Going after the file sharing website or service
If the site sharing your product has a webhost within the US you can issue a DMCA (Digital Copyright Millenium Act) violation with the host. By law they are supposed to take a website offline while the breach of copyright is investigated. If it is outside the US you would have to investigate their local equivalent of a DMCA.
Most of the time however, they sites are hosted n countries that do not care about what is hosted such as China, Thailand, Romania, Russia, Etc and you have not got a prayer of working with them, even with a lawyer. If you have the budget to get a lawyer or solicitor and you feel you are losing a lot of money, it may be worth pursuing. However, in my experience with sites outside of the US it is more hassle than its worth so I developed some other techniques to turn these sites into a marketing resource and got them to work for me.
For file sharing services (Gnutella, Limewire, eDonkey, Etc) it is too distributed to nail any one source, once it hits these networks you are screwed. However, I will explain a simple technique I use to make these work for me.
How to Fight the Thieves
Call them what you like, if one of your customers is sharing your product over torrents, file sharing sites or warez sites, they are thieves. If people download your products from these sites, they are thieves.
Now people like to get something for nothing, and there is always going to be someone who buys your stuff with the intent to share it, they may be even using fraudulent cards to buy it. That is an unfortunate fact of ecommerce, especially with info products.
However you can deter these thieves with a couple of simple techniques:
1. On the first page of your e-book, or appropriate prominent location on your product, place a highlighted statement such as "Each copy sold is invisibly watermarked to prevent piracy and we will actively pursue and prosecute anyone who violates our copyright". There are many ways to actually watermark your products using scripts and PDF manipulation programs. However, even that wording can deter potential thieves.
2. Offer PLR or MRR on your product and provide full marketing materials. Again, this is not a fullproof method but you may be able to convince these thieves to make money with your product instead of sharing it. Not that I would want to put a penny in these buggers pockets, but I would rather that than see my products shared for free.
How to Use File Sharing for Marketing
No matter what, you are eventually going to find your products are shared. It is infuriating, annoying and it makes you want to reach through their screen and strangle the buggers. However, you can turn these file sharing sources to your advantage if you do it right.
First of all, you have to understand, every time you launch a product, some people fire up their file sharing client to see if they can find it for free. People like something for nothing and while that is human nature, its damned annoying when you are trying to make money from your hard work. These people are harder to sell to than your average potential customer, they want it for free and probably resent paying for it.
So here is what I do:
1. I create a special report which is a summarization of my sales page and bestow the advantages of the product again aimed at these ffreebie hunters. I also offer a discount coupon, extra bonus, or some other enticing incentive to convert these potential thieves into customers.
2. A few days before I launch when I am starting the pre-launch cycle of my produt, I also upload my special report to torrent sites, file sharing sites, the most popular DDL and warez sites all with the same exact title of the launched product and with my name (or pen name) attached.
This has several nice little benefits:
1. If people look on the file sharing sites and networks to find my product they see my posted version and download it. I get first crack at reselling to them.
2. As mine is the first version on these sites it is the most downloaded and usually is placed at the very top of search results, resulting in more and more downloads and more traction with these places.
3. I squeeze out the real thieves who were going to share my work.
4. I make more sales from the incentivized “Special Report” offer.
This has worked for me on many occasions and I have really seen a huge difference in the thievery of my products from my deterrents (I actually do watermark my products and can track down any buyer who does pirate my stuff) and my cleverly disguised special reports do convert pretty well and push the real thieves down the page.
If you do get a few other people sharing your products regardless of posting your “Special Report” then you can upload it multiple times with various names such as “ABC Guide COMPLETE”, “ABC Guide FULL”, “ABC Guide CRACKED”, “ABC Guide W/ SERIAL”. You get the idea, the more copies on there that are yours, the better.
The bottom line, there is no real 100% way to prevent thieves but as we used to say to my old squad in the Royal Marines “Better to control the target that be controlled by the target.”
Let me know your thoughts…..