Anyone remember last year when John Wiley & Sons, publishers of the For Dummies books, pursued a bunch of BitTorrenting John Does? One of these cases has now come to an unfortunate conclusion, with the defendant being ordered to pay $7000 for downloading WordPress for Dummies. Once.
Knowing that these cases often have nothing whatsoever to do with the authors, I (again) contacted Lisa Sabin-Wilson, the author of “WordPress for Dummies” directly. This is what I had to say:
Dear Ms Sabin-Wilson,
As you probably have heard, one of your readers was just ordered to pay $7,000 for reading your book “WordPress for Dummies.” http://torrentfreak.com/7000-fine-for-sharing-wordpress-for-dummies-on-bittorrent-120702/ While I know that this litigation is often perpetrated by publishers, not authors, I can’t help but feel that authors voices could affect judgements in the future, so I would like to ask you to please consider speaking up against this attack on your readers.
Piracy is far from the industry killer it’s been portrayed as – some evidence even suggests it is helpful to authors. For example, you may have seen the 2010 O’Reilly study: http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/01/book-piracy-drm-data.html At the very least, the evidence that exists is hardly conclusive enough to force thousands of dollars from readers.
Consider that your readers – paying customers AND pirates – chose to read your books because they value your knowledge, not because they want to cheat you, and that here is an opportunity to grow and cultivate a very grateful fanbase. Please consider speaking up!
I really believe that if writers spoke up, while not having any legal right to contest their publishers’ actions, together they could really affect the outcome of these cases. And because of this, I’d like to encourage others who are concerned about this to open a dialogue with the author. Ms. Sabin-Wilson can be found at:
Her personal site
Or on Ewebscapes, her business’s site.
Please consider dropping her a friendly line, reminding her that pirates are fans too, and asking her to stand up for sane judgements for her readers.