Writers Beware: Is Your Work Being Stolen Online?


I happened across this article on LinkedIn yesterday while checking some emails. As a writer, I was especially interested, since the topic is piracy of copyrighted, trademarked/registered works that writers have created and shared with the world. As Rhonda Rees, author of the article, advised, I ran a Google search with the title of my eBook, my full name, and ‘free download’ at the end. I hit search/enter. Lo and behold, to my unbelieving eyes, there they were: sites that offered FREE UNAUTHORIZED downloads of my eBook! Tzarmedia is one of the culprits and when I run a search of who is hosting their site, I get different results from each Whois site I use (how can this happen?). Another site out of France (but seems to be hosted in UK) is a thief as well – www.viol-lelivre.com – and so far no response from them on my DMCA letter.

According to the instructions in Rhonda’s article, I have contacted the sites directly and have attempted to find who is hosting their sites. Couple of problems: 1) I’m not very tech-savvy and have not been successful in locating the host server for one of the sites, since different searches resulted in different host servers. So it looks like perhaps the site owner moves the site around, best I can guess. 2) Don’t necessarily have the time or know-how to investigate this pirating of my book but have to take time out of my schedule for it. Is it worth it? Will I win the fight? Too soon to tell…still in communication process and we’ll see who complies and who doesn’t.

So I sent a DMCA Takeout letter (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) to these online pirates. So far, I received a response from the company that registered the site but does not host either of them. And one of the sites responded, requesting information on the alleged copyright infringement  – which was included in the DMCA notice I sent to their email address. Sounds like a big run-around if you ask me. Getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar, looks like. And the URLs are fake – click on them (one of them was about first aid training, or so the URL would lead you to believe) and you get to their actual site (why do they hide it in the first place?). All very fishy to me and businesses that offer registration and hosting should check for false links, which often lead to either porn sites or illegal/unethical sites. Tzarmedia is one of the culprits and when I run a search of who is hosting their site, I get different results from each Whois site I use (how can this happen?). And they have some false links that then lead to their main site….hmmmm.

Another site out of France (but seems to be hosted in UK) is a thief as well – www.viol-lelivre.com – and so far no response from them on my DMCA letter.

Writers beware! The internet can be a dark and dangerous place and those of us who naively put our hard-won work out there for the world to enjoy can be taken advantage of very easily by those less scrupulous. To what end, though? If they’re offering free downloads, they’re not profiting off the illegal service they provide. Unless they’re among those out there who believe that the internet should be a place where everything is shared, at no cost. Except it costs me – in commissions/royalties and, in time, because I have to spend it trying to find the offenders and have them remove my book from their sites.

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