Tag Archives: Book Piracy

Enhanced Anti-Piracy Program Sends Takedowns to Google

Photo: Wikipedia

MUSO, the anti-piracy service employed by E-Reads and Curtis Agency, was dramatically enhanced by a feature that automatically sends takedown notices to Google. MUSO recentlly announced an upgrade that “for every file takedown that is sent we will be automatically sending a Google takedown for the file.”

This extra service is provided at no extra charge to content providers enrolled in MUSO. E-Reads, a leading independent e-book publisher, and literary agency Richard Curtis Associates, provide MUSO anti-piracy at no charge to their clients. The two companies offer this service to non-clients for a modest fee.

The two companies announced their anti-piracy initiative several years ago and it has resulted in thousands of takedowns. But until now there was no effective way to combat the practice of referrals by Google and other large search engines to unauthorized file-sharing sites. MUSO’s new feature will, it is hoped, reduce such referrals.

Here is the original announcement:

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Adopting advanced technology, Curtis Agency and E-Reads have teamed up to locate and take down pirated files of their authors’ books.

The system, developed by Muso TNT, protects against files uploaded by pirates to filesharing sites like rapidshare and megaupload. Files on these websites show up on Google search results and are therefore accessible to users who might otherwise purchase the files through legitimate channels.

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More Horror Stories from the Digital Book Bazaar

Rowena Cherry, an indefatigable source of information about allegedly unauthorized publication of copyrighted works, reports this latest instance. If you are a bestselling author, or the agent or publisher of a bestselling author, you will find your book here. Scroll down for the entire list of New York Times bestsellers available for $2.00. Purchases are made via PayPal, a subsidiary of Ebay. As is my policy, I do not hotlink to such sites.

I have often written that piracy is the biggest threat to the e-book business. (visit Pirate Central). This is a good instance why.

Richard Curtis
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“From: freebieadmin
To: freebookclub
Sent: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 3:58 am
Subject: {FreeBookClub:488} New York Times Best Sellers List – 9th December!

Dear Members

I have managed to aquire the New York Times Best Sellers List for the 9th December!
(70 Books – Fiction and Non Fiction)

I will make this excellent package instantly available to those people that can afford a
one or two dollar contribution to our service

visit:************** and use the Paypal button near the top of the page!

Contributors will be provided with a choice of both Rapidshare and Sendspace
download links (both are free to use) and they will be sent the download info as soon
as they have made their contribution.

Once I have raised the cost of this purchase, I will also make the list available to the
Supporters Club members via newsletter and through our Gigatribe account.

Regards
*******
Club Admin

NY Times Best Seller Lists: Fiction and NonFiction – 09 December 2012

English | EPUB + MOBI | Ebooks Collection | All In One | 229 MB

Fiction

1 NOTORIOUS NINETEEN, by Janet Evanovich. (Random House Publishing.) The New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum joins with
Joe Morelli to track down a con man who disappeared from a hospital; meanwhile, she takes a second job guarding Ranger.

2 THE FORGOTTEN, by David Baldacci. (Grand Central Publishing.) The military investigator John Puller probes his aunt?s mysterious death in Florida.

3 THE LAST MAN, by Vince Flynn. (Simon & Schuster.) The counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp searches for a missing C.I.A. asset amid treachery in Afghanistan.

4 THE RACKETEER, by John Grisham. (Knopf Doubleday Publishing.) An imprisoned ex-lawyer schemes to exchange this information about who murdered a judge for his freedom.

5 MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS, by James Patterson. (Little, Brown & Company.) Detective Alex Cross confronts both a hostage situation and a terrorist act at Christmas.

6 LIFE OF PI, by Yann Martel. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers.) A teenage boy and a 450-pound tiger are thrown together in a lifeboat after a shipwreck; originally published in 2002 and now a movie.

7 AGENDA 21, by Glenn Beck with Harriet Parke. (Simon & Schuster.) A girl begins to question the authorities who run the Republic, the totalitarian successor to the United States created by the U.N.

8 GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn. (Crown Publishing.) A woman disappears on the day of her fifth anniversary; is her husband a killer?

9 FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, by E. L. James. (Knopf Doubleday Publishing.) A college student falls in love with a tortured man with particular sexual tastes; the first of a trilogy.

