I’ve said that “piracy doesn’t matter” several times, and people like to argue with me about that. Of course, it’s a phrase said for effect. Piracy matters, but: publishers can do little to influence piracy. Giant conglomerates like the RIAA, MPAA, and BSA are incapable of stamping out commercial and non-commercial piracy. Does such an organization exist for publishers? I don’t know, and I don’t care.
(As usual, when I say piracy, I mean non-commercial duplication of content without paying for it. Commercial piracy is a whole different ball of wax that is harmful, but not something that I personally encounter in my industry.)
Piracy doesn’t matter because we can’t stop it, and we can’t control it. If you can’t control it, it’s a waste of time to worry about—so I worry about the things I can control and influence:
- Improving my books so people want to buy them.
- Building titles in formats that people actually use.
- Marketing and distributing my works to new venues.
- Empowering existing fans so they want to and can more effectively share the love.
- Continued business practices focused on respect for our markets, partners, and customers.
- Not vilifying pirates; no use making enemies out of people that might become or are already customers. (You would be surprised how many people comment on torrent sites using handles that they use on other sites … including the publisher’s own site.)
And that’s just off the top of my head, big-picture things. Plenty to work on, productively, with actual measurable results; and an ongoing learning process towards producing and selling Better Stuff. Stuff that matters.