copyright
author tips,  Copyright,  Copyright Infringement,  D.G. Kaye,  Great information,  Netscraping,  self publishing,  Technical Snafus

Felony or Flattery? #Copyright Infringement and Content Scraping

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 week about 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.

https://www.digitalocean.com/company/contact/#abuse

 

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:

 

How to protect your blog from being copied

http://www.blogtipsntricks.com/2014/07/protect-your-blog-from-being-copied.html

 

How to find out if your blog is being ‘content scraped’

Content Scrapers – How to Find Out Who is Stealing Your Content & What to Do About It

 

Is your blog being ‘harvested’?

Please Read – Your Blog May Have Been Harvested!

 

 

I came across this helpful blog on how to file a DMCA

https://www.whoishostingthis.com/resources/dmca/

 

 

Hugh’s recent post includes information on what he discovered, and he’s included some helpful links to sleuth out copyright criminals in his post

5 Things I Discovered During My Blogging Break

 

Here’s more info on tygpress, it seems Godaddy was a previous host and now digital ocean seems to be the current host.

https://statuslite.com/domain/tygpress.com

 

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.

 

 

copyright infringement

 

 

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?

 

©DGKaye

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© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye
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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

60 Comments

  • Jasveena

    Oh wow! This is disheartening. I have the copyright details appearing on my personal blog where I write on social issues, just like the one you have at the bottom of this post. I wonder if that actually helps.

    Thieves like these are the reason why the book I co-authored is not available as e-books yet.

    What are your thoughts on giving your books away for free, in this case. Should we all just restrict ourselves or only give away free books via email?

    • dgkaye

      Like I mentioned Jas, the consensus is that if our books have ever been on free, they seem to show up on pirated sites. I will no longer be doing free promos for sure, but there’s nothing wrong with sending a copy of your book to a reader or friend if you know they won’t be exploiting your books. 🙂

  • Hugh W. Roberts

    Thanks so much for including the pingbacks and links back to my recent blog post, Debby. I’m pleased that the Tygpress site is currently down. I hope it stays that way.

    The blogging community never ceases to amaze me with the way we all look out for each other. If it hadn’t been for some of my blogging friends, I’d never have known that some of my blog posts had had their copyright infringement violated. The violations come from all directions. So far, I’ve never failed in getting any of my work that has been stolen taken down. I’d highly recommend anyone who is the victim of having their work stolen to take action and not sit back and allows thieves to get away with it. If we all stand together, we will succeed.

  • Adele Marie Park

    omg, sis, this is horrific, good for you for nailing the websites. I’m saving your page to my folders so I can check myself and for future use, hopefully, not needed but you never know. Thank you for this post. <3

    • dgkaye

      You are very welcome Adele. It’s so important we keep check on our work. And grateful for this community to keep each other informed. <3

  • Pete Springer

    This is disgusting, Debby. It’s tough enough writing a book without having to deal with somebody else trying to profit off it. I’m glad you got to the bottom of it all. Although I’m sure it was upsetting and annoying to try and track this all down, you must have some satisfaction in knowing they didn’t get the better of you. Thanks for warning the rest of us.

    • dgkaye

      Thank you Pete. It’s a sad state of affairs for Indie authors for sure. And if we don’t take a stand this crap just continues. It’s like anything else I suppose, we have to use our voices to stand up for what is right. And I feel it’s my duty to share with fellow writers what they may not have discovered to create awareness. I’m glad that you appreciated this post Pete 🙂

  • Robbie Cheadle

    The general lack of morality and ethics invading our world extends to everything, Debby. It is very sad. I have never promoted my books for free so hopefully none of them are on these sites.

  • Pamela

    Debby, you amaze me every time I read one of your blogs (in all good ways). You are a ferocious writer/editor/and friend-of-bloggers. I so appreciate all you do. Your information (and Hugh’s) opened my eyes. Thanks for the links and for your advice. I will admit that I’ve never offered my books for free, even though I’ve seen this type of promotion work quite well for many authors. I’m too stubborn and have always felt that we authors work SO hard to write and publish a good book, be it fiction or non-fiction, that we are worth SO MUCH more than “free.” I’m going to stick to that resolution, particularly after reading your post. Hugs and thanks to you,

    • dgkaye

      Pam, first of all, thank you for your lovely comment. I look at myself as the communicator of what I take in and feel obligated to share with fellow writers what they may have missed or not be aware of. It is a time consuming mission to always try and search out all things affecting our work, but this is an injustice and anything not right is definitely going to be exploited by me and shared with others so they too can learn what to look for, so I’m happy to hear when people like you find my information helpful. And about the free books, hey, you don’t even have explain. I mean come on, forget free, $2.99 for a book that takes up the best part of a year to write, revise, edit, proofread, format, publish and market. LOL, we definitely have to love what we do to basically work for free! But yes, it’s become quite evident that books that go on free end up in piracy. So I won’t be doing anymore free promos for sure. And quite frankly a promo at 99 cents, is still a big joke – you can’t even buy a chocolate bar for 99 cents and after Amazon gets through with their royalty rules, 99 becomes 30 cents. That is also free as far as I’m concerned! Thanks for chiming in, and sorry for the rant, LOL <3