10 THE PERFECT HOPE, by Nora Roberts. (Penguin Group.) The final volume of the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy sees sparks fly between Ryder Montgomery and the innkeeper.

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Curtis Agency, E-Reads Deploy Program to Neutralize Pirates

Photo: Wikipedia

Adopting advanced technology, Curtis Agency and E-Reads have teamed up to locate and take down pirated files of their authors’ books.

The system, developed by Muso TNT, protects against files uploaded by pirates to filesharing sites like rapidshare and megaupload. Files on these websites show up on Google search results and are therefore accessible to users who might otherwise purchase the files through legitimate channels.

The Size of the Problem

Though we have often contended that piracy is the number one threat to the e-book industry (see A Bootleg E-Book Bazaar Operates in Plain Sight), skeptics may not be aware of the extent of the problem. One company, torrentfreak, boasted that “The Internet is the largest copying machine ever invented,” and in 2011 ranked fiesharing sites according to traffic in the month of July 2011. The first figure represents unique monthly visitors, the second monthly page views:

1 4shared Cyberlocker 55,000,000/ 2,500,000,000
2 Megaupload Cyberlocker 37,000,000/ 400,000,000
3 Mediafire Cyberlocker 34,000,000 /330,000,000
4 Filestube Meta-search 34,000,000/ 280,000,000
5 Rapidshare Cyberlocker 23,000,000/ 280,000,000
6 The Pirate Bay Torrent index 23,000,000 /650,000,000
7 Fileserve Cyberlocker 19,000,000 /190,000,000
8 Hotfile Cyberlocker 16,000,000 /110,000,000
9 Torrentz.eu Meta-search 15,000,000/ 340,000,000
10 Depositfiles Cyberlocker 14,000,000/ 110,000,000

How Muso TNT Works.

Using the Muso technology, legitimate content providers authorize the antipiracy service to launch search engine “spiders” to crawl over the Internet and detect unauthorized files. A significant feature is that the search criterion is by author, not by title. As the spiders locate pirated files, they store the results on a password-protected login page for review.

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Harlequin Appoints Antipiracy Shamus

If Evan Brown needs a sidekick…

Harlequin has announced new reporting procedures for unauthorized postings of its authors’ content and engaged a dedicated antipiracy enforcer with whom authors who believe their material has been pirated can file claims. Here’s the complete release:

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Effective July 2012, Harlequin has brought the online piracy enforcement process in-house with the appointment of Harlequin’s Online Rights Assistant, Evan Brown. This is a new role, dedicated to policing online piracy of our authors’ copyrighted materials. We ask that authors, agents and editors email links to pirated books to Evan at Report_Piracy@Harlequin.ca. Harlequin is committed to actively protecting the copyrighted materials of its authors and seeks to provide the most effective solution for online piracy.

Please continue to keep in mind the following points before you submit information to .:

• Verify that your search results lead to active links by clicking on the link – “Sponsored Links” often do not lead to actual content;

• Please ensure you include the author name and title for each link to be removed. If the book is in a foreign language, please provide the title and author name in English;

• Provide a direct link (URL) to the work, or to the download page of each work in question – not a link to a page of search results.

As we are no longer working with Attributor to police online piracy and as they are not forwarding messages to us, please report all infringing postings to us directly via Report_Piracy@Harlequin.ca.

Thank you again for your continuing assistance in the fight against book piracy.

The Harlequin Report Piracy Team
This blog post was originally published by Digital Book World under the title Harlequin Hires Antipiracy Enforcer

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Piracy Devastates Music Artists’ Income. Authors, Tomorrow It’s Your Turn

“Over the last 12 years” NPR’s David Lowery recently wrote, “I’ve watched revenue flowing to artists collapse. Recorded music revenue is down 64% since 1999. Per capita spending on music is 47% lower than it was in 1973!! The number of professional musicians has fallen 25% since 2000. Of the 75,000 albums released in 2010 only 2,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. Only 1,000 sold more than 10,000 copies.” Ten thousand copies, Lowery explains, is break-even for independent recording artists.

Why are we mentioning this in a column devoted to the book industry?  Because if you substitute “authors” for “recording artists” and “books” for “albums”, you would realize at once, as I did, that in one significant area the two professions are interchangeable.

