Simon & Schuster to Share Piracy Data with Authors and Agents

Simon & Schuster to Share Piracy Data

In what seems an attempt to broaden efforts against the illegal downloading of books, Simon and Schuster announced they will now share piracy statistics with both authors and agents, and provide both with an online tool to report piracy when it's discovered, GalleyCat reports.

Since 2011, S&S has worked with Attributor, a company that scans websites for unlicensed content and sends out takedown notices. Previously, only the publisher had access to Attributor's findings. S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy elaborates on this change in policy:

The reports that you will see provide information about the number of infringements identified and takedown notices sent to infringing sites, success rates in removing infringements, the types of sites where infringement is occurring, the specific urls and geographic distribution of sites where unauthorized copies are offered and more.  (We expect that in the future we will expand upon the information currently available.) We have also provided a set of Frequently Asked Questions to increase your understanding of how piracy occurs and how we are combating it. All the information we are providing is confidential and private, but please note that we are making the same information available to agents at the Simon & Schuster Agent Portal.

Book piracy has always been difficult for me to understand because, you know, libraries. I suppose it's not that easy to rent an eBook, despite advances made by libraries and Amazon, and it's more convenient to download something than to make a trip to a physical location. For me, I like to take advantage of legitimate media when it's available, and while I fully understand the benefit Simon & Schuster's new approach offers to publishers, agents, and authors, I feel more availability of free content is, ultimately, the best way to combat piracy. Publishers should recognize that people want free and/or low cost media and find ways to provide for that desire, rather than simply attempt to squash it altogether. Clearly, Attributor has to send out these takedown notices on a daily basis, which raises the question: are these policing methods really working?

For more commentary on the piracy issue, see Rob W. Hart's column Top 10 Reasons People Use To Justify Pirating Digital Content (And Why They’re Wrong).

What does everyone think? Is Simon & Schuster's new model an affective way of addressing the problem, or is it a bit more like hiring more crew members on an already sinking ship?

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