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.



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



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



Is your blog being ‘harvested’?




I came across this helpful blog on how to file a 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



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



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?



© 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

Keep Calm and #Blasty off #Piracy


Hi people! I know, so unlike me to post twice in one day, but I just wanted to share something of interest I came across last night while reading a post from a fellow blogger, Damyanti’s blog.


She mentioned a new site called Blasty . This is a new site still in beta. It’s created for writers and artists to enroll their books and anything copyrighted to be flagged to your account if any suspicious ‘BUY’ links are found from pirates on Google. When suspicious links are found WE are then given the right to ‘blast‘ the link right off Google ourself! Imagine that, we don’t have to go through the ringers to submit our findings, begging them to take them off, we have the power to blast them ourselves!


Natch I joined! Once you’ve joined and submitted your own copyrighted content, it takes 12 days until you’re accepted because they have to verify you are holder of copyright and that takes time. BUT if you share and get 3 people to sign up, they will push the registration to 1 business day! They will send you an invitational link by email to share with others in case they want to join. And not only that, if you join now while it’s in beta stages, they waive the fee!


As a published author, it’s a no-brainer for me to have Google babysit the pirates, so I’m in. The site has a great FAQ section and little videos demonstrating how to use Blasty correctly and efficiently. You can even ‘unblast’ if you’ve blasted something in error.


Anyhoo, I suggest you check it out. And I’m leaving the link here with my invitational code to their site for you to visit, so if you sign up from my link, they’ll know you were invited there, and I’ll get to add the rest of my books in one day instead of 12.


You know me, always glad to pass on great info after doing the investigations. So if you decide to sign up who wouldn’t, please go in through this link https://www.blasty.co/invitation/bituzNcZ so I can get my books up by tomorrow. Then you will be emailed your own ‘invite’ link and you can ask the same of others.


Note: I already have a follow up post to this Read Here  to see how many books of mine are being pirated.


Please let me know what you think about this.

#Email #Scams and #Tips on how to deal with them

calm scam

Are you receiving scam emails requesting payment for items you never purchased? Or are you receiving emails from companies you are doing business with, requesting updated information to your account? Have you been in receipt of a demand letter for copyright illegal image use?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, then it’s important that you learn how to protect yourself from these internet trolls who can disrupt your life and your finances.


Many of these cyber criminals thrive on sending out numerous emails, and they only need to catch a few unknowing victims to grow their profits. In a world where so much of our daily activities are done online now, it makes us more vulnerable to scammers. It’s sometimes overwhelming the amount of emails we receive, and subsequently, when time is short, we have a tendency to click on them a bit too eagerly to get through them. But when it comes to receiving emails from companies you aren’t familiar with, or do business with, regarding payments, we have to slow down and do a little more digging.


In these past few months, I’ve received scam emails from LCS – one of the biggest alleged scam copy infringements currently circulating, a scam letter from a company I’ve never heard of, saying I owe $55,000 in arrears, a gmail support letter to my ‘alternate’ alert email, and a request for updated information to my Paypal account.


You may be wondering how we can sniff out the scammers, and what to do about them. And today I’m going to share how to deal with these illegal annoyances.


Gmail support is pretty darned good at sniffing out scammy things. Last week I received a notification from them, informing me that they had deleted something scammy out of my mailbox. When I tried to find that email, it was not even available to view in junk. Although I was happy that Gmail is doing their due diligence, I would have liked to have been able to see the offending email so I could see if I should have taken further action.

Paypal is also good at staying on top of and informing clients about scammy occurrences and how to handle them. If Paypal sends you an email, it will always have your name and correct email address on it. It will come from Paypal.com, and won’t have any other weird attachments such as someone’s name and email added to the URL. And they will never ask you for sensitive information in an email. You’d have to go to your account and log in to fulfill any requests they are asking for. They also ask that if you’ve received any emails saying they’re from them, and discovering they are not, to forward that email to their spam department, something I’ve done numerous times over the years. All you do is forward the email to www.spoof@paypal.com. You don’t even have to write your name or any explanation, just forward it. I do all the time, because this helps Paypal find these scammers. Here is a link with more info: https://www.paypal.com/ca/webapps/mpp/security/what-is-phishing 

There are numerous scams going on through email servers that we must be diligent in ciphering out. And remember to NEVER open any links from suspicious emails, as they may also contain viruses.

This week I also received an email from a company I’d never heard of, demanding $55,000 in overdue payment. The email was rather lengthy, but what didn’t it contain: My name, what exactly I purchased that was in arrears, no mention of dates of previous correspondence, NO WEBSITE in the address or salutation, a strange erotic email address return, and a phone number to contact, which when I searched it, turned out there was no area code for in North America.

