Question: Kindle piracy

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Mel L

Full Member
Narrator
Aug 24, 2021
Switzerland
Yikes! This is worrying. Anyone else experience similar?

 
It is a huge problem that will get bigger. It is one reason I'm not self-publishing three novels I have ready. I'm trying to learn more.

The History Press published my memoir In Service: The Story Of A Welsh Guardsman and on the same day of the launch hardback copies were available on Ebay. I queried this with the publisher and my agent at the time and discovered it was a loophople that had to do with the publisher selling damaged copies that I wouldn't earn a royalty on. A friend purchased a copy on Ebay and it was in perfect condition.

My point is we're surrounded by thieves, be they Amazon or Trad publishers.

Another story is about my first novel Raw Nerve. I self-pubbed and discovered shortly after pirate copies were available on a pirate site.

Is it really any worse than secondhand books shops selling your hard work without the author receiving a penny?

I don't know. I'm just going to keep writing because it is what I love to do.

At the moment I'm focused on scripts, but they're easily stolen too..... :rolleyes: :oops:
 
It is a huge problem that will get bigger. It is one reason I'm not self-publishing three novels I have ready. I'm trying to learn more.

The History Press published my memoir In Service: The Story Of A Welsh Guardsman and on the same day of the launch hardback copies were available on Ebay. I queried this with the publisher and my agent at the time and discovered it was a loophople that had to do with the publisher selling damaged copies that I wouldn't earn a royalty on. A friend purchased a copy on Ebay and it was in perfect condition.

My point is we're surrounded by thieves, be they Amazon or Trad publishers.

Another story is about my first novel Raw Nerve. I self-pubbed and discovered shortly after pirate copies were available on a pirate site.

Is it really any worse than secondhand books shops selling your hard work without the author receiving a penny?

I don't know. I'm just going to keep writing because it is what I love to do.

At the moment I'm focused on scripts, but they're easily stolen too..... :rolleyes: :oops:
This is horrifying! I wonder what happens when the same thing goes on with books that are trad published. Other than for best sellers, do publishers of niche and mid-list books set their lawyers on the offenders and get the pirated material taken down? It seems that the hopes of having much budget dedicated to a first-time author by a trad publisher are low so I wonder what the difference would be compared to self-publishing? The whole thing is very discouraging, I must admit. However much you love writing, why struggle to publish only to have your work stolen with the thieves getting off scot free?
 
I don’t know what I’ll do yet. Amazon’s the distributor, my publisher is the licensee, and I am the author, which means I’m the owner of the property that’s been stolen. By contract, a publisher must act if an author notifies them of an infringement;
Contracts are rather more nuanced than that. There ought to be a procedure agreed for this kind of thing, not the least part being who might pay for any subsequent legal action.

but in reality publishers can’t do much unless there is a good deal of money at stake.
Not so, see below.

The author can act independently, and I have, from time to time, but it’s expensive.
Again, not really the case. It’s the role of the publisher to initially take action, and Amazon are generally pretty responsive. He may not be getting anywhere because of this. He needs to push his publisher a lot harder and get any agent involved, too.
 
Contracts are rather more nuanced than that. There ought to be a procedure agreed for this kind of thing, not the least part being who might pay for any subsequent legal action.


Not so, see below.


Again, not really the case. It’s the role of the publisher to initially take action, and Amazon are generally pretty responsive. He may not be getting anywhere because of this. He needs to push his publisher a lot harder and get any agent involved, too.
Good to know. Aspiring authors should be aware of these details when they sign a contract, with or without an agent. This is theft of writers' hard graft and it's disheartening to hear that it's happening with impunity.
 
It happens a lot.

Sometimes the 'pirates' don't actually have the books at all. They've copied the covers to make the displays on their websites, but they want users to give credit card details or access to their computers. The 'books' they 'sell' might be viruses.

Sometimes pirated copies appear on Amazon or other retailers. And they are actually pirated copies. You can get those taken down quite swiftly by the platform as it's such a well known problem now. That doesn't make it less horrible, though. Some people shrug and say it's flattering. I think it's about as flattering as being burgled.

I'm not sure that being self-published makes you more vulnerable, because the sites often have trade-published books too. My husband found a couple of his books in pirate versions on the Apple store - they were books he published withPan in the 1990s that he then republished himself when the rights reverted to him. He contacted Apple and they removed the books immediately.

So it might just be another horrible sign of our times. At the moment the remedies seem quite effective, but probably my husband's pirated books will turn up again somewhere soon.

And don't get me started on the courses publisher that stole one of my writing books, verbatim, and made it into a course...
 
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And don't get me started on the courses publisher that stole one of my writing books, verbatim, and made it into a course...
I'd like to know who that was. If you can’t name them publicly, send me a PM?
ChatGPT will only make this easer for the pirates. The technology is excellent at paraphrasing.
 
And don't get me started on the courses publisher that stole one of my writing books, verbatim, and made it into a course...
I was thinking of your husband here, Roz. His versions looked so much better than the pirate's. How easy is it to digitally publish on your own website? I 'm wondering if one answer isnt to be able to publish on demand without an intermediary. Like a market stall. Canny buyers can at least then commit to buying from the creator,
 
I was thinking of your husband here, Roz. His versions looked so much better than the pirate's. How easy is it to digitally publish on your own website? I 'm wondering if one answer isnt to be able to publish on demand without an intermediary. Like a market stall. Canny buyers can at least then commit to buying from the creator,
It’s entirely possible, but the weak link in the chain is delivery to the readers’ devices. Putting a non-Amazon-purchased ebook onto your Kindle can indeed be done, but it’s not intuitive and the majority of customers simply won’t do it because it’s too techie.

