How to Fight Content Theft

I spent my Memorial Day tracking down the jerk who took my hardcopy book — Picture Yourself Learning Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard — and scanned it into a .PDF file for easy downloading on his website.  There are few people who believe this sort of behavior is content theft — but let me assure you what was done to my book is a violation of International Copyright Law, it is pirating — and in giving away something for free that my publisher paid me to write and paid to have distributed as a hardcopy book — only ruins the book publishing economy in its core.  That means fewer books will be published and fewer authors will want to write books that can so easily be stolen.  Here’s a screenshot of the page for my book from the pirate site.  The .PDF file size description was the dead giveaway that this site was not selling my hardcopy book.


I was made aware of that content theft page because I have something like 300 Google alerts set up that are related to all my books and projects and websites. 

When my keywords are found in my alerts, Google emails me the content link and I always police those links to see what is being honored or copied or stolen and I always take appropriate action against those who choose to make money off of my unpaid labor.

On the rogue website that stole my book — I won’t give them a link here — I followed the click link to download my book. 

As you can see below, RapidShare began the download process of my stolen book!

I clicked back to the original content theft site and found this prominent DMCA link that pretends to absolve the prate website of any legal wrongdoing because, they argue, they only link to content theft, they don’t actually publish it on their servers. 

What a laugh.  What a joke.

So the jerks that stole my book are confessed cowards and they’re using free file download
services like RapidShare and Deposit files to unwittingly help them in
their pirating crime spree so they can claim innocence?

Who, I ask, uploaded the files to Rapidshare and DepositFiles in the first place and then knowingly created the illegal links to those uploaded files?

I decided not to contact the content thieves about their stealing of my book — what’s the point of asking your persecutor for freedom and mercy? — and I went right to the source of the thievery:  RapidShare and DepositFiles.  Both services have a clear policy against abuse of their services.  Here’s RapidShare’s abuse reporting page:

Here is the DepositFiles abuse page:

Within two hours of sending DepositFiles my Notice of Copyright Infringement, I had an email from them confirming the deletion of the .PDF file of my book.

When I returned to the original theft site and clicked on the DepositFiles link, I was presented with this notice:

Mission accomplished with DepositFiles!  Outstanding service!

Now, what about RapidShare?  I never recieved an Ack back from their abuse team.  This morning, I checked my Spam folder for a RapidShare response and found none.

When I returned to the original theft site and clicked on the RapidShare link to the illegal download of my book in .PDF form, I was presented with this notice:

Fantastic! RapidShare came through for me, too!

We have to remember DepositFiles and RapidShare are independent services that have nothing to do with these freeloading content thieves and the proof of that is the speed in which each site removed the illegal content.

Their speed in correcting the problem speaks to their honor and devotion to the law of the rule of Copyright and the right of content creators to decide the terms and conditions for the selling, distribution and republication of their work.

I realize my book is likely gone forever — along with any future sales — as the pirated .PDF file resurrects and wends it way onto less scrupulous file sharing hosts — but all we can do as original content authors is continue to fight the good fight against those that seek to damage us by giving away our work for free.

If we can continue to cut off the pirates at the source of their theft distribution schemes, we can then begin to hope that ethical people will one day realize nothing good comes for free and that downloading stolen content creates a co-conspiracy of stealing under the guise of freedom.

7 comments

  • Gordon Davidescu

    That’s terrible, David. My initial understanding was that the jerk was giving it away. Making money off your hard work is even worse.

    Like

  • Hi Gordon –
    No, he’s giving away the book for free — I was speaking more about other content theft of which you are well aware — where our work gets republished on other sites that wrap advertising around our writing that we have donated to the world.

    Like

  • plagiarismtoday.com

    Glad to hear that Rapidshare and DepositFiles were able to help you out with this. I know from my personal interactions that RapidShare handles matters quickly but I am very glad to learn that DepositFiles is the same way.
    Congrats on the takedown and if there is anything I can do to help, let me know.!

    Like

  • Love your website and your mission, plagiarismtoday.com!
    It’s too bad we, as the content owners and creators, have to jump through these hoops to prove we actually own the work while those who steal our stuff have zero barriers to climb to prove they have the right to steal or redistribute our content.
    The site that I discovered has scores of books that, at first glance, look to be the same case as mine and it would be great to shut down that entire site. They deserve a brutal and bloody end for their thievery.

    Like

  • plagiarismtoday.com

    Well, you might actually be able to . I don’t know much about the site that was linking to the RapidShare files based on this (I might have missed it) but you can actually file such notices against sites themselves claiming they are information location tools. It’s a bit of a stretch of the law on this one (the reason being it was targeted more at search engines than blog hosts, but it can work.
    Also, some hosts will just ban them as jerks with an abuse report.
    Of course, even that might not do too much good as they can just pack up and move in may cases.
    In the end though, you did the right thing. You protected your work and got the situation resolved. That was the first priority. I would report this site to your publisher and let them handle it.
    Let me know if you have any cases you want any help on. I’m always here if I can assist.
    Oh, and you can call me Jonathan. I’m seeing that OpenID isn’t pulling my name in for some reason. :)

    Like

  • Hi Jonathan!
    Thanks for the extra detail.
    I did contact my agent and he contacted my publisher and they are pulling in their lawyers to press the tines to the thieves.
    I’ll send you the URL of the site. I didn’t want to include any identifying information in my article because I don’t want to promote their pirate site in any way.
    I appreciate your site and your fine support!

    Like

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