- Our book might be offered for free by unscrupulous distributors or “idealists” promoting the idea that everything on the Internet should be available for free – obviously, they have not thought it through as they have no problem paying for a physical object ordered through the internet, they seem to believe that only content should be free, regardless of the work involved in producing it…
- Our website/blog content might be ruthlessly plagiarized by lazy site/blog owners preferring to steal content rather than create it.
Thanks to the US Digital Copyright Millenium Act, there are now things that can be done to remediate digital copyright abuse.
For content theft, the first thing to do is to identify the offending party This can be done for free through a manual search of extract of your content with Google Blog Search – By permitting searching exact phrases, post titles or author names, the advanced search feature on Google Blogs search enables finding other sites publishing one’s work.
There are also automated solutions available for a monthly fee such as:
- CopyScape –A plagiarism detecting tool where you can enter your web address to find other sites that may be publishing your content. The free version can be used for manual check. The Premium versions enables checking specific content and the CopySentry tool will monitor the web regularly for newly published content.
- Grammarly – This tool combines checking your content for grammatical mistakes and detecting plagiarists, sending warnings when any content piece is plagiarized.
The first thing to do if any of your content is has indeed been pirated is to contact the offending website and request that they remove your content.
Then if a polite request to remove stolen content remains unanswered or if there are no contact numbers, you can turn to the following places and follow their guidelines:
- Yahoo DMCA Policy and Instructions
- Google’s DMCA Statement and Policy
- MSN – About DMCA and Policies
- How do you send Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notifications to the major search engines and directories asking that they remove copyright violators from their sites?
Finding if websites are distributing your book for free without prior permission is a bit trickier. Typically, the risk is higher after running a free download promotion, as this is when free riders collect their wares and redistribute it. The good news is that they also tend to copy the blurb as is, which means using the content theft tools above can track most of the free riders. Then again, it is a question of contacting them, asking them to remove your book from their listing and use the resources above to complain.
To limit the potential damage of book theft, include links to your other books inside each of your books. This way, even if your book is stolen, you might gain some new paying readers for your other publications.