Monday, February 4, 2013

Sinking the Pirates

One of the great things about having popular books is that they get read by a lot of people.

Not to get all Napster vs. Metallica again, but there comes a time when you have to stand up for yourself and your fellow artists when you see their and your stuff getting shared for free, without your consent.

And when it’s in the hundreds, we’re talking about rent money you’re losing.

So, when, in the midst of a title search, I added pdf and/or epub, mobi or ebook, I found web sites that do not sell my ebooks, but trade them, in the hundreds. If you're an author with a few ebooks out, you're probably getting bootlegged, too.

The two I stopped were a large forum and an un-contactable blog.

Telling you about one of them also opens up awareness for fans of pirated stuff, for now. The other, the blog, is gone. Nothing but single titles all linked to files, my simple request to them cut off the file access. My email to the website host was replied to in a few days, and entire blog was deleted.

Back to the larger monster, the forum, which took two IDs to access, find my file, find the host, get that deleted, and wonder why a guy in Turkey decided to hack open my Kindle file to make it share-able.

But finding that out took work.

The irony of The DP Group ( is that you have to work hard to get the pirated stuff.

You even have to work hard to send someone a message that they illegally shared your stuff. I had to post five times to be allowed to send a private message to the guy who bootlegged my book. After I finally posted five times in innocuous threads that had nothing to do with file-sharing, I sent this to member “umrahel.”

Dear Umrahel,

I wanted to let you know that I am the author of one of the books you illegally shared with members of the DP Forums. You posted a Rar file of the ebook edition of my fourth novel, “Every Time I Think of You.”

I have contacted the legal staff of and they have removed that file.

I do not wish to harass you, and hope you don’t consider this as any kind of threat or abuse. Yet it’s possible that the apparently strict moderators of the website may close my account for strongly critiquing your file-sharing. They have no concern about sharing pirated versions of copywrighted works –that’s obviously the purpose of the forums­– but they may ban actual authors who take a stand against illegal file sharing that is rampant on their website.

Please know that if this occurs, I’ll simply get a new ID and follow the forums again. Either way, I will also alert hundreds of other authors of DP Forum’s file sharing via several other websites. I noticed several works by colleagues also being illegally shared.

Please understand that I do appreciate that you like my book. Your enthusiasm may bypass your understanding the unfortunate effect your actions have. Let me explain.

Since you posted the file of my book, about 40 people clicked the “Thanks” button, thereby accessing the link to the file.

As an independent self-published author, if each of those people had paid the $6.99 to purchase the book, I would have received 75% of the royalties. That’s about $5.25. Multiplied by 40, that’s about $210.00.

That may not seem like much. You might even presume that giving away that many copies is ‘good publicity.’ Yet since you shared the file, I have received no reviews online on, Barnes and Noble’s website, or other popular forums. So apparently, people who don’t pay for it don’t really appreciate it, or support it in any way.

So, I wish I could say “thanks,” but I can’t. Please stop illegally sharing my work. I spent hundreds of hours, and with some books, years working on them. They’re worth the money, and I and my colleagues deserve to be paid.

Most of my fellow authors are independent, or get a small advance from publishers. They work fulltime jobs, or struggle as under-employed people dealing with debt, student loans, rent, some of them with senior parents whose medical expenses they support; others have severe disabilities and need the supplemental income of their books to pay for basic living expenses.

We do not write for money. We do not expect to get rich. We are not the One Percent; far from it. We are simply creative people who expect their fair share of income from years of work. By sharing a pirated copy of our books, you’re not “giving it to the man,” aka the large corporations like You’re ripping off artists.

I hope you will respect us, and share your enjoyment of our work by telling other people about these books. If you want to share them, buy a print copy and loan it to a friend. The easiest way is to simply pay the equivalent cost of a cup of coffee or a sandwich and just buy the damn book.

Thank you.
Jim Provenzano


Then I sent similar messages to those who downloaded my book:

albione; atg722; bakamaud; cajunman; carolyaoi; Cattz83; ceekay; designernz; eldon; ElizabethG; eris_sakura01; Gingerpie; gk_bisou; humhum; jackson91; jor893; legodu; LKet; lockjaw; m1gr61n3; MelHar; nopqe; Onei; p4r1s; pragmatika22; puppy1; rosicky; sharkticon; Shinjvein; sugarhoneybee; swirl; thezoop; Xtacy;

It’s very difficult to even communicate with others on this website. There are time restrictions for posting messages as well.

 I sent the admin this message:

“Your site is dedicated to illegal file sharing. I managed to quickly have a link to a pirated file of one of my books removed. I also alerted the person who hacked my ebook, and most of the members who downloaded it.

This was despite your convoluted restrictions on posting and sending messages.

You spend all this effort limiting a members' potential interaction, and, predictably restrict the subject of threads and pirated downloads to the point of absurdity.

As I told the person who hacked my ebook, and its downloaders, you have inspired me to be more vigilant about pirated ebooks. I will be informing every author I can - hundreds, in fact- about the illegal nature of your website, and offer them steps on how to save their books, and in the process, save themselves income which you are stealing from them.”

So, since you read this, I did.

Their reply:
Read other features like How To Combat Book Piracy on Mediabistro.

UPDATE: I found another pirate link on yet another book-share forum where most links are hosted on Zippyshare. Let's see if they comply with the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and my report. Their page includes clear instructions on what info to provide in order to have pirated links to books taken down.

And done! It took a few minutes, and was deleted by the next day.

Update June 2016: Author F.E. Feeley, Jr. had a recent experience with a gleeful pirate-"parasite," and writes about it on his blog.


  1. Thank you for this account of your perseverance.

  2. Have you seen this?

    I'm trying to find a place where I can buy your book and that came up by simple google search.


  3. Yes you did a right thing to inform other authors. Your book at 2nd site you've found also let members to report a dead link and probably somebody else might upload a new link of it or listed in their VIP threads. Keep on alert on these sites, especially the 2nd book 'sharing' site, because they've been very active lately.