HELP! How do you secure your own Product from Plagiarism and Illegal Sharing??

25 replies
I'm currently building a list in my underestimated non-English blog and surprisingly it has several hundreds opt-ins in a week and climbing. The subscribers are very responsive and hence I want to monetize it. I know my audiences very well, they hate something written in English I gave them even in free download . So I couldn't sell them Clickbank products. While the local affiliate programs suck.

I decide to write my own ebook or video course with affordable price. But the problem is....the digital piracy, illegal sharing, and plagiarism are extremely immense in my country, more than you ever imagine. I've seen myself my hard work, deeply researched blog postings being plagiarized by a book writer - the writer didn't even mention my blog as his source despite 1/3 his book is copied blatantly from my blog . That's very devastating.

FYI, my audience doens't use paypal. so, like most ebook publisher in my country, I handle payment from bank transfer. after they confirm the payment, I'll send them the ebook manually through email or send them the download page.

I want to sell my own product. but anyone knows how can I secure it from plagiarism or illegal sharing? program, script, software, or anything?:confused:

I really hate it to death when someone plagiarize my ebook! sometimes I
think maybe I'll just sell this ebook to test the water before I release it to book publisher. but i'm not sure about this either because waiting publisher's respond is very time consuming.

please help! any answer is highly appreciated! thanks
#illegal #plagiarism #product #secure #sharing
  • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
    Ask yourself this question..."What is the difference if I give a good product away for free to build my brand recognition versus someone taking my branded product and giving it away to others?"

    If you are faced with certain theft of your digital products create them in such a way as to make it hard to scrub your branding off the product. That way when others share them it will have the effect of allowing others to discover you.

    It's a bit like viral advertising. The people who steal your content were never customers to begin with, but they can become conduits for spreading your message and brand.

    The trick is to not make your products so generic that others can claim ownership. Add unique stories, links, and insights that point directly back to you, make those so integral to the product that without them the thief might as well start from scratch, and you'll all but guarantee any passed around product will become an advertisment for you.

    If you can do that adequately enough so your products are thoroughly branded with your name worrying about being ripped off will all but disappear.

    ~Bill
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    • Profile picture of the author mikefort
      Originally Posted by Bill Farnham View Post

      Ask yourself this question..."What is the difference if I give a good product away for free to build my brand recognition versus someone taking my branded product and giving it away to others?"

      If you are faced with certain theft of your digital products create them in such a way as to make it hard to scrub your branding off the product. That way when others share them it will have the effect of allowing others to discover you.

      It's a bit like viral advertising. The people who steal your content were never customers to begin with, but they can become conduits for spreading your message and brand.

      The trick is to not make your products so generic that others can claim ownership. Add unique stories, links, and insights that point directly back to you, make those so integral to the product that without them the thief might as well start from scratch, and you'll all but guarantee any passed around product will become an advertisment for you.

      If you can do that adequately enough so your products are thoroughly branded with your name worrying about being ripped off will all but disappear.

      ~Bill
      Good thinking and sensible approach. I think the key thing here is if you know you are likely to get ripped off then try and make sure that even if you are ripped off there is something in your product that always sticks even if it is only your brandable name etc.

      I have a similar situation with one of our Blogs. It is ranking at No 4 in Google for its chosen term and the site ranking directly above it at No 3 is using an article they ripped off from our Blog and haven't even had the good grace to credit me for the article.
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    • Profile picture of the author FranMurray
      Originally Posted by Bill Farnham View Post

      Ask yourself this question..."What is the difference if I give a good product away for free to build my brand recognition versus someone taking my branded product and giving it away to others?"

      If you are faced with certain theft of your digital products create them in such a way as to make it hard to scrub your branding off the product. That way when others share them it will have the effect of allowing others to discover you.

      It's a bit like viral advertising. The people who steal your content were never customers to begin with, but they can become conduits for spreading your message and brand.

      The trick is to not make your products so generic that others can claim ownership. Add unique stories, links, and insights that point directly back to you, make those so integral to the product that without them the thief might as well start from scratch, and you'll all but guarantee any passed around product will become an advertisment for you.

