I am often asked by both new and experienced authors how you go about protecting your books in the digital age.
In these days when you can blog a story or submit an ebook direct to the Amazon Kindle Store, the Apple iBookstore or to one of many aggregator sites like Issuu, Lulu, BookBuzzr and Smashwords, what’s to stop anyone stealing and copying your work illegally?
If you submit your novel to a author community site like Authonomy, what’s to stop someone stealing your idea and writing their own book on the subject?
Well if you think about it … not a lot and it’s not much different from how it has been since Caxton invented the printing press.
If you produce a printed book, there is nothing to stop anyone photocopying it. How many times have you borrowed a book and read it and not paid the author or the publisher a penny? How many times did you not give it back?
For digital products, you can add password and enable DRM protection but there is nothing to stop someone telling someone else the password. Even if the digital rights management is tied down to a particular device as it is for Kindles, iPhones and iPads, there is nothing to stop people other than the purchaser enjoying the work.
I am sure when you write your book, you didn’t do it in isolation of any influences from other authors, friends, colleagues or teachers.
By far the best way by far to protect your work is to look at your behaviour and modify it so it’s karmically balanced.
Now I am not trying to preach here or be holier than thou – this is just good common sense and politeness and I too have fallen foul of not playing by the karmic rule book.
My seven top tips for karmic rights protection
1. Don’t run the fear your work will be copied
2. If you use a quote or concept from another writer, give them some credit in a Thanks section of your work or, at least, list their book in references
3. Be open to your payback coming back in another form other than the sale of your books
4. Don’t steal another writer’s work
5. If you like a book you borrowed, buy a copy or buy another book from the same writer
6. Give loads of stuff away for free
7. Be thankful for everything you receive
– just think what it would be like to live & breathe in a world that worked to these principles, it’s within our grasp & starts with each one of us today
p.s. if you ‘breach’ the spirit of KRM, you will find others will ‘steal’ from you