The significant area is piracy.  Lowery attributes the plummet in sales directly to illegal downloading.

His article, published in The Trichordist, a website for “Artists for an Ethical Internet,” was in the form of an open letter to a young intern at National Public Radio named Emily who had acknowledged that “while she had 11,000 songs in her music library, “she’s only paid for 15 CDs in her life.”

Because Emily is a member of a vast majority who not only behave the same way but justify their behavior the same way, Lowery felt it incumbent to help her see that “she has been badly misinformed by the Free Culture movement.” The challenge is tantamount to fighting a forest fire with a garden hose, and the reason is that it’s all about a mindset so completely and universally embedded in the consciences of young people that it’s become a rule to live by rather than an ethical value about which there is choice to embrace or resist.

Obviously that same mindset obtains with e-books. Among the reasons that the Emily generation use to justify their freeloading are:

*Compensating musicians is not a problem –  that is up to governments and large corporations to solve.

*It’s OK not to pay for music because record companies rip off artists and do not pay artists anything.

*We don’t take these tracks from a file-sharing site.

*Artists can make money on the road (or its variant “Artists are rich”)

“I also deeply empathize with your generation,” Lowery writes. “You have grown up in a time when technological and commercial interests are attempting to change our principles and morality. Rather than using our morality and principles to guide us through technological change, there are those asking us to change our morality and principles to fit the technological change–if a machine can do something, it ought to be done.

“I also find this all this sort of sad. Many in your generation are willing to pay a little extra to buy ‘fair trade’ coffee that insures the workers that harvested the coffee were paid fairly. Many in your generation will pay a little more to buy clothing and shoes from manufacturers that certify they don’t use sweatshops. Many in your generation pressured Apple to examine working conditions at Foxconn in China. Your generation is largely responsible for the recent cultural changes that has given more equality to same sex couples. On nearly every count your generation is much more ethical and fair than my generation.

“Except for one thing. Artist rights.”

Read: Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered.

Richard Curtis

This blog post was originally published in Digital Book World as Sales for Musical Artists Plunge. Next Victim: Authors

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Robin Hood He Ain’t

We sentimentalize Robin Hood, but though the notion of robbing the rich to help the poor may sound romantic, stripped down it’s simply a glorification of outlawry. What then can be said of outlaws who rob authors to help nobody at all but themselves? What can be said is, “Boy, crime really pays!”

That in essence is what happened when a New Zealand software developer contacted Kim Dotcom, founder of Megaupload, indicted by the United States for copyright infringement and money laundering. “I could live like that,” the fawning man tweeted to the notorious creator of the file-sharing website that the FBI has shuttered.

Dotcom invited him to his enormous rented mansion for a swim and some cupcakes.

The visitor’s admiration for the bandit is not unique. To a generation of misguided libertarians who feel entitled to accept stolen goods, Dotcom is a cult hero. After armed forces raided his opulent stronghold, the unrepentant buccaneer responded with typical braggadocio. “Two helicopters and 76 heavily armed officers to arrest a man alleged of copyright crimes — think about that. Hollywood is importing their movie scripts into the real world and sends armed forces to protect their outdated business model.”

If Dotcom is referring to that outdated business model known as property rights, he may have difficulty persuading a court that it should be replaced by one based on stealing. If he can’t make his case, he faces 20 years in prison.

The tragedy is that he will have so many rooting for him. Jonathan Hutchison of the New York Times reports that “After the court granted him access he began using Twitter…, amassing more than 46,000 followers in just two weeks…

Details in Megaupload Founder Goes From Arrest to Cult Hero

Richard Curtis
This blog post was originally published by Digital Book World as Indicted Pirate Thumbs His Nose at His Victims, and His Cult Eats It Up

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Got $150G? You’d Better, If You Fileshare Dummies

In April 2010 we asked Can You Be Sued For Illegally Downloading a Book? The answer was yes – if publishers are willing to incur a lot of public relations heat for going after the likes of teenagers or old people. It would take an intolerable provocation or the loss of a lot of money to piracy – or both – for a publisher to seek damages in court from those whose crime was nothing more flagrant than sharing a file.

