Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pride & Piracy

Have you ever Googled yourself?  I must confess, I hadn’t until yesterday.  What prompted me to do so was reading several blog and web posts about marketing, one of which suggested getting a friend to create a Wikipedia page on yourself.  That prompted me to start looking around to see what information actually did exist about me.  Google yourself – it’s a fascinating and eye-opening experience. And sometimes you find far more than you bargained for!

I came across a site purporting to be about term paper sharing with an open request for one of my titles, dated about six weeks ago.  Intrigued, I clicked on it and found it to be a pirating site on which someone calling herself ‘housewife’ had requested a free download of one of my books.  This was made available to her and to anyone else – and a number of people availed themselves of the opportunity to download it for free.

My first instinct was to join the site and tell the desperate housewife and all the other free-loaders that if they were so hard up that they couldn’t spend $2.99 on a legit copy, they should contact me via this blog for a gift.  I mean, I’m just a struggling author – their need is clearly far greater than mine.

The book in question happened to be one I’d self-published, otherwise it would have been my publisher’s headache to deal with, not mine.  A good friend of mine, another self-published author, told me it would be impossible to take any action against the pirates – she herself had suffered at their hands.  Fortunately, my clever son (I know, I’m always talking about him, but he’s just such a useful person to know!) has not only a sound knowledge of the internet, but also of intellectual property law, including copyright infringement, so I followed his advice.

So should this happen to you, through Google, the first thing to do is contact them on the following link:  You will have to complete a page of details but this is very straightforward.  I received an email from Google support a few hours later telling me they were removing the website from their search index.

Feeling more than a little hacked off by this website, as an added precaution I also contacted the web hosts informing them that their lessee had violated their terms of contract and should be dealt with immediately.  You can look up a website on: to find out who is providing them access, and then contact those people for action.  My email did not receive the courtesy of a response, but that’s not to say it wasn’t acted upon.  One or the other must have and, although I can’t be sure who got there first, the offending site became inaccessible remarkably quickly.

My advice to self-published writers is to Google yourself regularly and watch out for these cheapskate pirates.  Then take action – fast.  Many e-books cost far less than a cup of coffee in Starbucks, but you can bet your boots that Starbucks wouldn’t stand for the theft, so why should we?

Message now showing on Google:

In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at



Jenny Twist said...

Superb, incredibly useful post. What a scam! 31 downloads! No wonder you're annoyed. Thanks so much for sharing this!

Joan Alley said...

Great blog, Lynette, and good job on fighting back. You are oh-so-correct in how important it is to keep a watch on your pen name on the Internet. If readers thinks it's "okay" to pirate, they'll keep on. Fortunately, this issue is getting more and more attention and becoming less and less acceptable. It's stealing, plain and simple.

Depending on the website, sometimes sending a strong cease and desist letter may work too, other times not.

Deborah Court said...

Thank you, Lynette, for your very helpful post! I didn't know that. I think that many people don't seem any worth in downloadable goods like ebooks or music - they think it's all supposed to be free while they'd never steal a book or a CD from a shop. I also know that money is very limited in many families. However, the ebook prices have become really affordable and there is a large number of daily free downloads so nobody will have to suffer hunger if they want to read a book. ;-)

Jackie Leigh Allen said...

Good info.

Janice Seagraves said...

Good for you!

ManicScribbler said...

Thank you all for your comments. I've since found out a lot more about this subject and other ways to deal with online piracy, but let's hope I never have to use this, and wish the same to all of you.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

Oh, I think they would, Deborah, but since it would be loal figured they could get caught and arrested. As an author whowrites under two names, I am always googling myself. Mostly it is my Sapphire Phelan pseudonym comes up, which is why I am slow about ebook giveaways these days--wondering if not from that. But I found a nonfiction ghost book of mine that is in print only actually scanned and made into pdf file I guess for free download on a website, so contact the marketing and publicity department of that publishing as they do lot for us authors and found they have been battling said site for a year on mine and other Schiffer Publishing books.
I am sure there are Americans doing it, but two countries I have heard also doing this as their ideas of copyright laws are different are India and China.

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