Copyright Infringement: A Warning to all Authors

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!!

171 Comments

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171 responses to “Copyright Infringement: A Warning to all Authors

  1. Perse

    Darn it, they’ve got some of my favorite books. I looked up their privacy policy. You can get there by clicking the link below:
    http://www.general-world.com/privacy
    I didn’t have time to read much of it, but the end of the third paragraph caught my eye. Apparently “You agree to provide us certain information,” but I can see from the complaints that that’s not entirely true.

  2. Once again, this is a website that requires a credit card number to join. Would you give a credit card number to a site which you suspect is operating illegally just to download a few free books – especially as most of those books are free to download through Amazon Prime for an annual membership fee which is LESS than most of these sites are charging!

    Okay, my books are listed on this site and maybe if someone downloads them, I lose a dollar or two in sales and collectively, some crook is gathering the credit card details of the idiots and insane, but other than that, I treat it as advertising.

    • slashbrook

      Yeah I went to see if the links did indeed go to Amazon like they kept saying on Twitter and in order to proceed I would have had to register which required my credit card. That raised my hackles and I got out of there. If I am suppose to be directed to Amazon that website doesn’t need my credit card. There is definitively something “phishy” going on.

    • Amy

      I was able to download two free books without making an account or logging in or anything at all. I downloaded my own book and a friend’s, both of which I know are not offered legally for free. (and of course I deleted my friend’s off my computer after testing the site.)

  3. How do one go about stopping this illegal and unethical activity? It’s so sad how this website is operating by taking out work of other people and we need to take action, like you did, by spreading awareness..will share on FB and Twitter, tonight.

  4. slashbrook

    Reblogged this on Ramblings from SEKS and commented:
    This isn’t right!

  5. it is NOT the site that is the problem he problem is that AMAZON has a hole in their security system that protects our intellectual property so big every book on this site can be pulled right out right through it. it is AMAZONS JOB not to allow that to exist and they have a contract with all of us to guard and protect our work from this sort of thing and he have failed completely and breached every contract and allowed this situation to occur all this time and to even happen at all in the first place. how many thousands or millions of dollars have been lost 99 cents at a time for new authors? and at 9.99 a book for established ones? so some of us say no big deal, my book is free anyway, who cares? mine isnt . its 2,99 each copy and all those pennies add up to a whole lot of dollars lost if millions of us are not getting what we signed up for IF the facts support amazon security is so poor we are not guaranteed theprotection we contracted for when we chose them as our publisher. no one would go to a whole lot of trouble to get the free books and manipulate them in a time consuming fashion for free to make them accessible instantly and for free. the more logical conclusion is they are being sucked right out of amazons database where they should be safe and certainly are not at all, apparently. common sense says amazon has a leak bigger than the titanic. we pay them to NOT have one, we have a deal with them. Amazon is publishing almost everything of every ones now. Hey are one of if not the biggest publishers n the world. I think we are entitled to answers from Amazon, and THEY should be he ones with the final and ultimate responsibility to protect us as agreed . any one with legal or technical info that can support or refute please do.

    • But these are not just Amazon-published eBooks that are listed on this site, Sherry Carroll. Mine were created by an independent formatter and Amazon is just one of several online sales sites where they have been listed for sale. So Amazon has nothing to answer to me about this. Besides, Kobo is also listed as one of the suppliers on this site. And, when it comes down t it, Amazon has a lot to lose, too, from sites such as these that are offering our books for free download.

      • no they do not have anything to lose if you read the fine print. the only one who loses is you. there is power in numbers . we need to unify and make a plan. i have given step one instructions for amazon published books below . i will look into the others asap for further directions for other publishers.

        • !Interesting. After i wrote those four letters my book disappeared off the site without me doing anything like pushing a infringement button. time elapsed less than a half hour. start to finish. i can still see page and site but only because i did not alert them by pressing copywrite button so they could cut off my access to it

    • It is not just Amazon, but Kobo, itunes, smashwords and other retail platforms.

