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Old 07-14-2014, 10:49 AM   #1
Manu
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Exclamation Amazon Ebook Copyright Complaints & How To Fight Stolen Ebooks

Recently, several Lit authors have contacted us with concerns about nefarious "publishers" at Amazon.com. These "publishers" steal writing/photos from around the web and publish it on Amazon.com in ebook form. Their goal is simple - to exploit the hard work of others for their own financial gain.

A quick Google search shows that this has been an issue for as long as Amazon has allowed independent ebook publishing. In many cases, it appears that the stolen ebooks are actually purchased from Amazon, and then repackaged for sale back on Amazon by the thief.

This is not a problem exclusive to adult authors. In fact, most of the blog posts and articles that we found about this issue involve stolen mainstream articles and ebooks. It's likely that the thieves don't care at all what kind of content they are stealing. They just want to make money as easily as possible.

Like Amazon, we have had people submit stolen stories to Literotica several times over the years. Our policy on copyright is very clear, and we respond to all copyright complaints. Any author found to be copying/stealing stories will have all of their stories removed from Literotica and their account banned.

Amazon also claims to have a strict copyright policy, but they are quite a bit harder to deal with than Literotica. From the research that we've been doing, it looks like Amazon has a system of "copyright strikes". Amazon keeps a record of how many DMCA complains each author/publisher account has received. If an account reaches a certain number of DMCA complaints (strikes), the account will be banned and the author/publisher will not be paid for any unpaid earnings.

In addition, any Amazon accounts (past, present, and future) associated with that banned account will be banned as well. Once banned, it becomes increasingly difficult for that thief to sign up for new Amazon accounts.

If you want to have stolen ebooks removed from the Amazon.com marketplace, the simple way to do it is to file multiple DMCA complaints. This creates multiple copyright strikes against the offending account. Any Amazon author/publisher who gets a certain number of DMCA complaints (not sure the exact number) will be banned from Amazon. The more times a thief gets banned, the harder it becomes to continue making money on stolen ebooks.

DMCA complaints are the only type of action that counts as a copyright strike. Amazon does not apply strikes based on random customer complaints, comment board complaints, etc. DMCA is the only type of complaint that Amazon recognizes.

It is very important that authors file DMCA notices against any stolen eBook that they find in the Amazon.com market. If you recognize ebooks by your friends or other authors, notify them and ask them to file a DMCA complaint.

Amazon's DMCA/Copyright Agent information is as follows:

Amazon.com Legal Department
P.O. Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108-1226

Phone: (206) 266-4064
Fax: (206) 266-7010
E-mail: copyright@amazon.com

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/...icID=200626000

If you need help filing a DMCA notice, it's very simple and there are many websites offering free DMCA templates:
http://support.scribd.com/entries/22...email-template
https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thr...ssageID=379199
http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2009/07/06...etter/id=4501/

http://sarafhawkins.com/how-to-file-...kedown-notice/
http://www.epicorg.com/sample-dmca-t...wn-notice.html

Though this post relates directly to Amazon, a DMCA notice can be used to have writing/photos/video removed from any website which is publishing your work without your permission. DMCA notices are a simple yet powerful tool that every author should be aware of.

In the future, we plan to add a special section to Literotica.com to help better inform authors about copyright issues and DMCA. If you have any suggestions for information or tools you would like to see, please let us know.

Thank you to everyone who has contacted us about these issues and we'll continue - as we always have - working with Lit authors to fight against anyone who tries to infringe on your work!
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:19 PM   #2
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Thanks for the information Manu.
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Old 07-14-2014, 06:23 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information Manu.
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Old 07-14-2014, 06:30 PM   #4
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Here Here
Where, where? Assume you meant "hear, hear"(?)

Author-filed DMA notices are great for folks who actually formally registered their copyright and who want to give their true name/contact information to Amazon.com.

If you published with a publisher, they can handle this without getting your true name involved.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:38 AM   #5
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Author-filed DMA notices are great for folks who actually formally registered their copyright and who want to give their true name/contact information to Amazon.com.
If you publish with Amazon, you have to give them your name/address so they can send you money. I tried to do publish entirely with my pen name, but it wouldn't work.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:50 PM   #6
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If you publish with Amazon, you have to give them your name/address so they can send you money. I tried to do publish entirely with my pen name, but it wouldn't work.
Unless you publish there through a publisher--and let the publisher worry about all that stuff. (My publishers don't even know my name/address. They know a cut-out PayPal account.)
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:26 PM   #7
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Unless you publish there through a publisher--and let the publisher worry about all that stuff. (My publishers don't even know my name/address. They know a cut-out PayPal account.)
Heh. My margins are too thin as it is, but yes. I suppose this is a good way to ensure your anonymity. May I ask if you're in the US? The publishers I've all worked with have insisted I sign contracts and if the amounts are above $500 (I think) the publisher is obligated to fill out tax forms (at least the one's I've worked with, but I am very new to this).
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:58 PM   #8
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Heh. My margins are too thin as it is, but yes. I suppose this is a good way to ensure your anonymity. May I ask if you're in the US? The publishers I've all worked with have insisted I sign contracts and if the amounts are above $500 (I think) the publisher is obligated to fill out tax forms (at least the one's I've worked with, but I am very new to this).
I'm in the U.S. (and have a licensed editing and writing business, where I only need to report how much from where). My major publisher isn't. The publisher does have to fill out all sorts of forms, but all the publisher has from me is a PayPal account number--and it's been working for some five years.

