Saturday, May 21, 2016

Oh, Arrgh and Blasty!

There's a new service on the horizon to help authors locate and scupper pirate links on Google. It's in Beta, so is free to the patient and those willing to provide feedback... and to the impatient for a fee of $19.99.

Note, it is dot co , not dot com!

So far, I am impressed. When I applied, I was asked to name one of my titles, and to give my author name. Once I was accepted, I was allowed to create a password, upload my covers, add the rest of my titles, and to start "Blasting" copyright infringing search results on Google.

The site only works with Google Chrome. One can apply without using Chrome, but the findings and the choice whether to Blast any given link or whitelist it only work in Chrome.  I am not clear whether the service actually sends a takedown to the hosting site, or only to Google so this service might be a supplement to a service such as or DMCAForce 

However, even if it removes Google search results, that makes it harder for most pirates to be found by "valuable traffic" and to make money off other people's works without paying them. Many of the links go to sites that are obviously hosted overseas, and that have no intention of honoring the DMCA in any case. Some post the legal blurb that they are required to post, and warn copyright owners of severe penalties for sending a DMCA notice in error.

Many post a cover and some blurb and big "DOWNLOAD" links. Authors should understand that they only have to have a "good faith belief". The DMCA does not require that authors download malware or infringe other people's copyrights (where multiple ebooks are hosted in one place) in order to suspect that their ebooks are being published and distributed in violation of their rights.  There are scam sites that probably don't have any ebooks at all, but hope that people who know they are behaving immorally if not illegally will provide credit card information to "subscribe", or else will download ransomware in hopes of a free read of something erotica.

(If you look closely at the blurry pages sites that purport to have a certain title, you may see a tiny disclaimer that they may not have that title, but will have something related and equally interesting.)

Surprisingly, some Google results are .pdfs that are pages of live links to where ebooks may or may not be hosted.  Anyone trying this service will have to take the time to look at all the results before taking the decision whether to Blast, to WhiteList or to leave it for later.

So far, I've Blasted 54 links, and although one cannot believe the copyright infringing sites' boasts about how many happy people have downloaded each book, it looks like I could have lost tens of thousands of potential sales (which, if on Amazon, might have resulted in tens of thousands of returns, to!!!).

My bottom line: after trying this new service for four days, I am inclined to heartily recommend it.  I would suggest, though, that if any alien romance authors (or authors from any other genre, but I like to hit my metadata!!!) that you copy and paste the urls you find suspicious and email them to yourself , because once they are gone from Google, you might want to see if they are still on Bing and Dogpile and the other search engines. Or, you might want to send DMCAs to some of them.

Happy hunting,

Rowena Cherry

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