So after doing my search, although finding the email had nothing to do with me, I didn’t like the fact that someone had chosen my email to scam, and as I always worry about unresolved repercussions, I decided that I should be reporting it to the fraud squad.

Every country has a government website where we can report these fraudulent scams. And I just felt better sending it in, just so there is documented evidence of the incident on file, should anything further pop up. Here are the Canadian and U.S. websites where you can forward these scam emails. Each website has explicit instructions on how to handle the situations and forward them for recording. – https://www.us-cert.gov/report-phishing and http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm

Now, as far as cease and demand letters go from LCS (the name that Getty Images hides under to claim extortion-like payments from unknowing users of images, accused of copyright infringement), this process is spreading like wildfire, with hundreds of people daily being sent these letters. There is much controversy on the validity of these letters and how to respond. I myself received one last December, as I wrote about below:



I have discussed this problem with a lawyer friend and various forums I found from googling ‘LCS demand letters‘, and there still doesn’t seem to be a concrete answer on exactly how to handle these extortion letters, or to check their validity. I was very frightened the first time I received one, and chose to comply immediately, before learning more about this trend.

I never intentionally used someone else’s photo knowingly. The first time, they found a photo on my blog that I had used to share a post from someone else’s website as a reblog. The photo THEY used, was showing on my site, therefore, I was accused of infringing, because obviously, the blogger who used that photo wasn’t aware it was copyrighted,

The scary part about these threat letters now is that Getty Images is crawling the web 24/7 with their spy bots, looking at thousands of photos a day and seeing where they’ve been downloaded to. Many of the photos used to accuse ‘infringers’ aren’t even owned by Getty, or they’re accusing that part of a photo is from one of theirs, or even better – Getty puts up some ‘free’ images on a particular site, then someone uses one on their blog, and perhaps you decide to copy it, since it’s stated ‘free use’, then Getty goes after those that have copied the original ‘free photo’ and you instantly become an infringer. It’s almost as though they are setting us up as prey.

We also have to be careful of using images from sites which declare the photos ARE free to use, as possibly as the years pass and we forget about those photos we’ve used on a blog and find that there may have been an expiration on the free use.

Then there is the business of people posting images available for free use on image sites, which they have in fact stolen themselves. Who can we trust? This nightmare of possibilities to be unknowingly accused continues daily, and here is an important link to read about how this business keeps thriving.

I also came into receipt once again, of another infringement notice, in January. Apparently I’m accused of using two ‘illegal’ photos. (They scour the net and take screenshots.) One of which I don’t have anywhere in my files, but vaguely remember seeing and taken off a year ago, which coincidentally, I understood to be free at the time, and another which has a distinct watermark through it, which doesn’t match the one I had used on my blog 2 years ago, with no watermark. Both photos, incidentally, were taken from a site which I was a member of, and stated we could download and use photos from those which were publicly displayed. The site also has a policy where people can only download their own photos, nothing unlawfully. Obviously I trusted that where I got those photos, were owned by the poster.  I would never intentionally steal the work of another artist, and the thought of being accused of doing so is quite unsettling.

I’m sure this matter isn’t over yet, because I haven’t succumbed to paying, but as I’ve been reading up on so many other blogger/writer experiences with this business, I’ve discovered that once you’ve been ‘selected’ for a demand letter and you pay up in fear, they know you’re an easy mark, and they’ll be back.  Also note, that no matter the dispute, it’s very important to delete the image in question off your blog AND from any files you have copies in, as that’s how the robots find them snooping on servers. Certainly their ‘search and destroy mission’ sounds almost illegal itself.

Below is another informative link about the whole Getty demand letter titled : Scam or Real?


I hope that by being armed with this information, this can save you all some grief down the path of our internet lives. And if anybody has a related experience they’d like to share here, please do.

Is Your #Blog Under Attack? – Hugh Roberts



You followers of great blogs may have come across this excellent post by Hugh Roberts on how to protect your blog sites with this article, Is Your Blog Under Attack?


I thought with the year ending, it was an appropriate post to reblog for us all to do some ‘housecleaning’ and make sure everything is running smooth for the new year.


Hugh has some important info in this blog about protecting our works. He shares in this detailed post about having copyright and disclaimers on our work to help protect us from infringements and plagiarism. You may want to have a look in the link below:


“Yes it is and it’s happening every single minute of the day.  However, don’t be alarmed as there are a few simple steps you can put in place to make sure your blog is safe.

Everyday our blogs come under attack from various elements, most are invisible to the eye.  Just like protecting our families, pets, and anything else we value, we should also do all we can to protect our blogs from these threats.

