Welcome to my September edition of Writer’s Tips. This month I have collected a few goodies to share with you. Diana Peach had a great article with tips on how to write a great first chapter that hooks the reader, at the Story Empire. Jan Sikes with another great share on how to grow your email list, also featured at the Story Empire. Blogging guru Hugh Roberts has some important tips to prevent your blogs from being stolen and/or plagiarized. Also, as I am truly tired of being a target and thrown into Fakebook jail, a friend shared this great page which offers #socialmedia alternatives to Fakebook, definitely worthy of taking a look at by James Spencer at Make A Website Hub. Anne R. Allen also has another great article – updates on new scams and warnings for writers.
Writing Chapter One – Tips
Greetings, Storytellers! Diana here today. I hope you’re all writing up a storm.
I had a couple of non-fun-filled days chasing down copyright thieves. It seems to be a rampant thing these days as quite a few of us writers share with each other when we spot an author friend’s books for sale – somewhere they shouldn’t be.
Hugh Roberts mentioned in a post last weekabout finding his book on a site KissLibrary dot net and shared that he sent them a DMCA (the old cease and desist letter or further action would follow). No, I’m not going to highlight a link to them and give SEO the pleasure. Hugh informed me he saw all of my books for sale there too. Interestingly enough I could not find my books there and nothing came up when I put my name in the search bar. I commiserated with Hugh through email and he took a screenshot of the page where my books were, yet I couldn’t see them. I FBI’d the site for a contact to send a DMCA, and found it down at the way bottom of the page in small print, filled out the form and sent it off, but not before I did a little more sleuthing.
Their address was proudly listed on their front page – somewhere in Alberta, Canada. Was that why I couldn’t see my books but others could? Because I’m Canadian? I needed to dig a little further. I Googled up Domain Tools and clicked on the WHOIS, to look up the site owner. There I discovered a wealth of information, then copying the IP address and typing that into the IP Addresslookup and found this little setup is actually run from Russia!
It wasn’t so easy to send my notice because we have to include the links to the infringed material we’re accusing of stealing – Links I couldn’t see. So I got my Fey Sister, Colleen, to go to the site and type in my name. Sure enough she saw all my books for sale, but there was no way when I went to that link that I could see them! Well . . . I guess they didn’t know who they were dealing with.
Colleen clicked on each of my books at a time and copied each link to each book and pasted and sent to me. I had my back up evidence! I could see them listed individually. By the next day, my books were removed without even a reply from them.
That event took up half my day, then I proceeded to Google myself and found another site selling my books. That one was Thriftbooks dot com. There they were my books for sale. I’ve been told this is a resale site for our books. I personally, don’t appreciate seeing my books on a thrift resale site. This site was even trickier to find a contact person, but I’d learned from my investigations that if I can’t find the owners, I can send my complaint to the Host of the server. I went through the WHOIS again, which led me to find GoDaddy was their host. I then proceeded to the GoDaddy page and clicked on the bottom of the page “report abuse’ and filled out the form there and sent it off.
Oh, the day didn’t end there. About an hour after sending out notices, Colleen sends me a link to tygpress.com where many of us bloggers have our blogs stolen and displayed in plain day! The site is called tygpress.com.
If you find your blog posts violated on that site, this is where you need to go and report (many of us have already done the WHOIS search on them). Below is the link where anyone can send a DMCA notice to.
BUT . . . before I could get this post out, it seems enough bloggers complained because as of yesterday afternoon . . .
Update: I found this on tygpress – now a 404 page apologizing for harvested content. I guess all the complaints really do work!
About free books
Colleen, Hugh, and myself have come to the conclusion that the way these sites steal our books and sell them on their sites is when we give our books away on free promo. Both Colleen and Hugh found their only books pirated were the ones they ever put on free. As for me, I’ve had all my books on free at some point over the years, hence, all my books have been pirated on various sites.
Stealing an artist’s work is not right, it’s not legal, and it’s quite frankly disgusting. Like everything else in life, if we don’t stand up and speak out and call out the thieves, they will continue to get away with these copyright crimes. It’s important that we take a stand, call out these pirates publicly and send forth DMCA letters to have our work removed from the offending sites. Like I mentioned above, if a site doesn’t offer a link to fill out a DMCA, then we must go investigate the site owner through the WHOIS. It’s also a good idea to fill out Google alerts with our book’s names so that Google can send us alerts when they spot something with our names listed, so we can investigate.
In the meantime, I’m still waiting for replies from the DMCA notice I sent out to the thrift site, but I’m going to share some interesting links you can check out on how we can best try to protect our copyrights:
One blogger even went so far in his post to create an image he began adding to every one of his posts so that when they were infringed and showing on tygpress, this image would display on the post. He kindly offered any bloggers to help themselves to copy and save the image. (I had planned on adding this to each of my posts, but gratefully, the site has been taken down.
If you Google ‘tygpress dot com’ you will find a slew of blogger’s recent posts writing about and warning of this infringing site. All one had to do was type in their name or blog name and I saw so many of friend’s posts there.
It’s difficult to keep abreast on all the thievery going on in our cyber world, but one thing that’s helpful is making sure your copyright notice stands out on your page. I have moved up my notice on my top side bar and also including at the bottom of my posts now. For the not so daring infringers, these blatant notices may help to deter them – somewhat.
Please be proactive and Google yourselves every once in awhile. If we don’t stop this thievery on infringement one at a time, these infringers will continue to steal our work. And if you come across any suspicious sites, be a buddy and share on your blogs to give others a heads up.
Do you have anything to share with us here about anything suspicious you’ve come across?