  • Sally Cronin

    Great sleuthing Debby and valuable information for everyone.. I have shared and reblogged for Sunday (only a couple of paragraphs!)… hope it reaches a lot of people.. it needs to be read.. hugs ♥

    • dgkaye

      Hi Sal! Thanks bunches for helping to spread the word. I know you’ve had and are still having your share of author woes. I hope you’ll be adding to the conversation with your discoveries too when you get your own sleuthing done. And had to LOL at (only a few paragraphs) you’re hilarious, yup, I’m watching you! 🙂 🙂 🙂 <3

  • Jacqui Murray

    It looks like all your work paid off. When I go to ‘tygpress dot com’, it is closed. Yay!

    Now for all the other thieves. Thanks for such a thorough discussion on the topic.

  • Vashti Quiroz-Vega

    Wow! This is so upsetting! Thanks for the information and links, Debby. It is disgusting! We work so hard to get our books out there just so someone can swoop in and steal it from under our noses and sell them elsewhere. Ugh! :/

  • Christy B

    Hi Debby, sadly I have had many of my blog posts “scraped” or even directly stolen word for word on other blogs. Last month I spent a loooong day sending messages to bloggers to kindly take down my content. I was no-nonsence in my emails!

    I hadn’t even thought about checking if my books are for resale elsewhere than where I’d approved their sales 🙁

    I’m glad you did some hunting and that the particular site is now 404 that you had mentioned as that was very shady of them! Props to Hugh and Colleen for helping you too.

  • Elaine Mansfield

    Thanks for doing this hard work. I occasionally see my book or one of my blogs listed where I wouldn’t expect to find it, but decided to let it go. Maybe that’s a mistake, but if it became a common thing, I’d let my publisher handle it. I do not want to be a detective, but I’m glad you’re letting me know how common this is. Sigh…

    • dgkaye

      You’re welcome Elaine. It’s up to us to protect ourselves as Indies because there’s nobody looking out for us or our work except writers who share their discoveries in our wonderful community.

  • johhn howell

    I also sent KissLibrary a notice. They took my stuff down. Not sure in all their markets but at least in the US. The idea that the content is being stolen from free material may not be true. I have never given away books for free and all my books were there available in ePub or PDF format. Not sure where they could be getting them but it could be when they are available at $0.99. Great post, Debby. Thanks.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for sharing your take on free books John. So we can scratch that theory. We all know the internet can be such a dangerous place for trolls, looters and propagandaists. These are dangerous times in the cyber world. Glad you got your books off there, and no doubts we’ll find many more on other sites. 🙁

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    So sorry to hear this is happening to so many of you Authors out there Debby, and Thank YOU for being the sleuth that you are in investigating and providing the links so that others may go and check up..
    I find it sad that this is now seemed so normal that so many sites allow this to happen. When they obviously know the copyright laws.. Yet flout them.

    I can well imagine the time spent chasing them up..

    Great work from both you and Colleen Debby..

    Hope you have a restful weekend and those ‘Planets’ soon come into a smoother alignment!!!

    Lots of LOVE.. <3

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Sue. Yes, it sure is time-consuming, but enough is enough already! Mercury still clinging to me like a vine. Please let it be over next week! 🙂 <3 Love and light back to you my friend. <3 xx

  • Deborah Jay

    It’s never ending, isn’t it?
    I used Blasty while it was on Beta, and discovered my books for sale on many sites, even though I have never done any free promos. It transpired that some of those sites weren’t really selling the books, but using the download link to send viruses to the unsuspecting purchaser. If people are buying from such pirating sites, perhaps they should expect to buy a problem or two, although I suppose there will be some innocents who don’t realise the sites aren’t what they purport to be.
    I do have Google alerts for my books, and my author name, but at the end of the day, I really don’t have the time to keep chasing down every lead, so unless the sites figure highly on a search, these days I just let it go. That might seem defeatist, but I rather follow David Gaughran’s take on it – annoying though it is if someone else is making money off my work, I can treat it as either free advertising (getting my books to someone who might otherwise not have found them), or accepting that the people who buy from such sites wouldn’t ever buy a full price book anyway.

    • dgkaye

      Deb, exactly! Seems, John’s comment above basically feels the same. We all had free beta, paid for the manual and never renewed for same reasons on Blasty. It’s impossible to keep up with the piracy. We can hope that we at least get some reviews for our free giveaways! And yes, many of those sites are out to steal private information and no books. I’ve never clicked on any of those links in fear of virus or something, so I can’t even say where they lead to. 🙁

  • John Maberry

    Whatever happened to Blasty? I had some issues with them about a renewal, which they were supposed to get back to me on but never did. It appears their services have are no longer working for anyone.

    The suspicion is that most of the “free” books out there on the nefarious sites don’t really have the books to download but are clickbait for people to enter a credit card or other info for scamming/ID theft from those looking for something for nothing.

