Avast! There be Pirates!
We pour our heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into our writing. Every day we sit at the computer, or at a desk putting pen to paper writing a book, a series, or a short story. When the first draft is finished, we begin the painful but necessary task of editing, rewriting where needed, and revising. Once this is finished, it’s off to the beta readers, then more editing and revising. Finally, we have a book that’s ready to be published!
Many indie authors do everything themselves; formatting, the cover, the conversion to eBook. Many don’t have a choice because of limited funds. Others hire people to do the work for this which is great, keeps people employed. Once the book is ready, it goes live, and the author eagerly waits for readers to purchase their book.
The sales start coming in and the author is happy, returning to what they do best: writing more books. Meanwhile, a reader decides they love the book so much they want to make it available to everyone. For free. This is PIRACY. EBook Piracy is the illegal downloading of eBooks, usually for free. Some sites actually charge for these downloads, keeping all the profits for themselves, leaving the author out in the cold. If you download one of the pirated copies, you are STEALING! The online version of Shoplifting! You are the lowest life form to rob an author in this manner. Many writers depend on the income they receive from selling eBooks and if you illegally download a copy, you’re keeping them from making a living.
Don’t try to justify your actions by saying ‘You can’t afford to buy a copy’. Or ‘Everyone else is doing it.’ It doesn’t matter, you are stealing. There’s always a way to earn money to buy an eBook. Instead of paying your monthly subscription for playing an online game, use the money to buy an eBook! Do you really need to have Starbucks every day? Don’t support the pirates! Support the authors of the books you love to read!
For writers, there are a few steps you can take to help combat this growing problem.
- Create a Google Alert with your name and the title(s) of the books you have written. Set it for Daily.
- Do a Search of the popular file sharing sites.
- If you find a site that is hosting your work, you need to send them a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) form letter (A sample is available at the end of this article.)
- Make a list of these sites and check them a couple times a month.
- If your work is distributed through a publisher, let them know about the illegal downloads.
With more and more eBooks becoming available, the problem of Piracy will increase unless authors and readers take action. Don’t let these thieves ruin our livelihood and our lives with their activities.
SAMPLE DMCA TAKE DOWN NOTICE
My name is INSERT NAME and I am the INSERT TITLE of INSERT COMPANY NAME. A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) is infringing on at least one copyright owned by my company.
An article was copied onto your servers without permission. The original ARTICLE/PHOTO, 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.
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