Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) sent in the following note on what is happening with Peace Corps books:

File sharing has been in the news for many years, usually about pirated movies and music. The result was a new governmental investigative team called the Internet Crime Claim Center (IC3) and a formatted complaint form to warn computer pirates to cease and desist (see DMCA Notice). Books can also be shared. If you have a copyrighted book and wish to give it away, file sharing might be a valuable tool. However, if you sell your book, you might unexpectedly find others giving it away.

Recently three of five of my Peace Corps books were offered for free downloads without my permission. The site had no listed address or name of a contact person. According to a web search, the host was a company worth more than four million dollars, without an address. One site did note that one fifth of its customers lived in India. I electronically sent a complaint form to the site’s e-contact and the search engine. The download offer evaporated within 24 hours but reappeared on another site for one of my books. This site listed a contact person in Denmark!


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  • First: a disclaimer. I spent 35 years working as a writer and reporter, so I do understand the difficulties involved in the craft. But unlike many of my friends and colleagues I have never gone through the agonies of producing a book nor have I had to earn a living from marketing books. So what I have to say is like a man discussing the pain of childbirth: sympathetic, but necessarily detached.

    Here’s my point: had I written a book and then learned that some folks had put it on line and offered it for download — and that, one assumes, the book was downloaded and read by a large group of people, well, then, wouldn’t I be happy with the wider exposure? The point of writing is to be read. Right? Three people — with, I agree, no scruples regarding intellectual property rights — helped you market the book. In India, a good market for English books. In Denmark: an E.U. gateway! Not bad. Better that most American publisher provide.

  • I agree that piracy is a two-edged blade. I have two friends that bought their own machines years ago and took self-publishing to a new level. They actually created two books themselves, then bound them by hand. After all this work they not only gave the books away but put a disclaimer inside that neither was copyrighted and anyone who wished to pirate them was welcome!

    In this new digital world, maybe intellectual property is no longer possible.

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