  6. Gene Quinn offers a sample DMCA take down letter here: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2009/07/06/sample-dmca-take-down-letter/id=4501/
    The web site hosting company is here: The domain name is registered by enom.com — complain to them.
    Domain Name: GENERAL-EBOOKS.COM
    Registrar: ENOM, INC.
    Whois Server: whois.enom.com
    Referral URL: http://www.enom.com
    Name Server: NS1.GENERAL-WORLD.COM
    Name Server: NS2.GENERAL-WORLD.COM

    You can copy and paste your DMCA letter with your own personal info in it and send it to enom.com legal matters contact here: legal@enom.com

    Going after the website hosting company is the ONLY way to resolve.

  7. If you try to download a book, it takes you to this site https://ifilez.org/ and you can register for free with a credit card (ya sure) for a free trial and then you pay to belong to download. If you check the whois for this site it is part of RIPE databases in the Netherlands https://www.ripe.net/ripe. You can submit a report to them here https://www.ripe.net/contact/reporting-procedure. I suggest we all do it.

  8. I saw nowhere to download, but links to BN and Smashwords for two of my books – the first and the third, no sign of the second. And the links show nothing, since my books are no longer on either site.

  9. glenkrisch

    Reblogged this on Glen Krisch and commented:
    Oh, how I hate people who still my work.

  10. I see a number of my novels listed. None have “Free Download” below them, but rather “Download.” Can someone please tell me if that is the same thing? (I tried to download one of my novels but it took me to the create and account page, which asked for a credit card number and that’s where I stopped dead.)

    • it appeared to me, but i am totally exhausted from research on this, that if you hit download it takes you to what appears to be a legit site to buy your book but it ALSO offers you little app / option to download on page which will scoop it up for free . so why would anyone stealing books want to pay? so there is zero benefit and only danger from this site.

  11. Just a note. I’m a network engineer. I have some pretty good protection on my system. Going to general-ebooks.com at ALL potentially infects your browser with malware. My system started whooping and popping up flags … the culprit being something called blacklib – so – as I usually tell my authors. Anyone who uses a site like that to save a couple of bucks on a book gets what they deserve. Almost without exception they are just there to steal identities, infect your computer, and do you harm. No one gives anything for free.

  12. okay according to the fine print on amazon publishing it is YOUR obligation to imed notify amazon any unauthorized use of your account. so the report violation button on site means Nothing. To stop them from giving your book away ASAP imed notify amazon of the theft with all the information you have about the site (if they are your publisher) and that your account has been compromised so they can address it accordingly and block this site from accessing their database to protect us all. i recommend if your book has been downloaded there many times take a LOT of screen shots to prove how much money you lost while amazon security for your data was not functioning properly and was vulnerable to abuse and the subsequent loss of intellectual property due to this situation and show how you were damaged and for how much. it may come in handy. im working out how, if possible

    • to copyright@amazon.com My kindle book published by KDP “Even Rock and Roll has Fairy Tales: flight of the sherry fairy” by Sherry Carroll is being given away by a free download without my permission or authorization on the General E Books Free Book Website. As well as books by at least 200 other writers in close communication with same problem/ constant copywrite infringements by same site . please resolve this matter to the best of your abilities. i am following the advice of the group as to specific actions to take as well as this one to resolve this matter in any way possible to assist. My account with Amazon has been compromised through this unauthorized use of my intellectual property which you published and were to protect and are required to collect any monies due to me for every copy distributed. I believe they are using false amazon pages links as well to collect funds for my property also in several different countries and languages.
      thank you, sherry( carroll) bell

      The web site hosting company is here: The domain name is registered by enom.com — complain to them.
      Domain Name: GENERAL-EBOOKS.COM
      Registrar: ENOM, INC.
      Whois Server: whois.enom.com
      Referral URL: http://www.enom.com
      Name Server: NS1.GENERAL-WORLD.COM
      Name Server: NS2.GENERAL-WORLD.COM

