Ebook copyright, DMCA & copy protection

Ebook copyright
Ebook copyright

Constant vigilance is a concept practiced by authors who have created any work of art, literature, or music. Luckily in our day in age, there are a lot of tools and knowledge that can be utilized to assist in reaching the goal of being vigilant. The utilization of the following six tools will assist in the protection of the sanctity of created work so that others are unable to steal, misuse, or dishonestly profit from the time and energy the author has devoted to its creation.

One of the oldest ways an author can protect his or her work is to get it copyrighted.  The copyright law was established in 1790 with the first work being registered around May of that year. The main purpose of copyrighting a work is to protect it so that the author has ownership and exclusive rights to it for a period of time. Numerous copyrights are issued each year to those who apply to ensure the protection of their work. The “United States Copyright Office Fiscal 2017 Annual Report” identified that in 2017 alone copyrights were issued to 202,476 literary works, 103,510 performing arts works, 86,466 visual arts work, and 59,247 sound recordings. Copyrights provide some protection for preventing an author’s work from being stolen and profited off of.

If copyright has been infringed then an author can look to the DMCA or Digital Millennium Copyright Act for protection.  However, the DMCA is a US law that only covers copyright infringement in the US and may be costly to enforce through legal means.

Another way an author can protect his or her work is through the performance of monthly audits of published materials. The audit may be performed in several different ways. The most typical being a person running searches on the internet to see if they can discover materials that have been unlawfully acquired and used. In 2008 author Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, discovered that a fan had obtained and published online an unfinished novel she had been writing. Although the discovery of this theft was not due to a regular audit, she did find that it had occurred which resulted in her abandoning the project. Audits have two anticipated outcomes.  The first being the identification of unauthorized works being published online.  The second is being able to identify this issue quickly so it can be resolved. Audits are a great way an author can be alerted when his or her work has been stolen and published without permission.

A third way an author can protect his or her work is to always apply password protection as appropriate. Adobe Acrobat for example has security settings that can be applied to a document or ebook where it can prevent it from being printed or edited (well in theory anyway because those restrictions are trivial for users to remove). Microsoft Word also has a way where an author may password protect his or her work but this also provides limited protection.

A fourth way an author can protect his or her work is through the use of DRM or Digital Rights Management that can restrict both access and use.  Authors should be aware however that many ebook DRM systems can be broken using Epubor.  Ebook DRM can however be an extremely robust system that all authors should seriously consider integrating into their processes for releasing and publishing their work to the public. Some of the highlights of this system that will aid in the protection of the author’s works include the prevention of unauthorized distribution, inability to print documents, inability for a user to take a screenshot, access revocation, PDF protection, and ability to share documents within a secure system. DRM copy protection can be much better than copyright when it comes to helping an author protect his or her work and accomplish the vigilance that is needed.

Another basic method of implementing security is with the authors own computer.  Utilizing security settings is a great way for authors to better secure their work from being accessed where their device is accessible by others.

This includes the implementation of antivirus and anti-spyware software which can be used to prevent attacks. This includes protecting your computer with a password that is changed regularly.  It also includes using a firewall to serve as a barrier from being breached and basic preventative measures such as never leaving your computer alone when traveling.  Implementing these recommendations make the protection of an author’s work more achievable.

Authors should also implement into their routine the ability to stay informed of the modern advancements in protection. Hackers and those who are looking to harm are constantly learning the newest way to steal what they want.  Authors need to be doing more in their way of understanding what new types of security programs are out there, and what will work best, to protect the work being stolen or pirated. In some instances, learning how thieves steal work is valuable in order to know the best way to implement protection on a computer.  As thieves adjust their methods of attack, so must authors.

Lastly, authors must also understand that if their security measures are breached and their work is stolen that they should consult with both authorities and legal counsel. There are several reasons for this.  First, so that any stolen work may be recovered.  Second so that to the extent possible those who committed these cybercrimes are caught and brought to justice. Third, so that these acts will serve as a deterrent to anyone else who may be targeting the author. While these assertive measures will in all probability not stop every thief from plying his or her trade, if it stops just one it can be counted as a success.

Austin Kleon is a talented author who wrote the book “Steal Like An Artist.” One of the central points in this book the fact that people are looking to steal anything that is worthwhile and will make them money. The response to this central point, and the recommendations listed above, is the goal of not allowing these thieves to be successful. While the author is mainly talking about artists building upon the work of other successful artists, the main message can be interpreted to mean thieves stealing the work of successful people. The main point is that there are many people in the world looking to steal anything worthwhile.  Today, thieves do not go out into the night dressed in black clothing to perform robberies. Rather they sit behind a computer wearing a Hawaiian t-shirt and flip flops. They can be as young as 12 or as old as 80. Their main focus is to successfully steal for gain. We see on the news almost weekly now where a country has infiltrated a company or government and illegally acquired information. We have also seen where countries use computers as a method of attack. From authors to companies to governments, constant vigilance is mandatory to protect not only the work completed as well of being created. This real hazard must be acknowledged and the steps identified above will put any author in a better place to prevent thefts and a lot of heartache from occurring.

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