Pirates of the ebook! How vulnerable are you?

Kindle with a pirate picture being held with two hands

Is your book being pirated?

This week was an introduction to how piracy really does exist!    A fellow tweeter posted that several authors whom she recognized had books on a now defunct site called LendInk.   This site advertised ebooks that could be downloaded for free.  Totally free, and not through some Kindle Free Day.  It was stunning.   Going to the site, it appeared to be true.   This pirate firm had downloaded hundreds of books and the covers.  It was so slickly put together, that it appeared legit, even posting the actual logos  from Amazon and Kindle.

Pirating of ebooks has always been a risk in the epub market.  It is nothing new.  Bloggers, like GalleyCat have posted excellent articles on this same subject in the past.  But it is shocking when it happens to you!

Amazon Kindle was contacted and most authors received emails stating that this site LendInk did not have any electronic rights to their books.   Amazon, as large as it is, was no help however in shutting the pirate down.    Authors were advised it was up to them to file copyright infringement complaints legally.

Like wildfire, via facebook and twitter, as each author found out their book had been pirated, outrage swelled.   Texts, tweets, and facebook postings grew to thousands in protest in just hours.   The owner of the site was contacted via email and tweets, but of course did not respond.    Authors were furious to see that their hard work had been stolen.  Their small profits via ebook squashed with this free pirate on the loose.

Luckily, there is indeed strength in numbers.   The internet makes running a scam business difficult due to transparency.   After the owner ignored the pleas to remove the pirated books, a clever blogger got his personal information from GoDaddy.   Thank goodness GoDaddy for recording the ownership information for domains.   Lawyers contacted the pirate and within 24 hours, the website and the the facebook site for LendInk was demolished!

Way to go, fellow authors!    Kudos and thank you for rescuing my book, FLYING SOLO from absolute copyright pirating.    Your power and allegiance to each other whipped forth like lightening.    Powerful, momentous, and victorious.    So what is the message here?   Support your fellow author.   Reach out and connect to them.   If you promo it forward for them, they will for you, too.    Put  #sharethelove4authors on your tweets.  Connect through facebook.   Unite, share and experience the power of numbers with Indie writers bookstores, and publishers.

7 thoughts on “Pirates of the ebook! How vulnerable are you?

  1. The Lendink thing was just a big misunderstanding for most people. They weren’t a pirate site and weren’t hosting any books. They were a matching site for lenders (there’s a few others out there) and a small one at that. Maybe it wasn’t clear on first sight that most books weren’t available for lending, but authors just attacked before figuring out what was going on.

    Amazon was right in saying that Lendink didn’t have the rights to host or lend any books, but Lendink wasn’t doing that, all lending went through Amazon’s or BN’s systems.


    • Sorry Andrea, but I beg to differ. At least in my case, I know it was pirated. I am on Kindle Select. Exclusively on Kindle Select. Therefore no other book “lender” had the right to lend my book. That was the case for many of these authors, which is why there were concerned. We clicked and check on our books before making the claim. Mine was available as a free download from LendInk. That is unacceptable and just not right. I appreciate your feedback. But we all need to make sure the facts are correct.

  2. Seems to me that lending is quite a big part of the select program:

    I would count this as a public relations disaster rather than a victory against piracy.

    Considering that, according to the amazon link, authors are compensated for lends by Amazon, you might even have cost yourself money (besides the lost sales due to the bad publicity).

  3. RL.Treadway's Ink says:

    And I think you misunderstood what I was getting at on Twitter, Jeanette. I didn’t do anything to get that site taken down. I didn’t have time to research his entire page because in the middle of reading it – and making inquiries to author friends who did have their books listed on PMs – his website was taken down. I didn’t email him. I didn’t direct posts to him to cease & desist. I didn’t have books listed on the page at all! I did post links to the FBI and copyright law and what actions to take if you feel your work has been stolen. . You said your book was available for download – it’s very possible his site could’ve been hacked – he hadn’t updated it for a while, and his Twitter/FB wasn’t replying to anyone’s complaints. If some hacker came along and saw he was too busy to bother with his site – quite easily, could’ve happened. Or it could’ve been a fluke.
    THAT is what I was doing, gathering up info while trying to tell people on the FB page that C&D isn’t going to help if it’s illegal -report it. Some parts of it did look suspicious but I didn’t get to follow up on it since it somehow went viral in about 20 minutes and *boom* his site was gone. Let’s pretend for a second – that the site was illegal – if that had been the case that night, then the hacker got away with it and would be back online with stolen books within the time it takes to create a new site and upload them. He would also have everyone’s Facebook profile and links to more books.
    really, if anyone is going to self-publish – register your work with the copyright office AND fork over some money for ISBNs – then you have two legs to stand on instead of one.

  4. I think it is a slippery slope. Definitely good advice to get your book copyrighted, that is pretty basic. I think most know that. But the epub file vulnerability and the whole “loan” thing is where it gets tricky. In KDP Select it sounde like there is not a good way to monitor whether the books are secure or not. From what I understand, many of the security tech pieces and be stripped away and the book easily reformatted and put out there. Always good to be vigilant. What was more concerning was Amazon’s general form letter response. I mean really, how can an author be constrantly on watch?? It helps to have the correct information for the masses. I tested it with my own book, they were doing it live…..NOT through Amazon Kindle loan.

  5. This post is now closed. I was wrong about Lend Ink. I have openly apologized and that apology has been accepted. My information and my interpretation of it was incorrect. Lessons have been learned. Time to move foward.

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