MUSINGS – Yo Ho Ho and They Stole Your Book

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It is not news that digital book piracy is a problem the publisher, author, and writer in this 21st century must deal with. Many publishers and writers don’t have the necessary funds to hire an attorney or legal services necessary to fight the pirates.

 Also, it’s naïve to think piracy is a good thing or even offers free publicity for your books and that it will draw a larger audience who will be interested in purchasing the pirated and future books. The people who frequent these sites are not interested in buying what they can steal.

 What is presented here may not be new to all publishers, authors, and writers, but I hope it will help those who want to discover, defend, and prevent digital books against theft.

 I know the first question…how do I even know if my writing/book/poetry is being pirated? Which brings me to my first suggestion.

 Did you realize you can initiate a daily Google search for your name and for the name of your book? Go here – http://www.google.com/alerts – and fill in the text boxes and follow the instructions. Then, the Google Alert will pick up most references to your name or your book’s name and if your book is being used on some pirate website, you will get notified.

 Have you searched the most popular file-sharing sites? I won’t attempt to list them here, but DO search for your books in all the popular haunts… try this link as a starting point: http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/file-sharing-websites

 I’m sure you are aware of the DMCA (the Digital Millennium Copyright Act)…so, the next thing to do, after you discover your work was pirated and by what pirate(s), is to send every blasted pirate a Take Down notice. If you don’t have your own, you can find a form letter here: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2009/07/06/sample-dmca-take-down-letter/id=4501/    On the main page of the file-sharing site’s, you’ll find their DMCA and email address. Oh, and save the form letter you send to every single one of them—start a file and keep your form letters there.

 This will seem like work, but I suggest you keep a list of every single pirate site that stole your book and KEEP checking up on them. Why? Because pirates are sneaky b**tards and will repost the book at some later date or they’ll use some file mirroring service just to keep the link alive. When they do, send them ANOTHER letter – and keep a copy of that letter, too.

 If you are not an Indie writer or author, but have a publisher, then I strongly urge you to send your list of the “infringing” sites to them. Hey, publishers are fighting piracy, also, and many of them will be able to assist you in your fight.

 Finally, but not least as far as suggestions go, it do not follow pathways that do nothing more than guarantee piracy. For example: marketing and price targeting that DO NOT MATCH pricing trends, but also the DRM that is intrusive and restrictive. It’s more work for you as a published writer/author or publisher, but after you do your research for target markets, keep that list.

 Courtesy Request:  When you discover a new pirate site, or perhaps a book you recognize belongs to a writer or author or publisher you know, share that information with them – share it with as many people as you can.

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