So it seems that some indie, self-published authors are dealing with something called copyright claim-jumping. What is that you ask? It’s when you, as a author, get a notice from one or more distributors (i.e. Amazon, Smashwords, etc) that someone has filed a DMCA (DMCA” stands for “Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice on YOUR book. That means that someone, somewhere has said that part of your book has material from another source. That someone sends a notice to your book’s distributors and they in turn have to (by law) shut down, lock, block, whatever you want to call it your work on their site.
This means that you can’t update files, readers can’t buy your book, it’s just gone. Why would someone do this? There could be any number of reasons. It could be someone with a grudge against the author, someone doesn’t like the story (or they are offended by it), a reader feels “cheated” somehow after buying the book (this could be true even if the book was a freebie), and someone is trying to scam the author.
Scam how you ask? By taking part of the author’s work (from posting bits and pieces form blog posts or right from the eBook itself) and inserting it into older blog, book, post somewhere. They send the DMCA, the book gets taken down and then, as “concerned’ readers/fans offer to “help” you with your DMCA problem. For a small fee , of course. Now I don’t know of anyone that has actually had to pay to get their work “freed” but it’s possible. So how can a writer/author protect all the hard wok that goes into writing and putting a book (or anything really) out there?
Really you can’t prevent something like this from happening, you can only lock your work as tightly as you can. After reading a few blogs and Facebook posts lately about this happening I took a big step in protecting Santa Baby, my first book. I registered it with the US Copyright Office. Yes, there was a small fee, but for my own piece of mind I decide to do it. And I will be doing it for any and all of my writings from now on. Here is a good blog post with great instructions from Marcy Kennedy’s Blog (December 4, 2014) with guest blogger Kathryn Goldman.
Taking this step is a decision that each of us, as writers/authors need to make for ourselves. I’ve linked the copyright office page above. But it’s kind of sad we have to worry about this kind thing.