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March 18, 2014 / diannegray

Free books, piracy and scams

This morning during my pre-dawn-caffeine-fixblog-post-reading-time I read Carrie Rubin’s Be Careful What You Search For.

As she states in this post, Periodically I Google the name of my book to see if there’s anything out in cyberspace I’ve missed. Every now and then I stumble upon a review or listing I hadn’t noticed before.

What she found was a reader looking for a free copy of her book and an unflattering comment about it’s cover. (I love Carrie’s posts, they’re always interesting, informative and highly entertaining. If you don’t already know her I strongly recommend you pay her a visit.)

After reading this post I got to thinking maybe I should check my own books to see what’s happening in cyberspace.

What a shock!

I came across a site that has all my books for free to download. Not only in every format but also in audio. I’ve never produced an audio book and was dying to know how they had done this. I didn’t want to download any of them (because I had a distinct feeling that this was a scam website and I didn’t want to invite the malware fairy to a party on my hard drive) so I sent an email-link to my son in the hope that one of his tech-savvy friends could check it out safely.

I also went to the Scam Adviser website (always a handy place to go) to check the status of the site offering freebies of my books.

What I learned from Scam Adviser:

Notes:-

  • This website is 37 Days old
  • The website expected life (365 days) is relatively short.

Analysis Details:-
Although this website appears to be based in United States there are other countries involved and you should review this information carefully and decide if it is as you expect. This website is very new, and as such doesn’t have an online reputation yet. As with all new businesses, we suggest that you take care and if necessary get in contact with the owners before placing an order of value.

The website has been newly registered with a short life expectancy, which follows the pattern used by many fraudulent and fake selling websites. Please be vigilant and take extra care before providing any payment information.

So there you go. If you’re looking for free books you may just end up getting more than you bargained for. With all the so-called ‘share’ sites out there where you can download music, movies and books, no wonder the scammers who want to infect your PC with hideous malware are developing sites like this. They know people are constantly looking for freebies and this is an easy way to infect your computer and collect your data. The old Latin saying caveat emptor is alive and well in this online world of ours.

Carrie also pointed me in the direction of S.K Nicholls’ site and her great post The Author Delusion – Your Book is Free. Reading this post is a scary indication of how widespread piracy is.

****

On a lighter note – while I was searching for free copies of my books and reading these posts I was also trying to eat breakfast while snapping pictures of a crop duster flying over a neighbouring field. It swooped my house a few times (with the duster OFF, thank goodness!)

It reminded me of the dragonflies I had seen last week 😀

crop duster1

crop duster2

crop duster3

I hope you all have a great week and if you search for yourself or your books and find anything interesting, please feel free to share it here (unless it’s X-rated and then a private email will suffice) 

😀

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126 Comments

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  1. Pagadan / Mar 18 2014 11:14 am

    I google my books and myself periodically and now and then come across reviews I wasn’t aware of and learn that a story was published and/or is upcoming, which I wasn’t aware of–not piracy.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 11:28 am

      Very interesting, Joy. Thanks for sharing 😀

      Like

  2. bodhisattvaintraining / Mar 18 2014 11:16 am

    Wow! That’s crazy Dianne…awful to think what’s out there. grrrr

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 11:32 am

      It’s really annoying. The red lights flashed for me when I saw my books were available in audio. Making an audio of a book is expensive and time-consuming so I can’t see why someone would do it for mine without my knowledge (or payment). I think that’s a dead give-away that they’re scammers. These ‘free’ and ‘share’ sites are killing the industry

      Like

  3. Ruth Rainwater / Mar 18 2014 11:19 am

    That is so wrong! How can you guard against stuff like this? I often wonder about my pictures that I post; I need to find out how to watermark them.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 11:34 am

      I know a blogger – Marsha Lee (thehistorygal) who is great at putting those watermarks on hers. I’m sure she has a ‘how to’ post somewhere. I’ll ask her for you 😉

      Like

      • Ruth Rainwater / Mar 18 2014 2:02 pm

        Thanks!

        Like

      • the eternal traveller / Mar 18 2014 6:56 pm

        Try PicMonkey.com for your photo editing. It’s free and super easy to use and you can have almost any watermark you like. You can also reduce the size of your photos so that they are unusable for anything other than online. The photos on my blog are all around100 kb and they don’t look any different to the originals.