As for margins being too thin. Having publishers, I can write three books in the time a self-publisher can write and publish one. So much for the financial margins of including a publisher in the profit. In addition, I then don't have all sorts of headaches--like this one, for instance. The publisher gets to worry about that.

(And I'm waiting for someone to post, "Oh you can't do that"--for something I've been doing for thirteen years now in the e-book market.)
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:04 PM   #9
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Heh. My margins are too thin as it is, but yes. I suppose this is a good way to ensure your anonymity. May I ask if you're in the US? The publishers I've all worked with have insisted I sign contracts and if the amounts are above $500 (I think) the publisher is obligated to fill out tax forms (at least the one's I've worked with, but I am very new to this).
The publisher does have to fill out tax forms, but all it need show is it paid X dollars to "Huck Pilgrim Publications" it does not have to show your actual name.

At some point the IRS does know who you are however because an EIN of any kind does get associated with your real social at tax time. But only they-or your accountant-know at that point and even then the IRS does not readily know exactly what Huck is publishing.

My taxes are a pain as I have the e-bay store still under an old business name and two EIN's for publishing.

But I do them myself so I can cut out an accountant knowing anything I don't need them to.
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:58 AM   #10
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Thanks for the information. The question that follows, how does one discover his/her publication has been stolen and reused without permission?
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:27 AM   #11
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Thanks for the information. The question that follows, how does one discover his/her publication has been stolen and reused without permission?
Most of the time it comes from readers who stumble across it -- especially in the case of stories published on Amazon or something, where the full text isn't searchable via Google.

When one stolen story is caught, it typically leads to a large catalog of stolen stories, and either the reader or the first author begin tracking down authors to spread the word.

For stuff stolen and posted on forums, other story sites, etc., you can typically find them with a Google search.
  • Take a reasonably unique line from very early in your story that doesn't include a place name or character name. ( As some thieves are smart enough to change those )
  • Enter that as your Google search terms, and then enclose it in quote marks to make Google search for that exact sequence of words.
  • Make sure you have iron-clad malware protection before clicking any of the links that pop up.
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:08 PM   #12
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It has come to my attention that an author going by the name Laura Fox has been taking titles from Literotica and publishing them on Amazon. I identified two of my stories and reported her to Amazon this morning. Since she has more than 140 titles there, other authors might be well-served to do the same.

I've also made posts to both facebook and Twitter reporting the same thing.
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:30 PM   #13
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I had a quick look and found 'Steamy Inferno', which is on here as Harddaysknight' 'Hot As Sun'.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:39 PM   #14
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Looks like she stole mostly mind control and lesbian stories. A few other types, but mostly mind control and lesbian. I only have one mind control and zero lesbian stories. Plus, she would have to buy those in order to sell them again.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:34 PM   #15
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I love how her Amazon bio/blog reads:

Quote:
Hi, I am Laura Fox. I am an Erotica author and now I have established my own Publishing Company - Laura Fox Publishing House. I very much enjoy writing Erotica, it's my passion. A passion which shows in all my writings and publications of my company. It is my goal to give you, the reader, utmost pleasure with our sensual and erotic writings.

MY BACKGROUND

My Erotica writing and founding Laura Fox Publishing House started out as as idea I had one night. I enjoy erotic fiction, and realized that even with the abundance of pictures and videos on the web, there was a shortage of quality erotic stories. I have always believed that the mind is the greatest sex organ, and that a well-told sexy tale can be more of a turn-on than the most explicit photo.

The more people I talked to, the more I believed that Laura Fox Publishing House needed to exist. This company was created as a means to bring together those who enjoy reading original erotic fiction and those who like to write it. My readers are directly involved in its evolution. Through your support, you determine the direction we take.
Doesn't seem to be "any shortage of quality erotic stories" to steal though if you managed to trip over 142 of them to set up your "publishing empire" with. What a freakin' ditz!

Plus...if you Google "Laura Fox Publishing House" the only thing that comes back is the Amazon link and this "gem" from Pinterest:

http://www.pinterest.com/LFPublishing/

Now she's hit the big time as CEO!

It's EF Turner deja vu time all over again.
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:29 PM   #16
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I love how her Amazon bio/blog reads:



Doesn't seem to be "any shortage of quality erotic stories" to steal though if you managed to trip over 142 of them to set up your "publishing empire" with. What a freakin' ditz!

Plus...if you Google "Laura Fox Publishing House" the only thing that comes back is the Amazon link and this "gem" from Pinterest:

http://www.pinterest.com/LFPublishing/

Now she's hit the big time as CEO!