      If you can do that adequately enough so your products are thoroughly branded with your name worrying about being ripped off will all but disappear.

      ~Bill
      Bill,

      I like this thoughtful post for two reasons...

      1. Viral aspects (Most of the time there is a good component to something that seems like a negative.

      2. Not making products to generic is .... HUGE! Specialized content is what really brands people, company, business or entity. Stay true to that and people will as you say "disappear".

      Viramara, listen to Bill he is right on.

      Thanks,
      Francis
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    • Profile picture of the author azmanar
      Originally Posted by Bill Farnham View Post

      Ask yourself this question..."What is the difference if I give a good product away for free to build my brand recognition versus someone taking my branded product and giving it away to others?"

      If you are faced with certain theft of your digital products create them in such a way as to make it hard to scrub your branding off the product. That way when others share them it will have the effect of allowing others to discover you.

      It's a bit like viral advertising. The people who steal your content were never customers to begin with, but they can become conduits for spreading your message and brand.

      The trick is to not make your products so generic that others can claim ownership. Add unique stories, links, and insights that point directly back to you, make those so integral to the product that without them the thief might as well start from scratch, and you'll all but guarantee any passed around product will become an advertisment for you.

      If you can do that adequately enough so your products are thoroughly branded with your name worrying about being ripped off will all but disappear.

      ~Bill
      Loved your advice.

      I sincerely wish I have more thank buttons to click.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    While it's important to build your products to be thief friendly, if you know who is stealing from you and can prove it, file a DCMA report (can't remember the link - google it) and contact their server.

    By building the product right you can continue to benefit from thieves. By reporting the thieves that you know exist, you help to eradicate the idea that the stupid and dishonest have that it's okay to just steal from people to make money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Why9999
    Originally Posted by Viramara View Post

    I'm currently building a list in my underestimated non-English blog and surprisingly it has several hundreds opt-ins in a week and climbing. The subscribers are very responsive and hence I want to monetize it. I know my audiences very well, they hate something written in English I gave them even in free download . So I couldn't sell them Clickbank products. While the local affiliate programs suck.

    I decide to write my own ebook or video course with affordable price. But the problem is....the digital piracy, illegal sharing, and plagiarism are extremely immense in my country, more than you ever imagine. I've seen myself my hard work, deeply researched blog postings being plagiarized by a book writer - the writer didn't even mention my blog as his source despite 1/3 his book is copied blatantly from my blog . That's very devastating.

    FYI, my audience doens't use paypal. so, like most ebook publisher in my country, I handle payment from bank transfer. after they confirm the payment, I'll send them the ebook manually through email or send them the download page.

    I want to sell my own product. but anyone knows how can I secure it from plagiarism or illegal sharing? program, script, software, or anything?:confused:

    I really hate it to death when someone plagiarize my ebook! sometimes I
    think maybe I'll just sell this ebook to test the water before I release it to book publisher. but i'm not sure about this either because waiting publisher's respond is very time consuming.

    please help! any answer is highly appreciated! thanks
    I don't know if this will apply to your situation, but I have had the same issue here in the U.S. First, let me mention how I have handled the ebook situation:

    1. I offer my books very cheap, i.e. less than $2. This makes is to where the person figures, "I'll just buy it from the original source. This way I have the full book and the latest version, etc."
    2. I use versioning. On the landing page of my blog, I mention that this is the latest updated version. Again, they know if the get an ebook from me, they are getting the latest information and research.

    Now, as far as my blog, I have seen blatant copying of my pages. However, in my case, I built up my street cred with Google to where the copiers always ended up farther down the SERP than me in most cases. So, when I first started out, I was careful where I went and who I hung around. I wanted to literally sneak up the ranks.

    Another way I battled this was to write very lengthy, detailed posts. If someone hires an article writer to re-spin my articles, it is very difficult because few people are willing to go through the pain and suffering that I went through to come up with the original post.

