I would like to share a letter sent to me by a fellow independent author, who wishes to remain anonymous, about a website claiming to be promoting independent authors, when in reality it appears that they are offering free downloads of the work of dozens of us.
If you are an author, independent or otherwise, I urge you to read this letter and investigate the site yourself. Find out if your work is posted there and take appropriate action to have it removed, or, at the very least, make sure you are willing to grant permission to the site owners to list your work.
Making money as an independent author is difficult enough without pirating sites giving our work away under false pretenses AND without our permission.
Please share, tweet or reblog this post in order to spread the word through the independent author community and, hopefully, put some pressure on these people to do the right thing.
The letter is posted here, verbatim:
Dear Authors of Published eBooks,
You may have been made aware recently of a site – http://www.general-ebooks.com/ – that is purporting to promote Authors by allowing readers to download eBooks FREE. All these eBooks are available to purchase through Amazon. So for every free download on this site we are being denied rightful payment for our creative work.
The site did list a button that allowed Authors to “Report Copyright Violation” and stated a reply would be received within 72 hours. I reported both my books as having been infringed upon and received no response whatsoever from the site. Now, six days later, my IP seems to have been blocked as I can no longer access either my own books’ pages or the site home page. Yet friends tell me my books are still listed, although there is no longer a “Free Download” option available.
The thing is that I DO NOT WANT MY NAME NOR MY eBOOKS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SITE AT ALL!! Even if they are directing readers to Amazon to purchase my eBooks. Yet I cannot get these listings removed.
I do not believe this is a legitimate promotional site. To begin with, why would they have listed a “Report Copyright Violation” button in the first place, if they didn’t think there would be infringement issues? And why would they also put the onus on each copyright holder to prove unequivocally that they do actually hold the rights, making us jump through hoops to report these violations – especially when the site has no intention of ever delisting our books. I mean, this is ridiculous! Just look at what they expect from us when we do wish to report a violation: http://www.general-world.com/dmca It’s as though we are the guilty party and must prove our innocence to them!
Why could they not have sought our permission first in order to promote our books – as I do with all the Authors for whom I offer free promotion on my own site? If they had been a legitimate site, they would have done so. (And, please note, I do not profit monetarily from these listings on my site, unlike General eBooks expects to do with our listings on theirs.)
Instead, they are fighting with the Authors – on Twitter https://twitter.com/General_EBooks/with_replies – who have made complaints about them. Methinks they doth protest too much! I don’t know about you, but when I read through these conversations the site has conducted in public on social media with Authors who are simply voicing their own concerns about the theft of what rightfully belongs to them, I am more likely to believe the site is hiding something and that this is indeed a situation of piracy. One friend suggested it could be just a “phishing” scheme gathering email addresses of those of us who complain – but I do think there is more behind this site than just that.
I’m writing this letter now to all Authors in the hope that you will take the threat to your own intellectual property seriously. Please check out your own books on this site and, if like me you do not wish to have your work listed and associated with them, write to the site and make a complaint. Then check out titles by your friends and colleagues and also make these Authors aware of this site and it’s continuing violation of our rights.
And if you have either technical or legal expertise in the areas of online piracy and copyright infringment, I hope that you will help ALL authors protect not only what is rightfully theirs, but also what most have worked long and hard to create in the first place. As one colleague put it, “It’s difficult enough for an author to make money from a book without having to deal with this kind of aggravation.”
So please, do what you can to spread the word about this site and any others like it that are taking away what little we do make from our work. Please share this letter and write letters and blog posts of your own.
STOP COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT!!