Matt Feldman, Owner of Meztrailov Fantasy Games on Internet Piracy

Our friend, Mr. Feldman, of Meztrailov Fantasy Games, recently had an issue with one of his authors’ books being pirated. We wanted to share his experience with you to help raise awareness about this issue. We stand with him as he speaks out against piracy in all its forms, and hope this message reaches the ears it needs to.

Internet pirating, for the most part, seems like a largely victimless crime. The truth is, if you’re 16 years old and downloading songs illegally from bands like Metallica or the Beatles perhaps it is. However, as I got older and realized the damage that was actually done in the long run to people’s businesses due to piracy I realized what a crap thing it was to do.

The problem isn’t the fact that the item is getting out there. In some ways, Internet Piracy is a form of compliment, but, in my experience, thus far in the publishing industry, it has been nothing more than a hindrance and an outright expressive desire to undercut my company and leave my authors with nowhere else to go publishing their work.

It’s no secret that lately one of our own authors had her book series pirated. By whom, we are unsure of at this time, and even if we did know, it’s not professional policy to throw that kind of information around. However, I will say this: When someone pirates a book from an indie publishing company who is just starting to get on it’s feet, and is doing it the honest way – through hard work, while the owner of that company is going to school, and the author of the book is doing her best to promote her work the piracy of those books takes food out of the mouth of the author and her family. It also impacts the publishing company and the varying bills they have to pay such as editors, cover artists, and ISBN numbers and marketing websites.

Meztrailov Fantasy Games is not some big company, nor do we profess to be. But we do our darndest to ensure that our clients are well protected. When a book is pirated, you steal from the author. I don’t care if you steal from me. I have little that’s worth stealing. What I do have to steal, however, is my author’s work, and I don’t like it nor appreciate it when someone steals from my author. I wouldn’t download an indie author’s book illegally. If I like a book, I’m going to pay for the book, it’s that simple; whether it’s a download or a hard copy.

For someone to pirate, it takes not only a lot of stones but it also says something about the author you’re pirating. To me, it says that they don’t respect the time and energy the author went into putting the book together, the painstaking amount of hours that the author has spent creating that work, perfecting that work as she and the editor go over the manuscript, in the desperate hopes that someone will actually enjoy the creative piece they’ve been put together. All of that hard work, is suddenly kicked right out from under them one someone pirates their book. They’re effectively telling them that they’re good enough to read but not good enough to be paid for their work.

It’s insulting to the author and the indie publishing company. Any recourse that occurs from it is, frankly, karma’s way of getting back at someone. It was Stephen King who said it best in his Dark Tower Series, “Ka is a Wheel, the Wheel of Fate as foretold by Gan. And it spins for all, not just you Gunslinger”. No finer words have ever been published by a major author, than that particular line from the series. I own every book and the Codex for it, just because I’m willing to pay for my books. My book shelf is filled with my authors’ books, my Nook is filled with my authors’ books that I won copies of (yes even I am willing to pay for my author’s book when I can afford it!). I believe they deserve every cent of that money. Any indie author does. I’m not just saying this for my own company, but I speak for all indie authors, and all indie publishing companies. We work incredibly hard to protect our clients. We do things in the name of the greater good for the client. We bust our butts to protect our clients, in every way that we can. That’s not me patting us on the back, that’s me giving you the honest truth.

Piracy, when I was a kid, was a cool thing. When I was a kid I didn’t understand the full ramifications of the actions I was taking. The truth is when you’re pirating from a start up company, which is what most indie publishing companies are, you’re starving them of the ability to ensure their authors can actually eat a decent meal and provide for their families. Whether you’re stealing from the publishing company is irrelevant. All we are is the middle man that exists to provide a way for the author to get their name out there and become the next Stephen King, or Jim Butcher or Anne Rice. I didn’t like Harry Potter so J.K Rowling isn’t relevant (I’m kidding of course).

But, that all set aside, and all joking aside, I simply think it’s unfair, and it’s incredibly cowardly. It sends the message that you don’t have the stones to approach the situation like a rational and logical adult. You have to be a petty child to get what you want. For those that pirate, congratulations. You’ve succeeded in proving why humanity is a constant cycle of insanity.
-Matt Feldman of Meztrailov Fantasy Games

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