You never think it will happen to you…
I was riding the high of Blood in the Past‘s most recent free day. It had done well during free days past (900+ and 800+ downloads, respectively), but this time I had submitted to several promotional websites, hoping to be picked up without paying for a guaranteed spot. To my surprise, I was featured on both Free Booksy and eReader Perks! I had over 1800 downloads that day and Blood in the Past made it to #133 in the Kindle Free Store and #2 in the Kindle Free Crime Thrillers. That was a Sunday (also my birthday, if you’ll recall). The next day, I was enjoying my bump in sales (the only reason to do these free days in the first place), when I opened my email to a Google Alert that ruined my day. Like I said, you never think it will happen to you.
You see, I set up Google Alerts for my name and the title of my book to stay abreast of cheerier situations, such as unsolicited reviews, Twitter chatter about me and my events, etc. I never expected to click on the link and see Blood in the Past available for download for FREE on some shady-ass website. But there it was. And I wanted to cry. One of the 1800 people who had downloaded it the day before–SOME JERK–had uploaded to mobilsm.org, a tech website that offers free apps, programs, ebooks, etc.
After I stopped shaking and I got a hold of myself, I remembered all the advice I’d ever read about book piracy, mostly everyone says not to sweat being on a piracy site. It means you made it, consider it extra exposure, etc. Well, with all due respect to those talking heads, screw that noise. I worked hard on Blood in the Past, it only costs a couple of bucks, and for heaven’s sake, I run a free promotion once a damn month! I decided then I wasn’t going to just bend over my desk and take this piracy crap quietly (excuse the visual). So I did what everyone does when they’re lost for answers: I Googled it. And I got an answer. And I acted on it. And less than one week later I received an email that my book had been removed. Hurrah!
I bet you’re wondering how I managed that. Here’s how:
- My Google search led me to this link. God bless anything that begins with the prefix Wiki.
- Before I consulted the steps on the WikiHow page however, I made sure the site where my book was pirated had a copyright policy, which it did. You want to make sure that you comply with the offending site’s procedures, if they have their own. For example, mobilism.org had a specific clause that had to be included within your complaint for it to even be considered.
- Next, I went back to the WikiHow page and basically followed the steps. There is actually a nifty little script for you to adhere to that makes it easier for you. FYI, when I sent my email to mobilism.org, I added an extra paragraph that went a little more in-depth in terms of proving my identity. In addition, I attached a couple of documents. You can choose whatever works best for you, but I went with the New Jersey Certificate of Trade for my publishing company, Blood Read Press, and the Copyright Page taken straight from Blood in the Past. I chose those two documents because the mailing address is the same, which tied my legal name to my pen name. Ta da!
- Now, I’d like to say that I pressed send on my polite, yet firm, email and bing-bang-boom, Blood in the Past was rescued for mobilism.org’s slimy grasp, but that’s not how it happened. Their website claims copyright infringement complaints will be addressed within 48 hours of being received. Lord knows when my little email would be received so, after 56 hours had passed, I returned to the website. Closer inspection revealed that if you became a member and directly messaged the head of the thread where the infringement took place (i.e. apps, ebooks, software, etc.), the response time would be shorter. So, after much reticence and downright nausea, I joined the site (promptly showering after) and messaged the screen name “Phex”. Sure enough, within 48 hours, Blood in the Past was free. Well, not free. For sale, on Amazon. If it were free, that would mean it was still on the piracy site…oh never mind…you know what I mean.
I must confess: this is my first brush with piracy and this only one website. I can’t promise that these steps will work in every situation with every website. But it can’t hurt to have somewhere to start, right? My advice? Start with setting up Google Alerts for your name and book title(s). If it wasn’t for that email, I would never have had the day after my birthday ruined and I would have never sprung into action, thus saving my book from being held hostage by pirates.