Whether you like it or not, as an author you are going to deal with piracy, copyright violations and people trying to sell your book.
You will especially deal with book piracy if you sell ebooks, since they are much easier to copy and distribute than physical books.
However, you will need to know how to protect yourself in every kind of situation and know what to do if it happens to you.
Even if you have not published your book and are in the writing stages, it is a good idea to learn what to do so you can protect your work moving forward.
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A Primer On Copyright Laws
If you have written your book, it is yours by default. You do not have to file it with the copyright office to get your copyright approved.
Of course, taking the extra legal steps can help but it is not necessary to prove that something is yours.
This is especially true if you have a way to prove that you wrote your work, such as notes, a timestamp on your computer of when you wrote it, or a publish date.
Now, someone stealing your book ideas or plots is a different type of category you might have to deal with. This article is more about people selling your book without your permission. However it is still a good idea for you to know the basics either way as a writer.
When Is Stealing Worth Pursuing?
The first thing you will need to think about before you start going after someone for pirating your book is if it is worth it. Does the person have a big enough audience to justify you spending hours and hours (and possibly getting lawyers involved) to get it taken down?
If you can see that they are selling the stolen copy of your book and making decent money, it will often be more than worth it.
You might also decide that you are going to get it taken down just on the principle of the matter alone. However, a lot of time, it is not always worth the extra effort to go through to get it taken down, which we will cover.
If it is a huge website or person with enough clout, you might want to consider going straight to a lawyer since it might be bigger than just emailing them nicely to ask them to stop pirating your book.
Let’s say you have just found out that someone has stolen your book and you want to know what you need to do in order to protect your work.
Before you run out and get a lawyer, there are a few things you can do right away to help protect your book.
Here are some steps to take if you find out someone has stolen your book.
#1 – Make sure they are actually selling or giving away your book
There are a lot of scammers out there who claim to be giving away a book for free, but once the person downloads the “book” (which is not really the book), a virus or other tracking software is downloaded to their computer.
Double checking this will save you a ton of time from going to war with someone who is not actually taking your intellectual property.
#2 – Get in touch with the person or website
Once you confirm that they are in fact giving or selling your book, you will want to get in touch with the person or website where your book is offered.
You will want to hunt around the website for a Contact Us page, an email address, or possibly social media posts to get their contact information. If they do not have that, you will want to use something like WhoIs to find their contact information.
You might find that this is the only step you need to do in the process as there are a lot of people who will respect your request to take down your book.
#3 – If no response, reach out to the Host or DNS provider
If you do not hear anything back after going through the traditional channels, you might want to reach out through a different way: through the host.
Hosts do not like to have copyrighted materials illegally on their site because it can get them in trouble. If they are not careful, their entire site can get shut down if you can prove they are violating copyright law. Needless to say, it’s a serious matter.
Using the WhoIs mentioned site above can help you find out the contact information.
Now, you might not always get the direct contact, but you might have to go through their host or domain provider in order to get a response. You will find out all of the information you need by using WhoIs.
#4 – File a DCMA report
If you do not hear anything back or you do not see any swift action regarding your book being stolen, you need file a DMCA report.
It is important that you document all the steps before you get here because they will often want to see proof that you tried other avenues before reaching out to them.
The best way to find this information is to search, “Name of the (host) Company” + “DMCA”.
#5 – Get legal support
If nothing else works or you think there are far more serious damages than someone just stealing your book (which already hurts enough!), then you need to get in touch with a lawyer or other legal assistance to help you with the next steps from there.
Ready To Write Your Book?
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