How to Protect Your eBooks From Illegal Downloads

Stopping People From Illegally Sharing Your Work

The other day, I realized that one of my main books had been shared illegally on the Internet. Anyone could just search for it and find it the first page of Google, and download it without paying.

Luckily, I was able to contact the owner of the website and sort out the situation.

But some other times, I’m not so lucky and there’s not much I can do to prevent some unscrupulous people from sharing my copyrighted material.

If you’re thinking of writing and selling your own ebooks, you’ve probably wondered about this issue. How can you prevent people from illegally sharing your work?

Before I answer this question, let me give you my point of view on copyright issues.

I am 100% behind the strict enforcement of copyright issues, which applies for any work an artist has created, including music, patents, software, movies, entertainment, books, etc.

These works represent the sweat of many, many hard-working people who deserve to get paid for what they do.

Over the last decade, there’s been a strong movement against copyrights, by Internet “Pirates” who have encouraged and enabled the illegal sharing of copyrighted material under the guise of humanitarian motives.

These anti-copyrights bums believe that copyrights have never been any benefit to “society” and serve to enrich a few at the expense of creativity.

To that I say: Complete nonsense!

The profit motive is an important factor in what drives human innovation and creativity. If artists and thinkers cannot make a living at what they do, they will go back to a boring job and never get to fully express the range of their abilities.

When an artist or innovator creates something that didn’t exist before — and that something can enjoyed in any form by many people in a way that improves and enhances their lives, they should be able to charge WHATEVER PRICE they want for it. And they should be able to be in total control over the distribution of their work.

People who complain that a certain book costs “too much”, that a company is “robbing” people by selling an item at a certain price, or that they shouldn’t have to pay for it, have a complete false of entitlement.

They live in a world where that “something” did not exist. Suddenly someone creates it, and wants to charge them X amount for it. No one is forcing them to buy it. If they don’t want it, they can say no. They can go back to the world they lived in before, in which that “something” did not exist.

If they want to enjoy it however, and enhance their lives, even if it’s just for a brief moment, why is that too much to ask that they pay their toll to the artist/innovator, who made it all possible in the first place?

Because of the law of competition, prices never can stay too high that their true worth, as long as other people are coming along to offer their own answer to the same problem.

All of that to say that it is 100% moral to protect copyrights, and 100% immoral to advocate the destruction of the copyright system.

If people enjoy the instant gratification of downloading something immediately, there are now plenty of options to do so legally. For example, I’m a big fan of Amazon’s Kindle for eBooks, or Apple’s iTunes for movies and TV Shows.

That being said, should you fear for your eBooks and products?

I’m actually not as worried as some people are when they first get started.

While you do not want your eBooks to be made available on file-sharing websites, there’s nothing you can do about people making copies and/or sending it to their friends.

Some people want to control everything by creating password-protected versions of their eBooks, or lock it in a special kind of software that can only be read using a key that can be disabled at anytime.

I find those restrictions too much of a hassle to create the type of experience your clients are after. If you try to make it too difficult, you’ll make the same mistakes the music industry made when they first started selling music, and actually encourage people to download your programs illegally.

I suggest selling your eBooks as simple, unprotected PDFs.

However, make sure that your download page does not show up in the search engines. There’s a simple line of code you can add to any download page that will make it “invisible” to Google. Most webmasters can do this for you.

Do not worry too much about protecting your work, since it’s not going to be a concern of yours until you become much more popular.
Once you’re well-known enough to be shared all over the web, it’s actually a good sign!

I personally don’t try very hard to protect my front-end products (by that I mean the entry-level eBooks that I sell), since they are just an entry point to the rest of my product line. Even if someone downloads them illegally, they can still be interested in the other products I have for sell!

However, if I see my books being distributed without my permission, I will intervene by contacting the owners of the website and getting the files pulled down, which has always worked.

At some point, I even had someone selling my eBooks on eBay, keeping all the profits and without my permission of course!

There’s also a big problem with file-sharing websites like Pirate’s Bay, that enjoy undeserved support from the public and who will probably remain unpunished for a long time. Of course, when one website closes down, a new one opens up the next week!

The best strategy for BitTorrents and similar unstoppable file-sharing schemes is to ignore them. The people who download (steal) your programs there wouldn’t have been your customers anyway.

If you’d like to know more on protect yourself from illegal downloads, make sure you subscribe to the Do What You Love Success Group, where next month I will be sending out a complete report on the subject, filled with tips and ideas to be ahead of the curve, but more importantly to know where to spend your attention, and where it’s a waste of time.

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