        Like

      • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 8:36 pm

        Great tip! Thank you 😀

        Like

      • the eternal traveller / Mar 19 2014 6:47 am

        Have a play and have fun!

        Like

  4. Carrie Rubin / Mar 18 2014 11:29 am

    Isn’t it amazing to think that in 37 days this site has enveloped all your books already (assuming the links are actually to your book and not to something malicious)? Really goes to show that nothing is safe online. If your son discovers this is indeed spammy and bogus, please let us know. As for now, I don’t dare click anything that claims to have a copy of my book.

    Thanks for the mention and kind words about my blog. Much appreciated!

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 11:39 am

      You’re very welcome, Carrie. Your blog always gives me food for thought! 😀

      If my son can find a tech-savvy person (I’m sure he can somewhere – they’ll all so clever these days!) I’ll certainly let you (and Scam Adviser) know about this particular site.

      Nothing is safe online 😦

      Like

  5. JackieP / Mar 18 2014 11:31 am

    There are always scammers out there unfortunately. A few die and then more pop up. Everyone one needs to use good old common sense. It’s not free if you have to have your computer overhauled afterwards. Is it worth it? No. I would rather pay some money if I want it that bad. Or go to the source as a lot of authors offer their books free now and then. Like you did! 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 11:50 am

      That’s the weird thing, Jackie. I often give people free books because I know reading can get expensive and I just love the fact that I can share them with everyone 😀 I found a few years back some company had my books for sale on Amazon for hundreds of dollars each. I wrote a complaint to Amazon and they stopped. It annoyed me that people were trying to make money off my hard work.

      I love the way you said “A few die and then more pop up” LOL! 😆

      Like

      • JackieP / Mar 18 2014 12:00 pm

        The undead come back to life! hahaha 🙂

        Like

      • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 12:04 pm

        Zombies! LOL 😉

        Like

  6. Theo Fenraven / Mar 18 2014 11:42 am

    I avoid googling my name or books. It’s too depressing. I felt better after reading your post, thinking those who hoped to get my stuff for free might have a surprise coming. Yes, I am that vindictive when it comes to piracy. I don’t charge much to begin with. When people steal from me, I get livid. Because it is stealing, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 11:58 am

      Well said, Theo. If they want a free copy and they get their computer damaged or information stolen it’s just their bad luck (and Karma). Our books don’t cost a fortune and we occasionally put them up for free anyway.

      Theft is theft and that’s it…

      Like

  7. Corner of Confessions / Mar 18 2014 11:45 am

    Maybe take it as a good sign for your name, you’re popular enough for pirates to take interest in?

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 12:07 pm

      I’d like to think so, but unfortunately these pirates take interest in everyone and anything they can get their hands on so I don’t feel that special 😉

      Like

  8. John / Mar 18 2014 11:49 am

    Wow, I am sorry these arses have ripped you off Dianne. I wish there was a way to stomp them out for good.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 12:03 pm

      Me too, John. There are a lot of musicians and authors who don’t get paid because of these thieves. I will give my books away for free rather than let some greedy arse make money off me. I love the expression ‘Stomp them out’ because that’s what I want to do to them 😀

      Like

      • John / Mar 18 2014 12:34 pm

        Ahhhh the differences in our English dialect! We recently met a wonderful couple from Sydney while on a Caribbean cruise – such a sweet couple. We saw the wife holding her husband while waiting in line for something – clearly she adores this man. We have been in contact with them via email. God bless Australia!

        Like

      • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 12:56 pm

        That’s lovely! Great to hear 😀

        Like

  9. Invisible Mikey / Mar 18 2014 12:16 pm

    How awful! Once I have time to read your books, I PROMISE to pay for them. But it is true that in the music industry, “rape me” contracts are absolutely the norm. Amazon’s contracts for e-books aren’t much better in my opinion.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 12:53 pm

      It’s an horrendous situation that many people are put in, Mikey. We spend a lot of time on our art and it’s crappy to be fleeced by these scam artists. But if people didn’t flood these sites looking for free stuff these places wouldn’t survive. Apparently it’s not just ebooks – even though these are the biggest targets, there are a loads of photocopied pages from hard covers floating around as well.