I’ve been hammering on about declaring Kindle legally a common carrier for years and years. This is why.
 
Not claiming dibs or anything, but t'was ever thus? In 1997 a photo of mine I had posted on the web was used by someone, without credit, for a tee shirt. This was the era of both the wild west web and the old internet and multiple people somehow managed to both alert me and tell people that the design was ripped off. Of course I never saw a penny, but at least the tee shirt disappeared from the site... Now of course the self policing has gone. See also the recent cases of Spotify piracy (Aussie band stunned to hear their song on Spotify by a performer who doesn't exist)
 
Not claiming dibs or anything, but t'was ever thus?
In a word, yes.
Nor enough authors understand what a struggle it was to gain an element of legal ownership and protection for their own work. If they did, perhaps they’d fight rather more assertively to keep it.
Back in the day, of course, printers were the culprits, and Dickens was a tireless champion for international copyright law.
Today, the threat is rather different, but it’s still theft.
Personally, my blood boils when I hear tech bros ranting about how all books should be free. Listen to almost any tech podcast and you’ll hear some ‘bro mocking George RR Martin, John Grisham etc in their legal case against ChatGPT. These are the same ‘bro-s who earn high six and seven figures for their coding… apparently they don’t understand that it’s the same legislation that protects both them and authors. And authors brought it to the statute books in the first place.
 
This is horrifying! I wonder what happens when the same thing goes on with books that are trad published. Other than for best sellers, do publishers of niche and mid-list books set their lawyers on the offenders and get the pirated material taken down? It seems that the hopes of having much budget dedicated to a first-time author by a trad publisher are low so I wonder what the difference would be compared to self-publishing? The whole thing is very discouraging, I must admit. However much you love writing, why struggle to publish only to have your work stolen with the thieves getting off scot free?
Hi Mel,

The one that really annoyed me was The History Press leaking books out of the back door that found their way to ebay on the day of the launch. They claimed the books were damaged (as I mentioned, a friend bought one and it was in mint condition) To me that's just plain wrong. If I sign the publishing rights to a trad publisher again, I will expect it to happen whilst alerting the publisher to the fact I will check ebay on the day of the launch and will buy a copy if I find one. If it's not damaged, we'll have a problem!

As for piracy, that has always happened. The music and film industries managed to get a grip on it and closed Napster, which was the biggest piracy site. As writers, I think we have to accept that it's going to happen and trust that if it gets out of control like Napster did, then the industry will stamp down on it.

This conversation reminds me of a phone call I had with an American agent I was with for a very short while. She phoned me late in the evening and was raging! She'd just been watching the TV series 24 and was convinced they'd stolen the storyline from Raw Nerve. She did end up writing accusing letters at the producers, but was swatted away like a fly. I did get to watch the series eventually (we had to wait for it to be broadcast of terrestrial TV in those days) and there were parallels, but we were powerless against the big producers.

I've learned in life, not to get angry when one is genuinely powerless, just to move on a write another book. The best way for me to create the change I wish to see is to write about it... :)
 
I'd like to know who that was. If you can’t name them publicly, send me a PM?
ChatGPT will only make this easer for the pirates. The technology is excellent at paraphrasing.
The publisher's name is Smart Majority. They only make courses, not books, so you might not have come across them.

An IP lawyer took the case. In the end, Smart Majority paid some compensation, but not nearly as much as they'd made from my material. They wriggled out because they changed their company name a few years ago, so technically it was a new company.
 
I was thinking of your husband here, Roz. His versions looked so much better than the pirate's. How easy is it to digitally publish on your own website? I 'm wondering if one answer isnt to be able to publish on demand without an intermediary. Like a market stall. Canny buyers can at least then commit to buying from the creator,
Indie authors are now being encouraged to sell on their own websites, which is just about the same thing. There are plugins that let you create shops - Shopify, Payhip, WooCommerce. You need a host for the files unless you want to keep a server running yourself, and you need to deal with taxes in different territories. So the commerce plugins are good value because they do that boring legwork for you. You can even hook directly up to a print-on-demand company so people can buy print books from you.

That doesn't get around the issue of piracy or plagiarism, though. Once someone gets your file, there are probably loads of ways to copy it.

And thanks for the compliment about Dave's books!
 
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Indie authors are now being encouraged to sell on their own websites, which is just about the same thing. There are plugins that let you create shops - Shopify, Payhip, WooCommerce. You need a host for the files unless you want to keep a server running yourself, and you need to deal with taxes in different territories. So the commerce plugins are good value because they do that boring legwork for you. You can even hook directly up to a print-on-demand company so people can buy print books from you.

That doesn't get around the issue of piracy or plagiarism, though. Once someone gets your file, there are probably loads of ways to copy it.

And thanks for the compliment about Dave's books!
I think the control has to come from the end user. With Indie writers I think readers will self-select to want something new and not the usual. Like Rock and Roll I think they will understand you have to go to the source to support the real thing. It is frustrating about Kindle. I did just buy Gypsy Rose Lee's out of print mystery on Amazon and now can read it on my computer which is a lot easier than with the Kindle. I wonder if that technology could be applied to websites?
 

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