My mother wanted me to become a lawyer. She said that I had the mouth for it. I was all for it, except for that school and studying stuff. I sent a few resumes in, but no matter how hard I pleaded to become the next Matlock, every law firm insisted that I come back when I had a law degree and passed under some sort of bar. I guess that’s like a limbo stick type initiation that lawyers do before they are able to buy pale blue suits and unmatching shoes.
With that being said, you now know that I am not a lawyer and this is not official legal advice, but it’s free and you’re already here, so I suggest that you keep on reading.
I often tell my students that one of the best ways to make money online is to sell your own product. By creating your own eBook or software you are not marketing to pocket a small commission, but for the full purchase price of the product. If any commissions are paid, then they are to the army of affiliates that are working for you.
It is always a huge sense of accomplishment when you finally finish writing your first eBook and the sales start to role in. But then it happens. You get an alert from a friend or you are doing a Google search to see who’s touting about you and you see it. One of those scumbag blackhatter forums has posted a link to where their members can get your product for free.
I remember the first time that it happened to me. I was absolutely furious. My immediate reaction was to send a fierce email to the site’s owner demanding that he remove the thread. I was sure that my threats of legal action would leave a lasting impression that would cause the owner to move quickly. I was excited to see a quick response to my email, but then I opened it and read the two word response. It said, “Blow me.”
Most of these forum owners are outside the United States, making it almost impossible to get them into a courtroom. Even if they are in the US, it may be more trouble than it is worth to get involved in a legal battle. Instead, I suggest taking advantage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, also known as the DMCA.
In order to do this properly, you need to know a few things. First find out who is the server host of the forum. You can find this out by doing a search at WhoIsHostingThis.com. Once you know who the host of the forum is, you should serve them with an official DMCA take down notice. If the link is pointing to a different host or a media sharing website, then you should also serve them too.
A DMCA take down notice is a letter or email that is alerting an Internet service provider that copyright infringement is being committed on their network. The DMCA, which was signed into law in 1998, limits the liability of service providers for infringements by their customers or users, but that limited liability is removed if the service provider fails to act on a proper DMCA take down notice. That is the reason that the notice is so effective.
A DMCA take down notice can also be served if you find that somebody has copied a blog post or article that they did have your permission for. Any copyrighted digital property that is being used without your permission is covered by the DMCA an your work does not have to be registered with the copyright office in order to be protected under the act.
Here is a template of a properly formatted take down notice:
Subject: NOTICE OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT (DMCA)
I am the author and owner of a copyrighted ebook that is being illegally distributed via your site. The link is located at http://www.WhereYourStuffIs.com/123.html
The title of the ebook is “Whatever Your Title Is”. The book is for sale at YourSite.com, which I own.
My property is being illegally distributed via your servers and I am asking that you cease and desist from further distribution immediately. If there are other links that distribute the file, I ask that you remove those files from your server, as well.
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
The information in this notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, I am the the only authorized representative of the this copyrighted work and I have a good faith belief that use of the aforementioned material is not authorized by the myself, its agents, or the law
Please respond to this email promptly.
/Your Name/ (with the slashes is a proper digital signature)
Your Name (without the slashes)
Your Pen Name (if applicable)
Your Physical Address
Your Email Address
Your Telephone Number
My experience with using this template has been very positive. In most cases, my copyrighted material was removed within a couple of business days. Repeat offenders usually get their services taken away by the service provider, as well.
If you are producing an eBook for download, there is a big chance that sooner or later you will fall victim to copyright infringement. The key is not to lose your cool, but instead to act accordingly.
Another tactic that you can begin to implement immediately is to include links to your websites and/or affiliate links within your eBook. If it’s going to be passed around, you might as well get some benefit out of it.