Monday, February 27, 2017

Interesting (kind of scary week)

How was everyone's past week? I hope it was kind to you. I had a rather interesting week. It was mostly scary to me. But, you can be the judge of that.




So, every few months I google myself (my pen name Murees Dupé), just to see what pops up and to make sure there's no strange sites popping up. Last year I found a site posting my blog posts on their site without my permission. Luckily they took it all down, after I contacted them.

Anyway, moving on. I also check that all my links and listings on the various publishing platforms, (that my book is listed on) is working and that the info is accurate. When I got to Amazon however, I noticed another listing for my book. It used my old cover, the green one, and the name of the person listing new and used books had a variation of my pen name. Also, their publication date was 1659, or something similar like that. Strange right?  Of course I jumped to the worst case scenario. I panicked and my mind went racing. I wanted to know why this was happening to me. My book wasn't popular. It wasn't selling. So why me and my book?



Luckily for me, I had just read a post on The Creative Penn about How to Protect your Creative Work with Kathryn Goldman. I highly advise anyone posting their content online to read it. It is brilliant. So, I contacted Amazon about the strange listing. I first wanted to make sure what was going on, and whether the person was allowed to do that. 

It was kind of a pain to find the proper people to contact. It took me a while to get to the right department, but the representative was very nice and explained that anyone is entitled to sell anything on Amazon. But what happened in my case is that the person in question, was reselling (New) paperback copies of my book on Amazon for a lot more than it is listed for on Amazon. They couldn't do much aside for merge that listing with mine, so if anyone was looking for my book, that they would only see my listing. I was a little upset about that.




But, I immediately filed my copyright with the U.S Copyright Office, even though I'm South African. Thanks to the Berne Convention, if your book is available in the U.S. you can file there. And you're covered in any country that signed the Berne Convention. You pay a once off fee (in my case $ 55) and you're covered. No renewing or any of that. I provided them with a digital copy of my book. I didn't want to take any chances, especially in the future. You get a certificate stating that you're the copyright owner (it takes a few long months though), so if you ever get in some kind of legal dispute (heaven forbid), you have a foot to stand on.

I wouldn't have known any of this if I wasn't following stalking The Creative Penn Blog. These days whenever there's a post available I'm there. If I hadn't read the above mentioned post I would have freaked out and gone crazy. But having read it, it made me take a step back and think of how I can approach this madness logically.

I was never the kind of person who thought I should bother with the registration of my copyright, but these days I think about it differently. Especially since I'm popular with finding myself and my book in the strangest situations, and a favorite target of online predators.

So, has anything like this happened to any of you? Do you have a scary story to tell?