      Like

  10. ramblingsfromamum / Mar 18 2014 12:24 pm

    Hmm I think I may check thanks for the tip..oh look is it a bird, is it a dragon fly..is it… 😉 sitting in car park waiting to do a Service, 45 mins of breathe Jen breathe 🙂 x

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 12:54 pm

      LOL! A service on the car? 😀

      What other flying objects can I snap around here? One day I might get a UFO 😀

      Like

      • ramblingsfromamum / Mar 18 2014 2:51 pm

        Erm a wasp as fling at it with rolled up newspaper? 🙂
        No funeral you ninny muggins 😉 all done and dusted now.

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    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 12:55 pm

      Oh – I get it – a Service! Silly me. Good luck my friend! 😀

      Like

      • ramblingsfromamum / Mar 18 2014 2:52 pm

        penny just dropped huh? Thank you it went well 🙂

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      • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 4:12 pm

        So embarrassed! 😳

        Like

      • ramblingsfromamum / Mar 18 2014 4:19 pm

        Don’t be a silly sausage all good 🙂 x

        Like

      • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 5:01 pm

        The other day when I was in the supermarket I asked the lady at the deli for some bacon. I thought she said ‘Right On!’ so I gave her a little smile and said ‘I haven’t heard that saying in ages.’ She gave me a really weird look and said slowly, ‘Rind on or rind off?’ LOL – SO typical of me to misunderstand things 😉

        Like

      • ramblingsfromamum / Mar 18 2014 6:39 pm

        Ahhhh that’s a post in itself… The things I hear or say… Right on!!! Hilarious 😆

        Like

      • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 8:31 pm

        I think I’ll actually write a post on this because I do it a lot! 🙂

        Like

      • ramblingsfromamum / Mar 18 2014 8:32 pm

        Good idea 😉 look forward to it lovely.

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      • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 8:44 pm

        Thank you! 😀

        Like

  11. Minuscule Moments / Mar 18 2014 2:16 pm

    It makes my toes curl the amount of dodgy sites and stealing that goes on Dianne I usually only buy my books etc from well known sites and would be suspicious if getting something for free and they want your details…. Nothing is sacred once you put it out there I guess. Thanks for the tips good points to be aware of.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 2:35 pm

      No worries, Kath. I guess as writers we’re all in the same boat so it’s good to share our experiences and warn each other of these dodgy practices 😀

      Like

  12. Minuscule Moments / Mar 18 2014 2:16 pm

    Ps love the plane photos too

    Like

  13. Amy Reese / Mar 18 2014 2:28 pm

    This is horrible, Dianne. Wow. You can’t trust anyone. This isn’t related to books, but last week I got a call from some dieter’s website, who told that I had visited their site (which I had not) and then this week I got a charge on my checking account for $70 for one of their products! I was so mad!! Luckily, I got it straightened out.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 2:38 pm

      Oh Amy – this is awful. I’m so glad you got it sorted out! This kind of thing really worries me with my parents-in-law because they’re elderly and have been targeted a few times by unsavoury characters on the phone 😦

      Like

  14. ygm17 / Mar 18 2014 3:51 pm

    thanks for this post Dianne. I know of someone whose beautiful music was downloaded and then sold under a different name… sadly we need to be reminded that this world is populated with all sorts. 😦

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 4:13 pm

      That’s just awful 😦 People can be so mean sometimes.

      I hope that person is still writing beautiful music…

      Like

  15. DaydreamsInWonderland / Mar 18 2014 4:41 pm

    This makes me so upset. Is there any way you can get them in trouble?

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 5:02 pm

      Yes – I can report them to the scam alert website which is what I’ll do 😀 But they’ll probably just shut up shop and open under a new name (unfortunately)

      Like

      • DaydreamsInWonderland / Mar 19 2014 5:20 am

        Ugh. I feel for you. Can’t you get them for copyright infringement for reproducing your material without consent?
        The reason I sound so harsh is because I’ve been through something similar before. Someone was trying to claim my writing as their own & someone else was trying to sell my artwork as their own.

        Like

      • diannegray / Mar 19 2014 4:38 pm

        Absolute rat bags! When you say ‘trying to claim’ I ‘m guessing they weren’t successful?

        Like

      • DaydreamsInWonderland / Mar 19 2014 5:27 pm

        They were successful at first but a few of my friends banded together, exposed them and got it all taken down. I was one step away from pursuing it in court but, I decided against it because they took it down & didn’t try it again. Thankfully, they both weren’t major projects.

