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: http://support.google.com/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1114905&page=ts.cs. 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: http://www.whois-search.com 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 ChillingEffects.org.