Building A Better Future #HAHAT #IDAHO #Prizes #HAHABT

So it’s that time of year again, International Day Against Homophobia, and we’re all hopping to show our support. Two years ago, I showed you what homophobia really was. Last year, I encouraged people to share their stories. This year, I want to talk about changing the world, one person at a time.

hahat hop against homophobia transphobia

Read on, there be prizes 😀 Continue reading

Unmasking Piracy

So we all know as long as there have been digital files, there have been people stealing them. Generally I don’t lose sleep over my books surfacing on torrents or forum websites. I know in 90% of cases they’re using my title to hide a virus, and the people downloading them wouldn’t have paid money for my books anyway, etc etc. I know in the grand scheme of things, I’m not losing much in real terms from piracy. That doesn’t mean I have to like it, or condone it, and you can bet your ass when I find it, I report the shit out of it. I can write DMCA notices in my sleep.

Plenty of people argue that if it doesn’t hurt, why fix it? I’ve heard people say that piracy is going to happen whatever I, and authors like me, do to prevent it, so why bother? But you know what, none of the bad things that happen in this world would happen but for the inaction of good people. If I see somebody getting attacked in the street, intervening won’t stop all violence from happening, but I’ll have stopped one instance. That’s all any of us can hope to do.

In order for the little people to make a difference, however, we need the big organisations to support us. We need the criminal justice system to penalise antisocial behaviours. We need proper recourse when we have been wronged. And we need corporations to stand with us and say, “Not in our name.”

So when a fellow author stumbled across an open and public group on Facebook, freely sharing copyrighted book files, you’d assume they’d respond quickly to a report, right?

Wrong.

report declined

“We reviewed the group you reported for containing theft or vandalism and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”

Community Standards which are in breach of American copyright law, I hasten to add. Sadly, however, DMCA notices (legally binding for American companies) can only be issued by the author or copyright representative of the title being pirated, meaning unless they get involved, we are at the mercy of Facebook’s ridiculously unequal TOS. Show two shirtless guys almost kissing and you’re banned for months. Illegally share copyrighted work and they’ll look the other way.

Noted, Zuckerberg.

And just in case you think I’m being melodramatic about the reach of this group, here’s a screenprint of the files being shared right now.

free novels download group

That’s Twilight, 50SOG, George R. R. Martin, Dan Brown, and countless others, for those who can’t be bothered to embiggen.

And here, from the group description:

description

“Only copyrighted material gets uploaded to this group.”

How brazen do you have to be?

Here’s the thing, when we say “pirate” we all think of a happy-go-lucky band of scallywags, likely led by Johnny Depp, who cause trouble for the establishment but make the underdog laugh with their foolish japes. It’s bullshit. These people are thieves, no more or less, and they deserve our contempt.

You are not the hard-done-to underdog if you don’t want to pay for a book you want to read. It’s called budgeting, and we all do it. There are plenty of films I’d like to watch at the cinema, but I wait until they’re out on DVD or Prime because it won’t cost me half as much to view them. If I want a book but don’t want to pay the list for it, I’ll wait until a site like ARe has a rebate and get it half-price. Hell, most Kindle books are loanable and there are plenty of groups which will set strangers up to do loan exchanges so you can read a title for nothing without the author being ripped off. Sites like Scribd offer subscription services to read as many books as you want for a flat fee. There is no excuse for stealing books. None.

I know there will always be pirates thieves, but I’ll be damned if we just turn a blind eye and let them flaunt their thefts in public. The harder we make it to find pirated books, the less people will consider the theft worth the effort or risk. I know I wouldn’t download anything from a torrent in case it wiped my hard drive. Some people will always choose to steal rather than buy, but let’s push them back to the underbelly, where they belong. Groups like this have no place on reputable sites, and shame on Facebook for not removing this one immediately.


Update: after a veritable flood of reports, success!

removedWhile we won this battle, this group was far from alone on Facebook. The only way to win is to keep reporting them, keep the pressure up, and make these big corporations accountable for their actions until they decide to remove illegal content when they find it, not when there’s an outcry. It shouldn’t be so difficult to get a large company to do the right thing.

 

 

 

Roundup: LGBT #PushBack Fundraiser

So, it’s over. 224 authors, bloggers, and publishers of LGBT fiction clubbed together to reward anyone who could give a little bit of time or money to charity over the past two weeks. 161 people took us up on those offers and we conservatively estimate we raised over $1000 for various LGBT charities all over the world.

rainbowpizza2

All the donors have now been contacted, and should be getting in touch with their winner(s) this week. Everybody who participated won at least one book/gift card (some lucky people won two, so don’t panic if a second author contacts you!). If you entered the Rafflecopter and haven’t heard anything within a week, please contact me (author at kateaaron dot com), AJ Rose (ajrosefiction at gmail dot com), or Meredith King (diversereader at yahoo dot com) and we’ll chase up your donor to make sure there isn’t a problem. (Equally, if you’re a donating author/blogger/publisher and you haven’t heard from us, please send an email!)

Don’t forget to check your junk/spam folder!

To everyone who took part, everyone who shared the links and read the post and gave their time, money, and books to give something back, thank you. The money we’ve earned over the last few weeks will make a huge difference to so many lives, providing food, shelter, and support to people in desperate need, and that’s something we can all be proud of 😀

Coming Soon ~ BALLS UP ~ Blowing It #2

balls up blowing it book 2 cover

The sequel to Blowing It

Owen Barnes’s life is finally going the way he wants. He’s making a living as an author, and his relationship with building surveyor Magnus Cassidy is going from strength to strength.

When Owen finds a lump, he buries his head in the sand. He’s too busy for doctor appointments and besides, it’s probably nothing. He pushes concern away and is soon swept up in a whirlwind of distractions. His best friend’s husband is falling apart and Owen needs to be strong for them, not burdening them with his fears.

He says he’ll deal with it when the new book is released, when Ryan and Sameer are more stable, when he’s done writing. Owen has a hundred excuses to hide one simple fact: he’s scared.

Eventually Magnus drags him to the doctor, and the news isn’t good. Can Owen cope with the unexpected turn events have taken, or is his perfect life about to go balls up?

Expected Release: June 2015

Waxing Lyrical

If you’re interested to hear my opinion on self-publishing, I’m over at Jay Northcote’s blog today, talking about how and why I do that thing I do.

And don’t forget the LGBT Push Back Fundraiser is still happening! We’re creeping up on 100 entrants, and there’s still plenty of time to lend your support to this wonderful charity initiative. Follow the link for a free, exclusive story by AJ Rose.

LGBTQBannerFB