We cited the case of a music downloader sued by the recording industry who passed up the chance to settle for $4,000. When his case was finally adjudicated he was required to pay $675,000 to a plaintiff maddened like a stuck boar by the theft of its property. Though the Recording Industry Association of America incurred withering PR wrath, it sent a signal to all would-be music filesharers, however innocent or ignorant, to think twice before capturing that tune. (See He Should Have Paid the Two Dollars)

But surely that couldn’t happen in book publishing, that refined industry once known as The Gentleman’s Profession. Or could it?

John Wiley & Sons, one of the oldest and most distinguished publishers in America, finds itself in the role of that maddened boar. How deep is Wiley’s wound? Freeloaders are feasting on the publishers Dummies series. For instance, says Wiley, they purloined over 74,000 e-copies of its Photoshop CS5 All-in-one for Dummies.

According to BBC.co.uk, “Papers filed in New York and revealed by the Torrent Freak news site said four defendants were involved. The firm’s lawyer said that he believed this would be the first trial of its kind based on the use of Bittorrent. The peer-to-peer communications protocol allows users to upload and download files to each others’ computers. Wiley had previously filed 15 lawsuits to obtain the identities of about 200 people believed to have infringed the copyright of its titles. It said in papers filed last October that users had ‘engaged in the illegal copying and distribution of Wiley’s ‘For Dummies’ books through the peer-to-peer file sharing software known as Bittorrent’.”

Though Wiley seeks only the minimum statutory damages of $750, the Copyright Law allows as much as $150,000 if the accused fights the case and loses.

Details in ‘For Dummies’ guide publisher, Wiley, seeks piracy trial

Richard Curtis

This blog post was originally published in Digital Book World as Bad PR Be Damned, Besieged Dummies Publisher Sues Filesharers

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I Say It’s Theft, and I Say The Hell With It

Whenever there’s a high-profile crime it’s only a matter of time before someone belittles the victim.  That’s what seems to be shaping up in the Justice Department’s indictment of file-sharing behemoth Megaupload on charges of massive copyright infringement. Stuart P. Green, a Rutgers Law School Professor blogging in the New York Times, writes “Whatever wrongs Megaupload has committed, it’s doubtful that theft is among them.”

Well, Professor Green, unless you have a better word for it, I’m sticking with theft.

Green argues that the complexities of modern intellectual property law have obscured the simplistic legal standards by which theft is measured. Those standards were set in 1962 when the American Law Institute issued the Model Penal Code defining property as “anything of value.” “Henceforth,” says Green, “it would no longer matter whether the property misappropriated was tangible or intangible, real or personal, a good or a service. All of these things were now to be treated uniformly.”

Green’s beef with the Institute’s definition is that contemporary media and services like the Internet blur moral and legal principles. “We should stop trying to shoehorn the 21st-century problem of illegal downloading into a moral and legal regime that was developed with a pre- or mid-20th-century economy in mind. His authority? “Lay observers draw a sharp moral distinction between file sharing and genuine theft, even when the value of the property is the same.”

We don’t know who these “lay observers” are, but they don’t seem to have spent much time speaking to victims. If they had, they might have heard something like this from an author: “If I was in a bookstore, would I just drop this book in my purse and walk out of the store? Because that is exactly what you are doing when you download a book without buying it.” (See Are Downloaders Better Than Muggers?)

The subtle intricacies of modern life make it easy to rationalize crimes like stealing and call them something else.  But calling theft a non-crime doesn’t make it a non-crime. Green may have many other words for the deed (the book that he and a social psychologist are writing is called 13 Ways to Steal a Bicycle: Theft Law in the Information Age). But for victims there’s only one way to say it: “I’ve been robbed.”

Judge for yourself: When Stealing Isn’t Stealing by Stuart P. Green.

Richard Curtis

For a full archive of postings about piracy, visit Pirate Central.

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Court Ruling Has Pirates Squirming in Safe Harbor

A chill wind has ruffled the waters of the safe harbor in which pirates flourish under protection of federal law. A court ruling has challenged their right to take refuge there in cases of flagrant flouting of the spirit of the law.

As things stand, if you sell somebody else’s copyrighted book on your website you are protected by the so-called safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The offended author is required to file a takedown notice and provide evidence of his or her ownership of the copyright. Then you have a reasonable period of time to take the files down without penalty or liability. There is – or at least until yesterday there was – no distinction between inadvertent use of the work and flagrant expropriation.

