Today is... a special day.
Today is the first international Cuddle a Pirate Day!
Every year from here, on the third Monday of the month of September, we will be be asked to put aside our differences to give momentary comfort to criminals: to rippers and scanners and hackers, who take the labours of love our artists spends years of their lives eating last night's leavings to create, then distribute them for free on the internet.
I do not approve of these doings. Nor should you, if you've any interest in keeping the writers you love in mouldy toast and so on and so forth.
But that doesn't mean we can't all have a hug. :)
In honour, then, of said strange occasion, I wanted to point you all towards this article on Giant Bomb, which breaks down the huge boost in sales brought about when the developer of a widely-pirated video game - a fast-paced, point-and-click puzzler called McPixel - took The Pirate Bay up on an unconventional offer: essentially, Sos Sosowski agreed to advertise the torrent containing his creation on The Pirate Bay's front page. He urged potential pirates to spend some time with McPixel, and if they enjoyed it, to consider donating a little something something via PayPal.
In short, Sosowski "gave piracy a high five and came out alive."
So I was wondering: could this shock drop in the ocean turn the tide on the pirates?
Well... it's unlikely, isn't it?
That said, I think it could make a real difference in the ongoing conflict between artists and those who seek to steal their ticket to a hot dinner.
With that in mind, could this ironic reversal be applied to publishing? Because of course novels are widely torrented too: thanks to enterprising scanners, free e-books can often be downloaded day and date with the release of official printed or electronic editions.
So authors, talk to me: how would you feel about doing something along these lines? Would you be prepared to pop in to The Pirate Bay or the Mobilism forums to basically shame potential pirates into paying their way, for once?
Meanwhile, readers: I have a question for you too. What effect do you think this would have? Smelly as I don't doubt they are, put yourselves in a pirate's shoes — and let's not pretend we haven't all been tempted at some stage. Would the pleas or remonstrations of an author immediately below the big Nick This! button put you off your mooted pursuit, or are pirates simply criminals, oblivious even to personal appeals?
For my part, I believe this could be a reasonably effective means of taking some of the anonymity out of piracy. I'm sure it isn't a fix, but then I don't know that any such thing exists, or ever will.
And better a band aid than an open wound, no?
But what do I know? You Tell Me, me hearties!