For those who create downloadable guides-how do you protect your work from plgarism, etc?

10 replies
Hey guys....

Well, the long and the short of this post is finding a way to protect something you wrote and created in pdf format (or others, I suppose) from being plagiarized, copyright infringement, or other unlawful distribution, yadda, yadda :-)

Wanting to go in a unique direction, or perhaps test the waters in a harmless way, I must have been in a good frame of mind that to thinking about creating my own how-to lesson (vector drawing) in which I give directions and include visible screenshots for every step I demonstrate. After I converted it into a pdf, I said to myself:"Well, that looks pretty professional"

OK, so now I probably need to figure out how to protect it from all the stuff I mentioned in paragraph 1. Want to sell it as a downloadable guide on Fiverr. As someone who owns more eguides than they can shake a stick at I see one of 2 things done: There is a written legal terms page right before the content begins, or I see something that resembles a watermark, one in particular is "protected by Infringe Trapper" looked that up and couldn't find something of this name.

FWIW, what I have created is an 8-10 page "how to" guide. It still needs to be watermarked or something so I can have a worry-free selling experience, regardless of how much it sells.

As you can see I may be well-versed in graphics but not so well-versed in legalese

I've already gotten this far so I know I have no excuses to be cavalier or anything...

The same would probably apply to actual images that can be downloaded. All the artwork on my website is watermarked, so I do have an understanding of watermarks and how they work.

So, any advice would be warmly appreciated
#create #downloadable #guideshow #plgarism #protect #work
  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by gwenhwyfar37 View Post

    . . . finding a way to protect something you wrote and created in pdf format (or others, I suppose) from being plagiarized, copyright infringement, or other unlawful distribution, yadda, yadda

    There have been many, many threads here asking the same question. Search the site and you'll find lots of "partial" solutions.

    The bottom line, though, is you can't protect anything to be 100% thief proof once you post it online. If someone wants to copy your material bad enough, they will find a way to do it.

    Generally, the more security you place on your work, the less user friendly it becomes. You need to find a balance between security and customer ease.

    Put a few secure mechanisms in place that are easy for the buyer to deal with (so you discourage common thieves) and don't worry about the 1-5% of online crooks that will steal from you regardless of the measures you put in place.


    Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources

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    • Profile picture of the author TrickyDick
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      The bottom line, though, is you can't protect anything to be 100% thief proof once you post it online. If someone wants to copy your material bad enough, they will find a way to do it.
      Steve nailed it....

      The very best way to maximize your profit is to use the PDFs as a lead magnet... Those lead to higher priced Services or Coaching.

      Unless you're exceptionally good at churning out in demand eBooks or have awesome Affiliates, relying on eBooks sales alone is a tough business model. If you look at the people making serious money, they have Coaching or Services. The exceptions are few and far between.
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  • Profile picture of the author gamn13
    Have to agree with Steve and TrickyDick. Im in the process of launching my first info training program and was wondering the same thing.

    My solution:

    1. Create a members site, extremely professional and secure. (i.e. locking up download pages)

    2. I used the wordpress plugin "download manager" it has a ton of great features including limiting number of downloads by IP, protecting files from direct access, etc.

    3. I use video and PDFs. In my PDF instead of writing out everything I decided to use the PDF as more of a guide or outline, and make videos with the meat of my content. The videos are hosted and extremely hard to rip, cannot be downloaded and hosted behind a membership wall.

    As TrickyDick mentioned, once someone has access to your content if they really want to swipe it, they'll find a way. I just want to make extremely hard for them, where it will take them almost as much time or more as it takes me to create all my content!

    Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    The sad truth is, if someone wants to steal your content, they can do it pretty easily. I always like to give the example of Harry Potter author JK Rowling. She was so worried about people pirating her work, she refused to turn the Harry Potter books into ebooks. Guess what? After each new hardcover book was released, a digital version of it would be floating around the Web within days. People actually scanned the pages to make a digital file.

    The point is, all the precautions in the world won't fully protect you. It's just the nature of the business.
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  • Profile picture of the author webmarke
    Simply can't. Just realize that as a fact and then forget about it!

    The internet is simply the wild wild west!

    The fact is that I can go and watch Batman Vs. Superman online for free right now! Certain countries do not penalize their citizens for such infringements, and if the big movie companies can not protect their content, then you don't have a chance of protecting yours.
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  • Hi,

    The internet is a very big place and there are plenty of tools that can easily remove the watermark from your downloadables. I agree with @TrickyDick that the best way for you to make your product profitable is to use it as a lead magnet for your opt-in page.

    In our case, we have a membership site and we use the same strategy. We have tons of downloadables in our site only accessible to members. However, for non-members, we require them to sign-in to our opt-in page in order to download our free ebook. After that, we send a series of emails with free content to ensure that our subscribers open their mail.

