Piracy is Impacting Everyone in Media
Book Publishers have removed over 15 Million infringing URLs from search engines over the past five years. It impacts everyone– from the big five publishers to the smallest of independents. Elizabeth Lennox is no stranger to piracy. From the very beginning of her career, she saw she would need to tackle it if she was going to make it as a novelist.
About Elizabeth Lennox
Elizabeth Lennox wanted to be a romance novelist ever since she was in the eighth grade. Over the past eight years, she has turned that childhood dream into a reality, penning over 140 books and novellas and selling millions of copies.
How Piracy Became a Problem
Soon after she published her first books, Elizabeth began to notice that her work was becoming available for illegal download.
“I first became aware of the problem back in 2012” Elizabeth told us. “Before that, it had never even occurred to me that someone would steal my books on the internet. But at one point, I saw that my sales had been cut in half. I was shocked. We couldn’t figure out what was going on until my husband told me that he’d found my books on pirate sites. Then we hired a lawyer to send takedown notices, and the next day the sales started to climb back up.”
Why Do Anything?
Cybercriminals are targeting everyone in the creative community. No target is too big or too small. Their primary source of revenue is ad revenue and cybercrime from malware installs. These schemes can make them a buck or two from almost any web traffic, but they take a huge chunk out of sales for the original artists.
Search link removals are effective in cutting down traffic to pirate sites. Artists face a challenge protecting their work online. Pirates can upload files faster than traditional legal enforcement can keep up. With automated search link removals, artists can keep up with their pace and cut them off where it matters most: their largest source of web traffic.
“It had never even occurred to me that someone would steal my books on the internet.”
As she learned more about piracy, Elizabeth was exposed to a number of different solutions to combat it. “We first tried sites like DMCA Force and Muso. They were initially able to stop the flow of these pirated books,” she says. However, the manual tasks required by these applications eventually got to be too frustrating for Elizabeth.
“It would be up to me to have to go through and send them links and figure out how many people were infringing. There would be an eventual decline in sales, so we’d try switching to another company. They would get it under control, and then there would be another decline. It was an endless cycle.”
A lot has changed in the piracy industry in a short amount of time. In the past few years, the piracy industry has focused a lot on smaller businesses. A major Hollywood studio has robust resources to deal with takedowns and enforcement, but small companies do not. Since all pirates care about is traffic for ads and paid malware installs, they will go after any soft target with keywords and traffic.
“These pirates now are even going beyond the most popular authors” Elizabeth told us. She mentioned another author she knows who does a lower volume of sales, around 300 copies per month. “This author is now finding her books on these pirate sites, too. Unfortunately, because of her limited resources, she can’t afford to do anything about it. It’s become a pretty pervasive problem for small publishers and independent authors.”
The CPC rate of piracy sites and availability of cheap domains is only going to increase in the coming years. Today, anyone producing digital content needs an anti-piracy plan.
Elizabeth first learned about Marketly about a year and a half ago. However, she didn’t initially think piracy would remain a constant issue. “At that point I didn’t yet know how big of a problem it was. When I realized I had to step up my game on anti-piracy, that’s when I came over to Marketly.”
She began using Marketly to help takedowns and enforcement of copyright-infringing material she found on the internet. Marketly automates those infringement notifications and takedown enforcements for you, meaning it’s always working, keeping you focused on the work itself.
Marketly has allowed Elizabeth to see her changes in search rank, measure her increase in web traffic, analyze how we’re pushing pirate sites off the front page, and maybe most importantly, have some peace of mind.
“I think the biggest difference for me is a psychological one. So far I haven’t been able to find any pirated titles when I’ve looked. I’ve only found sites where they’re trying to trick people into downloading them. They’re not real Elizabeth Lennox books. They’re only a segue to another site. I’ve been able to feel more comfortable with my fans. Now when someone contacts me, I can feel more confident that they’re not stealing from me on purpose.”
Within a week, Elizabeth saw a 10-15% increase in sales. Also, she was able to spend less time looking up enforcements herself. “Now, when I do look, I don’t see a lot of infringement issues. I can just click out of that search, whereas before I would spend about an hour every Friday, combing through the various search engine reports and finding infringements. It was just one keyword after another, and sending them to whichever vendor I was using for anti-piracy. Now I’ll go through and skim the first page and if I don’t see anything that’s really infringing, so I just click out. I feel more comfortable, and I think that psychological edge is what i needed.”
“Now, when I do look, I don’t see a lot of infringement issues.”
Marketly has also afforded Elizabeth the opportunity to learn how people are finding her pirated materials, as our keyword dashboards give valuable insights into the fans’ search terms. “I’ve looked at the keywords and begun to use those in my marketing. If someone’s using a search term to try to find an illegal download of my book, I’m going to try to get them to use that keyword to buy my book, so I take the top 25 most infringing keywords and use them for Facebook and Instagram marketing as well as info when uploading books to vendors.”
Marketly has helped numerous brand owners like Elizabeth Lennox protect their brand online through targeted anti-piracy that deliver business results.
Want to learn more about how you can protect your brand? Schedule a demo today!