The July issue of IBPA Independent magazine has an article entitled “My Battle with Pirates” by Rhonda Rees.
The article begins:
Late one evening, shortly after I had self-published Profit and Profit with Public Relations: Insider Secrets to Make You a Success, I decided to run a Google search for it – and there it was, staring me right in the face. My book, along with hundreds of others, was being given away free with the simple click of a button. By the time I had discovered this, one website had already given away 600 copies of my book, and another one, which had the nerve to say that it had my blessing, had given away 1,500 copies. As you can imagine, I was shocked. And as I now know, you may find yourself in this very same unwanted position. Any book can be pirated online. It’s not just the famous writers and recording artists who are being ripped off. Even the fact that I trademarked and registered my title here in the United States didn’t keep my book safe, since many pirates are located overseas.
I decided to take her advice and run a Google search: “<title of book> free download”. Three of my six novels produced results of commercial websites that had my copyright material on them. Two of the three promise “free downloads”. All three referred me to the website http://www.donnaplay.com, where I had to register to be eligible for the free downloads. It turned out that I had to provide my credit card information, because after a five day free trial, there is a monthly fee. So the downloads aren’t really free.
The two websites that initially came up promising free downloads had contact forms where I could request that the page be deleted from their site. The third had a similar request form, but it was not live, and the telephone and email information was obviously false.
So what does Ms Rees recommend?
- Run a Whois search to find information such as who owns the domain names, where and when they were registered, and when they expire.
- Send out emails to find out what company is hosting the site so that a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice can be sent out. The notice has to be correctly worded and DMCA.com can help with that task. There is also a free sample DMCA letter posted by Gene Quinn, a patent attorney and the founder of IPWatchdog.com (ipwatchdog.com/2009/07/06/sample-dmca-take-down-letter/id-4501)
- Send the DMCA takedown notice by email to the web hosting company which is obligated to notify its clients (the culprits) within 24 hours to have them remove all the information.
I, also, was rather shocked that half of my novels are being pirated. I think my next step will be to get my publisher involved with http://www.donnaplay.com. If that illegal site has three of my novels, they must have at least one hundred of the publishers other titles.
I’ll keep you posted!