Attributor Badge Proclaims Your E-Book is Kosher

Publishers, flash your badges – your Attributor Protected Badges proclaiming your e-books are authorized. Attributor, a service that came to our attention a few years ago (see Tracking Content on the Internet), was created to search out, monitor and combat Internet piracy, and with a 54 percent increase in the demand for pirated e-books in the past year – 20% since May of this year alone –  the company has its hands full.  “Daily demand for pirated books,” they tell us, “can be estimated at 1.5 to 3 million people worldwide.” * To check on this activity, Attributor search engine spiders crawl through 100 million Web pages a day.

Though the firm’s original mission was more about consumer education and monitoring than enforcement, it has since become proactive in copyright compliance. “Once you’re signed up with Attributor,” we previously wrote, “you can give them marching orders and legal authority to respond to unauthorized use of copyrighted content by requiring links, requiring a share or ad revenue or demanding that a site take down the content. Perhaps some of those pirates will soon learn to think of Attributor as their own personal Terminator.”

How does the Terminator terminate? “The Attributor Guardian piracy monitoring service performs continuous comprehensive searches across file sharing hubs, torrents, web sites and other illicit content distribution channels, and suspected pirated content is reviewed by our professional services staff. Using a graduated response system, our team contacts unlicensed sites to review options for responsible content sharing. If a resolution is not achieved, we effectuate removal of unauthorized copies and take steps to prevent further piracy.”  In many cases the company blitzes perps with takedown notices until they give up, seeking softer and less well financed targets.  Though Attributor doesn’t litigate, it provides evidentiary support in lawsuits. You can read about their services here.

Most recently Attributor announced partnerships with Macmillan and Kensington who have pledged to support the Attributor Protected Badge program. The badges are a key component in an initiative “to drive consumer awareness about fair trade and distribution of e-books, and protection of author royalties.”

“The global e-book community, which includes consumers, authors and publishers, is taking a major step to address the challenges book publishers face as they move to address the digital age of syndication,” said Jim Pitkow, CEO of Attributor. “This initiative enables consumers to purchase e-books in line with their values and principles, and represents a major advancement in providing educational information about the fair trade and fair use of e-books.”

Beginning in November, Kensington Publishing Corp. will include the Attributor Protected Badge in more than two-dozen new e-books per month. E-books containing the Badge signify the authorized purchase of an original copy, including a link for consumers to learn more about – and respect – copyright.  Though the badge is not a guarantee of protection or even authenticity – don’t be surprised if counterfeits show up on pirate sites – Attributor hopes it will become as reliable as another familiar symbol.

Richard Curtis

* (Tech blogger Eric Hellman has some serious reservations about this estimate. In a subsequent post we’ll tell you what they are.)


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