Imagine the infuriating feeling of finding a book you spent time and money creating on a piracy site. Sure, it’s somewhat flattering that someone cares enough about your work to pirate it.
At the same time though, it represents potentially lost revenue, staring you right in the face. Even worse, it’s often not your genuine book the piracy site is offering. It’s a virus-ridden abomination, ready to infect the world under the guise of your good name. Most of the time, it’s better to brush it off and move on. Take it as a mark of success and a funny story to tell your writer friends.
If you really can’t let it go, then the following are some possible approaches to sink the pirates for stealing your work.
Complain To The Service Directly
There are a whole host of places you might find your work lurking without permission. Torrent sites, PDF sharing services, specialist eBook download sites…the list is endless. After all, the internet is far from the most law-abiding place.
However, in almost every instance, you have the opportunity to do something directly. Torrent sites often have the option to flag a torrent or report it. In the first instance, it’s always best to try and go through the sites own channels. If you make enough noise, you will sometimes be listened to.
Sometimes, you will be able to find a section of a site specifically for reporting copyright problems. Otherwise, you should aim to find a general contact form or email and approach the site through that. When contacting a service, be sure to state that you are the copyright holder of the work in question. Be firm and pushy when aiming to deal with services in this way.
If you make several attempts to contact the site itself, but receive no reply, it might be time to take things to the next level.
Contact The Host
Aiming to get a site taken down by going over its head to its host is a time-consuming, technical process. In short, you should be sure that you really want to do it. If you do, check out this in-depth guide to the technical aspects of ebook piracy protection. Basically, sites often cover their tracks by registering in a circuitous way which makes it difficult for them to be tracked down and dealt with.
Sometimes, you will get lucky, and a site’s host will take it down, protecting your work and the work of countless others. More often than not, it’s too much effort to get an effective response. While it’s relatively easy to click a report button on a torrent service, for example, it’s a lot more trouble to try and resolve things through the host.
You should carefully consider whether your time is better spent creating or complaining.
Dealing With Plagiarism
Sometimes, you won’t find an entire book you’ve written pirated. Instead, you’ll find blog posts copied or nearly-copied from your work, published under someone else’s name. This is potentially worse than a pirated ebook as bloggers live and die by the quality of their ideas and the influence they’ve had.
One way you can check to see if your work is showing up anywhere it shouldn’t is by using Copyscape. If you do come across some of your content in an ‘undesired location’ you have several options available to you. In the first instance, it’s often a noble solution to reach out and offer that the blogger can keep the content on their blog, as long as they link to your original and identify you as the author. This is often a win/win scenario.
If you definitely want it taken down, you need to try and contact the blogger directly. Sometimes, they will own up to it and take it down out of embarrassment. If this doesn’t work, you can always try and leaving a comment, although the chances are it will be deleted. It’s possible to report sites to Google for stolen content. Similarly to reaching out to a site’s host, this is perhaps an option of last resort, if you’re really, really bothered. Most of the time, just keep in mind that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and move on.
Piracy Protection Recap
When it comes to your work being ‘borrowed’ without permission, it’s almost always better to move on. After all, do we not have better things to do with our time as writers than chase ebook piracy protection copyright claims?
However, if you’re determined to strike back, you can always –
- Report the content directly
- Take things up a notch and contact hosts/Google
- Reach and out seek a diplomatic solution where your authorship is recognized
The approach you take will depend upon the severity of the copyright infringement and the size of the bee in your bonnet.
Just always keep in mind it’s the cool kids that get copied!