loyal fan base that will actually want to pay for your hard work!
Photo courtesy of GDS Infographics