by Josh Gross
The Guardian is reporting that prominent Spanish novelist Lucia Etxebarria has announced that because of the prevalence of piracy, she will no longer publish her work.
"Given that I have today discovered that more illegal copies of my book have been downloaded than I have sold, I am announcing officially that I will not publish another book for a long time," Etxebarria announced.
The winner of several of Spain's best-known literary prizes, Etxebarria said she could no longer justify devoting three years of her working life to producing a book.
She said she was now considering a job offer, and was also thinking of allowing her books—which have been translated into 20 languages—to be published only in French and German, as the laws in France and Germany offer greater protection to authors. Her vow to stop writing provoked a torrent of abuse from downloaders who filled her Facebook wall with insults. Some said they did not earn enough to buy her books.
"Literature is not a profit-making job, but a passion," said Kelly Sanchez, one of the least vitriolic critics. "If you had a real vocation then you wouldn't stop writing."
Etxebarria's announcement comes amid heated debate on a controversial online piracy bill in the United States. The Stop Online Piracy Act, introduced by Texas Republican Lamar Smith, would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony and allow copyright holders to seek court orders, not just against the users who broadcast content illegally but against the websites themselves. This would potentially bar online payment services like Pay Pal and ad networks from doing business with the websites.
Critics say the bill goes too far and could potentially censor and cripple the Internet, making it similar to the way the Internet functions in repressive nations like China and Iran.