As a writer one of the things you have to learn to deal with are the many "sharing" websites that illegally offer your books. In some ways, I guess it's a compliment that people like your books so much that they want to share them. I try to keep that in mind, really I do. The problem is that I spend many, many hours across many months writing these books and I only get paid in royalties. So when my books hit these share sites I lose my hard earned income. My last book was available for free downloads only hours after its release and I made so little money off it that it didn't even pay for the paper and ink involved, let alone any of my time. I'm a single mom, and yes, I have a day job that pays my bills but my writing income is what I use for "treats" that we couldn't otherwise afford (dinners out, movies and the occasional weekend adventure). When people download my work for free it isn't some big corporation they are ripping off - it's my fun time with my son that they are hurting. Most of the writers I know are in the same boat, or even worse, they're actually trying to make a living off their work and every royalty check is key to putting food on the table. If you've ever downloaded someone's book, think about that, okay?
Most of the time, I don't get too incensed about finding my books available for free downloads. I send the site an email explaining that the book is under copyright and ask them to remove it. Lately the responses I get back have set a long list of hurdles I have to pass in order to "prove" my copyright and "properly" request it's removal. It's a huge time drag and it just seems wrong that I have to prove my rights (like they couldn't just go look at the well known publisher's website and see that oh yeah, there it is!). But, okay, I went along with it. The latest response from a pirate site, however, has me absolutely floored. The website http://search.4shared.com not only came back with a long list of what I must do to prove copyright but it actually threatened me with the following: "...you may be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys fees) if you falsely claim that an in-world item is infringing your copyrights..." Then they tell me to hire a lawyer...as if most writers have the money to do that!
It just kills me, not only are they taking away our hard-earned income, now the pirates are threatening the writers with lawsuits and damages. The absolute cheek!