It’s an up and coming author’s worst nightmare. Finding their precious baby pilfered and thrown up on one of the many pirate sites out there. A bit discouraging to know someone would knowingly do this. I’m not going to get into the argument about people sneaking into houses to steal things being the equivalent of digital piracy. Today I offer up something else.
First off, please don’t confuse the lending sites with pirate sites. There are ones that connect readers with readers to share Kindle books through a legit program through Amazon. Read more about that here. So long as the book isn’t DRM coded, it can be passed around to one person at a time for a period of 2 weeks. So it works like giving a physical book to someone, sans giving them the time limit to return it.
I’ve written a few sites when I see my books on illegally for free download. I send them a simple taken down notice and guess what? They take it down. I don’t mince words or fling insults.
Here’s a sample of what I send:
I am the copyright owner of the ebooks being infringed at:
This letter is official notification under the provisions of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to effect removal of the above-reported infringements. I request that you immediately issue a cancellation message as specified in RFC 1036 for the specified postings and prevent the infringer, who is identified by its Web address, from posting the infringing ebooks to your servers in the future. Please be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to “expeditiously remove or disable access to” the infringing ebooks upon receiving this notice. Noncompliance may result in a loss of immunity for liability under the DMCA.
I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of here is not authorized by me, the copyright holder, or the law. The information provided here is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I swear under penalty of perjury that I am the copyright holder.
Please send me a prompt response indicating the actions you have taken to resolve this matter.
See? Be nice. Most places just host a site for people to act like monkeys. They might not even have the files on their server. What most will do, however, is make the link dead. I’ve had nice responses to my non-threating emails. I leave the cursing and rants for away from the keyboard time. Have a care, however, when sending these out. If you have a different IP address you can use, do it. I’ve had sites takedown the content and then block my IP address from snoping further. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Also, if the form is on their website to file a complaint, don’t give out any more information than you need to. There’s no reason for them to need a phone number or physical address. I also stick to the pen name it’s written under.
Second, pick your battles. You could spend a good chunk of hours scouring the internet and sending takedown notices that valuable writing time is being eaten to nothing. What good does that do you? I generally don’t look for my better sellers and have the tendency to get the claws out for the ones I’m barely making anything on.
The sad news is, these sites aren’t going away and it doesn’t seem like the laws are catching up either. If someone doesn’t take the illegal content down, I send a complaint to the FBI. It is theft of intellectual property whether it be the smuttess book you’ve ever written on pirate aliens with a cornucopia of penises in their nether regions or a book on preparing dinner for an invading army of Girl Scouts exhausted from cookie pimping.
Third, don’t be afraid to offer free reads of something not published on your website or blog. Most publishers will even allow the first chapter or an excerpt around 1000 words as a teaser. Give them a taste of what you have to offer them as a reader.
Last but not least, don’t pick fights with the people pirating the books. Most don’t care so unless you’re savvy enough to track them down on the big bad web, don’t let your temper get the best of you. Keep writing.