My entire professional life has been dedicated to creating digital goods. First with computer software and more recently with digital books. One of the big questions has always been – how to protect that intellectual property. What you might not know is copyright is inherent in creative works. That is, you don’t have to do anything to have a reasonable expectation of protection. That’s all well and good, but what do you do when eBook pirates attack?
This all started when I received warnings from Kindle Desktop Publishing (KDP), the subsidiary of Amazon that makes most eBooks available for their wildly successful Kindle products, that I was breaking our agreement. The warning, ultimately let me know that they believed I was going behind their back and selling my books on the google play store. And indeed, if you search right away, you’ll be able to find Parley – Privateer Tales Book 3 on google’s store. Please, if you do this, don’t purchase what you find, the money is going to … you guessed it, PIRATES! YAR!
As an independent writer and publisher of eBooks, I can tell you the last thing I want is to annoy, irritate, piss off, or in anyway break my agreement with Amazon’s KDP. If they were to cut me off, I’d have a very difficult time recovering. The most logical thing to do is to get Google to remove my eBook from their servers. Now, how can I accomplish this?
It turns out that there’s a law, well, an act really, called the Digital Millennial Copyright Act. The process is known as a DMCA Takedown request and it’s old-hat for Google. Google has been on the bleeding edge of copyright law for as long as they’ve existed, imagine all of those copyrighted songs that show up on YouTube or movie clips, stolen from theaters, etc. They’re required to provide a process to allow legitimate copyright holders a mechanism for requesting illegally placed material to be removed. Indeed they even have a web site / form for this, and If you happened onto this blog and you’re actually looking for that link, you can visit Google’s DMCA Takedown page.
There’s good news, however. Amazon’s KDP and I are actually on the same side here. Amazon makes money, when I make money and ostensibly what’s good for me should be good for them. And they know this. Now they won’t represent me to Google, and I’m not asking them to. What I need from KDP is a little understanding. That is to not penalize me for the actions of pirates. Turns out, they’re good with that. After I explained that I’d filed the DMCA with Google, KDP said they’d give me a break for a little while. I’m not sure how patient they’ll be, but for now, it’s good.
In the end. The real irony is that whoever decided to steal one of my books, took #3 in the series. There are worse things than a hundred new readers getting introduced to my favorite privateers.