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Old 01-08-2013, 11:56 PM   #1
cromag
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Unauthorized Distributors

So, I was doing one of my regular sweeps through the internet and discovered a website that was carrying two of my stories. I didn't recognize the name and, sure enough, they don't have any kind of permission to carry my work.

I only have three stories online right now -- two for free, one that I'm trying to sell. The two stories they're carrying are the free ones. They kept the introductory blurb about the stories being my Smashwords editions and "please don't copy" them. They even pirated a couple of the nice reviews I've gotten.

Now, since these are stories that I'm giving away the argument can be made that they haven't really cost me any money. On the other hand, my purpose in offering them for free is to get people to buy my third story. At the unauthorized site even if the reader falls completely in love with my work they might never know I have a third story for sale.

And there's the whole "taking my work without permission" thing, which does tick me off a bit.

If you search the site thoroughly enough they do provide a gmail address for authors to request that their stories be removed. Assuming they honor those requests I'd still be wary about providing my email address to someone with such a convenient sense of honesty -- I don't really need more spam in my inbox.

So, has anyone else faced this problem? What did you do? Or what would you do?
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:25 AM   #2
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Is it safe to assume that there is a link to your Smashwords page inside your books? If not then I would be looking to correct that ... and given that they have what they need to find you again, if they're interested, then I'd probably choose to live with it.

Another option might be to discuss it with Smashwords - since I imagine it is also in Smashwords interest to ensure that people find even freely available material from their website. In particular see their Terms of Service where they say:
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3b. Infringement by Others Upon Author’s Work. If an Author or copyright holder learns that a third party is violating Author’s copyright or pirating or illegally distributing a Smashwords-published work, the Author shall inform Smashwords; however, it is the Author’s responsibility to seek relief from the offending parties. If that work is published on Smashwords, Smashwords will remove it per section 3a above.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:31 AM   #3
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Oh, my free novel is in dozens of stores that I never heard of. The whole point of making it free is to advertise my existence. In the book I have information on how to find me. If they like the free book the will head to Amazon, Kobo, B&N, or Smash and get my other books.

If I was you - I would be happy that your free stories are spreading. Its free advertising.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:57 AM   #4
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Well, yeah, hopefully they link/list/provide connection to you/your other work.

If not then there is something more sinister going on.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
Well, yeah, hopefully they link/list/provide connection to you/your other work.

If not then there is something more sinister going on.
None of them do. All that information is in the book itself. The book is free, I loose nothing by them handing out copies - and potentially gain new sales of my other books - which is the exact reason I give away that book to begin with.

There is no downside here.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
None of them do. All that information is in the book itself. The book is free, I loose nothing by them handing out copies - and potentially gain new sales of my other books - which is the exact reason I give away that book to begin with.

There is no downside here.
This was not addressed to you, but to cromag.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:10 AM   #7
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This was not addressed to you, but to cromag.
Well he needs to get that in his book - because the sites that are copying FREE books and posting them for FREE will not likely do it for him.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:13 AM   #8
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Well he needs to get that in his book - because the sites that are copying FREE books and posting them for FREE will not likely do it for him.
Agreed Completely!

That's why I was wondering if they had somehow stripped that infor off (author etc) and just posted plain text or what??
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:20 AM   #9
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I can understand cromag's concern. While there may be no legal liability (as the books in question are free) there is still the moral question. I know I wouldn't want someone just feeling free to post my work where they please without my knowledge. What's to stop someone from claiming that it's their work and not mine? And what's to stop them if they buy a copy of the work that does cost $ and start selling it? Even if they just post the one that costs $ for free not only would income be lost but what would stop someone from adding it to a torrent file? Granted it sounds like they have only posted the free books so far, but it could be a slippery slope.
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Assuming they honor those requests I'd still be wary about providing my email address to someone with such a convenient sense of honesty -- I don't really need more spam in my inbox.
Avoiding spam in your inbox should be easy cromag, just open a new email account just for such concerns as this.

Last edited by crich70; 01-09-2013 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:44 AM   #10
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Agreed Completely!

That's why I was wondering if they had somehow stripped that infor off (author etc) and just posted plain text or what??
IME so far its all been PDF copies of my book (some EPUB, but PDF seems more popular with these questionable stores) that are exact copies of my text.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:01 PM   #11
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Thanks for the responses.

The site in question is actually carrying all the formats Smashwords carries -- epub, mobi, etc. As far as I could tell from a quick scan they simply downloaded and re-posted them. It doesn't look like they removed anything.

As far as links go, I don't currently have any in my stories. I know Smashwords allows a link to the author's page on their site -- and that's making more sense.

I did notify Smashwords about the site as soon as I found it. So I should be good with them. I haven't heard back from them yet.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:24 PM   #12
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I did notify Smashwords about the site as soon as I found it. So I should be good with them. I haven't heard back from them yet.
The major complaint I have with Smash, and I use them for all of my books, is that they are very slow in response to queries... 2-3 weeks is often normal.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:27 AM   #13
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The major complaint I have with Smash, and I use them for all of my books, is that they are very slow in response to queries... 2-3 weeks is often normal.
That's been my experience as well, but this was enough to get their attention and they got back to me today.

They confirmed that this site is not affiliated with them and suggested that I contact the site and have the stories removed. Frankly, I'm inclined to do that.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:26 AM   #14
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They confirmed that this site is not affiliated with them and suggested that I contact the site and have the stories removed. Frankly, I'm inclined to do that.

My suggestion is that you do not, but it is totally your call.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:00 PM   #15
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I feel like your time would be better spent writing rather than doing these "sweeps". Put an address in the books so people can find legit copies of the for-pay story, and then don't worry about it; don't bother playing the piracy whack-a-mole game, it'll tax your sanity and you'll end up with exactly zero extra sales (and if it's not about the sales, then who cares?).
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