Stop Thief! A Pro Writer’s 5 Tips to Fight Plagiarism

Editor

How one writer took action to fight plagiarism after her e-book was stolenIt was an evening like any other… poking around on Amazon. But tonight was different. There, before me, in all its glory, was my new e-book with someone else’s name on it!

Thus began an emotional roller coaster of confusion, shock and anger. “Ojuola Infotech” had come to my website, downloaded my newly finished e-book, and put his name on Pricing Basics for Copywriters & Consultants: Meet Your Income Goals — Guaranteed!

Worse yet, it wasn’t just that my e-book was stolen. He stole my brand as well. CHRIS NOTES was now OJUOLA NOTES.

Did I see red? You know it. And it cost me emotional turmoil, enormous amounts of time, and lost income to do what I did next.

Namely… I went after him. But not before I got my e-book back… and my authorship.

I’ve been dealing with this professional tragedy for nearly five months, and I’m still not finished.

Because I don’t want you to suffer an experience like this, I’m going to give you my top five newly learned tips to fight plagiarism and protect your work, so the Ojuolas of the world can’t hurt you.

 

Tip #1. Get your work copyrighted.

In the U.S. it’s commonly believed that simply putting a copyright notice on your work is sufficient. But as I discovered… it’s not! The only reason I got my e-book back was I because could prove legal copyright to the booksellers I contacted. Register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, or if you’re in another country, the governing body in your country that handles intellectual property protection.

Tip #2. Start with Amazon.

When I proved to Amazon that I was the rightful owner of my stolen e-book, the fraudulent version of my e-book quickly disappeared from the catalogs of many smaller booksellers, too. Going to Amazon first saved me lots of extra work in booksellers I didn’t have to contact.

Tip #3. Avoid Web page downloads.

DO NOT put your intellectual property on a Web page for download — either for free or for purchase. This is how my Nigerian thief, Ojuola Infotech, got my e-book. He uses keywords to find the kind of book he wants to steal. Then, he uses advanced knowledge of how websites work to find the digital file.

Tip #4. Choose other delivery methods.

Rather than have your work on a downloads page, email the file to your subscriber or purchaser. I use e-Junkie and AWeber, but there are other service providers who can deliver your file securely, either via email or by placing your file behind a firewall.

Tip #5. Call on your relationships.

There is astounding power in community. I’ve been fighting this beast on my own, but now that I’ve regained my property, my writer friends are getting the word out on this predator. There is social sharing, commenting, blog posts, and copywriters are even creating video sales letters exposing Ojuola Infotech.

Chris Marlow is a writer entrepreneur who shows other writer-entrepreneurs how to use their writing skills to make money in copywriting, information publishing, and ebook sales. Learn more at chrismarlow.com.

 

67 Comments

  1. Angela

    When I was working at a content mill (this is another reason to avoid them) I had a client steal several of my articles. I discovered that he stole them when I hadn’t been paid for my work and decided to find out if they had been published anywhere (Copyscape), and it had. I contacted the websites and asked them to remove the contact and then had the client removed from oDesk. The worst part was that I had been writing most of these articles in a hospital because my husband’s grandmother had had an accident and was in a coma and I didn’t want to miss my deadlines. I was pissed… but I learned a huge lesson. I refuse to submit work without a contract and if I don’t know the client very well (or I can’t find out a good deal about them) I don’t submit work without at least a partial payment.

    • Carol Tice

      Good lessons to live by, Angela!

      There’s nothing more galling than knocking ourselves out for clients in tough circumstances, only to find they don’t treat us respectfully.

  2. Leigh

    It appears the scammer has other stolen books associated with his profile. I just wrote to another author to let her know he stole one of her recipe books. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have her email address on her site, so I had to leave a blog comment. I hope she sees it.

  3. Mili

    If you do not want to use an email to deliver your content, Gumroad seems like a nice platform for selling digital content on your own website. You can also offer your files for free if you want.

    However, I do not know if there is anything preventing someone from sharing your downloaded copyrighted file with their friends.

  4. Bamidele Onibalusi

    Hi Chris,

    You handled this really well, and I’m glad you turned it around into an opportunity to help other writers protect themselves.

    One of the writer’s biggest fear is to have her work plagiarized/pirated, and this fellow did much worse by removing your name from your work and selling it as his.

    I’d be furious if this happened to me as well.

    I believe piracy is a problem in every country, and in every industry; it’s not isolated to Nigeria, and it’s something we writers should unite to attack; your response to this, especially in rallying around other writers and educating them on how to protect themselves is commendable.

    Best Regards,
    Bamidele

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