As I write my novel, I begin to think about piracy. Yup, I'm actually writing out a full novel called "The Bonerquest," that I will self publish myself. People are going to download it for free. I don't have a problem with that. I want to make money off something I spent months working on, but I want people to read it. Lazy, broke, or just plain out "I won't pay money for that" are perfectly good excuses, but like assholes we all have them. I can come up with an excuse for anything. Piracy is stealing as we define it today, but is stealing a copy of something necessarily a bad thing? And can we ever actually change the definition of piracy and stealing to something more like sharing? I want people to read my work and make money, but if the choice was to have them read it and not make money, I'd be happy with just that.
Share everything, I say. Who cares? That new album is out, let's take a listen. A new episode of a dumb TV program? Stream that from a nefarious website. Go ahead and read all the latest comic books and of course, play all the latest PC games completely for free. Growing up poor and never having everything, having everything available for free is pretty fucking awesome. I mean it is literally right there, go find it. The problem is this guilty feeling imposed upon me about piracy, that I can't shake. If nobody had ever said it was wrong, would anybody have ever felt the least bit guilty about file sharing at all?
At least last Thursday, in the year two thousand, music sharing became a very popular thing. Who wouldn't want to listen to all of Metallica's music? I mean all of it. Ride the Lighting and all the early stuff was all there, easy to find. It took a hundred million years to download one song from Napster, but it would work. I wasn't in on Napster, but a lot of dudes were into it. Metallica wasn't exactly fond of people getting their music for free. "How dare our fans share our music! Those assholes!" Lars and the boys of Metallica were not exactly thrilled that people could do this, and made a big stink about it, ultimately making piracy a thing everyone knows about. You boners!
Flash forward, a few years. Programs such as Kazaa and WinMX show up, now you can share anything
. Any file you can put in a folder, you can peer to peer with someone, you can share. Be this a zip file with a bunch of Super Nintendo role playing games or pictures of Dragonball Z characters naked, you could share anything now. The world was at everyones fingertips, still slowly grinding away, but it existed. Taking and sharing things makes sense. Where else would you find a bunch of prank phone calls? Or lines from Titanic, dubbed over with fart sounds? The possibilities were now endless, but the speed just wasn't there to share things properly.
And then, somewhere around the year of our lord two thousand and four, bittorrent happened. Suddenly the internet opened up, and here we are now in a world of rapidshares, megavideos, and everything else.
The story I've heard, a gentleman involved with TechTV's Screensavers program and several others, worked on this thing called bittorrent that just changed everything. Instead of just getting a one to one share from someone, now you could get pieces of a file from multiple users in a swarm. Instead of downloading, a video game, you could download several hundred. Instead of song, get an album. Why stop there? Why not go for the full discography in .flac format! Now everyone is sharing everything. You can find all sorts of shit online. It is all there, and now what the fuck do we do with this technology?
I've always liked loaning things out. I got a video game you don't have, you have one I don't have, why don't we swap for a week and see if we can beat each others games? Why not do that with five games for a month? I've done that multiple times with many people. Not since I was ten, but I'm nothing if not stuck around that age. I still loan out games, foolishly, and then get angry when they come back all scratched up. Not that it really matters, but having my precious video games destroyed bothers the fuck out of me. If only I could send someone something and let them experience the video games I had, without risking them breaking my shit. If only we had that. Wouldn't that be a good thing? A great thing even?
The problem is that this makes making money off of a product more difficult.
Not impossible, more difficult.
If Lewis C.K. can do as well as he's done
, fuck anyone who says piracy ruins sales!
I find myself with a thing I want to sell. Nobody gives a fuck about it. You guys do, some of you, but would you buy a dumb book from me? Would you listen to an audiobook version that you've paid money for to have on a CD? Wouldn't you want to hold it in your hands and actually look at it, and turn the physical real pages, not some shitty iOS ap that pretends to be a book, but an actual god damn book. Wouldn't you want the satisfaction of that moment, the moment when someone looks over on a bookshelf or just laying out on a coffee table, The Bonerquest
, splayed out for everyone to give a strange look too? I find that asking anyone to buy my book makes me feel like an asshole, but putting time and money into a project like this and just giving it away is foolish too.
And I know how the internet works, the second this thing is out, and if a guy cares enough, it will be online for free, if you really want it for free. It happens. Doesn't matter what it is, if it exists, it will be put out for free somewhere if you search for the right words on the right websites. This is twenty twelve, piracy exists, deal with it.
At one point this summer, I was looking into having a celebrity read the book. That it would make the joke of this book even better, if I could get Dave Foley or Jason Mewes to read a chapter of my writing, sell it to someone, and then have them hear it. I'm still considering options for how to do this, I've quite the voice myself, but I'm so close to the material I wouldn't have the same experience reading it as someone else. A well paid guest speaker would have a whole other take on the book. I would hope to have tape of talking about how dumb what was happening was, and include everything they say in the actual release of the audio book. But the expenses and time to do all that seems like too much when I think about the piracy issue. If I throw thousands of dollars into having a guy make fun of my book, and then sell two copies, to myself, what kind of business is that?
In the interest of everyone having a copy of the book, and knowing the material, I feel like I have to give it away for free. However, in the interest of quitting my job so I can write more, I feel like waiting a year from the physical release of the book and actually releasing it myself in as many formats as possible, in as high a quality as possible.