Threats come in all sorts of forms and I have listed below what I do to make sure some of these threats don’t hurt me or my blog…..” Continue Reading



Listen Up! – #5 Tips to Protect Yourself from #Copyright #Infringement

If it happened to me, it could happen to you!



Do you know where all the photos come from that you use to spice up your blogs?


Some of you may have noticed my sparse visits around blogtown and social media these past few days. That was because I’ve been a busy beaver, trying to protect myself from FURTHER copyright infringement. Yes, you read correctly – further.


We’ve all read enough articles on the perils of copyright infringement, but do we understand the rules completely when it comes to adding photos to our blogs?


Apparently, I thought I was adhering to the rules, but Thursday morning I woke up to an email sent to me from LCC, telling me that I was being fined for unlawfully having used a photo which was posted on one of my blogs.


At first I was shocked at the email, but after discovering what the photo was that caused the fine, I was even more shocked. It wasn’t a photo that I had chosen myself to post, it was a reblog I posted, and as I always like to write a little bit about what I’m reblogging about as an intro to the reblog, I had chosen to copy and add the photo pertaining to the reblogged post, to highlight the post. I unknowingly trusted that the photo on the reblog was safe to use because it was used on the original post. Had I just wrote the intro and only linked to the reblog itself, without adding the photo from the post on my page, I wouldn’t have been incriminated. By including his photo on my page direct, I was displaying his illegally obtained photo.


Incidentally, the post in question was written 2 years ago, which brings me to another important fact; many free photos have stipulations. Some are free only for a certain amount of years – usually 1 or 2. It’s possible someone used that photo thinking it was free and the free part expired in 2 years, because ironically, the post in question was posted in December of 2013. So never assume a photo is free to use unless you’ve checked the licence rights on the little blurb that always accompanies a photo from the site you’re on when you click on it to download.


What you should be looking for is CC0 – Creative Commons Zero, which is public domain.

contract fine

If you aren’t sure about where a photo originated from, use the site Tineye.com to upload the photo in question, and it will show you where the photo came from and where it’s been used and it’s licence permissions. (No doubt, this is where the person checked his photos to find the one on my site.) Here is a link to a post I wrote about this last year https://dgkayewriter.wordpress.com/clean-illegal-images-blog-its-late/


Naturally, I called the number listed on the email notice, and asked them a lot of questions to be armed against future fines, and of course, to share here with all of you. It hurt to have to pay $130 for a photo used that I wasn’t even aware was copyrighted material. And even though I removed it immediately, I still had to pay the fine.


The woman I spoke with told me I was lucky it was only $130. She said there are photos that incur thousands of dollars in fines. She also told me (when I asked), that they send out plenty of fines all the time.



Now, you may all be left wondering, what about posting cute little memes off Facebook and other social media sites?


Rest assured, I didn’t forget to inquire about the rules of sharing social photos we copy and paste from social sites. The woman told me that because social media is all about sharing everywhere, there’s no way of controlling all the shares. BUT APPARENTLY, if you share something off social media on YOUR BLOG, there is always a possibility you can be fined, if caught.


Needless to say, I had almost 500 blog posts since I began blogging in 2013. If you go through all your posts in your dashboards, you’ll find there are about 20 per page. Each page took me about 45 minutes to an hour to go through and check on photos I’ve used. If I didn’t know where they came from, I deleted them. Due to time constraints (as this is a daunting process), some photos I replaced and some remain photo-less, as my main objective was to delete unknown photos from further penalizations down the road.


This process took me well over 30 hours to clean up my posts. Certainly, this was a grueling exercise, very time consuming, but I never want to wake up to another scary email from Creative Commons.


magnifying-glass-1020142_640 (2)




  • Use only your own photos or check licence for all photos copied from the web.
  • Use Tineye.com to check any photos in question.
  • Be careful when reblogging and including the photos of other’s on your page.
  • Go through old posts to make sure you haven’t used any photos unlawfully.

*Note: After posting this article and it was shared around virally, it got picked up by http://paper.li/ConlinLaw/1446436017?edition_id=84ed2470-a670-11e5-b314-0cc47a0d1609 . While I was visiting the site and my article, I came across another informative article on, What to do if you receive notice of copyright infringement. Read it here, by Hannah Konitshek.


Coincidentally, I came across 2 articles this week that cited some excellent photos sites to use FREE on our blogs. There is also some excellent information about paying attention to the licence usage. The new photos I’ve added to this post were obtained from Pixabay.com Just remember that FREE doesn’t always mean there’s not an expiry on the licence. CHECK THE FINE PRINT!






For another great explanation of how using photos from other people’s posts can be infringing copyright, check out this blog post https://jewelant.wordpress.com/2017/12/26/copyright-whats-the-biggy-deal/#comment-10751

D.G.Kaye ©2015