      • its a start. i will just work my way through the system

        • Recieved~Dear Sherry,
          Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Your message has been forwarded to the appropriate group for investigation. In the meantime, please contact the registrar for this domain directly, as well as the hosting service, to make a claim of copyright infringement for your work. This domain appears to be registered via ENOM, INC.. Here is a link to their abuse policy:
          http://www.enom.com/help/AbusePolicy.aspx
          This domain appears to be hosted by WZ Communications Inc.. Here is a link to their contact information:
          http://webzilla.com/contacts.html
          I hope this information is helpful to you.
          Best Regards,
          Anne Tarpey
          Copyright/Trademark Agent
          Amazon.com

  13. A lot of these sites take advantage of an author who offers a free download promotion on amazon or another site. What they do is “purchase” 100’s or thousands copies of the free book and then create a site where they can offer them for free any time. My 4 books are on the site and I have never offered them in any market for free so I submitted requests with them to remove the download link. I then got the ip address of the server and traced it back to the hosting company. I then filed a compalint with them. If you would like to send a complaint to the hosting company their email address is abuse@webazilla.com

    • sent-this website is giving away for free hundreds to thousands of authors books for by illegal download without the rights, consent or permission of the authors or publishers causing them to collectively lose thousands of dollars in book sales including my book EVEN ROCK AND ROLL HAS FAIRY TALES which sells for 2.99 cents a copy legitimately . It also appears they have fake amazon.com pages in english and other countries and languages where they are collecting money as amazon.com with no authority to do fraudulently, they also seem to be committing credit card fraud of some kind on some customers. i was not one
      additional evidence
      https://blindoggbooks.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/copyright-infringement-a-warning-to-all-authors/comment-page-2/#comment-1378

      • RECIEVED~Hello,
        Your e-mail has been received and the ticket has been created.
        Please include your ticketnumber ‘[tt #758529]’ in
        the subject line of all future correspondence about this issue.
        To get a faster response:
        1. Please do not send the same e-mail twice.
        2. Please do not send the same e-mail to our other e-mail addresses.
        Your message is in queue now. We will respond as soon as possible.
        To help us, please include all the information that you have.
        Please note that the investigation process can take up to 48 hours.
        Regards,
        Webzilla – Abuse

    • sent-this website is giving away for free hundreds to thousands of authors books for by illegal download without the rights, consent or permission of the authors or publishers causing them to collectively lose thousands of dollars in book sales including my book EVEN ROCK AND ROLL HAS FAIRY TALES which sells for 2.99 cents a copy legitimately . It also appears they have fake amazon.com pages in english and other countries and languages where they are collecting money as amazon.com with no authority to do fraudulently, they also seem to be committing credit card fraud of some kind on some customers. i was not one
      additional evidence https://blindoggbooks.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/copyright-infringement-a-warning-to-all-authors/comment-page-2/#comment-1378

  14. I found this site yesterday with my book on it and I can’t get anyone to answer my e-mails:( http://www.general-fil.es/files-h/his-captive-bride-suzanne-steele/

  15. Thanks for sharing this important information… My best to you.

  16. Reblogged this on AlyssaCooper and commented:
    I found ALL of my ebooks listed here, all offered for free, without any permissions. Keep an eye out guys, it’s hard enough to make a living an an author without people giving our work away.

  17. I emailed Amazon last night and asked if general ebooks was affiliated and authorized through them as they claim to be. This is the response I got.

    Hello Chris,

    I can confirm that Amazon and KDP are not affiliated with general-ebooks.com. If you’ve found your work available for sale on their website or on any unauthorized website, we suggest contacting the respective websites to confirm your rights and request removal of the content.

    Since these are third-party websites and unaffiliated with Amazon, we aren’t able to provide you any assistance with that and I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

    Thanks for your understanding!

  18. Renard Moreau

    [ Smiles ] I appreciate the warning.

