In Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi refers to Mos Eisley spaceport as a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” and adds, “we must be careful.”
Obi-Wan’s wisdom applies to the Internet too.
Regardless of your publishing path, if you write for publication, you should take steps to protect your copyrighted work against Internet-based infringement.
Today, we take a look at how to do that. While no single post can cover all of the ways to protect your work online, here are some tips on things all authors can do to protect and enforce their copyrights:
Perform Regular Copyright / Infringement Searches. Every author should search the Internet regularly (at least once a month) for: (a) the author’s name, (b) the author’s published titles, and (c) any other words, phrases, or marks which might reveal infringement or illegal copying of the author’s work. For example, my searches include “Susan Spann,” “Shinobi Mystery,” and the titles of each of my published works (as well as “Flask of the Drunken Master” which doesn’t release until July. Using quotation marks around the search terms returns only those results which contain the exact phrase within the quotes.
Internet searches are important even if you also use Google Alerts or another monitoring service. While effective, automated alerts don’t catch all infringement, and can’t be relied upon to screen for all uses of an author’s work on the Internet.