Today I found one of my books available on a pirate site. I wrote Short Fews 1, a collection of short stories, nearly two years ago and published it on Amazon Kindle for £2.29. I have sold enough copies to buy myself a new Rolls Royce.
We all like a bargain and if we can get something for nothing, many of us will jump at the chance; I have a feeling that I wrote the book on a pirated copy of Word. I do not feel too guilty because I had a genuine copy, but when I bought a new computer it had crashed and three computers later, all licences had been used up and despite trying, nobody would put matters right...so I nicked what I had already paid for.
Many pirating sites make you subscribe to some irritating pop-ups or have a tool bar that takes over your life, so in general the pirate makes your life hell and isn’t worth the hassle. I was, though, strangely sympathetic to Pirate Bay when the authorities kept shutting them down but had never downloaded anything from them. No, my unconnected reasons go back to the 1960’s, would you believe, long before the age of computers or pirated software.
I am of an age when there was no official commercial radio in the UK and apart from the long-extinct Radio Luxembourg (208m, medium wave) that was beamed from continental Europe, pop music was only available officially and rarely on the BBC Light Programme (Radio 2 since 1968). In the early ‘60’s Pirate Radio stations (as they were named by the authorities) sprang up, the most well-known were Radio Caroline and Radio London, which broadcast from converted ships anchored offshore and beyond the law. Yes, they pirated the music and paid no royalties to the artists but many, if not most, up-and-coming pop stars’ records would never have been played by the self-serving, censoring BBC. In fact many of the top names in the pop world owe their success to the ‘pirate stations’; I and many other teenagers listened to the Pirates regularly and were bereft when on August 14th 1967 the Labour government imposed the Marine (etc) Offences Act, which closed down thirty or more stations, leaving only Radio Caroline to soldier on till in went aground on the Goodwin Sands in 1968/9. (The story of Radio Caroline was wonderfully portrayed in the film The Boat That Rocked with Bill Nighy playing the station's founder Ronan O’Reilly.) The baton was picked up by Radio Northsea International but, denied their advertising stream, they did not last. For those interested in sampling Radio Caroline today, including clips from those magical days of the 1960’s, it is available over the internet...but never will it recapture those heady free music days of my youth.
So I confess to being a thief, to listening to unlicensed music, to getting something for nothing, so I shouldn’t really complain when the impoverished download my books from a pirate site...after all I am a wealthy author who can sit and relish my Rolls Royce bought so easily with the thoughts of my mind and the actions of my hands, even if it is only a scale model in a display cabinet.
To those people that have downloaded my work for free, I hope you enjoy it, but maybe you might like to redeem yourselves a little by putting a fair review on Amazon. They do not demand that you have bought the book officially and a confession is not required.
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