Spanish Novelist Quits Writing In Protest Of Piracy
via The Guardian:
Award-winning Spanish novelist Lucía Etxebarria announced on her Facebook page that she has quit writing (at least for now), because more people are illegally downloading her latest novel than actually paying for it.
The Contents of Silence was published in October, and while her previous works have been best-sellers, this one has tanked. The book, which costs more than €20 (approximately $26), is not available in eBook form, although a PDF of the novel is readily available for illegal download.
After making the announcement, Etxebarria was strongly denounced and ridiculed on Facebook (according to The Guardian, but the posts are in Spanish so I can't read them). Critics are saying that if she was really passionate about writing she wouldn't be concerned with making money (and I'll get to that in a minute).
Meanwhile, Etxebarria is considering only allowing her books to be published in France and Germany, as those countries offer greater copyright protection laws. Spain, apparently, has the most per capita illegal downloads of any country in the world, and Etxebarria says government officials are too afraid to legislate on the issue.
This brings up two interesting points worth discussing.
Etxebarria didn't want to put out an eBook version of her novel because she said it would encourage piracy. But I believe the DRM protection offered by an online retailer, coupled with the lower price point of an eBook, would actually discourage piracy. Thoughts?
Also, while I'll allow that it's melodramatic (and probably untrue) for Etxebarria to say she's going to quit writing, it's ridiculous to say that she should live in a hut and starve so she can write books for people. Yes, good writing is a compulsion, but the reason we get our writing published is so we can continue to feed and shelter ourselves. So we can continue to write.
Etxebarria has won a number of literary prizes--a few of them worth a great deal of money--but just because you have some money lying around doesn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to earn out on your investment of time.
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