Thursday, May 12, 2011

Preventing Copyright Theft

Google Alerts notified me that two notorious Torrent sites are giving away copies of my copyrighted books.   A torrent is a stolen copy of a copyrighted work – usually a song, book, or movie.  I contacted both of these torrent sites.  One immediately removed my books. The other ignored me. I tried every email contact on the site.

So, I decided to go higher.  I contacted their domain registrar.  They ignored me.

Then I got what I hope is a brilliant idea – I started contacting their advertisers.  These torrent sites aren’t directly making money from giving away my books. They make money from advertisers who pay to place ads on their site, on the page where they offer my books for free.  Big and reputable companies like Toyota, NutriSystem, Verizon, Travelocity, One Hanes Place, Gaiam, Virgin Mobile, Marriott and American Express, place ads on these sites. I have contacted all of them, plus the smaller companies that I’d never seen ads from before.

Some of these advertisers have direct email contacts on their websites. Others like Valvoline and Toyota required me to follow them on Twitter in order to contact their support staff. Their support staff never tweeted me back.

I called Marriott on the phone and talked to a man who agreed to contact their advertising agencies and figure out which one is placing that ad and ask them to stop placing ads on

One of the ads said AdBrite at the top, so I went to the AdBrite website and asked them to help shut these thieves down.  

They wrote back:
Thank you for reporting this to us.  We will investigate the complaint immediately, and if the user has violated our policies we will limit their account.  Due to our privacy policy, we can’t discuss any actions we take on the account with you as you are not the account holder.

Our Publisher Acceptable Use Policy provides guidelines for acceptable publisher behavior, and lists different behaviors that we prohibit.  To read the Publisher Acceptable Use Policy, click here:

This looks like progress since the AdBrite policy is to prohibit sites without original content and sites that perform criminal activities. I’d say that stealing copyrighted work is a criminal activity. And since everything on their site is copyrighted by other people, they have no original content.

AdBrite also sent me a long form to fill out explaining how I know that I didn’t give permission to steal my work.  

I sent it in.  As of this morning – my books are no longer up on Demonoid   YAY!

I still want to shut them down by persuading advertisers not to support them.  Every title they have is stolen from the copyright owner.  
It's fine to go to places like the Gutenberg Project, that offer books on which the copyright has expired. 
Please support authors.  Do not go to sites that have free copies of artistic creations that are protected by copyright. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you discovered this and you did a great job of resolve. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention.

    A non profit organization in Texas once stole one of my illustrations out of a publication and used it for their logo. Fortunately a nasty letter seemed to take care of it. But this was a long time ago . . . before on line use.

    Photographers, especially, suffer a lot of online theft of their work. Hard to stop theft from online portfolios. Though watermarks on the photos help.