    Anyway, I don't know if any of that applies, but - knock on wood - so far it's worked for me...
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  • Profile picture of the author Britt Malka
    That's funny - I got the same question on my Danish blog about writing from somebody who is writing an eBook.

    I haven't answered it yet, there, because I plan to do a blog post about it, but in short:

    Stop worrying. It will only prevent you from getting your book out.

    The best way to hinder copying is by offering a great affiliate programme. People are often more likely to keep their products to themselves, if they can make money on promoting them.

    I've sold... I don't know... maybe 30 eBooks, video courses, etc. In the beginning (around 1998 I think), I turned them into exe-files, and I had to send a code to each person who purchased a product.

    Too much work and trouble to maybe avoid having my book given away illegally a few times.

    Now I only skip PDF-files. Everybody can read them, and they can receive them and read them immediately after purchase.

    Do some of them give away copies? Maybe. I'm not even sure. I have true fans on my Danish lists. But what if they did? Don't you sometimes lend out a book? What COULD happen if somebody got an illegal copy of one of my books was that they liked it and bought the next one.

    Wow, did I promise to make this short? I'm sorry, I got carried away here
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  • Profile picture of the author matthewhell
    Hey, I just actually just wrote a post about this; Here it is. Hope this helps ya!

    One of the biggest problems of getting involved with selling informational products is that there really are pirates out there who want to make money online by ripping off your products.

    This is especially a risk if you are selling a product somewhere like Clickbank because sly competing marketers can buy your book, copy and paste it and then ask for their money back. This is because Clickbank has that iron-clad “you get your money back in thirty days if you do not like this product” offer that is mandatory for you to adopt if you want to be a member of their sight.

    Why You Need Digital Lock Security

    The good thing about most internet information pirates is that they are usually desperate to make a quick buck online and get impatient if they can’t just cut and paste your information, repackage it a bit and give it away or sell it to their own clients.

    The problem is that if your information is handed out for free often enough it can become “public domain” and of little value to others. This also makes it impossible for you to sell it. Very often you see whole eBooks stolen off of Clickbank, rewritten and then chunks of them slightly rewritten and submitted to article directories or printed as blogs. Less brazen thieves will simply take your eBook that you spent so long creating, rip your information and URLS out of it, put their own names and links on it and send it out to their email lists without you even having a clue it is happening.

    It is Not Enough to Just Lock the Information

    People steal information off of Clickbank all of the time. They hire a writer from elance or guru, supply them with your book and it is rewritten even if it is locked in a PDF.
    Having your product in a locked PDF is not enough. These documents are easily scanned and copied and resold. Never forget that entire e-books can also be retyped by copy spinners! The mastermind behind the information theft then sells your product for much less than you are selling it or Clickbank and undermines your business completely.

    There are digital lock products out there on the market that can help you lock your PDF so that the material within it cannot be copied. If an attempt to copy is determined then the document simply disappears from their desktop.

    Yet another function that an effective digital lock security program will have is a way of making the book disappear from your customer’s computer the minute that you return money from Clickbank. This means that your competition can’t make online money from your product after asking for a refund.

    The Hell brothers
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    • Profile picture of the author BarryADensa
      So the big question is: What are the product choices for a "digital lock," which I assume is the same thing as encrypting.

      I know in the past I've heard of encrypting tools and ways to prevent sharing, or limiting the number, as it relates to publishing ebooks, but I can't remember where or when.

      Does anyone know any names?
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      Barry A Densa - Freelance Marketing & Sales Copywriter - WritingWithPersonality.com

      Download a FREE copy of my new eBook, containing 21 of my most outrageous rants, when you visit my blog: Marketing Wit & Wisdom

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    • Profile picture of the author dmorrow
      Thank you so much for this post! My son wants to write an ebook about spa and pool maintanance, and I'm here gleaning tips for him. This thread is great! I'm looking for ebook software, basically. You guys have so much meat here for us newbies.
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  • Profile picture of the author tmjoe
    Nothing more satisfies a customer than receiving a physical book with nice wrappings and a neat thank you letter via mail - go for it if you can.

