Authors: What to do if Your Book gets Pirated

There is not a lot of recourse against the site itself, especially if the site is out of the country. If the web hosting site is U.S.A., you can send a DMCA take down letter to the web hosting site. They are under pressure to break the links of sites performing copyright infringement. You are also required to share some personal information in the letter which you should do with the hosting company NOT the offending site.

How do you find the site hosting company?

You can search domain registration on whois.com at: http://www.whois.com/whois/

Once you find the web hosting site look for their contact info or legal contact. This is usually an email address link.

Gene Quinn has a sample letter you can personalize (copy and paste into email) and send to the hosting company:

http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2009/07/06/sample-dmca-take-down-letter/id=4501/

You will need the offending site’s URL for your work. Once you get that GTFO. Don’t attempt to download your book.

Advise all readers you know to avoid these pirating sites as they are known to send viruses, plant adware, spyware and do phishing scams for more personal information.

Often, if you use site buttons to make contact with the site itself, your IP will be blocked. It is best not to engage the site, but go directly to the web hosting site.

This information comes courtesy of:  Law Office of Cynthia Conlin, P.A.
1643 Hillcrest Street
Orlando, FL 32803
Tel: 407-965-5519
Fax: 407-545-4397
www.ConlinPA.com

One thing you can do to help protect yourself is set up a Google alert with your book title(s) and author name.

Yes, it is true, retail platforms should tighten up their security, but this is pretty much all we can do in the meanwhile.

31 thoughts on “Authors: What to do if Your Book gets Pirated

    • We found big name traditionally published authors on one site and links to download their books not connecting to any retail platforms. Hoping some publishing houses will get behind this as well as retail platforms.

  1. I must admit–I was disappointed to find that the number of downloads of my pirated book stands at a whopping ‘0’, while the big names are flying off the shelves. I will say that the on book of mine that is currently listed on this site is “Tales From the Dreamtime” and is the only book of mine that is listed on Google Books. I think there is a connection there, and will not be listing any others with Google, no matter how tempting. I have followed the advice here, because I have not authorized these people to give away my books (even though they apparently might have to pay someone to take it.)

    • It sis confusing that some published only on smashword, some only on Amazon, I have a book listed, but it’s not on Google. I think they cross sourced. Either way. To try to work with such a site is impossible. Best to go through the web hosting company.

    • Veronica Roth, Anne Rice, Stephen King….many other traditionally published authors are on this site, but the enom site is only registering the domain name not hosting the site. It appears to be a bit torrents site that is simply dressed up to look legit. Unfortunately, they often operate out of the country and not a lot we can do. Big publishers can’t even bring them down and retail platforms won’t assume any responsibility. Best thing is to advise readers not to use these sites d/t the viruses, adware, spyware, and phishing scams they apply when you download. It is a shame

    • Wish there was more we can do. I found the register of the domain name, but they claimed the site of copyright infringer was not hosted by them. It appears to be a self hosted bit torrents site imposing itself as a legitimate site.

  2. It’s an important and difficult situation. My first inclination is not to visit the site at all. I don’t want my pc to be vulnerable to a site that’s obviously not trustworthy. My second inclination is not to share the link to that site with anyone online; sharing the link creates backlinks to the site, giving it improved SEO (exactly the opposite of what I want). Contacting the web host works for credible hosts. If there are traditional publishers involved, contacting them may get their interest.

    Sometimes, such sites aren’t even selling books at all (but claim to sell them, and even list how many they’ve sold), and I’d be quite reluctant to download a file from them to find out. Fortunately, most customers feel the same way; for a few bucks on Amazon, get a file from a site you trust.

    Definitely, it stinks that authors can spend months crafting a novel, and the copyright can be infringed upon on a large scale at virtually no effort at all.

    Unfortunately, very often when the website is removed, it shows up again with a new name; and it’s often run from some country where enforcement is difficult.

  3. Reblogged this on blindoggbooks and commented:
    Thanks to S.K. Nicholls for this great information.
    Johnny Depp notwithstanding – piracy is not cool. We put too much effort into our work to allow others to profit from it.

  4. Thank you for this educational information. So sorry to read of it even though I know it’s ‘out there.’ Sad that true authors must worry. Never ending…..:(

  5. Reblogged this on Perse Show and commented:
    Here’s a good follow-up to my last post on piracy. Author S. K. Nicholls tells us what to do if our book is pirated.

  6. That’s why I always register my copyrights: it’s cheap, easy, and ensures that I have governments and courts on my side. I think the pirates are capitalizing on Indie authors’ reluctance to register, plus their eagerness to “improve” their ranking on Amazon by offering free or 99-cent books. If the product is easy to come by, and doesn’t have documented legal protection, pirates will snatch it up, and they and their “fences” subsequently demand all kinds of “proof of infringement” from the real owners, whose goods were stolen. If and when big publishers discover infringement of one of their registered copyrights, all their legal departments have to do is cite their copyright registration number, and they win the settlement, hands down (until a new highway robbery occurs, and then it’s just lather-rinse-repeat).

    If Indie authors give away work that they haven’t registered, they’re asking for trouble.

    • Here’s the deal. The site we are at arms with is out of this country. They have Anne Rice, Stephen King, Veronica Roth, James Patterson and more. many titles…far more numerous than a simple indie author peddling site. My book is copyrighted (registered) with the Library of Congress as well. I have sent them a DMCA take down letter. A friend of mine also has her books published through Random House. They don’t care. They are Russian and could care less about some capitalistic society’s rights. My work has never been free. They didn’t download a free unregistered book. They stole it. I have a lawyer, but I don’t think I should have to pay thousands in international courts. Want to check for your books? Here’s the site:

      http://www.general-ebooks.com/

      • My message is just that we all have to be willing to play hardball if we want pirates to leave our stuff alone. That means registering copyright and retaining an intellectual property lawyer to handle the dirty work. If enough of us bite back, the pirates will drop thieving from us and just keep milking the busy big houses for copies, until the big guys periodically get around to looking for leaks in their bottom lines. There’s no sense in our being easy marks and proclaiming open season our writing by not taking advance precautions, and not taking effective steps to hang the highwaymen who trespass on our turf. (Thanks for the link.)

        • The actual web hosting site for this site is http://webzilla.com/contacts.html
          Enom claimed they only held the domain name. So far, webzilla has not responded.
          You can send a them a take down notice. By law they have 90 days to comply and break the links to the site. We’ll see. Amazon is aware. There are about fifty WordPress authors who have already filed with the FBI IC3 site. Their site link is here if you would like to join us: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
          I’m certain we are not high on their list of priorities but it is worth a try. We are both traditionally published and independent.

  7. Thank you, Susan, for the info. I hate to think about such things happening but it is not surprising. The pirates must look for popular books. If they went for yours that is a compliment. It must be doing well. I guess authors have to stick together and go after them. Putting a warning out on your site may help keep your readers aware of what is happening.

    Best wishes that all works out for you and others affected by these sites.

    • Thank you for your comments. There were so many of us listed and only the big names that fly off the shelves had any downloads to speak of, but still, it is the principle of the thing. If one site gets away with it…others will follow. Then why write, unless you want to give the work away?

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