  19. Please nofollow all your links to this pirate site. This page explains what nofollow means (an untrusted link) and how you can put it into practice on your pages: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en

    Thanks for spreading the word about this, Tim. It would be a bummer if the end result is that the offending website is easier to find in search engines as a result, and ends up reaching more people.

  20. They are giving away a book that friends and I wrote for charity. How disgusting is that? They also have almost my entire back and front lists available for free. Some of those backlist books are out of print, others are purposely unavailable on Kindle. So they are not just linking to Amazon books, etc. They are pirating, and probably phishing if they’re requiring a CC. If they are taking money, that counts as counterfeit goods. I have reported them to the FBI IC3 site, and I recommend authors with books on the list to do the same. The link to file a complaint is: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

  21. Reblogged this on just1more david burton and commented:
    They even kidnapped Wonky Monky 😦

  22. SENT this website is giving away for free hundreds to thousands of authors books for by illegal download without the rights, consent or permission of the authors or publishers causing them to collectively lose thousands of dollars in book sales including my book EVEN ROCK AND ROLL HAS FAIRY TALES which sells for 2.99 cents a copy legitimately . It also appears they have fake amazon.com pages in english and other countries and languages where they are collecting money as amazon.com with no authority to do fraudulently, they also seem to be committing credit card fraud of some kind on some customers. i was not one

    • RECIEVED~Thank you for filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

      This is the only reply you will receive from the IC3. Because we receive thousands of complaints per week, we cannot reply to every complaint received or to every request for updates.
      However, once we forward your complaint to investigators in the field, they may contact you for further information. Consequently, it is important that you maintain any evidence you have relating to your complaint. Evidence can include canceled checks, credit card receipts, phone bills, mailing envelopes, mail receipts, printed copies of websites, copies of emails, or similar items.
      If you wish to view, download, or add information to your complaint, go to http://complaint.ic3.gov/update and log in with the following:
      Complaint Id: I1407251339460942
      Password: rzk66XjCc2
      To learn more about Internet schemes and ways to protect yourself visit http://www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com.

  23. Reblogged this on KATE JACK'S BLOG and commented:
    Writers Beware!

  24. viktoryarch

    Reblogged this on Vik Tory Arch and commented:
    Important info to all authors!!!

  25. tweeted @thesherryfairy I #amwriting Urgent Warning to all published writers. Find your stolen? book here! (with this link for the info) please RT

  26. also posted this ink to thirty writing groups on facebook last night with 1000-2000 or more members each

  27. Yep all my books are there.

    Pam Champagne

  28. Just checked – apparently they’re not interested in my poetry. That’s a relief! Thanks for sharing this.

  29. nawallovexo

    This needed to be said!

  30. It’s so easy on this site. Click the long red button that says “Report Copyright Violation” and report the book that you want removed. Be sure to offer a link to the legal copy as proof. A bot must pick it up because it’s removed in minutes. I took care of a bunch of books months ago.

    Is it wrong? Definitely. But it’s not all that difficult to take your books down.

    • Jerrod, they have not been taking the books down when we complain. That’s the problem. We hear nothing from them and then they block us altogether so we can’t see whether our listings are there or not. You may have been one of the fortunate ones who caught them early on in this.

  31. The Report Copyright Violations button is just a way for them to know you’ve found your books, and then they block you from coming back to complain.

  32. Reblogged this on Literary.Schizophrenia and commented:
    My novella, Couillon, is there, linked to Kobo, with which/whom I do not have a contract. My novella is also available for “download”. General eBooks on Twitter, @General_EBooks, says they’re just doing free advertising. I disagree. Please check your books to see if they’re listed at http://www.general-ebooks.com/. I’ve also reported copyright violations, TWICE, with no feedback whatsoever.

    Short of bringing a lawyer, the best thing I can do is spread the word.

