What To Do About Copyright Infringers

One of the biggest problems facing those who work in the Arts is copyright infringement. File sharing just about killed the music industry before trade organizations stepped in and tried to stem the rising tide of piracy.


Authors who want to make a living selling their work are now facing a similar horde of pirates and file sharers. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is supposed to provide protection for us, but it's meaningless until the government actually starts prosecuting people who are taking our work and uploading on servers for others to download for free.

You, Rights Owner

You, as the rights owner, are supposed to send Takedown Notices when you discover someone has infringed your copyright in order to protect your copyright. If you don't, then that free file will be duplicated on countless servers worldwide. You also may face the problem of an ebook seller pulling your legitimate books because someone has decided to take that free file, slap their name on it as the author, and upload it somewhere.

Full Time Job

Catching these bad guys is a full-time job. You can send Takedown Notices, and/or hire someone to do it for you. I do both. I use MUSO.com to act as my agent. Their software scans the Internet and when an illegally offered file is found, they send me an email. I go look at it, and either say, yes, it's illegal, take it down, or I say no, it's authorized. If I click Takedown, they send notices to the website owner, the host, etc. and stay with it until it's down. Some slip by them. I have Google alerts in place that catch some.

MUSO Helps

MUSO now sends you a list of Google Search Engine Results Pages that show websites that offer your book for free. The pirates hate this because if they're removed from SERP's, that hurts their business. People find them because of searches.

If you've done nothing about dealing with this problem, you need to wake up and take action. Here are some resources to educate you and show you what to do and who to contact. Print this for a resource list or bookmark since it will be archived here on SlingWords.

Educate Yourself

1. Learn about Content Theft At These Websites

2. Plagiarism Today: http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/

3. CopyNot: http://www.copynot.com/

4. U. S. Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-infringement.html

What To Do; Who To Contact

1. Sample DMCA Letters: http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/stock-letters/

2. DMCA Contact Information: list of websites for just about everyone from domain hosts to search engines. http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/dmca-contact-information/

3. Google List of Infringing Domains or Websites: the bad guys who may have your book posted for free -- 158,000+ on this list. http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/copyright/domains/

Report Piracy

1. Disney Company: tips@disneyantipiracy.com

2. National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), the U.S. government's clearinghouse for investigations into counterfeiting and piracy — crimes that threaten the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy, and our war fighters.

3. Romance Writers of America: reportpiracy@rwa.org

4. Authors Guild: staff@authorsguild.org

5. eBAY: http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/vero-rights-owner.html

6. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/?id=208282075858952

7. Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/about/copyright/

8. Twitter: https://support.twitter.com/forms/dmca

9. Apple/iTunes: http://www.apple.com/legal/contact/

10. Google: http://support.google.com/video/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1284043&page=ts.cs&rd=1

11. Royal Canadian Mounted Police deal with it in Canada: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/fep-pelf/ipr-dpi/guide-eng.htm

Takeaway Truth

If you feel your copyright has been infringed, don't ignore the issue. Take action. Make this one of your 2013 professional goals.

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