Ebook Pirating and what you can do.
|July 4, 2012||Posted by Cambria under Book Pirating|
The not so good, the bad and the ugly. But you CAN do something about it.
Today I am going to talk a bit about a subject I have mostly stayed pretty quiet about. Ebook pirating. I am sure most of you know about book pirating. If you don’t let me give you a quick rundown:
Book pirating is when someone uploads a copy of an Ebook (in any or various formats) and then uploads in on the internet for people to download for free. Remember years ago when the big uproar was happening over music downloads and the artists were upset because their sales were being hurt? It’s pretty much the same thing.
What’s worse is that a lot of these sites that Ebooks are being uploaded to are sites you have to pay to be a member of. They say things like “pay this 5$ joining fee for unlimited downloads”. So basically someone else is stealing an author’s work and making money off it.
Not fair is it?
Many of you might think because I have been so quiet of this topic that I have not been effected by book pirating. It’s actually the opposite. I have been effected very much by book pirating. I think at first I didn’t want to talk or post about it because it’s an ugly topic. No one wants to hear the negative stuff… and I don’t want to tarnish my books with that kind of negativity. You know what I mean? And also I thought that if I ignored it (in social media) it might stop happening. But it hasn’t. It’s becoming a bigger issue for me.
So I am going to share my story a bit and also share some pointers and information that I have been researching on what you can do as an author (or even a blogger) to keep your written words from being stolen.
Note: A LOT of my information on Pirating Prevention is going to come from
Stephanie Lawton (Author of WANT) who has also been a victim of pirating. Her awesome and informative blog post about pirating can be found here:
Back to my story:
I have actually been having problems with pirating since Before came out. (last November 2011)
I first got wind of the PDF reviewers copy of Before being passed around without my consent. Then it started to pop up on a few pirating sites (I will list the common sites below). Then Masquerade came out…
It popped up on several sites and thankfully I have some really good and loyal fans who emailed me and told me of some places. Some of the places my fans saw it they complained and sent emails about it to the site and it was taken down before I even got there. So thank you to all the fans who helped with this.
But the battle isn’t over. A few weeks later my husband googled my name (he does that sometimes to see what will come up, lol) and another pirating site popped up…
We went to the site and Masquerade had been on the site for one week and had a total of 20,000 downloads (in that ONE week)… it was number one is its category and even beat out and episode of the Vampire Diaries titled Masquerade (saw that episode and loved it, btw, LOL)
At first I was astonished that I got so many downloads and I was number 1… but then the reality sunk in and my publisher was shocked (they sent a cease and desist letter to the site immediately).
The reality of that was that if I had gotten those 20,000 downloads legitimately in a week I would have made it to the NY Times bestseller list. And this was a site that you had to pay to be a member of… meaning those people who uploaded my book made money off it. I didn’t make anything off those 20,000 downloads.
If those had been downloads from Amazon and my book is priced at 2.99 the profits would have been a little less than 60,000$. (I wouldn’t have made that much bc my publisher and amazon take their cut but I still would have made a lot).
Since then, Charade and Between have been published and I recently found both of those books on several sites as well. It is hard to keep up with them all but we try to stay vigilant and have the stuff taken down when we find it.
Many websites say they aren’t liable because while it IS on their site it is being upload on another site and then linked to their site so it isn’t there fault… no one wants to take responsibility because they all KNOW it’s wrong.
The way I feel about pirating is that it’s such a violation that it makes me sick. Authors work really hard and they work a long time on a single book. They get paid very little and what they do get paid a lot goes into marketing materials, giveaways and the next book… I am not complaining in ANY way because we all choose to do it because we love it. I know I do but sometimes it hurts to know that someone can take your hard work and just give it away. It is so disrespectful to the author.
Anyway, that’s some of my story. Just know that I am working on fighting the pirating (my publisher does as well) I have been seeing on my books and thanks to the recent article by Stephanie Lawton I know exactly how to fight it now.
So what can you do as an author to protect yourself?
To find out if your books are being pirated simply type into Google Search (or any search engine) your name and the word epub. Or you can type in the book title and epub.
For example this is what I recently typed in:
Cambria Hebert Epub
An entire page of pirated books came up. I have also just typed my name into google and found stuff (but beware you have to sift through all the blog posts and other things written about you and your book).
Once you find a site where your book is being listed as a free download you can sift through the site and find the contact page. This is what you email them:
Note: I got this exact email from Stephanie Lawton’s website with her permission. Here is the address to her site: http://stephanielawton.com/2012/06/24/for-writers-steps-to-deal-with-book-piracy/
Email this: Attn: Copyright Agent, [list illegal file share site here]
Pursuant to 17 USC 512(c) (3) (A), this communication serves as a statement that:
- I am [your name] the duly authorized representative of the exclusive rights holder for [book title] as listed above;
- These exclusive rights are being violated by material available upon your site at the following URL(s): [list URLs];
- I have a good faith belief that the use of this material in such a fashion is not authorized by the copyright holder, the copyright holder’s agent, or the law;
- Under penalty of perjury in a United States court of law, I state that the information contained in this notification is accurate, and that I am authorized to act on the behalf of the exclusive rights holder for the material in question;
- I may be contacted by the following methods: [email address–many request physical addresses and phone numbers, too. I am leery of this].
I hereby demand that you remove or disable access to this material as it appears on your service in as expedient a fashion as possible.
I just emailed this to several sites that were listing Masquerade, Between and Charade as free downloads this morning. I can tell you I received two return Emails from two sites that said they would certainly remove the links to my books from their site. So this email WILL Work.
The only thing I took out from the above email was my contact info. I didn’t add it. I did email them from my regular email so they would have a way to email me back if needed. I don’t like to hand out my info though to places like that. That decision is yours to make. J
Here are some of the most common book pirating sites. I am grabbing copying and pasting this list from Stephanie’s site because it’s a great list. ALL credit for this list goes to STEPHANIE LAWTON (http://stephanielawton.com/2012/06/24/for-writers-steps-to-deal-with-book-piracy/)
Here are some of the most common pirating sites.
- Mobile9 (heartnett) – she seems to be especially prolific on the Mobile9 site
Thanks to Stephanie for that list. Here are some more sites that I personally know of and found my books on: (I have found my books on the above sites as well)
Aside from sending the email (definitely do that) there are a few other things you can do that I just learned about (via stephanie’s blog).
You can write a blog post, like I am doing now. Why? Well, if you embed the links to the pirating sites (like I did above) then when someone searched one of these places or an epub version of my book guess what will also pop up with those? This blog post. Maybe it will serve as a warning that someone is getting a pirated copy of my book. Or maybe someone who is thinking of putting my book up on a pirating site will see this and KNOW that I am watching and being active in getting that stuff taken down.
Also, if you write a blog post similar to this one be sure to tag the crap out of it. That way it will pop up on a google search when any of those terms are typed in.
I also learned that you can:
Contact Google and possibly WordPress’s parent company, Automattic. Both will remove illegal content and links to illegal content from their sites/searches.
- WordPress info: http://en.support.wordpress.com/content-theft-what-to-do/
- Google info: http://support.google.com/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1114905&page=ts.cs
SO, all in all, you can do something about pirating. It’s illegal, it’s wrong and it makes my stomach hurt (lol) but we as authors (bloggers and even fans) aren’t powerless.
I encourage you to hop over to Stephanie’s blog to learn more about this and read her other tips to prevent pirating. Or to research it on your own.
So that’s what I have to say about pirating.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me (via the contact form on this site) or leave it in the comment section below. Have something to add? A tip, a thought or an opinion? Feel free to leave a comment. I would like to know what you all think about pirating.