E-book Theft – Protecting What is Rightfully Yours

After several months working on your latest e-book, you breathe a sigh of relief as you finish editing the last line. Finally, you click on the PDF converter, and within seconds, you have a formatted e-book.

Since you finished editing the sales page on your web site two weeks ago, there’s nothing to do but upload your e-book, and wait for the enormous earnings to roll in, right?

Even if your e-book is a promising as your ambitions for it, someone could still steal your profits the minute it goes online. The theft of digital products continues to skyrocket yearly. So, unless you securely protect your e-book distribution, those profits could sneak out the back door.

A Perfect World

Imagine if Mercedes Benz had someone steal their design plans. Afterwards, the thief packaged it as an e-book and showed how the average person could have one built by another company for only $1,500. Which company do you think most people would approach for a new Mercedes?

What if your local bank didn’t have any tellers or security guards, but left the money on tables, and placed posters on the walls asking customers to make their transactions honestly? Do you think your bank would be in business for long?

As silly as these examples might seem, many writers continue to lose hard earned money because they assume that by placing a copyright inside their e-books, it will deter theft. Or, they feel that most customers are sincere, and would automatically pay for their books.

Unfortunately, e-book theft is even rampant in countries that have tough copyright laws, and you can forget about those countries where copyright laws are either lax or nonexistent.

As writers, we need to protect our work from hackers, crackers and other Internet thieves. With the capacity to transfer files at the speed of thought through the Internet, it’s necessary to have a secure method in place to create and deliver your e-books.

Public Trust

“For me, it comes down to economics over ethics,” says one Colorado State University sophomore, when asked if she thought it was acceptable to download someone’s e-book without paying for it. “With everything that I need to pay these days, I’m willing to cut corners wherever I can.” She’s not alone.

In a recent study conducted by IDC for the Business Software Alliance, “Two-thirds of college and university students surveyed see nothing unethical about swapping or downloading digital copyrighted files — software, music and movies — without paying for them. Also, more than half — 52 percent — think it is also acceptable behavior in the workplace.”

Internet piracy is not only crippling the recording industry, it’s also affecting every company and individual who sells downloadable products over the Internet. With those staggering figures, it’s easy to understand how much money an author could lose.

Where Thefts Occur

Thefts can begin directly from your webpage. Some hackers are able to find your e-book download page because of lack of web site security. Other places where you might check for illegal copies of your e-book:

eBay – Many crooks like to place your item for a quick bid. By starting with a low bid, they’re guaranteed to make some fast sales. If they’ve been selling items on e-Bay regularly, they have the opportunity to sell multiple copies of your e-book at a fixed price. You might want to browse the book categories to see if someone is selling your e-book under the same title, or even a new title.

Online forums and bulletin boards – Some of these sites have over 100,000 members. These groups exist only to provide free software, e-books and scripts to their members. Although some charge a membership fee, the majority allow unlimited access to files which members upload on sites such as rapidshare.de, megaupload.com, usendit.com. Within a few days, thousands of users could download your e-book on their computers, without paying for them!

Personal Web Sites – There are even those who are not interested in auctioning off your book, or giving it away on a forum. These people will copy your web site, upload it to another server, and then sell your book as their own. The inventive ones will even change the name of the author, the e-book and even the links you have inside. Even if you password protect a PDF file against editing and copying, there are software programs that will automatically remove the password protection, enabling anyone to change the author’s name and other information in your e-book.

Friends – Sometimes, it’s only someone sharing their e-books with friends and family. It’s probably similar to a person renting a DVD from Blockbuster and then allowing others to make copies. In the end, it cuts into the profits.

Prevention

Unlike audio and video CD’s, you can protect e-books against 99.9% of theft. Here are some of the security benefits of these top software picks:

1. eBook Pro – http://ebookpro.24ex.com/

2. Virtual Vault – [http://just-go.to/virtualvault/]

eBook Pro Benefits

Connects to an online server the first time users register the software and checks to see if that person has bought your e-book, which prevents a customer from sharing the e-book with others.

It deactivates any e-book from right inside the software. This is good if you offer a money-back guarantee, as it stops customers from using the e-book after they ask for a refund.

You can stop users from copy and pasting your information

You can disable the print features.

eBook Pro requires Internet Explorer 4.0 (or higher). The cost is $197. After you register 1000 e-books, you will need to pay $0.10 for each additional registration (this isn’t a problem if you’re selling that many e-books).

Virtual Vault Benefits

It provides total protection from all types of thieves and freebie-seekers.

You can try it for 30 days for only $2.95

It locks any PDF file, software app. and .exe e-book – saves as a .exe file

You can stop users from copy and pasting your information

You can disable the print features.

Virtual Vault charges a $24.95 monthly access fee. What makes this program so sweet is that it protects PDF files, too. Most authors prefer this format because it’s easy to compile, and works for PC and MAC users.

One misconception of e-book authors is that if you password protect a PDF file against document changes or printing, it’s safe from changes. Unfortunately, there are many programs that remove these restrictions within seconds. This allows entrepreneurial thieves to repackage your e-book and sell it as their own.

The only way to prevent changes in PDF files, is to password protect both the master password, as well as the user password. So, a password is needed to open the document, too. This automatically blocks PDF password removal tools from removing your settings.

Finally, why go through the trouble of protecting the editing features, while allowing printing? Can you go to a library and ask a librarian to photo copy an entire book? No, because that would be a copyright violation. So, why would you allow someone who downloads your e-book those privileges? Yes, many computer users like to print out the material because it’s easier on the eyes. However, if someone uses “print to file” software, your e-book could be mass downloaded — for free — within hours, or even minutes.

Even though you password protect a PDF file, or an EXE file, it doesn’t stop people from sharing them with friends, or posting them in newsgroups or forums. Therefore, if you take pride in your artistic work, you need to have a way to protect your investment.

Whatever program you choose, make sure it’s you that is profiting from your e-book, not criminals.

Source by Stanley Hawkins

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