An author’s worst nightmare.
I use Google Alerts to get a daily list of posts that match keywords I provide. Among the search phrases I have alerts for is “Maria Langer.” Yes, I’m trying to see if anyone else in the blogosphere is writing about me.
Just back from a 2-week vacation, I started going through the alerts. There usually aren’t many for me, so I did those first. And I came across something that made my blood boil: a blog that includes free download links to copyrighted eBooks. And, as you might imagine, one of them was mine.
My book is being distributed as a Compiled HTML Help File (.chm) file, complete with hypertext TOC and all screenshots. Other books are being distributed as PDFs. Where did these books come from? My publisher has not responded to that question. Could it be that publishers are releasing books in unprotected, easily shared formats? Could they be that stupid?
I immediately went into defense mode. First, I confirmed that the download links gave me a free copy of the book in question. It did. Then, I called and e-mailed my editor to tell her about the problem, providing her with a link to the blog. Then I composed a DMCA notice to Google and faxed it to them and my editor. Next, I contacted some of the other publishers whose books appeared on the page. Finally, I went to the sites hosting the ebook files and reported the file links as abuse.
All this ate up about 2 hours of my day — on a day set aside to catch up after vacation.
Now I’m waiting to see what comes of my actions. At the very least, I want the entire blog and files removed. I think that may happen quickly.
But what I really want is for the people who posted the links to be arrested and tried for copyright infringement. I don’t care if they get off — the legal fees alone for their defense should teach them a lesson. But I don’t think this will happen.
The thing that bothers me most is this: I discovered this one pirate blog. How many others are out there that I haven’t discovered?
And how many authors are having their work ripped off?
Update: 2:55 PM
I discovered soon after writing this post that the blog in question is a pirate blog that’s also got a lot of limited interest software available for download. One of the makers of this pirated software is AT&T. I called their sales staff and told them about their software being listed for free download in an effort to get AT&T involved. They have a lot of clout (as you could imagine). The sales guy said AT&T is very interested in this kind of thing.
One of the sites that was hosting my book file has deleted the file at my request. I’m hoping the other two do so quickly, also.