Saturday, 11 June 2016

Self Published Authors and Dealing with Piracy

Piracy is a very difficult issue. When I started self-publishing I used Kindle  because of DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection. However, DRM removal tools are now common place and so this is no longer a protection. I do not know what Amazon are doing about this, if anything.

I recently checked on Google for Free downloads of my books and surprisingly found numerous sites. I was also irritated to discover people blatantly Googling for the best sites for pirated ebooks. So what is the impact on the author of pirating? I spent a lot of time writing and editing my books (many years) and also paid to have the books edited and for cover artwork. Books simply aren't free. Having pirated copies is heartbreaking, especially when reading how grateful folk are at finding one. I have tried very hard to make my books competitively priced and even offer an Omnibus Edition.

Back to the piracy. The first thing I did was to notify the website with an email along the lines: "I am David Burrows and I am the author of the Prophecy of the Kings. Your site is offering free downloads of my book which is infringing  my copyright as I have not authorised this. Please can you remove any offer of free downloads of my book and notify me when this happens."

Some sites required proof of ownership of copyright and I referred them to my website http://davidburrows.org.uk/

It was not easy to contact some websites so I used http://whois.domaintools.com/. This site told me who owned the URL and sometimes it supplied a contact email address. 


Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) is another route and I emailed them following the guidance provided here http://readpdfonline.com.unlimitedbooks.club/dmca.php - The information required seemed quite detailed and I had some reservations about this.


The worst one to contact was Amazon. I found someone was using their cloud to offer free copies of my book. Given my books are for sale on Amazon this highlights how ludicrous it is that authors have to do all the work. To contact Amazon I used https://aws.amazon.com/forms/report-abuse. This was incredibly complex and I am not certain that I got this right so feel free to post here if I am wrong. 

Anyway, I hope this helps other authors. Together, let's sink the pirates. 

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