        It still burns me anytime I see/hear something like this, though. So like I said, I definitely feel for you.

        What’s even worse in your situation is they’re trying to infect peoples computers by using your work as a lure. That is just despicable.

        Like

      • diannegray / Mar 19 2014 5:54 pm

        I’m so glad you didn’t have to go through the court process, that’s just too stressful.

        Your friends who supported you sound wonderful – it restores my faith in humanity 😉

        Like

      • DaydreamsInWonderland / Mar 20 2014 2:21 am

        Although hard to find, there are still some good ones out there. 😉 (Just look at all of you!)

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      • diannegray / Mar 20 2014 7:27 am

        Awww – here for you if ever you need help 😀

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      • DaydreamsInWonderland / Mar 20 2014 8:09 am

        Same applies to you, dear. I’m just an email away. ♥

        Like

  16. danpentagram / Mar 18 2014 5:11 pm

    That is awful, Dianne. I hope they get rid of this sight soon.

    On the wordpress stats info, it lists search terms which directed them to your site. I often have an authors name and/or book followed by ‘free PDF download’. Thankfully, those visitors would have only wasted their time when clicking onto my site.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 8:27 pm

      I don’t quite understand, Dan. I haven’t seen any of those search terms (but we all know how untech-savvy I am 😉

      I actually don’t believe they have the books and the promise of an Audio file gives that away. There are no audio files for my books unless they’ve made them but this is an expensive process so I don’t know why they’d go to the trouble…

      Like

  17. restlessjo / Mar 18 2014 5:17 pm

    I’m a very ‘head in the sand’ sort of person, Diane, with very little worth stealing, but I appreciate you sharing this. I’m also mightily entertained at the thought of you and the aerobatics of the crop duster. Most mornings I’m unsure whether to clutch my coffee cup or the camera 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 8:30 pm

      The crop duster was a great distraction this morning, Jo. I actually thought he was going to dust our sugar cane and was waiting for that (but he didn’t – maybe tomorrow) 😀

      Like

  18. Rebecca Bradley / Mar 18 2014 6:49 pm

    It’s just shocking what people do. I think if I ever get published I may try and stop myself looking for this now I’ve been warned. Some people will just never pay for anything. Lots of genuine members of society will and are. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 8:36 pm

      Most people are great, Rebecca it’s just these fools who think they’re going to make a bit of cash off the backs of hard working writers and musicians that are annoying. I guess spreading the word makes people realise that it’s actually not okay to download freebies. Plus – I’m pretty sure they don’t have my books because there are no audio files of my books, but they say they have them to download – just weird…

      Like

  19. the eternal traveller / Mar 18 2014 6:58 pm

    I wonder if early morning starts are a typical characteristic of bloggers. I am often up before the sun rises and I love reading all my emails and catching up on other people’s posts then.

    I hope these scammers get what they deserve and I also hope that unsuspecting people aren’t caught out by them.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 8:44 pm

      I’m always up before five and I love the pre-dawn reading of blogs and news sites etc. If I sleep after about 5:30 I feel tired the entire day – just weird 😉

      I think these scammers have set up this site to catch the unsuspecting. People want free things these days and it’s these people who are becoming easy targets for those who want to spread viruses or get personal information. I always buy or download from trusted sources as I’m sure most of us do 😀

      Like

      • the eternal traveller / Mar 19 2014 6:46 am

        Most people are very wary, but it’s so easy to get caught out. Scammers are becoming cleverer by the day.

        Happy Wednesday to you!

        Like

      • diannegray / Mar 19 2014 4:39 pm

        And Happy Wednesday to you too! 😀

        Like

  20. Spider42 / Mar 18 2014 9:08 pm

    All definitely good to know!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 9:22 pm

      Thank you 😀 I think it goes on more than we realise.

      Like

  21. Harliqueen / Mar 18 2014 9:16 pm

    It’s an awful thing, I hope people who download these book illegally do get a virus to go along with it!