    Tools used:
    Wishlist plugin for membership
    Leadpages for landing page
    Mailchimp for email marketing

    Hope this helps!
    The ultimate site for your camping, survival, outdoor, adventure and travel needs.
    >> Get your survival and outdoor freebies here <<
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  • Profile picture of the author gwenhwyfar37
    Yes, one of them is actually a freebie opt-in gift for one of my sites-which may have been my original intent.

    I definitely have to agree regarding the issue of downloading movies...yes, its frowned upon, but I'm certain it is quite rampant. At times, when I think of how much dough moviegoers these days spend at the actual theater (and including the concession stand venture too) ouch No, I've never downloaded movies myself, but I can see where some might think this is a way of leveling the playing field. Not to stray off-topic too much, but when I saw that example mentioned I thought of it.

    Fiverr has a "Gifts" category as well which I'm leaning in the direction of currently; I have seen people with some great ideas there.
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  • Profile picture of the author art72
    While I too am just about done with my first report/eBook, something that occurs to me aside all the advice that's already been given, and it's looking at this from a different perspective...

    If you do what others suggested, PDF, secure download or membership page, chances are the dishonest (small percentage) will still find means to steal it... YouTube is full of people bragging about "How to pirate software, and high end tools" - so, worrying yourself about it won't do you much good... just do what you can, but look at it like this;

    If you put your web address (URL) inside the guide, along with your name, or brand name... let em' steal it! - Heck, let them pass it around, give it away, steal it, whatever... point is; You will be still gaining exposure.

    Now, I would hope you have something to offer 'inside' the book, maybe an upsell, a newsletter invitaion, a full version of the teaching or expansion thereof... if so, everyone who has a copy of your FREE REport, also has links to your 'paid offers' that are included inside the book.

    This is where my ideas and my mind start going berserk... as I too have my FREE REPORT completed, but, because I need to have a "call to action" (or links) embedded within the FREE Gift leading to a 'more valuable' exchange, it requires creating the 'backend' offerings before releasing the report.

    Now, I have contemplated just 'throwing the book at them' and using email follow ups to guide them to the next steps, products, or offerings... but I cannot bring myself to ignore;

    If you have something valuable, and you are gving it away to build a list of prospective buyers, you really need to include that 'call to action' inside the free gift. This way, someone steals your "FREE" item...good, let them pass it around... as it will serve a greater purpose when you have a sales funnel already 'built-in' to that freebie.

    Again, you don't have to have a 'backend offer' - and you can still build your email lists and work that angle, but, if you can bring yourself to include an offering another call to action, even an invitation to a free or paid newsletter, at least then you can track who is 'taking additional action' and move them to another list.

    As you do this you... you refine your audience's needs, wants, and desires, and can start to "see" what they need... giving you both the opportunity to offer more, and make more sales/commissions.

    It's tricky... and requires some careful planning, but, this is exactly where I've struggled... because you have to know for them where they go next, which means, you need to stay ahead of them. If you allow them to pass you on the path, chances are... they are not gonna turn around and come back to you or your offerings.

    Think about it... someone steals it, it's a good thing if your 2 steps ahead (or 100 steps ahead for that matter) - because anyone who sees value in your offerings will come back to you, it's the universal code of marketing anything... increase the perceived value, offer more, and don't look back... keeping forging the path.

    Good Luck!

    Coming Soon... *Laser Targeted Lead Generation Services
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    One of the best things that you can do is protect the download page. People can easily list your download page link in some lurky corner of the internet. Use "DL Guard" to give your download page a few days to live. Then after the time is up, the download page is gone forever. So if someone tries to post your cloaked download link that DL Guard gives you, the link won't work.

    But if a person buys your PDF ebook and shares it around the net.... can't do much about it - at least not to my knowledge. This is just part of the mud when running an online business. Just continue to sell and proceed on with life.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeadRooster
    As Steve B and others have already pointed out, you're never going to be 100% secure as far as illegal downloads, distribution or plagiarism.

    Heck, even if you created a print-only book, someone could plagiarize you or upload a digital copy. However, you CAN make things harder for people to steal your stuff.

    You can use PDF branders which will add the buyer's email address to the PDF so if that buyer shares it, he's also sharing his personal email address (I think eJunkie does this if you use their product delivery system).

    At the very least you should use membership software or download protection software so someone can't just share the download link. That's just too easy.

    As far as plagiarism goes, my philosophy is, let them try. I have such a unique writing and teaching style that the best they could do is copy the process.

    If you were to copy word-for-word out of one of my eBooks it would be blatantly obvious I wrote it.

    And, unless they do that they are never going to match the original. I've been ripped off several times, but they always deliver a second-rate, crappy substitute that will never resonate with people the way mine does.

    If your stuff is good and it sells, YOU WILL BE COPIED.

    So, put your own unique personality into every product you create and at least make it look difficult or impossible to match. That should deter some of the copycats.
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