Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday's Mailbox~Huh??? Piracy Maybe

It's Monday so it's time to visit ol' Tilda the Mailbox again. In case you didn't know, Tilda is the character that's sitting on the mailbox.

This week in my mailbox was an e-mail from "anonymous" which left me going, "huh?" It was regarding my Friday posting of "Reviews of Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption and Another."

This post is wоrth everyone's attention. How can I find out more?

Now I'm not sure whether this comment was about my searches for piracy of my novels, my novels, the reviews themselves, extreme couponing, stopping the extreme because it can lead to hording behavior, or being a survivalist?

Usually commentary are either pretty specific or general, but I know what it's about. But this one, I'm at a loss to how to answer because I talked about all of the above. So in future, please be more specific with your questions and comments. I'll be happy to answer them.

I'm going with the piracy for this question since it seems to me me the most important.

In a previous post, I mention that piracy is losing authors several thousands of dollars annually. It is an ongoing occurrence with authors that offer their books for free, but it's not limited to free books. It is just doubly easy for disreputable folks to rip CDs of music and films this way also. They infringe on the copyright of the material and it is punishable by law.

It is up to the publisher, in my case it's me, to keep on the look out for pirated material of which I hold the copyright for. As an indie author, you hold the copyright. So every month or so I Google, Yahoo, and Bing myself. To my knowledge they are the most widely used search engines.

In the cited case where I was surprised by a posted review, I had Googled my author name and was searching for anything that shouldn't be listed. I know who I've given permission to sell my books for me. That way, I'm assured payment of royalties. If something shady turns up, in this case it didn't, I have a course of action to take. I have several friends who are lawyers and judges, and this is how they told me to do it..

  1. E-mail the party ask them to remove my book
  2. Send a certified letter to to the person running the site and/or site host. Giving a specific details such as date, web address, etc and ask them to remove it by a certain date for compliance. Most web hosts are not aware that an illegal action is being done. If they are then they should be held responsible also.
  3. Contact my attorney and he'll send another letter. Which if it isn't resolved, and then court action will be taken. It's in my contract with him to proceed with legal action. And, yes I will go to court to protect my copyright. They can also be expected to pay lost wages, and pain and suffering at that point, as well as legal fees. I have done it before and will do it again.
I do try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but after my initial contact, I'm not afraid to take it to court. I am not litigious in nature, nor do I wish to take a courts valuable time, but I will if forced to.

It's the duty of every author to protect their own copyright. It takes perseverance and vigilance on your part to see it's protected. The point is to be proactive in your stance to protect what is your intellectual copyrighted material. Now if you are traditionally published, don't think it can't happen to you. It may, and has happened. If you suspect copyright infringement contact your publisher.

Once something is written by you, there is no bonafide need to formally copyright your material. It can cause an unnecessary headache when you sell your story to a publisher.   Which if I choose to do someday, I hold the copyright and can transfer it. If I pay and go through the trouble of officially copyright something that may not be the case. It gives me some wiggle room.

As an indie author, I have more than enough proof that the manuscript is mine. I keep all my research material, rough drafts and revisions just in case. I keep separate thumb drives of my books. This may be overkill but I like to think of it as being proactive. If I ever need to prove that it is my intellectual work, I can. There's a "paper trail" in this paper-free environment. I can't help it, it's the past auditor and accountant in me.

If this is NOT the answer the e-mailer wanted they should e-mail me again with what they exactly wanted.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


S.P. Bowers said...

When I get anonymous comments like that, (there are several variations but I have gotten that one exactly) it is usually followed by their own website and are spam. Usually the grammar or wording is off and the websites are, well, lets just say diverse. At least the links to them are, I've never actually clicked through because that is often how people hack into the computer or you get viruses. Still, I'm glad you put this info up. It's very useful and something I know nothing about.

J.L. Murphey said...

Sara, I usually delete those that seem to have websites attached that have nothing to do with the subject I'm discussing. I don't do spams or FWDs because of hacks and computer is important to me.

John Chapman said...

Of course if your perma-free book is pirated you would have to think carefully before taking action. That piracy may be an excellent advertisement for your other work.

J.L. Murphey said...

Sure it would be advertisement so I guess you could take it as an advertising expense or loss as far as taxes go, but what author would really like their material pirated?