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 9:23 pm

      I’m pretty sure they will – and so they should 😀

      Like

  22. anotherday2paradise / Mar 18 2014 10:08 pm

    The scammers are out in force these days, Dianne. I’m shocked that someone would have the audacity to do such a thing. So glad you knew someone who could check it out for you. We must all be constantly on our guard.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 10:25 pm

      They’re getting worse because so many people want free things so there’s no way it will stop. I guess they’re making the most of this and telling people they’ve got free things for them to download so they can infect computers and steal information. I know for a fact there are no audio files of my books, yet they’re encouraging people to download them (or something – I’m not sure what it is)…

      Like

      • anotherday2paradise / Mar 18 2014 10:30 pm

        The thick plottens. 😕 I wonder if you’ll ever find out who the culprits are.

        Like

  23. nrhatch / Mar 18 2014 10:25 pm

    I hope your son gets to the bottom of it, but as you note in the comments ~ they’re apt to close and reopen in short order. That’s why I’m decided to be a misanthrope ~ people are disappointing.

    Love the shots ~ so much like the dragonflies. And this time you weren’t even drinking wine!

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 10:29 pm

      As Kant said – Of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing can ever be made…

      The crop duster was a nice distraction this morning – it’s wine time now 😀

      Like

  24. Jill Weatherholt / Mar 18 2014 10:39 pm

    I’m sorry to hear this has happened to you and no doubt, countless others. The internet is full of fraudulent and deceptive activity. It’s a shame it can’t be more regulated. As long as people know they can get away with this type of activity, it will continue unfortunately.
    Love the crop duster shots, Dianne! At first glance, I thought the dragonflies had returned. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 18 2014 11:22 pm

      It is happening a lot now, Jill. There are so many sites that are set up, taken down and set up again that they just can’t be regulated. People want free things and if they know the ins and outs of the internet they can get just about anything. And the more people use these sites, the more sites will pop up (unfortunately it comes down to supply and demand) .

      I was pretty excited when I saw the crop duster. I thought it was going to do our property today, but it just flew on. Maybe tomorrow 😀

      Like

  25. El Guapo / Mar 19 2014 3:05 am

    I prefer to buy ebooks from smaller online venues, like Smashwords, where I hear they treat the authors better.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 19 2014 5:09 am

      I like Smashwords as well. I have my on books there and they’re friendly and helpful and they pay on time. I’ve been with Amazon for about 4 years and never been paid 😦

      Like

  26. Sheila / Mar 19 2014 3:30 am

    Sorry to hear that happened! I hope reporting them will do some good. Every once in a while, the internet really scares me and end up wishing we could go back to the days before our whole lives ended up online. Love the crop duster and dragonflies though! I’m glad the creatures help make you feel better after something like that.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 19 2014 5:10 am

      I feel the same way about wanting to turn back the clock, Sheila – but we’ve got it now and we’re stuck with it.

      I was really excited to see the crop duster, I knew he’d turn up soon (it’s that time of year) 😉

      Like

  27. amb / Mar 19 2014 4:37 am

    I’m so glad you didn’t invite the malware fairy to a party on your computer! Smart thinking to send the link to your son instead Dianne! I’d be so upset that I was being scammed I don’t know if I’d think that clearly!

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 19 2014 5:12 am

      Thanks, Amb. I know it’s a scam because they say they have audio files of my books and I know they don’t exist – so they’re not really scamming me, they’re scamming the public 😦

      Like

  28. char / Mar 19 2014 5:03 am

    Yuck! Thanks for informing us of these losers. Hopefully no one will be sucked in, but probably some will. Sad 😦

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 23 2014 7:53 am

      Hello my dear – I just found your comment in my spam folder 😦 I’m not sure how this happens and I hope it’s not going to happen again.

      ‘Losers’ is a great word to describe these people 😉

      Like

      • char / Mar 24 2014 5:45 am

        Maybe it was the YUCK that threw me into spam. Ha ha.

        Like

  29. Polysyllabic Profundities / Mar 19 2014 9:13 am

    I’m much more boring than I thought….nothing exciting on google at all. (may be a good thing!)

    Like

  30. avwalters / Mar 19 2014 9:50 am

    I had a similar experience, about a year ago. “They” say it’s wise to self-google, so I tried it, only to find that, in fact, someone had pirated my first book. They were offering it for a small download fee, as a PDF. I turned them in to the “provider” site–and they were promptly kicked off the site. Still, it’s theft, and, in the wholesale way in which it’s done, doesn’t even have the flattery of plagiarism. Head up my dear. You caught it. Good for you.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 19 2014 4:49 pm

      Thanks for the support, Alta. It’s bad when we have to do searches just in case people are stealing our stuff (it’s like living in the biggest ‘group house’ in the world) 😉 Who knows who is selling what because if they change the name of the book we’d never find it. I’m glad you stopped them from selling yours.

