Friday, August 20, 2010

A letter to the Pirate Party of the world

My name is Nix Winter. 
I write romance and sci-fi, draw comics. I'm not a great writer, probably. I'm not the worst writer. 
There have been times when I've made a fairly good living entertaining people with my stories. 
How that works for me is I spend time and skill making a file with the story in it. Usually my own art as well. Then I set this little file for sale. People buy it for a small price. Some of the money goes to me. Some of the money goes to my distribution system. I buy bread and cheese. 
Recently I've found my books on a lot of sites where people get my books, but I don't get any money. They're talking to each other some of these forums.. and I can see them talking to each other. 
It breaks my heart. It bleaches the will to create out of me. 
They think they should have my work for free. Do they think I'm a slave? That I should work, but deserve nothing for my work? Am I horrible? Am I a bad human being that people should think it's okay to take my efforts? If someone wanted to have sex with me and I didn't want to have sex, would they have the right to have what the wanted from me anyway? 
So you're a new political party and you think it's okay to do that to me? That as a creator of stories... I deserve nothing? These stories are my soul and my blood. If I can not earn a living creating stories, do  you think I should just go get a different job and stop creating? 
I ask this in earnestness. I am not being flippant here. Do you seriously think I should create no more works, or only create such works as I wish to do for my own entertainment and share them only with my close friends? 
How do you think a creator of stories should earn a living? Should I beg? 
When I create my stories, some of my characters are so precious to me. They are like living voices in my mind. When I create them and share them with the world, it is a safe feeling that I will have some say in how other people use those characters, worlds. 
You would strip that sense of safety from me, so that anyone can do anything they wish with my characters? And if they do something that defames my characters, ruins my vision, is obscene and insulting to me, that I should have no recourse other than to beg them to stop and watch them laugh at me? 
If I understand your party correctly, and I might not, but if I do, you wish to take all my rights from me via democratic processes. Reason and natural law mean nothing, but you can take my precious possessions from me because you wish to share them with everyone?  It's like the right of eminent domain, but it is the mind that is parceled out?  It is my soul and the whole effort of my life that you feel you should have the right to use as you please without regard to my wishes?  To prevent you from owning my ideas and dreams, then I must remain silent? So I then have a choice between silence or pillage?  I don't know which I prefer. Both feel like death. 
Tell me then, bright and shining children of the future, how do you plan to reward writers and creators?  My ideas and stories are a resource. I require resource in exchange for their use. Tell me how you think I should be fairly compensated for such us? 
Pirates board ships, take resources, enjoy the use of those resources. We can say that the ship is the planet, but the ship I fear is about to be boarded now is not the world, but my mind. 
Nix Winter

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nix. I saw some of your postings on

    I responded to one of your posts, but I wasn't sure if you were serious or just trolling; so I decided to visit here. Since you made this post on your blog I'm going to assume that your questions are genuine and I'll respond to the best of my knowledge.

    Your concerns while generally valid for a creator are based on misinformation/misconception.

    You want to create full time, and to do that you need money so you sell your creations. That's a fairly standard model, and you believe that the PP will attempt to either devalue your creations to the point you can no longer meet your living costs.

    This premise is itself false. While the Pirate Party dose believe that Copyright law is far too strong it dose not believe in the wholesale elimination of copyright.

    Copyright law used to last a reasonable 14 years, but as it stands now it lasts the life of the creator plus 70 years. Copyright law as it stands now is set up to benefit large copyright holding corporations at the expense of the public domain.

    Good works, the art that people like, are successful because they become a part of us. That closeness that you feel toward your characters and worlds is the same feeling that your audience needs to get too. That is what makes stories, and music, and movies good.

    Those works that touch us are what inspires and influences the art of the next generation. They guide thinking and culture.

    You're worried about earning a living. About eating; paying the bills. I know how hard that is. Don't let it make you lose sight of what your art means. You need to focus on getting your works in front of people and building a community.

    The internet is about the exchange of data, but people will only share data that they think is worth propagating. If you see people are reading your work and talking about it then you are in a great position. Go to where they are. Engage in dialog, guide them to your sight. Ask them to support you, by buying your works. Do not come off as demanding. While you have a moral right to be paid for your works they can easily ignore your entreaties, and worse stop reading your stuff.

    I briefly glanced over your site:

    Many of the posts here have no comments. That's not good, it means that people are not engaging in the culture of your work.

    Your book section is devoid of synopsis or even descriptive tags. So there doesn't seem to be anyway for people to know what they're about.

    Also, you post many stories as blog posts with no quick way to navigate to any of them. They're getting buried as time goes on. You took the time to write them why not put them in a separate tab of your site with brief descriptions?

    The internet is a huge opportunity for the small artist, but you need to know how to build and leverage community. Get a dialog going with your fans. Organize your website a little better. Consider getting a forum. By your statements you're already selling some of your stuff, and that puts you very close to taking the next big step. For that you're going to need an active and vibrant community surrounding your work.

    I hope I have clarified somethings for you. I cannot officially speak for the Pirate Party in any way. My rantings are my own. I also hope that you continue to lend your voice to the Pirate Party, the input of creators is very valuable and is necessary to help shape balanced attitudes and policy.