- Determine your stance on copyright infringement. Are you against your works being illegally copied and redistributed?
- If so, search the common pirate/file-sharing sites for your ebooks and determine these are actual copies of your books (excerpts or complete). If the file is over 200kb, chances are it's a copy of at least some of your book. Sometimes it's a book review that is being shared. It's up to the writer of the review to decide whether they want the review shared. Some reviewers are bound by their contracts with review sites and cannot publish reviews outside of authorized venues.
- Send the site owner a take-down notice. A take-down notice generally comprises of your name and your claim as the copyright holder, your email address, the name of the ebook, your publisher's name, the name of the member who shared your ebook illegally and the link to the page on the site that offers your material. Give them 3 days to take down the copyright protected material and mention this. Also mention that you WILL seek legal counsel if your material is not removed from the site. Usually, this is enough for a site owner and you'll find your material removed. You can also suggest they suspend the user's account for illegal copyright infringement.
- If a site owner does not remove your material, you can email them again with a stronger message, letting them know you will take legal action against them if they persist in breaking copyright laws. If the member still has an account, you can email them again and mention a potential law suit. You can suggest you will contact their advertisers to let them know they're advertising on a site that does not respect copyright laws.
- You can contact any advertisers that might be advertising on the file-sharing site and ask them if they're aware their ad is placed on a site that allows blatant copyright infringement. Most are unaware of this. Many will take action and remove their ads. Advertising feeds many of these sites; huge incomes are made, so the loss of advertisers may make site owners pay attention.
- You can report copyright infringement to various govenment, legal or other organizations that handle copyright issues in your country.
- You can report their IP to their Internet provider, along with a statement concenring their customer's illegal activities. There are ways to uncover IPs of pirates.
- Stay calm and present yourself professionally. Though it's a natural reaction to be outraged, this won't help you, so remember to stay calm. Present your case formally and bluntly, without emotion if possible. State the facts.
- Join anti-piracy groups or organizations. Join Authors Guild, whose legal team is very competent with regards to protecting authors' rights. Contact them and let them know what's happening. Rumor has it that Authors Guild is looking into ways to go after pirate sites and to finding better ways to protect copyrights.
What You Can Do
If you are an author whose works have been illegally shared--copied, uploaded or downloaded--here are some suggestions of what you can do: