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Questions/Help Section > INDIE ALERT. Fraudulent Free Downloads

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message 1: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda Ramos (yramosseventhsentinel) I discovered that my book was available for free downloads on this site: www.tzarmedia.com. And also noticed that Jason's book Chains of Prophecy was also listed there. According to the site my book was downloaded 516 times for free. I called them and told them that I did not authorize this and to take it down. Also told them I want compensation for the free downloads and would be seeking legal advice. They gave me an email address for tzar media which doesnt exist: dmca@tzarmedia.com. These are other sites I discovered in my hunt last night: thriller.webgostaresh.ir/books/231532..., abm6.com/best-popular/t/, thispdf.com/book/23153268-the-seventh.... where Jason's book was listed alongside mine.

What to do? Any advice?


message 2: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments It's not just Indies.

Quite awhile back I found Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind on a site like that.

Yeah. I notified him. Got a really nice, grateful e-mail back, too.


message 3: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda Ramos (yramosseventhsentinel) yes, there were quite a few big names there. Perhaps I should notify them too.


message 4: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Yup. They can get those sites shut down a helluva lot faster than we can. Big publishers don't like it when someone cuts into their profits.


message 5: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) First make sure this isn't a fake website. I did quick google search and got a lot of scam alerts. Credit card fraud.

Just becuse a website has a thumbnail of a cover design, doesn't mean they have the book. It means they have thumbnail.


message 6: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 45 comments I think most of these sites are actually fakes, yes. Anyone who tries to download a book without paying for it will get scammed!


message 7: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Yeah, Lily's right, always check. In the one I found, they had the entire contents of the book, readable online or for free download.


message 8: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) I couldn't see anything on the tzarmedia website. You have to create an account. No way, no how.


message 9: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda Ramos (yramosseventhsentinel) Try the other sites Lily


message 10: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) 404 page. Index of pdf's, looks like a collection of ARCs. Last one, definitely credit card scam, wouldn't even let me read online without giving info. But hey, they gave you 4 stars :)


message 11: by Renee E (last edited May 06, 2015 06:02AM) (new)

Renee E | 395 comments You might try contacting the platform you're published through (CreateSpace/Amazon, etc.). This is their problem, too, as they're losing money each time someone circumvents them and downloads a free copy.


message 12: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda Ramos (yramosseventhsentinel) Thanks Renee, will do. Four stars haha then they said 'this may not be the most exciting book you've ever read.


message 13: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Doesn't matter because they site wouldn't let me read it anyway lol


message 14: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 380 comments I've seen my books on those sites before too. Someone, I'm thinking Amazon, does seem to go through and close them down because most of the ones I've found went away quickly.


message 15: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Personally, even if those sites have the whole books, I fail to see the difference between that and finding a used copy at a flea market for 50 cents. You won't get any royalties from that either.

I suspect the nature of the instant internet has caused a lot of gray areas. Do you have supreme control over all sales and availabilty just because your book happens to be for sale right not? No. And with the internet, it is possible and legal to sell copies before the book is out of print.

Meanwhile, these fake screwy websites, albeit wrong, are doing nothing but making your book more searchable in google. Free advertising. To be honest, anyone who falls for the fake promise of free anything, probably deserves everything they get. Consumers are equally responsible.


message 16: by Quentin (last edited May 06, 2015 07:12AM) (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 380 comments It didn't really bother me too much, because the people downloading it for free from a website like that would probably never actually pay for it anyway, so I just hope they at least read it if they bothered to download it.


message 17: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Quentin wrote: "It didn't really bother me too much, because the people downloading it for free from a website like that would probably never buy it anyway, so I just hope they at least read it if they bothered to..."

Yeah, I would feel the same way.


message 18: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda Ramos (yramosseventhsentinel) All true Lily


message 19: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments It's the principle of the thing.

Guess that's a little old-fashioned now . . .


message 20: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 503 comments Lily wrote: "Personally, even if those sites have the whole books, I fail to see the difference between that and finding a used copy at a flea market for 50 cents. You won't get any royalties from that either.
..."


The thing is you may find a couple books for 50 cents, but not an unlimited supply of it. THAT'S the difference.


message 21: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Renee, I hear ya, the principle of the thing is detestable.

GG, that's the nature of digital material. There's absolutely no way to prevent it. Again, this is only assuming the sites in question actually have the whole books and not just a thumbnail. Any 6 year old can copy and paste images from Amazon.

If someone decides to collect ARCs and put it on their webserver, not a damn thing you can do.

I would, howeve, advise two things. Keep track of your ARCs, record exactly who you're giving them to, and whether they reviewed. Two, place a small copyright notice on each page of the ARC. Don't just blindly make a PDF of the book. Make a seperate PDF as an ARC. Something small and simple will do, such as, Yoland (c) 2015 in the header for each page.

I hope that doesn't give the impression I'm trying to blame authors or make anyone feel stupid. Just friendly advice about what can be done. It's not a guarantee, but it doesn't hurt.


message 22: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments That's good CYA advice, Lily.

These book sites are the newer version of the Napster issue, back in the early days of P2P sharing. Writers and publishers are going to have to take the same stance that the music industry did, and fortunately, the music industry's already forced the creation of precedents to deal with it.


message 23: by Jacek (new)

Jacek Slay Unfortunately, there's nothing you can really do. You can just report those pages but I'm not sure it will make any significant impact.

But if it happened to me, I would definitely be bothered by it. After all, it's just a theft.


message 24: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Hmm, sorta. Okay, this is going to seem totally off topic but bear with me.

It all started with Metallica. Someone on their team, on their payroll, grabbed a copy of an unreleased song and uploaded it. And , of course, because Metallica is hugely popular, it got shared like crazy. Next thing anyone knows, a member of Metallica heard the unreleased song on the radio. That's when shit hit fan.

To this day, we still don't know who grabbed that song. It could have been a publicity stunt for all we know. It just so happens, by discovering this unreleased song, a massive can of worms exploded, exposing P2P sharing.

Initially, P2P was services like Soulseek where only friends could use it. It wasn't openly shared to the entire internet. Then Napster came along. So, yeah.

The only stance I see that needs to be taken with books, is to simply keep track of where you've uploaded the book, who you gave a copy to, and make sure there's a copyright notice. I must stress, not an emotionally blackmailing mesage trying to guilt people into supporting the publishers' income. Trad authors get 5 - 6%. That's it. A free download would make absolutely no difference to the author. Their publisher takes all the money anyway. I'm not condoning anything, just point out the facts.

Sharing with friends is not illegal. But, sharing with millions of anonymous users online that you've chatted with and consider a friend, has become a gigantic gray area. It only be decided on way or another via a lawsuit. And unlike many indie artists, Metallica have the money to waste.


message 25: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Metallica just got the ball rolling. The recording industry parent companies really put the clout-cash into the prosecution, which actually came down to charging individuals who were caught downloading. It was easy enough to tap into the P2P structure and follow the downloads.

Artists across the board are becoming more aware of their intellectual rights and more protective and enforcement is becoming progressively more willing to assist — which is a double-edged sword as it provides the proverbial foot-in-the-door to poke into private internet usage.

Not sure, people being people, that there is a good overall answer.


message 26: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Renee wrote: "Metallica just got the ball rolling. The recording industry parent companies really put the clout-cash into the prosecution, which actually came down to charging individuals who were caught downloa..."

Yeah, I'm afraid that's the bottom line. No clear answer.

I've given this a lot of research and thought since deciding to sell my own graphic novels on my website. I don't owe anyone anything. No retail mark-up, no publisher. In legal terms, I'm an independent artist selling my own original art. For Canadian taxes, I don't need to even think about taxes unless I make more than 20k in sales per year, and I know that's not gonna happen anytime soon, if ever.

I've placed a copyright notice on every page as well as my logo brand. I also have ISBN's for each issue. That's enough. I really don't need anymore than that. And if someone you bought a copy wants to share it with friends, go right ahead. They paid for it, they own it, that's their property, they can do whatever they want. Reselling is prohibited of course, but free sharing with friends? In all honesty, I really don't care. I firmly believe once that product is paid for and becomes the consumer's property, it's none of my business what they do on their on time.


message 27: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
This better not be where Kevin got his mystical leaked copy of The Last Damsel with my heartfelt dedication to Benedict Cumberbatch }:{


message 28: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Of... course... not...


message 29: by Gem (new)

Gem Larkspur (gemsl) | 62 comments Thanks B. My one novel (with its very low sales figures) keeps showing up on illegal sites with plenty of downloads. Now if the USA would get its act together and do the same!


message 30: by Gem (new)

Gem Larkspur (gemsl) | 62 comments Oh, and I've found that my 'take down' requests fall into a black hole.


message 31: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Gem, if they don't actually have your book, there's nothing to take down. The download number could be fake. Maybe no one downloaded. No way to tell.


message 32: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda Ramos (yramosseventhsentinel) I think the one my books and Jason's is on is a credit card scam, and I dont think the amt of downloaded 612 are true.


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