Pummel the Perilous Pirates of Publishing!

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Today’s post is aimed at my fellow writers.

Let’s talk pirates.

Arrgh, matey! Listen up or the capt’n ‘ll send ya ta Davey Jones’ locker!

Wait, that’s talk like pirates. I’ll start again.

Who doesn’t like pirates? I mean, sailing the high seas as a dreaded corsair, plundering, pillaging, and swashbuckling? But there’s another type of pirate, one far more sinister. Book piracy. I mean, keelhauling prisoners, or hanging them from the yardarms is one thing, but absconding with their intellectual property? Shivers me timbers, that does.

As authors it’s one of the things we have to deal with. Some scallywag makes a copy of your work and puts it up on a pirate website.

So what do you do about it?

I’ve heard a variety of advice on the subject:

“Don’t worry about it.”

“As an indie, you can’t do anything about it.”

“The people who go to pirate websites weren’t going to buy your book anyway.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not one to strike my colors without a fight. But how can you fight these lilly-livered lubbers?

A crewmate in one of my writer’s groups recently regaled me with a tale of action and adventure, a tale in which she showed those scurvy dogs the tip of her cutlass. I’ve asked her to come aboard today.

Welcome Freda ‘Freebooter’ Fairchild, author of Keelhauling for Dummies.

Thank you, David! I’m so excited to talk about this.

Tell us about your recent run in with piracy

I’d be glad to. So, for the past five releases, I’ve been having a problem with my review copies getting into the hands of pirates, and ending up on distribution websites. Initially, I did not have a problem with that, but then I realized how little control I had over those files and that any updates I made would not show up on them, and I decided that I had to do something. Which is how I ended up talking to my closest friend about it and finding a way to fight it.

A grim tale indeed. How did you find out about all those pirate sites?

Well, I’ve known for a long time that I’m on piracy websites, it was about my fifth book that people started linking them to me, but with my latest release it ended up being a huge problem with the piracy website ranking in at the third listing when someone tried to search for my book.

The scallywags! So what did you do about it?

So, for the most part I’ve been pretty successful with this method, which is a little bit roundabout.

My closest friend is a lawyer, and she pointed out that in many states it’s hard to prove that a DMCA take down notice has been read and acknowledged when email– and DMCA take downs are sort of the suggested method. They’re a very nice letter stating that the content that they are listing belongs to you and you would like it removed or the redistributor will receive legal action in response to continuing to distribute.

But again, it’s really hard to prove that those letters have been read. And for an individual to be formally served with paperwork in the United States, you need to prove that it has been received specifically by them and read by them.

So, her suggested method was to go to the google copyright dashboard, follow their directions, and then have the websites removed one by one. 

Ration me rum, thar’s a bold move that is! And how’d it work?

This method has so far taken down all but one of the pirated listings for me. I’m just waiting for the domain host to respond in that final case, and if they don’t, it will likely be down by the end of the month.

You’re an inspiration to the fleet! I hope the other captains out there learn from your yarn. These cowardly lubbers give real pirates a bad name, let’s send ’em to Davey Jone’s locker.


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