Here is some potentially good news if you are concerned about your eBooks being illegally copied and distributed on the Internet: Google is changing their search algorithms to consider the number of valid copyright removal notices they receive when delivering search results. The move is intended to help users find legitimate content more easily. Prior to this change it was entirely possible that a listing for an illegal copy of your book (for example) could appear above a listing from your own website.
This has been an ongoing issue for copyright holders like publishers, movie studios and record labels. Some copyright holders feel that Google turns a blind eye to copyright infringement because user interest in “free” content helps them sell more advertising.
If you suspect a website is providing your book or a part of your book illegally, report the offending website to Google. Visit the Google DMCA Dashboard and file a complaint (you will need to setup a free Webmaster Tools account if you don’t already have one).
How do you find infringements? Use Google’s Alerts tool to listen for references to your name and the titles of your books. You can also create a search string of words that are unique to your book.
I recently read an great book on this topic and can recommend Morris Rosenthal’s An Author’s Guide to Fighting Internet Copyright Infringements: How Publishers and Website Owners Can Protect Intellectual Property Online.
Rosenthal provides a detailed account of his considerable experience fighting copyright infringement.
I think this may be another step in the direction of helping publishers relax their demand for DRM protection. DRM not only limits what a buyer can do with the book they just bought, it also locks them into a specific eBook vendor. See the DRM blurb here from a post we wrote last year.
As always, drop your comments below or contact me with questions you may have.