Greetings my friends,
I wonder if anyone who has taken the side which supports illegal downloading has actually released a product of the fruits of their creative efforts. I have, as have many of my acquaintances. When you find one of your books or DVDs on a torrents site it causes a sick feeling. So much so I have many friends, very creative people, who have stopped production because they've said, "Why bother? The creeps will just pirate it and put it up on the Internet." So not only does this practice hurt the creator, it hurts the audience, as creators cease production in despair.
I think there is an attitude of entitlement, that many people feel they have a "right" to the fruits of other's creative efforts and talents, without paying, that information, services and damn near everything else should be given freely and without recompense. Fine. You give me something in return and I'll reciprocate; I love the barter system. But as old Heinlien loved to say, TANSTAAFL kiddies.
When I find my material on a torrents site I immediately contact the host with a DMCA takedown notice and have it removed. If they do not comply, my attorney gets involved. This is how strongly I, as a creator of original material, feel about this issue. As for the question of whether or not it takes money away from the creator, yes, it does. My sales go down when one of my products is torrented, and goes back up when I have the torrent removed. Unfortunately people, like water, seek their own level,and it's often the path of least resistance, so if they can get something they want for free, they will do so, and if they can't they'll pay for it. If it's a luxury item like music, movies or a book, they'll find a way to pay for it if they really want it. As someone pointed out, it ain't insulin, they don't need it to live. If you can't afford it don't get it. I wanted a piano but I didn't go out and steal one; I put money away in a savings account until I could buy it. The same principle applies here.
I'm about to publish a fiction series in e-book format with a website and extensive Internet marketing to promote it. I know there will be pirating even though the e-books will be reasonably priced at around $2.99 each, and the audio books at around $9.99. And I will be diligent at having the torrents removed, because I believe creativity and hard work should be rewarded, but I'm old-fashioned that way.
My two cents,
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?