Pirates…and I don’t mean the sexy fictional kind

Is there anyone whose heart doesn’t stir a bit at the fictionalized, romantic, swashbuckling, pirate? Some of the first historical romances I read as a teenager featured privateers. The difference between pirates and privateers is blurred at best and probably depends on the deck of which ship you find yourself. That said, leave the romantic images of pirates in the historical romances we love. As Suzan Tisdale commented on my Facebook post about this issue “Pirates–they give it a sexy name but it is still stealing.”

I found the pirate sites because I periodically search the internet for my name and my book title. I have found cool lists this way (like the “most wished for in Scottish romance” list on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/most-wished-for/books/7538389011 where Highland Solution is currently number 8). I have also found dodgy links to my copyrighted material.

If you find your copyrighted material on an unauthorized website you will need to send a DMCA take-down notice to the host. You can find an example of this kind of letter on multiple legal websites. This one provides a good explanation and example http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2009/07/06/sample-dmca-take-down-letter/.

Finding the place to send the take down notice may be a bit more difficult. You can go to a website like http://allwhois.org/ and with the url from the suspect site, you can sometimes find the contact email. That is what I did and at least one of the websites removed the link to my book. However it pays to be careful what you click on. I sent some of the information that I found to Piracy Pitbull and was told:

Some of the “sponsored” results are fake torrents with a virus built in. Those types of results generally show up on all pages of websites like this, regardless of what you search for. They’re just a method used to install malware rather than actual copies of your book.

Piracy Pitbull, http://www.piracypitbull.com is an example of a company that can help monitor the internet for copyright infringement and help remove your copyrighted material from the offending sites.

I am not a legal expert in this area, and I have only just scratched the surface on finding and addressing violators of my copyrights. However, I thought I would share what I have learned at my current stop in my journey as a published author.

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3 Responses to Pirates…and I don’t mean the sexy fictional kind

  1. ann leeson says:

    Piracy is downright dishonourable, especially when you can pick up books from sites such as Amazon etc for anything from 0.77p to £3.99 and even ones for free. Is it hackers that are doing this or is it readers, whether intentionally or not, I sometimes wonder at sites that want you to leave a review , that is why I’m dubious of sites I don’t know.
    Good luck with finding and taking down the people who are abusing your books.

  2. Mary Morgan says:

    Sadly, piracy has been happening for many years. With the age of electronic books, I have to say how easy it is for people to ‘steal’ books. I used to hear these stories from customers when I worked at Borders. It made me sick. Unfortunately, as authors, we will have to remain vigilant in taking these ‘pirates’ down. Thanks for the information, Ceci.

  3. cecigiltenan says:

    Ann you are right. There are so many free and inexpensive books available legally, stealing them is pathetic. I don’t know about the UK but there are even ways to “borrow” e-books legally in the US through libraries.

    Mary, vigilance is the key. I did find large numbers of books for some authors. I have 1 book to follow and a very unique name. If you Google Ceci Giltenan, I am the only person you find. So it is fairly easy for me to find where my books appear illegally. However it is harder for other authors. I think if I had a lot of books on the market, I would subscribe to a monitoring service like Piracy Pitbulls.

    The good news is that once I figured it all out (with a little help from my son; another author named H.D. Smith and Piracy Pitbulls) it was rather easy to get most of the material taken down.

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