The Business of #Writing: Fighting Content Thieves

Content thieves are the bane of every writer’s existence. One insidious form is the type of sites that purport to give readers free downloads but charge a subscription fee for their service. It’s terrible because they take one copy of a book and give it away while the poor writer and their publisher, even if it’s Amazon, don’t cop a sou.

I’m not talking here about the scum that steals a book, repackage it, and sell it on Amazon. That’s a different problem with a different solution.

Draw your chairs near, and I will give you a couple tools that will help even the playing field. You may not recoup your loses but you have a better chance than ever to shut off unauthorized access to your books.

Your first line of defense is the DMCA, which I’m sure many of you have heard of, but wonder how you can use it. Wikipedia tells us of the DMCA:

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM). It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself.

You have rights and you can enforce them.

Unfortunately, up to recently, tracking down the offenders and issuing a DMCA takedown notice was extremely time-consuming. I’ll give you a faster method, in a minute but like the process of issuing your DMCA notice.

Though the first step is contacting the content thief, offenders don’t usually respond let alone take down the content when you call them on their thievery. No. The only way to get action is to contact their Internet Service Provider and file the DMCA with them. Yes, that means looking up the website address in the WhoIs database and find who the ISP is, but that is easier most times than getting the actual address of the content thief, who may hide behind a privacy registration. The name of the ISP may not be listed but the NAMESERVER will be. Copy and paste the NAMESERVER address into your browser, hit search and get the result. Look for contact information of the ISP and send your DMCA takedown notice.

The DMCA Notice (form)

Feel free to copy and paste this section into your word processor:

To whom it may concern:

As required under Sections 512(c)(3) and 512(d)(3) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. ยงยง512(c)(3) and 512(d)(3)), I hereby give notification of possible copyright infringement.

1. The original copyrighted material is listed at the URL(s) below:

(Title and URLS of your work [such as cover art and blurbs] as seen on your blog and/or digital buy links. If you have a registered copyright list this information as well.)

2. The following URL(s) are infringing upon this copyright:

(list infringing URL link to your work.)

This or each of these copyrighted works were reprinted in their entirety without my permission on the URL listed in section 2.

Additional Information:

These works are whole and original with me predating the publication on the website.

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Please expeditiously remove or disable all access to the infringing material listed above. Should you require any further information regarding this matter, please contact me at the address, telephone number or email address indicated below:

Digitally Signed,
Your Name


Home Address
Town, Zip
Phone Number
e-mail address


But there is an easier method, one I’ve been Beta testing and that is an online application called Blasty that scans the internet and finds your content. The free version will locate it and you have to find and send the ISP or Google the DMCA notice yourself. The second version, for a step up in cash, will allow you to manually “blast” the offending pirate, and the third for a higher fee with perform automatic blasts which is a boon to authors with many books in their lists.

I currently have the Full Power version and this is what I see when I sign in.

Blasty has been busy scanning the ‘net for my content under two different pen names. You can see what they found and if the blast completed–meaning your book was removed from Google search efforts.

You can try Blasty for free from this invitation:

So, you aren’t without options, and you have some good tools to fight pirate thieves. So go forth, and fight them.

Disclaimer: Miss Primm is not a lawyer and you should not construe this article as legal advice. Consult your lawyer if you have questions about your rights and options.

Also, just FYI, Miss Primm has no association with Blasty other than being a customer.

Image Credit: Creative Commons license through Pixaby. No attribution required.

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