    Undoubtedly there are some who actually are pirating author’s works. That’s what Blasty was supposed to be taking care of–sending DMCA’s to Google for you. The higher end service wasn’t cheap so I went for the midlevel offer–which is what expired. Apparently that’s a good thing after I found lots of queries about its demise.

    • dgkaye

      Hi John. Yes, after Blasty went out of Beta and I was on the ‘free’ ride. I was getting tons of blasts per month! Then yes, they went paid on 2 levels – medium was they would send notifications for findings of our books but we had to ‘blast’ each site manually. For a higher price they would continue to auto blast. I paid for the manual for a year and didn’t renew either.

  • Dorothy Sander

    It’s such a crazy world and points once again to the need for cyber security and oversight. It’s the wild west and it’s the unsuspecting that pay the price. I can’t help but wonder if this won’t drive some writers back to traditional publishing. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and this valuable information.

    • dgkaye

      Most welcome Dorothy. You are so right, there is no control and we are open season for copyright thievery. Who has time to investigate this crap all the time! 🙁

  • Balroop Singh

    So shocking! I have never come across such information Deb, thanks for sharing it and the advice against “free promotion.” Once or twice my posts were copied and reproduced by some rogue blogs and they took it down when I reminded them that all my work is copyrighted and they should respect my rights. But books? I never thought people do that too!

  • Vishnu

    I’m angry this happens but inspired that you were able to get so much accomplished Debby. All your sleuthing and following up does work 🙂 Congrats! Also, this post is super super helpful for any of us who may find ourselves in similar situations. Thanks for writing this post up with so much detail.

    Do you read or watch a lot of murder mysteries or were a detective at any point in your life 🙂 ?

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    I’m glad you and Colleen teamed up to figure out and file complaints to the book site pirates. That is sad to see that free book promos may contribute to this epidemic. That is scary enough for all the work that goes into writing each book! I’m sure Hugh mentioned that two different blogs linked to my Sunday Stills challenge with two of Hugh’s posts as if they were written by them! I let Hugh know right away and he worked with WordPress to take them down and perhaps close down their sites. What idiots to link the copyright infringed post to another blogger’s post! Egads! What are they burning for brains??

    Thanks for all this great info Debby!

    Anyway, I’m paying huge attention to this info as I reach the finish line of my fitness book, hoping for a launch in early 2020!

    • dgkaye

      It’s getting out of control Terri. It’s like they don’t give a shit about laws. Yes, I did see Hugh’s post. Some people are just shameless! 🙁 Good luck with the book Ter! x

  • Norah Colvin

    You’ve shared some really important information in this post, Debby, thank you. How frustrating to have your hard work stolen. I’m pleased you were able to put a stop to it. It seems to me that many have an unusual opinion of online material (as also noted in one of the articles to which you linked). While they will pay for physical material, they seem to think that everything online should be free. Perhaps its something to do with that sense of ‘the man behind the screen’ that Sarah Brentyn wrote about — The writers aren’t ‘real’. I can take it; no one knows it’s me. I’m safe. — It’s not a good attitude to have. And it’s illegal. Thanks for all the articles telling what to do if one’s material is stolen.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for chiming in Norah. Sarah hit the right words for sure! And although some of us have uncovered a few illegal sites, imagine how many more there are! At least I’ve demonstrated how to go about sleuthing our infringed material. I hope others will be more diligent with seeking out their stolen work. (PS. I found all your lovely comments today in spam!!!) <3

  • Liesbet

    Sorry to read about this here, as well as on Hugh’s blog, Debby. Isn’t all this crazy? Not only do they steal the work of hard-working, little-earning writers, but you have to deal with all the hassle contacting them, creating emails, and filling out digital paperwork, which costs so much time. It’s a total nuisance and even if – in the end – these criminals don’t get away with it, all the time, stress, energy, frustration, and emotional involvement is too much! As if we don;t have anything else to do… The same is true for all kinds of spam. Time-consuming and infuriarating!

  • Hilary

    Hi Debby – gosh what a pain … I saw Hugh’s post … but you’ve really expanded for us .. thanks for all the links, the tips, the ideas and connections … excellent post – thanks – cheers Hilary

  • Suzan Vernon

    Hey Debby, thank you for posting this. But I was not comfortable sending my personal details to that kisslibrary piracy site as I have read from a few other authors as well that its a big scam.

    So I used this anti-piracy service https://www.pirat.io/ to have them send the DMCA on my behalf and takedown my pirated books from kisslibrary for free!

    I didn’t want them to have my real name and my e-mail as they could potentially use it for hacking into my Amazon account or PayPal earnings, I am a bit of a privacy freak when it comes to the internet and especially when dealing with illegal piracy sites.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Suzan. Thanks so much for reading and letting me know about that site who will send the DMCA out, that’s perfect! And I know what you mean about filling out our name for the form. So did it work by using that method?

      • SUZAN VERNON

        Hi Debby, yes to be honest I was skeptical in the beginning but it worked perfectly!!
        I didn’t want to risk my privacy and have my personal e-mail or real name associated with these kind of people. Who knows who they are, if they run such websites for a living!!
        They could try to hack my Amazon account or steal my PayPal earnings.
        I will send you more info about it via e-mail!

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