Last week, we were notified about a website, jeansbet.com, that appears to be giving away ebooks for free. I checked and, sure enough, not only did they have best sellers on there, but also self-published books by a variety of authors, including myself!
We sent an announcement to all of our authors so they could look for their books, too. We gave them two email addresses for the website, and instructed them to send out DMCA take-down notices. I was surprised when I received numerous emails in return, asking me what that is.
First, you should know that there are companies selling their services for handling this for you. I don’t recommend paying someone $199 to send out a letter on your behalf. In most cases, simply emailing the offending company does the trick.
Also, you should know that many overseas sites that appear to be giving away ebooks don’t actually have those ebooks on their servers. Rather, they’re actually giving people viruses to download, which can then invade the downloader’s computer, grabbing their financial and other personal information. Of course, if someone tries to download free ebooks, and gets a virus instead, I call that karma. I don’t know if jeansbet.com is doing that but I do know they were giving away one free ebook by an author who never published an ebook edition of her book. The ebook does not exist. Another author found a short story he’d written for an anthology on there. He said there was specific coding in his title that was only listed on goodreads…but also on jeansbet.com. Did jeansbet.com simply pull title information from goodreads? Who knows? What I do know if they better d*mn well remove my books, and those by other authors!
ISPs can remove websites they’re hosting if that site is giving away copyrighted works. However, getting a foreign ISP to take action can be difficult, if not impossible.
I have successfully had my own books removed from these types of sites by simply doing the following:
1. Finding all the contact emails for the firm that I can, along with any “contact” forms they have on their website. You may be able to find additional email addresses for the firms by finding out who registered their domain name. Use THIS SITE to do that. You may also be able to find the name of their ISP doing that. If you do, get email addresses and any contact forms you can for their ISP as well.
Some of these sites have DMCA links on their websites, telling people how to get their material removed. Of course, that makes me believe they KNOW they have illegal works on their website, which makes them even more evil. Why should the victim be forced to go through hoops to make a company do business in an ethical manner?!
2. Compose a stern letter. You can see what you need to include HERE. Copy all of your correspondence to all email addresses and contact forms, including their ISP.
I don’t paste a graphic of my signature on my emails. The DMCA law states the letter must be signed but I’ve never had to do that.
With a DMCA takedown notice, you are not required to show that you have registered a copyright for your work.
I definitely do NOT recommend ignoring these types of websites. The easier authors make it for them to stay in business, the more likely additional infringers will pop up across the globe.
Enter the Spring, 2018 24-Hour Short Story Contest RIGHT HERE.
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