It's EF Turner deja vu time all over again.
And lit will do nothing.

This thread was started by Manu to tell us how to do it because lit can't be bothered even with people who have stolen hundreds of stories from them.

This thread was also started when Laurel's absence on the Turner thread was mentioned many times over.

It should be titled, "On your own people"
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:30 AM   #17
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All of Laura Fox's books appear to have disappeared from Amazon. Good work, people.
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:44 AM   #18
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You're welcome.

I contacted a bunch of friends including a publisher and had them bombard Amazon with complaints.

Someone has to try to protect the authors here. Shouldn't be myself and other authors.
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Old 11-08-2014, 01:40 PM   #19
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I was just coming here to report the same thing. I wonder if it's in our interest to check other ebook retailers.....

Edit: I've checked Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, AllRomance, Kobo, and Lulu. She's not on any of them.

Last edited by Mudak : 11-08-2014 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 11-09-2014, 04:24 AM   #20
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All of Laura Fox's books appear to have disappeared from Amazon. Good work, people.
Huge dent from what was up, but she still has eleven at Amazon via this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Fox/e/B00N35UIXI

The very first (and only) one I checked using the first sentence of the second paragraph in the opening chapter...

http://www.amazon.com/Bull-Rider-STE...5523778&sr=1-1

...says it has apparently been lifted from here and nothing appears to be changed except the title and character names:

http://lesfan.com/fanfiction/south-o...for-the-brand/

Most likely the other ten are stolen also, so it's not quite a clean sweep yet as far as this dirtbag thief.
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Old 11-21-2014, 07:11 PM   #21
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Well I'm really impressed! I'm brand new to this forum but this is the first I've seen where there's a real solidarity against these thieves!
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Old 11-21-2014, 07:32 PM   #22
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Huge dent from what was up, but she still has eleven at Amazon via this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Fox/e/B00N35UIXI

The very first (and only) one I checked using the first sentence of the second paragraph in the opening chapter...

http://www.amazon.com/Bull-Rider-STE...5523778&sr=1-1

...says it has apparently been lifted from here and nothing appears to be changed except the title and character names:

http://lesfan.com/fanfiction/south-o...for-the-brand/

Most likely the other ten are stolen also, so it's not quite a clean sweep yet as far as this dirtbag thief.
All gone...just her profile sitting there looking all forlorn and unhappy.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:19 AM   #23
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I was targeted by one of these thieves - several stories were packaged together as an e-book and offered on Amazon by someone calling herself Émilie Lavigne. A Literotica reader congratulated me on it, thinking I was branching out! I was annoyed, but also a little amused - sincerest form of flattery etc., although it's not very flattering to have your work hawked for less than three dollars! I didn't take any action but soon afterward the "book" disappeared; perhaps my reader took it upon himself to complain to Amazon (for which I send him a kiss). A recent check of Amazon reveals that not only the book but also Mlle. Lavigne herself is no more, so at least that (tiny) revenue stream is no longer available to her.
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:48 AM   #24
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I recently found one of my stories stolen, but it's actually on Scribd and not Amazon. This seems to have the same exact issue as one of these Amazon stories have though, needing to go through DMCA guidelines. Since my stories only ever posted on sites like this, I don't have a publisher, so I take it I have no mean so to be able to stay anonymous in this matter?

I don't use my real name when posting stories though... so will that hurt my odds of having it taken down? If I use my real name for the DMCA form, will that not help me because it isn't the name linked to the story?

If I do use my name, is that stuff kept private between Scribd and I? Or does/can that info wind up in the hands of others?
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:14 AM   #25
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I recently found one of my stories stolen, but it's actually on Scribd and not Amazon. This seems to have the same exact issue as one of these Amazon stories have though, needing to go through DMCA guidelines. Since my stories only ever posted on sites like this, I don't have a publisher, so I take it I have no mean so to be able to stay anonymous in this matter?

I don't use my real name when posting stories though... so will that hurt my odds of having it taken down? If I use my real name for the DMCA form, will that not help me because it isn't the name linked to the story?

If I do use my name, is that stuff kept private between Scribd and I? Or does/can that info wind up in the hands of others?
I had this happen at scribed.

I wrote them and they took it down right away. I may have had to fill out a form, but it was something they had available and I just had to fill it out. It was a while ago, so I don't remember the exact details. I just looked about on their site until I found someone to write. Once I got a hold of someone, it was easy to get the process started and it happened quickly.

I signed the takedown form with my real name (I didn't know any better) and they posted a note that the story had been taken down by (and then the listed my real name).

I wrote them and asked them to remove my real name and insert Huck Pilgrim and they did it pretty quickly. I think to prove I was Huck Pilgrim, I just sent them email from my Huck Pilgrim account, pointed to the same book on my blog and at Amazon, and acted all indignant, lol.

Just write them to get the process started. Use your pen name to communicate with them, I think is best. They don't really care who you are, they just pull the shit down if you seem legit.
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