    Otherwise, you can minimize digital piracy by using 'pdf stamper'.
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  • Profile picture of the author barache
    A friend of mine who sells a lot online looked into all the available "digital locks" for products - he was not impressed. Lots more work for the end buyer, more work for the product vendor in preparing the product and almost certainly more customer service issues. It's also hard to ever know how much theft was prevented.
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    • Profile picture of the author davidtong
      Originally Posted by barache View Post

      A friend of mine who sells a lot online looked into all the available "digital locks" for products - he was not impressed. Lots more work for the end buyer, more work for the product vendor in preparing the product and almost certainly more customer service issues. It's also hard to ever know how much theft was prevented.
      This is very true, creating inconvenience to those who actually PAID for your item is a bad way to approach things..

      Besides, content theft is a part of the digital medium, the fact that you were able to release a product with so little production cost instantly equates to higher odds of it being ripped easily.

      Think about it, if expensive software, music, and movies produced by multi-billion companies gets ripped off practically overnight, what chance will your little ebook have?

      Put the probability of loss due to theft a part of your business estimates, it's not an anomaly when doing business on the internet, it's a given. Much like estimating the cost of spoilage if you run a food-related business, for example.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    I'm still looking into getting a PDF type of lock that will generate a key code of some sort that is different for every buyer. Once they purchase the unique code is generated and therefore linked to the specific buyer.

    As for the plagiarizing aspect I think Bill is right on the money. I absolutely love his idea of creating conduits from the thieves by implanting your own uniqueness specifically related to your brand through your own experiences linked to the premise or process of your book.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Cole
    I think if someone could create a simple method to generate a license key for every PDF, that can be locked easily upon refund request would be an amazing tool to have. Even better, scramble the information within if unlock key is removed and then the PDF it attempted to be opened without key.

    This way, it will stop the serial refunders from paying and instantly refunding when they get their download.

    Create this and you are going to be a rich programmer IMO.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    I agree with all that bill farnham gave the best advice, though mike hills idea about a srrial number is a good one ALSO.

    The "advice" mathewhell gave SOUNDS good. It ALWAYS does UNTIL you see it implemented. I haven't seen one YET that couldn't be broken, this devalues the product for honest customers, and HOW do you check a copy attempt? What if it is an HONEST person getting a backup, moving to a new laptop, or simply trying to see if they could get what they paid for.

    Heysal,

    It is a fair bet they don't care about the DMCA.

    BTW viramara, what country are you from?

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    For me, any system has to be a compromise between product SECURITY and product CONVENIENCE.

    I suspect the reason tons of marketers aren't using the ebook locks and exe product file methods are the inconvenience and customer support issues that arise.
    _____
    Bruce
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
    Hollywood and their multimillion dollar budgets haven't stopped piracy.

    The music industry and it's multimillion dollar budgets haven't stopped piracy.

    The video gaming industry and it's multimillion dollar budgets haven't stopped piracy.

    Despite the best security money can buy, piracy cannot be stopped. If it can be encoded, it can be decoded.

    If you tie it to a server and subscription, someone can crack it.

    The only way you can pretty much guarantee your stuff isn't stolen - is to never put it in writing. Only do consultations. In person. And pat the person down to make sure he isn't carrying any recording devices.


    Or, if you really want to lock something down, do what Ubisoft did with their video games a year back - require a constant connection with a server in order to view (or in their case, play) what they purchased.

    Of course, this will mean that most customers will, at some point in time, not be able to access your stuff due to problems with the internet. Or you will get a big target painted on your back from pirates and hackers.

    Finally, your customers will be pissed when they can't access it.


    What is my point? You can worry, and pour thousands of dollars into "preventing" piracy. Or you can focus on making money with the people who will pay you.

    I took the second choice. Have I had stuff stolen? You bet. All the time. Do I care? Nope. Has it stopped me from make lots of money? Nope.

    You only have so much time on this planet - choose how you will spend it. Chasing pirates or making money?

    Hope this helps.