But a ruling by a US Court of Appeals did draw that distinction in a suit brought by Viacom against YouTube for running Daily Show videos without permission: “A reasonable jury could conclude that YouTube had knowledge or awareness” that YouTube was infringing, said the ruling.

If the Court’s interpretation holds up, it could remove the shield protecting hardcore pirates. Yes, it could also expose casual infringers ignorant of the law, but it’s not likely that a reasonable jury would find them guilty by the standard created by the yesterday’s Court ruling. Said plaintiff Viacom: The court delivered a definitive, common-sense message — intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law.”

Details in Appeals Court Revives Viacom Suit Against YouTube by Brian Stelter in the New York Times.

For a complete archive of E-Reads postings about piracy, visit Pirate Central.

Richard Curtis
Note to readers: Digital Book World has invited me to post my blogs initially on its website before releasing them on E-Reads, and this content is re-published with DBW’s permission. Click here to view the original posting.

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Successful Antipiracy Service Now Goes After Torrent Sites

Last summer we engaged Muso, a British-based antipiracy service, to help Curtis Agency and E-Reads authors take down files of their books that were being carried on illegal filesharing websites. A number of agents and authors followed suit and have taken advantage of Muso’s aggressive search-and-remove program.

Muso has announced that it is adding takedowns directed at torrent distribution sites, flagrant but elusive copyright violators that have up to now frustrated efforts to combat them.

This antipiracy service is offered free of charge to clients of Curtis Agency and authors published by E-Reads. We also serve as liaison with Muso for other agents, authors and publishers. Click HERE for more information and price quotations.

Below is Muso’s announcement.

Richard Curtis

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We’re pleased to announce that Muso now supports takedowns for torrent sites. Over the last two weeks we’ve been scanning for torrent files for your campaigns and you may have already noticed torrent results appearing in your campaigns.

We’ve integrated these results into our existing system so taking down a torrent file is just as easy taking down a cyberlocker file – simply hit the ‘Send Takedown’ option once you’ve verified that the file is yours. This means all our existing features, such as filtering, grouping and auto takedowns, all continue to work with torrents.

No extra charge
Torrent takedowns are included in all pricing plans, with no extra charge for searching for torrent results! A torrent takedown is charged in exactly the same way as any other takedown you send, and of course, reminder messages are free.

Sites supported
As with cyberlockers, we aim to support every site. We’ve already added all the major torrent sites such as isohunt.com, kat.ph, yourbittorrent.com, torrentdownloads.net and extratorrent.com. And we’ll keep adding more sites over the coming weeks.

One notable omission is The Pirate Bay, which we haven’t added because they don’t support DMCA takedowns. Although there have been attempts to shutdown this site for many years, it does appear that sites that do not conform to DMCA are now receiving even more attention from the authorities and many are being successfully shutdown.

Coming Soon
As we announced a few weeks ago, we are planning to add support for Google takedowns soon. This will allow you to remove google results for any site which refuses to react to DMCA (e.g. The Pirate Bay), or to remove any sites that link to illegal copies of your content that are being listed above legal download sites.

DMCA Misuse
We’ve noticed a recent increase in articles on the web discussing inappropriate use of DMCA notices. Although none of these are directly related to our user’s takedowns, we would like to remind all our users to use Muso responsibly. We strongly believe that DMCAs are currently the best tool to tackle online piracy, as they allow rights holders to have content removed quickly and easily. But it’s important that they aren’t misused, and that you only issue DMCA notices to files that you own the rights to.

Please ensure that you properly review all files before sending takedowns – here are some tips on the review process.

Always check the file name – if it doesn’t uniquely identify your product, then select the S icon to the right of the file name to view the web page where this link was found, which will help you to identify the file.

If you have a large number of files to review switch to the Groups tab to view the files grouped by name, so you can takedown or ignore groups of files at once.
If you only want to takedown files for specific releases, or if your campaign’s title is a generic word, then use the SEARCH/FILTER options to filter out unwanted results.
Only use the ‘Send Takedown For All Files’ button once you have reviewed all available files and ignored any that you do not own the rights for.

Regards,

The Muso Team

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