Saturday, 20 September 2014

Talk Like A Pirate Day can kiss my aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrse.

It was international Talk Like A Pirate Day one of the days this week. It was all over facebook and twitter.

I was busy dealing with actual pirates, who are stealing my book and giving away copies for free. It began in April and has been a thorn in my side ever since.

Some authors may throw up their hands and say, "I can't do anything about it, it's too hard." Others try and look for some kind of silver lining and say, "I will take it as a compliment that people are interested in my book" or even the defeatist attitude "It's good promotion."

This is of course crap. Sure, I shouldn't be swearing, but fuxache pirates shit me. They are breaking the law and stealing the food off my table. So here's what I - and you - can do about it.

1: Set up a Google Alert.
If you have never done this, congratulations. That glowing orb in the sky is our closest star and provides all our heat. How do you walk and chew gum at the same time? Seriously? You're a published author (whether traditionally published or indie) and you've never set up a Google Alert?

OK, here's how you do a Google Alert for your books:

  • Go to
  • Follow the instructions. I can't stress this enough. Follow. The. Instructions.

2: Search your titles. Put your author name, book title and 'free' in a search engine and see what comes up. It could look something like this.

3: Check your emails.  When the items in your Google Alert end up on a website somewhere, you'll get an email that might look like this picture to the right.

4: Create a new document called DMCA note. Copy and paste this template which is taken from these amazingly helpful people :

Send a letter like the following to make your claim:
VIA eMail at ISPHosting[at]
Re: Copyright Claim
To the ISP Hosting Company:
I am the copyright owner of the eBooks being infringed at:
This letter is official notification under the provisions of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") to effect removal of the above-reported infringements. I request that you immediately issue a cancellation message as specified in RFC 1036 for the specified postings and prevent the infringer, who is identified by its Web address, from posting the infringing material to your servers in the future. Please be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to "expeditiously remove or disable access to" the infringing material upon receiving this notice. Noncompliance may result in a loss of immunity for liability under the DMCA.
I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of here is not authorized by me, the copyright holder, or the law. The information provided here is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I swear under penalty of perjury that I am the copyright holder.
Please send me at the address noted below a prompt response indicating the actions you have taken to resolve this matter.
/s/ Emily Dickinson
Email: hardworkingauthor[at]
After the ISP receives the notice, it should remove the infringing materials.
Infringements are much too common these days. Fortunately, there are tools to fight them. The DMCA takedown notice is one of the more powerful ones.
This letter was adapted from one written by Attorney Carolyn E. Wright, a/k/a the "Photo Attorney®," a licensed attorney dedicated to the legal needs of photographers. Get more information at Carolyn's website,, or in Carolyn's book, The Photographer's Legal Guide.
NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only. If you have legal concerns or need legal advice, be sure to consult with an attorney.

5: Fill the template with the information and links relevant to your particular book.

6: Find an email of the offending pirate site. This may not always be easy, as the dodgiest ones have broken links and might look like they care but in fact do not have any contact information anywhere on their pages.


1: Type 'whois' into a search engine.
2: Type the offending domain into the search function within that 'whois' site.
3: Smile smugly at the amount of information you can get. Eg:

Raw Registrar Data

Domain ID: D173962754-LROR
Creation Date: 2014-09-16T06:56:35Z
Updated Date: 2014-09-16T06:56:41Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2015-09-16T06:56:35Z
Sponsoring Registrar:PDR Ltd. d/b/a (R27-LROR)
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 303
WHOIS Server:
Referral URL:
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: serverTransferProhibited
Domain Status: addPeriod
Registrant ID:DI_36225240
Registrant Name:Hu Yong Fan
Registrant Organization:Hu Yong Fan
Registrant Street: Lichengqu
Registrant City:PuTian
Registrant State/Province:Fujian
Registrant Postal Code:351100
Registrant Country:CN
Registrant Phone:+86.02037423772
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Admin ID:DI_36225240
Admin Name:Hu Yong Fan
Admin Organization:Hu Yong Fan
Admin Street: Lichengqu
Admin City:PuTian
Admin State/Province:Fujian
Admin Postal Code:351100
Admin Country:CN
Admin Phone:+86.02037423772
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax:
Admin Fax Ext:
Tech ID:DI_36225240
Tech Name:Hu Yong Fan
Tech Organization:Hu Yong Fan
Tech Street: Lichengqu
Tech City:PuTian
Tech State/Province:Fujian
Tech Postal Code:351100
Tech Country:CN
Tech Phone:+86.02037423772
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax:
Tech Fax Ext:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Access to Public Interest Registry WHOIS information is provided to assist persons in determining the contents of a domain name registration record in the Public Interest Registry registry database. The data in this record is provided by Public Interest Registry for informational purposes only, and Public Interest Registry does not guarantee its accuracy. This service is intended only for query-based access. You agree that you will use this data only for lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this data to(a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by e-mail, telephone, or facsimile of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations to entities other than the data recipient's own existing customers; or (b) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that send queries or data to the systems of Registry Operator, a Registrar, or Afilias except as reasonably necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations. All rights reserved. Public Interest Registry reserves the right to modify these terms at any time. By submitting this query, you agree to abide by this policy.

Isn't that awesome?
Yes, yes it is. OK, who cares what number we're up to. Here's what to do next.
1: Look for an email address in the whois information
2: Send your DMCA takedown notice to that email.
3: Keep track of the site and watch it vanish in a puff of smoke. Only to reappear a few days later under another name. Then you get ready to do it all again.

The price of literary freedom is eternal vigilance!


S.A. Hunter said...

Ebony, thank you so much for this valuable post! I'm just sorry to hear how you've had to learn this fending off the pirates. Arrrgh.

PS I love your covers

All the best

Ebony McKenna. said...

Thank you Sandy, for the compliment about the covers and the double compliment for how useful the post is to you.

I figure if authors share information far and wide, we can all do our bit to stamp our piracy. Or at least reduce it.

Ebony McKenna. said...
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Ebony McKenna. said...
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