      Like

  31. Jacqui Murray / Mar 20 2014 12:29 am

    I ran into one of those sites at Christmas, looking for a good deal on Ugg boots. That site was also brand new and I didn’t buy anything.

    Can you get them to stop giving away your books?

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 20 2014 7:18 am

      I’m not sure they are actually giving them away because I haven’t pushed any of the links yet. They profess to have audio versions of all my books and there aren’t any (as far as I know). If there are I want them because it’s an expensive business paying someone to make a copy in that format. I think it’s more of a scam site where they entice people to download so they can infect their computer with malware.

      Like

  32. jannatwrites / Mar 20 2014 1:18 am

    Wow, that is a surprise. I never go to the free sites for music, books or any kind of media or programs because if it sounds too good to be true, it is. (And viruses are just a big pain in the neck… hardly worth whatever I’d thought I’d gotten for free.) I’m with the last commenter – is there anything you can do to remove your books from their site? That’s just not right.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 20 2014 7:25 am

      Hey Janna – I just read the last commenter and replied ‘They profess to have audio versions of all my books and there aren’t any (as far as I know). If there are I want them because it’s an expensive business paying someone to make a copy in that format. I think it’s more of a scam site where they entice people to download so they can infect their computer with malware.’ So in effect I don’t think they have my books (only the covers).

      I don’t ever look for free downloads as well unless it’s a computer update from a reputable company. There are far too many nasty viruses out there and I don’t want to lose all my work 😀 I’ll send a complaint about the site to Scam Adviser to warn others and that’s usually an effective tool to stop anyone from trying to download the books.

      Like

  33. Britt Skrabanek / Mar 20 2014 1:51 am

    I hadn’t done a search on mine in some time, so I just did one and they seem to be safe for now. Crazy about the audio book thing for you! WTH?!

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 20 2014 7:27 am

      If they have made audio books I want them, Britt! It’s an expensive process making an audio book! This is why I’m sure they’re a scam site because they just want people to click their links so they can send in the viruses. Nasty people…

      Like

  34. helpwithyourlife / Mar 20 2014 3:57 am

    Very informative post Dianne! It is unfortunate that the internet is not always used with the best of intentions to say the least. Sorry to read about your situation. Thank you for passing it along to make us aware of what to watch out for.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 20 2014 7:31 am

      It’s always good to know what’s okay and what’s not on the internet. People are so keen to get free things that an entire industry of scammers has grown from it. They promise to give you something but all you get is a nasty virus. The audio books were the red flag for me – because there are none! 😉 I actually don’t think they have my books at all, just the covers as a lure.

      Like

  35. Hazy Shades of Me / Mar 20 2014 5:07 am

    My goodness – it’s amazing what they can do now and…quite scary! I guess you have no recourse on them…? Only YOU should be able to decide to sell your books for free!!

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 20 2014 7:34 am

      That’s exactly right. Everything we put out there can be used (illegally) by someone else. One of the commenters here said someone took one of her stories, changed the author name and was selling it as their own – it’s very scary indeed 😯

      Like

  36. 4amWriter / Mar 20 2014 6:22 am

    I love Carrie’s blog, and I enjoyed reading that post too. As I don’t have any books out there (yet) I don’t have to worry about this (yet). You’re lucky to know someone who can do that undercover work for you. 🙂 I wouldn’t know what to do if I came across something like that. So maddening! All your hard work — some people just make me cringe in disgust.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 20 2014 7:37 am

      These scammers are very cringeworthy. I’m actually not sure yet whether they have my books – I think they have the covers and are enticing people to go into the links to download them when all they’ll get is a virus instead. The site won’t last long before it’s shut down 😉

      Like

  37. Janna G. Noelle / Mar 20 2014 8:51 am

    Honestly, Dianne, the only free e-books I’m prepared to read are either from the library or sent to me directly by the author. Last thing I want is to muck up my computer because I was too cheap to pay for what in your case is an already very reasonably priced book.

