All blogs are property of authors and copying is not permitted.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guest Blog: Rowena Cherry: Copyright Infringement is No Laughing Matter, But a Sense of Humor Certainly Helps


For instance, the silver lining for romance authors and their supportive friends --at least on one site that I will call "pirate"-- is that novels are not the most attractive fodder.

All authors should have Google Alerts set up for their own author name, and for the titles of all their books. You should also have an Alert for a statistically improbable phrase that you use in your book, but that only a plagiarist would also have. I check for "By all the lechers of antiquity."

Authors probably have heard that some pirates are not only snagging unauthorized copies of copyrighted ebooks, but are stripping the title and author name, and publishing the work under their own names on Amazon. It's not easy to discover instances of this, and if you do discover it, your only remedy (as with all piracy) is that the infringement stops with no compensation to you, once you send a DMCA.

Google does not provide Alerts for everything.

Search this way. Substitute your own author name for mine, obviously. Try various site names. MegaUpload.com and Demonoid.com are "down" now, so give those hosting sites lower priority.

site: 4shared.com "Rowena Cherry"

Continue through the gamut of piracy sites, ignoring the "sponsored links" which are usually run by foreign crooks who want your credit card information, and will promise you that they have every book ever written, also every book never written.

If in doubt whether or not a site claiming a breathtaking number of downloads really is responsible for "sharing" tens of thousands of copies of my titles, I amuse myself by typing in highly improbable spellings of my own name. For instance, a site promises Mating Net by Rowena Beaumont Cherry. Once at the site, I search for Mattting Nerd by Rowennne Bumfondler Cheeesey. If they claim to have that, I know that they are not for real.

Searching that way brought me to the kat.ph site. It appears that in 2 years, 10 people have downloaded this /romance-novels-r-t4136076.html (includes 3 of my books), and I strongly suspect that two of them are Brits who have resold their "findings" on EBay.

What happens on EBay is far more serious than this particular torrent. In my opinion, more authors should pay more attention to EBay's auctions of tens of thousands of ebooks sold on DVDs. Every author ought to join EBay's VeRO (Verified Rights Owner) program, even though it is absolutely useless. However, if an author is not already a member of EBay's VeRO program, EBay ignores DMCAs unless and until the author joins, by which time, the copyright infringer's auction has successfully ended.

If the VeRO program is worse than useless, why bother with EBay? Because the same auction of 14,000 Romance Novels has been going and going for the last three years. That is fourteen thousand titles, being sold day after day, week after week, usually with the assertion (which Buyers believe) that our books are "in the public domain" or "GNU licensed". The ebook collections may be described differently.... for mobi/for Kindle/for ipad ... and they may be broken out into smaller collections by genre. There could be up to 400,000 ebooks in the collection. Genuine "Classics" may be mixed in with the Twilights and the Harry Potters and the vampires and zombies.

For those who don't dare visit a pirate site or two, look at this study from 2011.
http://piracy.ssrc.org/the-copy-culture-survey-infringement-and-enforcement-in-the-us/

It is a survey, so --presumably-- one relies on copyright infringers to tell the truth.

For bedside reading, you might try this Senate report on the Impact of Intellectual Property Theft on the Economy.
http://www.jec.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=aa0183d4-8ad9-488f-9e38-7150a3bb62be

Apparently, copyright infringement is highly profitable for those who facilitate copyright infringement. The "search engine" ebookee that specialized in "helping" would be readers find "free" ebooks online, recently sold for $2 million dollars. It claimed to make $60,000 on average every month from advertising and commissions.

Authors received absolutely nothing, of course.

As a general rule, do not publish live links to alleged pirate sites. You will hurt your friends and help your enemies. In this case, in the interests of science, go ahead. There are no links to pirated books on this page. http://www.freebiemaster.net/preview9.html  It's is one of many teasers put up by a determined (alleged) pirate who has been making an income by helping others to rip off authors, musicians, magazines, and movie makers for three years. Members pay this "Max" $49 a year for passwords and links to where illegal files are hosted. He claims not to have uploaded anything, but any copyright owner who plans to send a DMCA to the host will have to either pay "Max" for the url to the pirated file, or search Filepost.... if that is still his host. I believe the actual host site is currently FILE ROSE.

As previously mentioned, search this way site: filerose.com "Rowena Cherry"

What I find particularly egregious is that he will "share" individual authors' entire series, not just one book so new fans are encouraged to purchase the rest. He gives it all away in one "Mix".

If you see your own work, or a colleague's works, on this page of "freebies", tell the copyright owner and have them tell Google, tell Picasa (because this profiteer from copyright infringement uploads cover art to Picasa to advertise his websites), tell PayPal because PayPal facilitates donations and subscriptions, send a DMCA to googlegroups and to yahoogroups and to SocialGo, because these sites/groups support his promo groups. And...  tell your Senators and Representatives.

There are Congressmen, such as Rand Paul, Ron Wyden, Darrell Issa who believe that copyright owners do not need the help of laws (such as COICA or ACTA) because copyright owners have the right to sue. What these lawmakers miss is that most romance authors cannot afford to spend a couple of years and a few hundred thousand dollars taking every American-domiciled pirate to court every time someone infringes our copyrights.

If this all seems like too much work, go here http://ereads.com/tag/book-piracy and take up the Muso.com special offer available through the ereads site. For $15 a month per author name, Muso will find pirated works (you must verify that it is the book, and not a review) and automate takedowns.

If you have a publisher, work with them. Many publishers have either in-house copyright enforcement agents or they work with Attributor which is very good. Pass on the information.

On the other hand, if you are outraged and wish to get active, you could join the One Voice (free) arm of the http://www.copyrightalliance.org/
or
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AuthorsAgainstE-BookTheft/  or join Stephen L Wilson http://stephenlwilson.blogspot.com/2012/07/warning-authors-your-craft-is-at-risk.html or at http://nopirates.blogspot.com/2012/08/consolidated-posts-weeks-worth-of.html
In closing, I should like to make a very serious point. Some pirates are very nasty people. Not all, but some. If you stand up for your rights in public forums, you must be prepared for malicious reviews wherever your books are sold; also for personal threats and insults; Denial of Service attacks on your websites; spam bombings; specious complaints to Amazon about your spelling or grammar, and other attempts to destroy your writing career....and of course, repeated uploads of your works to every pirate site possible.

Take care
Rowena Cherry

Report piracy: tips@disneyantipiracy.com  reportpiracy@rwa.org http://www.iprcenter.gov/referralhttp://www.copynot.com/ staff@authorsguild.org


BLURB:
Helispeta wanted to marry well, but not THIS well.
Buy Link: http://store.newconceptspublishing.com/Mating%20Net%20by%20Rowena%20Beaumont%20Cherry

BIO:
Rowena writes about a race of alien Djinn from outer space. She is also a talk show host for Passionate World Radio, and an outspoken copyright advocate.

284 comments:

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RowenaBCherry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tina Donahue said...

God. Just god. Makes you want to puke.

jean hart stewart said...

Scared the you know what out of me. Is the world getting worse of have I just been abysmallly maive?

RowenaBCherry said...

Tina,

Thank you for your comment. Also, thank goodness for the majority of honest, supportive readers who understand that authors only make money from legal sales of their books.

Rowena

RowenaBCherry said...

Hello, Jean.

Thank you for commenting. The world is getting worse, I think. Also less civil.

It is weird that some of the most vocal copyright infringers who frequent book-related social networking sites appear to be able to afford e-readers, high speed internet and subscriptions to sites that hide their identities, but state that they cannot afford to pay even $2.99 for an e-book.

Rowena

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