My thought is, where I'm at now, if I find it posted somewhere, I'll link to it from here. Why would I do that? I want everyone to read it. I don't want you guys to wait a year, I'd feel like an asshole. So now what do I do? I can't give it away for free, I've invested so much into it. I can't not give it away for free, I'm totally for that in the share and share alike way I've always been. I don't hate my fans. I love you guys. Read my stuff, steal it, share it, and talk about it. I don't care. Take it.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have this same thought like I do. That "hey in a year, I'll give it away."
I say people, but I mean companies. Corporations more specifically. There are a handful that own everything, Viacom, NewsCorp, Disney, Time Warner, CBS, and General Electric, they just own everything. If you fart sideways and work for them or their subsidiaries, they own that fart. I wish I was making this up
, but I'm not. These guys own it all. If they own a company that makes something, aren't they entitled for their share? Sure. But what about sharing that share with everyone else? If I was super rich, I'd want all the pokemans for myself too. But I'm not. And I realize that what I work on should be seen by as many people as possible, and that I'm not owned by a company. That I'm just Josh Hayes, or Charlie if you're a friend of mine, or whatever title you wish to impose upon me. King, doctor, lawyer, fancy lad, troll, fuck face, or sex symbol I could be many things to many people.
But I'm none of those things. Not really. I'm just guy who wrote a book, I want to not work a soul eroding job and make people laugh. Is that such a big deal? Isn't that what everyone dreams about? People act upset about having copies or clones of their work put out. Why? The archetypes of literature only go so far. My novel follows the quest structure, with many religious elements thrown in as well as influence from folk tales. I want my story to be an honest folk tale, where the characters are all surprised by the way the world works, and often just run from their problems. If they succeed or fail depends upon how they approach a situation, if they can talk their way out of it, make it worse, or make their feeble attempt to fight for something, it is on them to do it. Just like my book, I'm doing it. Fuck everybody that said you can't just write a book and publish it, I can do that. I can do anything. You can too.
Never let anybody hold you back, from anything you want to do. That every moment we live is over before we realize it, and all we can do is hope to enjoy the moment we're in. Sieze the day guys. Life is for the living. If you're broke and want to watch a series of old cartoons, the internet has that for you.
Getting upset about piracy is bullshit by the way.It isn't anything new with the internet either. When the printing press was invented, people were fucking scared about it. Knowledge from book were going to be mass produced? Are you insane! How do you think people felt about a library, a public library, where you can go and get books for free! Surely, no one will ever buy a book ever again now! That is totally over! And radio, who wants to listen to live music or stage acts, when they can just listen on radio! Those cocksuckers have ruined everything! All is lost! Hope is over! I'd imagine having a written language to share information went over well.
If we can't grow the fuck up and laugh at everything, how can we ever really share anything with each other?
Recording a VHS off of TV or a cassette tape off radio is the same thing as online piracy too by the way. You don't own that, you're sharing it with other people who don't own that. What is ownership? Even of an idea? Can you copyright a concept? Elves and dwarves appear in everything, which is why I wouldn't dare put them into my book. My book has giant dick monsters, like DUNE and Beetlejuice, but with balls and described as being like penises. Just in case anybody misses it, the book is not going to be subtle. I've compromised bringing an outside impartial editor in for her to go over the numerous grammatical and spelling errors that I bring with me to everything, but other than that, I'm not compromising. The language I used and the deliberate circles within the novel and fast pacing are all things a book people will actually read demands.
To tape that Generation X TV movie Fox did, then pass that around to your friends to make their own copies of it, isn't that piracy? Because I know a guy that did that in the early nineties. Look at jolly old England and their video nasties list. What the fuck were these assholes thinking? That banning movies would make them not be available to people that really wanted to see horror movies? No. You can't keep anyone from anything. If a guy with a hard enough dick is horny, he will find something to do with it. That vulgar logic applies to anything. If it is pleasant or unpleasant depends upon your perception of the situation. If you're making money off something, great. If you're getting something for free that your friends all have, great. If you're losing money because people are sharing things you made, bad. If you're paying for "quality" products that are available for free if you look around, bad. So what do we do? How can we stop the greatest thing that ever happened to humanity?
I don't know. How do we stop these assholes from clubbing in the internets brains out?
I really want to be successful with writing. If you want to read my shit for free, steal it. I'd rather have you read it for free, then never read it at all. Same with the eventual audiobook, steal that too if you don't feel like buying it. I want it to be super professional and expensive to produce, just like the book, but if you want it, take it. If you end up liking it, buy a copy or tell me you liked it. I'll put my e-mail right up front, with a notice saying "if you read this, tell me how you felt about it." At the very least do that much for me, because at the end of the day if I don't know you bought it, how would I ever know anybody was exposed to Bonerquest in the first place? I'd think it was a failure and a waste of at this point almost a year of writing and editing.
I don't know everything, but I know where I stand on piracy.
SOPA and PIPA can get the fuck off my internet. I want the laws to be changed to where piracy isn't piracy anymore. We're back to sharing information and files with each other freely, without any added guilt trip. I like what Alan Moore wrote in Watchmen, "Existence is random, it has no pattern save what we've chosen to impose upon it. "I say that all the time, because I really feel that way. Nothing has any value or meaning until we've chosen to apply it. Piracy is sharing with each other information, the same as VHS tapes, burnt CDs, or libraries full of copies of books. The only difference is that it is an advancement of that same idea of sharing information done better.
Look for, The Bonerquest, the first novel from Josh Hayes coming soon.