An Open Letter To Copyright Infringers, Piracy Advocates, and Thieves

Dear Copyright Infringers, Piracy Advocates, and Thieves,

You see value in what I create from my books to my music and my art.  I know you do because you feel compelled to illegally download and to illegally offer my copyrighted intellectual property to your friends, family, and subscribers via numerous websites and social media.

Your reasons for doing this are varied, and none of the reasons you give are valid.

Some claim that they are financially disadvantaged, and that gives them the right to foist their financial disadvantage on me and my family.  I have news for you. Being financially disadvantaged does not give you the right to steal my paycheck.  At no point have I agreed to subsidize your financial situation with my hard work and my royalties.  If you don’t earn enough money to buy what you want, don’t default to stealing and then justifying your actions with excuses.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a student in debt or a single parent on welfare or someone who’s just too cheap to do the right thing.

Some claim that they’re doing me a great service because once they read my book, or listen to my music, or enjoy my art, they’ll tell their friends who have money.  In other words, I should thank them for all the free exposure they’re giving me.  Listen, lots of people die of exposure, and you aren’t doing me any great service since you and I both know that your friends are more likely than not to be just like you.  Yes, they’ll more likely than not be engaged in the same illegal activities as you when it comes to other people’s intellectual property.  So don’t try to sell me that song-and-dance routine where you promise to be my Number One fan because even Stephen King knows how that ends.

Some claim that it’s just one book or one CD or one image, so it’s not really hurting me, the copyright owner, all that much.   Except that it’s not just one book or one CD or one image that’s being illegally downloaded or illegally offered.  There’s no end of illegal downloads and no end of illegal offerings out there.  When you make yourself part of the chain, it’s never just one book or one CD or one image, and you know that.

Some claim that, once they read my book or listen to my CD or view my image, if they like it, they’ll for sure buy a legit copy.  Except that you and I both know that’s not going to happen either.  Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free, right?

Rest assured that copyright owners are fighting back.  We’re filing legitimate DMCA Takedown Notices with the appropriate people and agencies, and we expect those legitimate DMCA Takedown Notices to be acted upon responsibly.  Don’t think you can hide behind smoke-and-mirrors, because copyright owners are getting pretty savvy as to how we can go about filing legitimate DMCA Takedown Notices.

And for those of you who say that the tech guys are going to side with the copyright infringers, piracy advocates, and thieves, think again.  Those tech guys of whom you speak — the ones who write code and create software and are responsible for gaming development and all that jazz — aren’t too impressed with seeing their paycheck decimated by the Don’t Pay Brigade.  They and their companies are filing with those same people and agencies, and they’re expecting those same people and agencies to act responsibly on their complaints as well.

So dear copyright infringers, piracy advocates, and thieves, should you get notified by your Internet Service Provider that a complaint has been filed against you for copyright infringement, accept that you’ve been caught.  Pay the fine.

And stop stealing from copyright owners.

It’s as simple as all that.

Elyse Bruce

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