    Piracy is such a sticky topic. S.K. Nicholls has it right that one can never hope to stop all the piracy sites. There’s also the argument that piracy helps bring artists recognition; I read somewhere that the producers of Game of Thrones claim piracy has been a huge boost to legitimate sales through viewers becoming aware of the show and what it’s all about. Plus, all the things we all do without a moment’s thought like burning mix CDs or borrowing books from friends technically counts as piracy as well.

    I don’t have any answers for it. All I know is that I’m very much against the growing trend I see in society that seems to suggest all art should be for free, done solely for the sake of the artist’s self-expression. No one would ever expect a mechanic to fix your car for free, so why should a writer or musician, etc. entertain you with no expectation of payment.

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    • diannegray / Mar 20 2014 1:52 pm

      Great response, Janna. It would be so nice if my books became as famous as Game of Thrones and I see your point here.

      We want to get our work out there and I’ve always written so my work can be read and not to make money (that’s a depressing hole a lot of writers fall into). I just don’t want anyone else to make money out of my hard work or use my stuff as bait so they can download viruses onto computers.

      It is a tough one.

      Like

  38. Y. Prior / Mar 20 2014 6:00 pm

    Dianne, I am really glad that you shared all of that here. wow – such a wake up call. thanks – and also look forward to checking out Carrie’s blog – even though my reader is full and I am not hungry for new blogs – well there is always room for a few more – especially if they are good – and well, I appreciated this post – and again- a wake up call to the truth that “internet harvesting” and piracy is real – and like you said, can even bring a virus or malware.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 21 2014 7:04 am

      You’re right about this being a big wake up call because it affects anyone who puts information on the internet. Writers, artist, musicians and photographers will all have this happen at some stage, whether they know it or not. We just have to keep an eye out and protect our property.

      Thanks so much for your comment and support 😀

      Like

  39. Naomi Baltuck / Mar 21 2014 1:45 am

    Dear Dianne,
    What a shock that must be. (At least you know that you are successful and famous enough to be pirated.) Have you tried contacting the perpetrators, and perhaps threatening them with a lawsuit? I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. Keep us posted.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 21 2014 6:51 am

      There is no contact details at all on the website. I need to register to get more information and I’m balking at signing up because I believe this site may be a dodgy one and I don’t want to give them any information. When I saw they had audio files of my books I knew there was something very amiss (because there are no audio files of my books). I think they’re just scamming people so I’m putting in a complaint to Scam Adviser to see how that goes.

      Thanks so much for your support, Naomi 🙂

      Like

      • Naomi Baltuck / Mar 21 2014 10:45 am

        Best of luck with that, Dianne. I hope you’ll let us know how it goes.

        Like

  40. jmmcdowell / Mar 21 2014 4:01 am

    I cringe whenever I hear of cases like this because piracy is theft and theft is wrong. It’s all very well for a big, successful company/band/author to say piracy ultimately brings them “more” sales. But for the indies, I suspect it’s another thing all together. That’s likely someone of very modest means whose livelihood is being hurt.

    If someone chooses to download illegally, I’d be hard-pressed to have any sympathy for them if they find the computer virus-laden or their personal information stolen.

    I hope the site is removed soon and that Karma bites the scammers and those who will happily steal from others.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 21 2014 6:57 am

      Wonderfully said, JM! These sites are popping up because of the high demand for free things – this has made it very easy for hackers and scammers to reel people in making them think they’re getting a good deal when all they’re downloading will be a virus. I have no sympathy for them either. If someone wants a free book I would gladly give it to them.

      Thanks so much for your support xxx

      Like

  41. bluebee / Mar 21 2014 2:22 pm

    This just gives me the screaming sh!ts. Coworkers etc know very well not to talk in front of me about the putrid fact that they’ve just “downloaded the whole of Game of Thrones” or “the entire collection of Jamie Oliver’s recipe books” etc “for free” – they think that they are oh, so clever, and I tell them straight that they are crooks, and that what they are doing is no different to if they had shoplifted the physical product from a store. They don’t give any thought to the fact that a) what they are doing is wrong – both morally and legally b) if they or their kids were artists trying to earn a living from their creative work, they would be apoplectic at these practices.

