While carrying out a Google search on my debut novella, Denial (The Unrequited Trilogy #1), I came across a site called Mobilism. I had never heard of this place before so went in to have a look. To my absolute horror I discovered that my ebook, which sells for under £3 ($4) depending on the retailer, was being illegally shared.
My first response was to go ape-shit crazy, and curse the person with the audacity to steal from me to hell and back. I wanted to destroy them. How dare they do this to me. Denial is my first ever published piece of work, I spent a lot of time writing that book, and they just throw it out there into the cyber world for FREE. I am not opposed to legally copyrighted free reads, I love them in fact, but if I had wanted my story to be free I would have posted it on my author page as a Freebie and promoted it as such!
Now, this is my first experience with piracy, so as you can imagine I was at a loss as how to deal with it all. Do I contact these people myself and request the removal of my copyrighted materials, or do I contact my publisher and let them deal with it in a professional manner? I opted for both, I sent personal mails to each person and external site involved, as well as contacting my publisher and asking for advice.
This didn't stop me registering with Mobilisim and checking out their Copyright Policy and Terms & Conditions, however. Not that it done much good. All it did was frustrate and confuse me all the more. It is mind boggling how a site which claims to accept DMCA infringement notices for copyrighted material allows illegal copying and sharing of files on their forums. It is also confusing how they refuse to take responsibility for any external services doing the pirating, even though they are linked from Mobilism's own forums. I just don't understand it. How can they not be held responsible for the materials their service users post? Why do they not have some sort of 'policing' body in place, especially if this is an ongoing issue? If they would just keep an eye on the materials posted/shared on their site they could potentially prevent, and/or limit the piracy occurring. Bah! Frustrating! I just pray they cooperate and remove the illegal files easily.
In my demonic rage I jumped back onto Google and carried out a search on the site mentioned up top. As you can imagine it was just link after link of disgruntled author blogs and webpages, authors who have had their copyrighted work illegally shared without their express permission to do so. They had nothing good to say about Mobilism and the way they dealt with their take down notices. Not very encouraging, but reading these blogs was a great way to find out how to get it done right!
As I was scrolling through the links listed I came across some useful information in which the author listed steps we can take to keep ourselves safe (somewhat) from piracy and how to deal with it when it does happen. You can read what she had to say here: Stephanie Lawton - mobilism.
I also found this page which shows you how to deal with piracy responsibly. Combat Book Piracy. If anything following these steps will give you a better peace of mind. It is always best to go into these things with your head on straight, being angry will get you nowhere.
Following my initial freak out I asked some fellow authors for their advice on the situation, they were very forthcoming with their own personal experiences with piracy and how it was dealt with. I have to thank them for taking the time to chat to me, it went a long way to keeping me calm and collected - instead of rampaging all over Mobilisim and possibly hopping a plane to cause some biatch serious bodily harm. (I have slight anger management issues, nobody's perfect!).
Once I had calmed down, and got over my initial shock, I started thinking; 'OMG somebody liked my book enough to pirate it! (It doesn't excuse the fact that they've done it, however). And I'm missing out on so many potential good reviews! How lame is that, and how can I make this work to my benefit?' Well, the sad truth of it all is that there are no benefits for the author! None! It may get our name's known among the book pirates and their followers, but that would be it. It's not as if they'll run out to buy our other books - they get them free of course. It is just best not to dwell on it, rant if needs be, and move on. Write more amazing stories, promote them as best we can, and pray that we do not end up finding them hidden away in some other piracy site.
- An hour after sending my emails I received a polite email from the admin of one of the external sites, zippyshare, stating they have removed the illegal files.
- At 6:30am I received a private message to my Mobilisim account from the admin stating that the links to my book had been removed. On further investigation I am happy to see that they have indeed been removed.