This past week, the Writers' Evolution has drawn attention to the devastation being wrought on a daily basis by Internet piracy. Perhaps, before now, you were pissed off at finding your books on these pirate sites, but felt there was little you, as one person, could do to stop it. Hopefully, this week's posts and the many thoughtful responses have shown you that you are not alone. This crime is hurting us, our friends, our favorite writers, and our industry.
But, you ask, "what can one person do to help stop these pirates?"
Well, folks, Stephanie Michels is about to step back up on her soapbox.
As some of you may know, I'm a cop groupie. I have great respect and admiration for the "Boys in Blue" and the "Men in Black"(their female counterparts, too), and the work they do serve and protect. So, I did a little research on what we can do to fight this crime.
I found that the government formed a group specifically to target Internet crime. It's called the Internet Crime Complaint Center, known in government acronyms as the IC3.
The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. Its purpose is to provide a means for victims of Internet crimes to register complaints. The crime can't get investigated if it isn't reported. The IC3 provides this information to federal, as well as state, local, and international agencies, which are combating Internet crime and, in many cases, they participate in Cyber Crime Task Forces.
The IC3 will handle complaints crossing the broad spectrum of cyber crime matters -- including Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) theft (that's your eBooks, authors).
So I'm challenging you! Let's become activists rather than silent victims.
Instead of just posting your requests to desist to the owners of those notorious pirate sites, please take it one step further. Go to the following web address http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx and use the simple form you'll find there to Make a Complaint to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
It's easy. You just provide:
* Your name
* Your mailing address
* Your telephone number
* The name, address, telephone number, and Web address, if available, of the individual or
organization you believe defrauded you.
* Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded.
* Any other relevant information you believe is necessary to support your complaint.
File a complaint about every site where you find your books.
File one again if you find books posted again later.
So, what can one person do? Maybe not a lot, but when you band together with others of a like mind, you can take action and focus attention as the no-longer-silent victims of these Internet pirates.
Believe me, if enough authors and ePublishers file complaints -- especially as eloquently as many of you stated your cases on here -- the government has to look into our complaints. As Brynn said, we're taxpayers and the government wants the revenue the ePirates cheated them out of, too.
Let's do it, folks. Let's speak with united voices and say "We're no longer going to tolerate this." Enlist your writer friends. Enlist your editors.
Let's join together and fight this crime.
I double-dog dare you!