Here’s something I just became aware of on Facebook. A number of authors are banding together to fight a popular e-book piracy site based in Canada. Author Stephen L. Wilson has been posting information to his blog, and to a Facebook community formed to coordinate efforts.
The pirate site is called “The Ultimate Ebook Library,” which has a Facebook community of its own where it insists that it is “not doing anything illegal under US or Canadian law.” However, the site offers thousands of e-books available for one-click EPUB download, so that must be one of those creative definitions of “not doing anything illegal” that you hear about these days.
Wilson claims almost 300 members on his anti-piracy team so far, and has succeeded in getting several sources of funding cut off to the site, including Amazon affiliate links. On its Facebook community, TUEBL claims that it was using the Amazon affiliate credit to buy books and send them to South America.
This war on TUEBL is really sad, because the people that are being harmed is not us. It’s almost as if the publishers and authors have decided "if we can’t get our way, we are going to make everyone else pay for it". There are now going to be poor children who are not going to be getting new books. Yet TUEBL will live on.
I rather wonder about that. It might be fashionable for US media organizations to insist Canada is a haven of piracy on their annual Special 301 list of copyright violating countries, but from what I gather Canada actually has copyright laws almost as strict as the US. I find it hard to imagine that this site will continue to exist for very long with the pressure that hundreds of authors and readers can bring to bear. At the very least, I’d surely expect its administrator (who apparently posts to Facebook under his real name) will be charged with copyright violations ere long.
I really do have to shake my head at all this. It’s really amazing how self-serving some of these rationales can be for providing unauthorized, unpaid access to other people’s work. I have little doubt the Amazon affiliate links did sell a lot of books, but the pirates don’t get to decide that someone else’s work can be available for free on-line—that’s up to the people who wrote and published that work. Good luck to the authors in getting this site taken down.