AUTHOR ALERT!! Is This HUGE Website Violating Your Book’s Copyright? YOU BETTER CHECK!!

AUTHOR ALERT!! Is This HUGE Website Violating Your Book’s Copyright? YOU BETTER CHECK!!

There are many websites that claim to have “free ebooks.” And, of course, when they encourage people to upload copies of ebooks they’ve purchased, that’s a violation of copyright law. Now, some of these sites are actually scams. They don’t have free ebooks at all. They’re simply distributing viruses, or stealing people’s personal information. You can read more about those types of sites RIGHT HERE.

What we’re discussing today is entirely different.

Recently, I was alerted by one of our authors that his book was online at Archive.org, on full display for anyone to read for free. I checked it out and he was right. Worse, I started poking around and the site had a handful of our books available for anyone to read online, again, for free. Their files were scanned copies of printed books. Yes, somebody went to the trouble of turning the print books into ebooks (through scanning), and then putting them online for the masses. In my opinion, this is a gross violation of federal copyright law. The “library” provision in copyright law does not address making digital copies, and putting them online for the entire world to download for free!

I sent Archive.org an angry email, giving them one business day to remove the books. It took them a few days but they did take the books down.

The site states:

“The American Libraries collection includes material contributed from across the United States. Institutions range from the Library of Congress to many local public libraries. As a whole, this collection of material brings holdings that cover many facets of American life and scholarship into the public domain.”

(INSERT SCREECHING BRAKES SOUND HERE.)

Hey, Archive.org, just because somebody sent you a copy of a scanned book does NOT mean that YOU can put it into the public domain. It does NOT work that way!

When I contacted them, I received a stock answer back, trying to explain why they have the books on their site for free. I didn’t fall for their “non-profit do-gooders” garbage and I hope you don’t, either. When anyone around the world can view a book for free online, that can harm an author’s book sales.

I encourage all authors and publishers to check the site for their name (publisher or author), and their book title(s). Ignore the “send a donation” box on the front page. Instead, find the white “search” box on the right-hand side of the homepage, just under the payment request info.

If you find that you, too, are a victim of copyright infringement, you can use the info. below to contact them with a take-down demand. Hopefully, they’ll get flooded with responses. I, personally, think they deserve a class-action lawsuit.

Archive.org

Email: info@archive.org

12/4/17 ALERT: An author has notified us that the email address above is now bouncing. Did they get too many complaints?? So, try this one instead, which was used by their office manager, Chris Butler, when he was emailing me:

info-support@archive.org

Internet Archive Copyright Agent
Internet Archive
300 Funston Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: 415-561-6767

Tell them you’re the author of the book, and provide them with the link to your book on their website.

Tell them that you never gave any individual or firm permission to scan and republish your book. State that you own all copyrights to your work and that they are in gross violation of federal copyright law. Then, demand that they remove your book(s) within one business day.

Expect a canned response from them. Again, don’t fall for the “we’re a non-profit and we’re doing good things!” drivel. They are VIOLATING FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAW, which harms authors and publishers. Respond by repeating your demand, and order them to not only remove “access” to your book, but to delete the book file altogether. You never know when someone at the firm might “reinstate” the book if they have a copy of it in their system.

Let me know if they give you a hard time.

Google did something similar and they lost lawsuits over it.

Just because a company is large, or has the words “Library of Congress” or other impressive names on its website, does NOT put them above the law!

RELATED:

Google Ordered to Pay French Publisher $430K for Copyright Infringement

About Google’s Book Scanning and Posting Activities

From Another (Alleged) Google Books Victim

And Another Google Books Victim…

SCRIBD.COM – Is Copyright Infringement Their Business Model and Are You a Victim, Too?

 



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Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

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7 Responses to "AUTHOR ALERT!! Is This HUGE Website Violating Your Book’s Copyright? YOU BETTER CHECK!!"

  1. Mary Warner  December 4, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Hi, Angela – I work for a nonprofit museum that deals with fair use and copyrighted works on a daily basis. Fair use has never allowed us to simply hand over full copies of copyrighted works in a digital format. I’m not pleased that Archive.org doesn’t follow the fair use doctrine more closely. While we can provide full copies of works that are in the public domain, for readily-available works that are still protected by copyright, we can only provide a portion of a work for personal study. In the case of a book, that might be a few pages or a chapter. And the person who receives these copies can’t broadcast them or use them for public purposes without contacting the copyright owner.

    If a work is still under copyright, but no longer readily available, we can provide copies of more of the material, but that still does not give us or the person receiving the copies the right to digitally reproduce the material for wide consumption without getting the permission of the copyright owner.

    If the nonprofit museum field were allowed to digitally reproduce copyrighted works and share them widely, we would have no trouble digitizing daily newspapers after 1923. But, alas! We can’t digitize newspapers after 1923 because they are not yet in the public domain. We would have to search out the copyright owners and get permission to digitize the newspapers. This is why, when you search the Library of Congress’s collection of digitized newspapers online, you won’t find any beyond 1923 (unless they have gotten the necessary permissions). If the Library of Congress can get this right, so can Archive.org.

    Reply
  2. Stephanie Golden  December 2, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    I found four of my books available to borrow but not for download. They say that only books that are out of copyright are downloadable. So I’m not sure how this violates copyright.

    Reply
    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  December 4, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Whether they use the term “download” or “borrow,” the same problem occurs. They’re giving people free access to your ebook and they created that ebook by scanning a print version, and then putting the new ebook online. Unless you gave them permission to do that, it IS a violation of your copyright. And, if anyone worldwide can download/borrow the ebook they created for free, what incentive do folks have to buy your book? None. That’s why their actions are harming authors and publisher.
      -Angela

      Reply
  3. pamelaallegretto  December 1, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Once again, you are on it! Thank you so much for the information and for watching out for our interests.

    Reply
  4. Michael W. Perry  December 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

    There’s an opportunity for a clever ‘mom on a kitchen table’ business here. Most authors don’t have time to repeated check a constantly changing array of copyright-violating sources such as this Archive.org. They’d be happy to pay someone to do that for them, monthly, bi-monthly or whatever. And automated scripts should make the checking easy and quick, enabling that mom to charge little but earn much.

    She might even work in conjunction with a lawyer who, when necessary could send the appropriate cease and desist letters. That or she could create her own firm with an appropriately intimidating name.

    Reply
  5. Léa  December 1, 2017 at 3:38 am

    I am not on social media but would love to reblog this through Word Press. What are the chances?

    Reply
    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  December 1, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Please provide a short excerpt and then a link to the entire article on WritersWeekly.

      Reply

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