Terry Goodkind is very popular for his “Sword of Truth” series of books. The author recently self-published a new book named “The First Confessor”. This book was launched earlier in July and came on the top of Amazon’s bestseller list in a quick span of days. The success of this book also attracted many book pirates, as piracy is quite rampant in the digital world and any published book cannot escape this cycle.
But interestingly enough, Goodkind employed a severe method to deal with these pirates. According to The Guardian, Gookind employed a “shame game” against one particular pirate. It is reported that Terry posted these lines: “So Josh, how about it—no respect for a hard-working author and fellow racing enthusiast? Not even for someone that is emphatically trying to reach out to people that might consider pirating our hard work? Can’t be bothered to read and consider our note on piracy in the front of the book? How ironic you claim to be a fan of books that uphold truth and honor above all else? We hope the price of fame is worth the cost of your infamy.”
As a reaction to the post, a few hours later the Josh guy had deleted his Facebook account and also removed all the pirated links from the net. Looking at this situation, lots of interesting questions arise of piracy and reactions towards it. Is it wise for writers themselves to take up the challenge against pirates and point out each and every individual involved in book piracy? Should these pirates be “slandered” publicly? Pirating Terry Goodkind’s best seller which has sold more than 25 million copies would not by any means affect Terry’s bank account for sure. So what was actually the whole point of this behavior?
Questions remain regarding whether writers should spy around the web to hunt down pirates? Is the reaction of mobilizing fans to hunt down pirates and crucify them appropriate? What is going to happen if J.K. Rowling starts to publicly shame the ones who have uploaded her books on a file sharing website? Crowd mobilization of Rowling fans is easily possible, but what if this leads to a widespread violence against the pirate Rowling points at? Also, if we took it a little further, what will happen if a Die Hard fan and follower of Terry physically attacks the “book pirate” and hurts him?
Whether all of this is justified or not, it should be maintained that authors are like celebrities and carry a social responsibility which restricts the behavior of singling out an individual and smashing them publicly for stealing their work. It is the moral responsibility of the authors to keep their behaviors in check and not to play with public sentiment. What Terry Goodkind did was unusual, but he obviously acted out of momentary anger and did not think of the consequences his comment might have on the “Joshes” of the world.