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 21 2014 6:48 pm

      You’re so right. But this has become big business so now you’ve got sites opening up telling people that they can download for free, but what they actually get is their information stolen and a nasty little rash on the private parts of their hard drives. Tell them that and see if it can melt the smiles off their faces 😉

      It IS stealing and those who do it are pious and brag about it instead of thinking of themselves as thieves. It just gives me the screaming sh!ts as well 😡

      Like

  42. cestlavie22 / Mar 22 2014 1:42 am

    Nowadays the word “free” always gives me the creeps. This is a great idea for writers though. Check whats going out there in regards to your books and let your readers know! Its scary how many scammers are out there trying to infect peoples computers, best thing we can do is try and stay one step ahead. Great post!

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 22 2014 8:16 am

      “Free” gives me the creeps as well. You don’t know who’s out there and want they want to take from you. Y’re so right – we just have to stay vigilant and try to keep one step ahead.

      Like

  43. billyraychitwood1 / Mar 22 2014 2:45 am

    Hi, Dianne, thanks for this great alert! I’ve been suspicious of something like this – checking it out as best I can… My laptop’s hard drive is ‘sick’ I’m told by constant screen announcements! I’m off to get a new computer… There’s been ‘skipping’ and odd page changes the last few days that are driving me crazy – while typing a tweet or trying to answer a message… All my best to you and yours. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 22 2014 8:18 am

      Sounds like a nasty bug, Billy Ray. You don’t know when or how they’ve delivered it, but it’s big business nowdays to infect hard drives. Best of luck with the new computer! 😀

      Like

  44. Inion N. Mathair / Mar 23 2014 12:17 pm

    Unbelievable Dianne!!! We we’re outraged after reading this. Although your right…it shouldn’t have shocked us, because the internet is filled with scam sites that offer the world under the pretense of “Freebies”. Still, one should be able to earn a living at what they do without having to fall prey to these parasites or worry 24/7. Carrie is awesome & we read that post of hers as well!! Headed over now to check out the other website you mentioned! Excellent post for Authors to read so we will be spreading it now!! Thanks 😉

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 23 2014 12:45 pm

      I like the word you use ‘parasites’ – they certainly are parasites!

      I checked this morning and the site has been taken down! I’m so relieved. I don’t know how or why it happened, but it’s gone. Maybe they googled themselves only to find this blog post 😉 LOL!

      Like

  45. moderndayruth / Mar 23 2014 4:11 pm

    Oy, Dianne… I don’t get it, they send people to prison for downloading some crap*y music, yet when it comes to books… no problems, the writers are supposed to live on photosynthesis. I found my stuff online too, i did try to get it down (because once it’s uploaded – it’s almost impossible to keep the copyright), i even know the person whose website it is… Nah, nothing came out of it. Horrible, no words, really!

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 23 2014 5:10 pm

      I don’t get the music v books thing either, Lena. It’s theft pure and simple. I’m so sorry to hear someone stole your work – that really stinks. People are just so pathetic sometimes.

      I checked the site this morning and it’s gone! I put the name of the site on my tags so hopefully they Googled themselves (like I did) and found this scathing post!

      Also – I don’t know why I have to approve your comments. WP play tricks on me like this sometimes 😦

      Like

  46. tchistorygal / Mar 24 2014 1:14 am

    So you want all my x-rated stuff by private email? hehe don’t sit up nights waiting for it, my friend. What a scary thought, and irritating. I wonder if Amazon does the same thing when they let you download free books. Here we are sitting alone at our computers, and millions of miles away somebody’s watching our every keystroke! Yikes! I’m glad you caught these bad guys. It’s so hard to write a book, not just the writing, but the insecurity and vulnerability of putting yourself out there. Then here comes someone who is putting you out there for free. I want to put a rat in his/her fruit bowl. 🙂

    Like

    • diannegray / Mar 24 2014 7:21 am

      LOL! I’ll save up the rats as I find them and send them virtually to all the scammers out there – what a great idea, Marsha (and it’d make a great story!) 😀

      Like

  47. Kozo Hattori / Mar 26 2014 6:25 am

    Nothing is free except giving love. 🙂 Part of me wants to say that it serves people right who try to download an author’s work for free to get virused, but I have to remind myself that we are all one.

    Hope those crop dusters are armed because those dragonflies have them outsized and outnumbered. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

    Like

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