We’ve been getting pings and @’s all morning about ebooks-tree.com who seem to be scraping/taking stories off of AO3 and hosting them as PDFs and mobi downloads on their site; the site seems to be pulling from UrBookLibrary as well. They’re not reading your “do not copy/duplicate” notes on your AO3 fic; their bots are pulling things directly from AO3, without AO3′s authorization or assent. It looks like they are pulling from Wattpad too, again without authorization or assent.
While the Ebooks-Tree DMCA page seems to imply that you need a lawyer or other “authorized person” to submit a takedown notice, you don’t; you can do it yourself.
As we’ve posted before, fanfic writers hold copyright in their stories, although not in lines/quotes from the works they’ve been inspired by, and because of that, fanfic writers can submit DMCA takedown notices, or have someone do it on their behalf. While this post isn’t legal advice (none of our posts on FYC are), you might want to consider using this template (well, the bolded bits) in telling ebooks-tree to take down your content:
Your Name and/or Pseudonym as an e-signature (or the name of the person you’ve authorized to submit this request, with a slash before it and after it):
Link(s) to the unauthorized works (link to the pdf, the mobi and the page hosting all of it):
Link(s) to an authorized version of your work (whether on AO3, tumblr, LJ or somewhere else):
An email address of the submitter (include it again even if it’s in the header):
This statement: I have good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
This statement: The information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
That’s it – that’s all they need to know – you can submit all the info viahttp://www.ebooks-tree.com/info.php?contacts with DMCA Complaint in the subject; you may wish to submit the same content to Google via this page, or to BING via this page.
ETA: If you try to read your own fics, they require you to sign up via a site called http://www.lazygame.net/ (lazygamenet on Twitter, corporate name is KH Media LLC of Delaware, their phone number is listed as the contact number for a bunch of different companies) and give your credit card info; we think that’s probably a very bad idea. You can send the same DMCA info to them at email@example.com but it’s unclear whether they have the ability to remove anything from the ebooks-tree site. We called LazyGame directly and they said they are not affiliated with ebooks-tree but they are affiliated with TzarMedia, which seems to be some sort of back-end for ebooks-tree. Fwiw, TzarMedia isn’t doing well on the whole “trustworthy site” thing.
TzarMedia claims that “All TzarMedia content is licensed and legal for distribution and use.” We wonder what the FTC would say about that kind of false advertising.
This is way bigger than someone using a bot to pull fics; this is infringement in so many different ways.
(Fwiw, even though ebooks-tree claims that they comply with the Copyright Act, they aren’t compliant with the DMCA Safe Harbor rules, as they aren’t listed on the copyright.gov list of agents.)
You can also submit a complaint about ebooks-tree to CloudFlare, who hosts the site. Their DMCA page is at https://www.cloudflare.com/abuse/form – as a matter of law you do not need to include the legal name of the copyright claimant/the fanfic writer, but you should include the pseudonym that the fic was posted under if you don’t want to include a legal name or address.
A lot of people have been writing into Support about this as well, and as much as we’d like to prevent this kind of thing, there’s only so much we can do while also keeping the downloads functionality alive for our users (who might depend on it due to limited internet time or mobile access only).
We’re already discouraging bots from accessing downloads in our robots.txt rules, which this kind of bot will happily ignore. We are also limiting how many files can be downloaded (and how fast) and we can tweak these settings further, although this isn’t a bulletproof solution either. The only way we could prevent bots from downloading files would be to add a CAPTCHA button to downloads, and for a lot of accessibility reasons, we are not planning on doing this.
To keep your fanfic locked away from anyone or anything that isn’t a logged-in AO3 user, edit your work and tick the “Only show your work to registered users” option, in the Privacy box. (However, very dedicated PDF thieves could theoretically circumvent this by creating an account for their bots.)
As you can see, there is no simple technical answer to this problem, but we will continue to look into solutions from our end!
(Source: fyeahcopyright, via fyeahcopyright)