Award-winning Norwegian author Anne B. Ragde found her stance against the evils of eBook piracy undermined just a wee little bit when her son revealed that she has more 1800 illegally downloaded songs stored on her iPod.
Anne B. Ragde has done pretty well for herself. She's written several successful novels, won Norway's Brage Prize for children's literature, had her work translated into multiple languages and even made into a popular television series. So it's not too surprising that she's no fan of eBook piracy, as it has a direct impact on her livelihood. To that end, she wouldn't allow her latest novel to be released as an audiobook or to be translated into Russian and Chinese.
"Piracy scares the hell out of me. I do not know what to say. I lose sleep at night over it," she said in an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. "I have figured out that I've lost half a million kroner ($72,500) on piracy of my books, maybe more."
"I can not stand the thought of someone stealing something," she continued. "I look at Norwegian musicians who have to do live concerts. We have nothing to live on other than the physical product."
Yet for some reason, Ragde had no problem with admitting that she purchases counterfeit handbags. The reason? "I feel that the genuine Prada bags have such an inflated price," she said.
And then things got really ugly.
As she made a list of the many legitimate purchases she's made, presumably to defend her overall pattern of behavior, her son Jo decided to help out by reminding her about the iPod she apparently neglected to mention. "You have a pirated MP3 collection," he said. "We copied the first 1500 songs from one place and 300 from another."
"Yes," she admitted. "There were a lot of things on the iPod."
Professor Olav Torvund of the Center for Law at the University of Oslo said Ragde "made a fool of her herself" in the article and that there was only one way she could properly address the situation: buy all 1800 tracks she had downloaded, burn the bags and issue an apology. Instead, Ragde threw her son under the bus by blaming all the downloading on him.
"The stuff on my iPod is not representative of my relationship with the music industry and the products they produce," she said in follow-up comments. "I pay for my music." She also claimed that her iPod was actually in storage in her cottage but promised to delete all the music on it next time she's there.