    Rob
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  • Profile picture of the author Duquette
    1. brand yourself.
    2. ask them to buy the original copy and not to share your products to other, nicely. (need not to write any copyright bla bla bla)
    3. protect your content. if somebody want to rip 1/3 of your ebook. then feel happy to write it manually. (yeah, of course they can use outsource etc. but lets not think about that)
    4. don't make this thing stop you from making better products.

    focus in the POSITIVE side will you ..

    Dean
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    • Profile picture of the author BarryADensa
      I think the solution as stated above is to brand or even watermark each page in such a way that it leads back to you.


      For example, you could write as a watermark: "If (title) was not purchased from (Company/person) or our affiliates -- it was stolen! -- and most probably substantially altered.


      The problem, of course is, if they bought it from your affiliate, how do they know that that it was an actual affiliate and not a pirate.


      Then too how do you prevent that printed warning or watermark from being removed?


      Related question -- who can create a watermark?
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      Barry A Densa - Freelance Marketing & Sales Copywriter - WritingWithPersonality.com

      Download a FREE copy of my new eBook, containing 21 of my most outrageous rants, when you visit my blog: Marketing Wit & Wisdom

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  • Profile picture of the author davidtong
    @Barry, pretty much all word processors can create watermarks, and if you're using Acrobat Pro, it's pretty simple as well Acrobat Tips and Tricks - Adding Watermarks to your PDF documents | Adobe TV

    Some tips I can give is just to make things harder for the 'thief' when creating your documents:

    1) Use a faint watermark that won't make it intrusive for your customer when they're reading it but shows up when you try to copy/paste the body content.
    2) Add certain keywords, maybe even text URLs (not hyperlinks) in the PDF to your site or product site within the body of the paragraphs.
    3) Use personal references or stories from time-to-time, in between sections of your book. Not only will this help the reader 'connect' with you on a more personal level, it also acts as a 'break' from your narrative instruction/lesson.
    4) Use a good layout. If you're lazy creating your ebook, using standard breaks, image inserts, no captions, no anchor links, document jumps, etc. the document is so easy to copy and clone. Adding certain desktop publishing 'good practices' will make it tougher to cut-and-paste the entire document, but beyond that, it just makes your product a LOT more polished and easy to read.

    None of these 'tips' will prevent your document to be stolen, but at least it'll:

    1) improve your customer's experience when reading your content
    2) increased perceived value of your product
    3) require more effort and diligence from the would-be-thief as they'll need to proof, edit, re-layout, reformat your original.

    Remember that most people who steal are just lazy to begin with...
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  • Profile picture of the author lovelysue
    I had purchased 3 plugins - WP eStore, WP Affiliate and WP eMember.
    Would that do the work in protecting your digital downloads to a certain extend.

    Of course - if somebody wants to steal and resell - I'd sure the'll find a way. But is - what I'm implementing now enough? '

    And how does the copyscape protection work?
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  • Profile picture of the author Viramara
    Guys....sorry for my slow responding. thank you very much for your answers. ^__^ Bill, I love that advice. I write with all personalities and that book writer keeps copying my writings intact to its personal style blatantly. Browsing your answers maybe I can use watermark, or offering this ebook limited to my list only.

    Been researching to several forums, what I know about ebook illegal sharing mostly because the purchasers dissapointed to the product and unable to ask refund. they "avenged" by sharing the ebook. other reasons perhaps....wants to be called as "generous nice guy" *..*

    I've researched some softwares and got Virtual Vault for ebook download protection but it's too expensive....better spend it to autoresponder. Right now I just use encrypted PDF with password.

    Being plagiarised or not, I'll take a risk of it and keep launching this ebook. As a Queen's song "Show Must Go On"
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    Those who have time and search for a better time will lose time (Sufi Proverb)
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  • Profile picture of the author Micah Medina
    I hear elicense.com is a good resource for this, I dont thinK I've seen any of their products cracked and places I go to read about it describe it as a VERY complex process.

    But really, the best thing to do is just brand your work and increase your scale and market!
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