Pirates…what to do.

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Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange

They steal from us. They take our work and give it away for free. Meanwhile, our children need food, medicine, braces…

As you may, or may not, know I sit on the Board of Directors for the Erotic Author’s Guild. Among our objectives is fighting piracy.  This does not come without repercussion and these lowlifes will stoop to any level necessary. Our founding member, Dylan Cross, had battled with one site in particular. He went so far as to contact the advertisers to make them aware (as if they didn’t know) that they were funding internet pirates. Said pirate got even…by contacting Amazon claiming that Dylan stole his books and his cover art.  Amazon took his books down and threatened to freeze his account.

No. I’m not kidding.

It took him a very long time to get the whole mess straightened out. The entire board sent missives to the Zon to get them to fix it. They weren’t in a huge hurry.

In the long run, good guys won. Bad guys lost. But what did it cost the bad guy?

Today, I posted a link and a facebook link to a group that was giving away our books for free. The kick in the nuts…when I went to their facebook page, their latest post was APOLOGIZING FOR STEALING OUR BOOKS. No shit. They knew what they were doing was wrong. I shared…authors went on a witch hunt for the thieves that robbed us and boom…they’re gone.

So how do you protect yourself?

Let me preface this by saying that there have always been and always will be thieves. If you cannot emotionally contend with the fact that people will steal your books and give them away to other people with little to no moral compass… then just quit. No. I’m serious. Quit now. This business is hard. It takes thick skin. It will rob you of precious time. And this is only one SMALL challenge you’ll face as an author.

Now…if you can just have a good cry and pick yourself up…then this is how you fight back.

First, set up Google Alerts. Make an alert for your pen name. Now make additional alerts for each book title you have published. (Keep adding them as you publish each book.) Yes, you’ll get an alert for each time you show up on a blog post, blog hop, review site, etc. But when you see a suspicious website like http:wegiveallyourhardworkaway(dot)com then you can go take a peek.

THE DCMA TAKE DOWN NOTICE.

Disclosure: I’m not a lawyer. If I were, I’d have a lot more cash in my pocket and I’d probably use that and my time to chase these assholes down. As such, this should not be considered legal advice.

First, lookup the ISP info on whois.net. Some (actually a lot of pirate sites) have an actual DCMA or copyright form because they know goddamned well they’re stealing. Anyway, if they don’t have a button or form, then do a whois search to get the ISP and send the following to them.

SAMPLE DMCA TAKE DOWN NOTICE

My name is __________ and I am the author of INSERT BOOK TITLE NAME.  A website that your company hosts is infringing on at least one copyright owned by me.

An eBook was copied onto your servers without  my permission. The original eBook, to which we own the exclusive copyrights, can be found at:

PROVIDE WEBSITE URL

The unauthorized and infringing copy can be found at:

PROVIDE WEBSITE URL

This letter is official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future.

Please also be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receiving this notice. Under US law a service provider, such as yourself, enjoys immunity from a copyright lawsuit provided that you act with deliberate speed to investigate and rectify ongoing copyright infringement. If service providers do not investigate and remove or disable the infringing material this immunity is lost. Therefore, in order for you to remain immune from a copyright infringement action you will need to investigate and ultimately remove or otherwise disable the infringing material from your servers with all due speed should the direct infringer, your client, not comply immediately.

I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights my company owns are being infringed. Under penalty of perjury I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.

Should you wish to discuss this with me please contact me directly.

Thank you.

YOUR NAME

Your contact info (do not leave this out.)

Now…this isn’t the end. (I know…groan.) The pirate will most likely remove your books. However, they can contact their ISP back and claim to have a legitimate reason to have such content (Like hey…we’re fucking Amazon and this dipshit uploaded this book to our site,) then the ISP will replace the content.

WARNING: Do not make the same egregious error. Learn from my mistakes.  **hangs head in shame** I sent a DCMA to a website and I acted a fool. Called them names. Cursed them with the fleas of a thousand camels. Their links to the books, uh… went straight to Amazon. **headdesk**

Yes, I sent a thousand apologies. Le sigh. Such is life. It looked like the books were being stolen. It was early in my career. {Insert excuses of sleep deprivation, stupidity and blonde roots.}

This won’t take away your anxiety, but I do hope I’ve armed you with the tools to fight back. And fight back you will…countless times.

 

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