  33. Every time I tried to click the red copyright violation and complete the form, it kept responding that I had not filled in all fields; but I HAD! Eventually, I found the contact email address generalworldhelp@gmail.com and sent my copyright-violation notice and listing-removal request to them that way through regular email. Don’t know what the outcome will be.

  34. Reblogged this on Blog of Palessa, Author of Unchained Hearts and commented:
    Calling all authors! Please check this site to see if your book is on there if it is, please contact Takedownpiracy.com or the Copyright office, or both to take action against this pirate site!

  35. Russ

    Yes, this is a copyright violation. I have e-mailed them requesting they remove the copyrighted material from their site. Thanks for the heads up.

  36. As of 11:40 pm est on July 25, I could not access the site. It says website unavailable. They probably just changed domain names.

  37. Well,one of my books was there, too.

  38. Yep, I’ve found my own stuff on pirate sites, (although not this one), and it’s not even a book, just an issue of a science fiction magazine that I’m in.
    I have to say though, it is kinda nice to know that they thought it was worth pirating. And it had quite a few downloads/seeders, too. At least my work made a few people happy.

    BUT REALLY, THE BASTARDS SOUGHT HAVE BOUGHT IT INSTEAD!

    /endrant

    • That is the point Jeremy – the bastards should have bought them!
      While many authors enjoy the fact that their work is being seen – they need to realize that having your work being seen as a result of piracy is counter-productive.
      If piracy sites such as this one are allowed to prosper because authors don’t fight them – we may as well beat them to the punch and give our work away.
      I, for one, put too much effort into my work to simply roll over and give it away (aside from strategic “free samples and such”)
      We need to remain vigilant in this fight…

      • And if any blog readers know of other sites that are offering “free” downloads without the authors’ permission, please let us know their URLs so we can check them out as well.. They’re stealing our work!

  39. Pingback: Copyright Infringement: A Warning to all Authors | Wanda's World

  40. My book is there too!! I will take action.

  41. Reblogged this on Lesley Donaldson, born-again writer and commented:
    Thanks Blindoggbooks for bringing this important matter to the forefront! I recently reported a copyright infringement as the text within an essay published in an issue of a narrative conference magazine appeared on a jeweler’s website about the origin of a opals. Cut and paste kills, people.

  42. Thanks for this information. I just found my book there, too. I can see from the book description that it came via Smashwords. I’ll also be taking action.

  43. I’ve been in touch with the abuse department at abuse@webzilla.com as I found 11 books that I publish on the site. I just got an e-mail that all titles have been taken down BUT when I look, it does say that the links have been removed due to a copyright infringement. However, on the right hand side, it says, “other books by…..” with the exact same cover. If you click on that, it takes you to another page for the same book and the download link surrounded by “advertisement”. If you click on download, it takes you back to the original download site where you can download a potentially dangerous zip file.

    I’ve sent another e-mail to them

  44. Reblogged this on Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction and commented:
    To all indie writers! Make sure you get your work taken down. There were two listings for Reckoning, and I made sure to get them taken down by using the Report Copyright Infringement button. They’ve already taken down the first listing, and I’m waiting on the second. Make sure your hard work isn’t stolen!

  45. Reblogged this on White Diamond Edits and commented:
    Originally posted on Blindoggbooks

  46. Have reposted this. My books are not yet listed on there but I will now keep an eye out!

  47. Thank you for following my blog. I now follow you back. Interesting letter, I have tweeted and re-blogged it and will also check it out!

  48. Reblogged this on Random Wit And Wisdom of The Sherry Fairy and More and commented:
    Check for your stories! and follow every step

  49. Reblogged this on Darryl Donaghue and commented:
    Informative and worrying post by blindoggbooks regarding general-ebooks.com , a website allowing free downloads of copyrighted books without permission thus denying authors rightful payment. Please check the site for your books and books you recognise and pass the word around the community to stop copyright infringement. Thanks Tim!

  50. Pingback: Copyright Infringement: A Warning to all Authors | Writing to be Read

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