Successful paranormal author Ilona Andrews recently had her short story “Questing Beast”–offered free on her website for fans–swiped and re-posted to Amazon, where some unscrupulous magsman was selling it for $5.99. Since it reached a rank of 60,000, quite a few poor folks were rooked.
Ilona was able to get Amazon to take it down, but it required a general call for help to her fans, who fire-bombed the Amazon page with (currently) 603 one-star ratings and angry reviews. She also reports Amazon has provided her with the name and address of the offending party (“PD Publishing”) and she is considering legal action, but Amazon hasn’t offered refunds to the people who paid for the pirated copy.
Unfortunately, I think we’re barely out of the gate on this particular ride. It’s too easy to nab, scrape, or otherwise pirate digital files of any kind. DRM isn’t necessarily the answer, but we better come up with something soon.
I hope to pursue another Amazon-related piracy anxiety of mine, namely the Strange Case of the Unknown Binding, a format option that appears–at 10x the price–on most indie author’s Amazon pages…but pays them no more than normal. Hopefully I can have some reporting ready for you folks in the near future. The little I’ve found out about it–and the lack of interest on Amazon’s side to do anything about it, as they consider it a “legal” publishing option by a re-seller–is already interesting.
Links to the Ilona Andrews’s story:
Original call for help: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/news/copyright-infringement-urgent
True free page for story: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/books/ebooks/questing-beast-2
Update by Andrews: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/news/you-won-at-the-internet