Here’s what you can do about ebook piracy

I’m lowering the Joy’s Summer Love Playlist ebook price to $0.99 for the rest of the month of August! You can buy it here. (It may be unavailable for a short time while it updates.) This is one way I’m combatting piracy. If you enjoyed the book, please recommend it to a friend and let them know it’s super cheap right now!

I am so sorry if you’re on this page for the reason I think you’re on this page.

Piracy is a real thorn in the side of indie author life. A lot of us chose this option for the creative control, so finding our work distributed for free is like a cut to the heart. But, I want to encourage you: it’s not all bad. It’s not going to end your career if these pirates win. But, in my opinion, they shouldn’t just get away with it.

If you’re a reader or want to share some ideas with your readers about how to support authors while still potentially getting a free book, I have a blog here just for that!

Now just to clarify, only some of these steps apply if someone is passing off your work as their own. That’s a different type of piracy than I’m talking about. These steps are more geared toward battling the ebook pirates who take your work and give it away for free.

This process can be exhausting for a creative, so I encourage you to take yourself out of the equation for a minute. This isn’t about money, this is about principle. Other authors will benefit from your hard work, if you so choose to do it.

The more you love, the harder you fight.

Rachael Denhollander, What Is A Girl Worth?

Now, you don’t have to do these steps in this precise order. There are many other, more knowledgable articles on this here and here. This is just my advice, as someone who has been through it!

Step one: email the website. Find their contact email and write something similar to the example email I have below (with your own flavor, you are a writer). You may want to have a copy of the DMCA notice in the email. One of the websites I emailed did this right away, though they did not notify when the site was down like I had asked. If you can’t find the contact information for the website, go to step two.

Step two: email the site host or registrar. You can go to whois.com/whois OR whoishostingthis.com and enter the webpage. Somewhere along the line of information that comes up will have a “registrant email” for the site holder (step one) or “name server” for the host. When you know the name of the host, you can go to their main website and find their contact there. If that also leads nowhere, you can find the registrar the same way, looking for the line that reads “registrar abuse contact”.

Step three: Tackle the Google search results. There are two ways to do this! FIRST is this form. Here you will copy the links from the search results and fill out the form. Something to make note of: you may need the “cached” link if the result of the removal is “not in index.” In other words, that’s the link that’s on the search page and is NOT the link it directs you to. The simplest way to do this is to go on your computer, click the arrow next to the link and click “cached”. The SECOND form (right here) is for redirect links or links that host a page with another link but don’t contain the copyrighted material. For example, two of my search results led to a “twitter event” that had a different link to a scam website. In order to address those, I had to use the second form.

Step four: Send a DMCA takedown notice. Another article with some information on DMCA notices here.

Step five: contact other affected authors. Big or small, TONS of authors are affected by this problem. Find their books, send the links on social media, on their websites, go straight to their publishers. Whether they are indies or traditionally published authors, this will help if they take action. I also found that my readers wanted to know how to help, and this step is a good starting point for them!

Step six: take a deep breath. Please relax. Do this step a few times in between the other steps. You may be angry or sad or stubborn, but you need to remember that this is not the end for you. If you have done any amount of work to battle piracy, you’ve done enough. The best thing you can do is carry on with your awesome self as you had planned!

And about those emails…

Here is an example of what you can write in your emails to the site holder, domain host, and/or registrar. I would prefer you use your own words to properly convey your intentions, but if this works for you that’s fine.

SAMPLE EMAIL

Hello,

One of the sites you host has released a free version of my ebook without my permission. I am requesting that the site(s) be taken down immediately. [I have contacted the site holder and have received no response.]

The site(s) in question:
[LINK(S) HERE]

I have the right to be in control of my creative property. This is copyright infringement and is illegal. Please notify me when the site has been taken down.

If necessary, here is a copy of the DMCA takedown notice:
[DMCA NOTICE HERE]

[CONTACT INFORMATION HERE. Include Name (legal and pen name if applicable), Address, Phone, and Email]

END

I hope this helps! Don’t forget to keep using the gift of creativity ❤

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