Takedown copyright infringement sources (how to)

Actually I’m not an Envato author. I sell my software in my own website and if you look my profile you will now what I do (I’m not here to build a link base or anything). I’m posting this here because I think that this is the only large community of web development authors, so it is the only place where this words have the right sense. I don’t wanted to post it in reddit or somewhere else because it will eventually end in a flame war in why copyright infringement is not theft and some other bs.

I’ve found out that piracy actually helps you to get somehow noticed and that if you often upgrade your software, people won’t be go straight to piracy. Problem is that benefit is marginal, I mean… I get a lot of piracy even taking into account that I sell a product with lifetime license and support. The % of people that has come out from piracy and ended up being a client is low as 0.5% so that’s how “good” piracy is for me. So at least for me, piracy isn’t good for business.

DMCA Google

If you ask me, don’t waste your time sending countless DMCA to every hoster. Just worry about Google. By taking down the content from Google you will mostly drive those who came from Google search back to your website instead somewhere else.

If the problem is too severe and they are really messing with you, try to takedown the piracy sources. I’ve takedown some sources in the past and is something that I don’t do that often since they don’t mess with me, but from time to time I’ve to. If your plan is to takedown the source you will need to identify the source in the first place.

Identifying the piracy source

The piracy source is the individual or organization (team) that is behind the distribution of your pirated product. The piracy source is basically the guys who pirate your work and start spreading it all over the internet. You will notice that there are re-distributors which are people who just re-upload and put it in their website. Don’t mind about re-distribution, worry only about the top distribution network. To determine the source you will need to pay attention to upload dates, maybe readme files inside the downloaded content, etc.

This piracy source often get your product through a leaker, which is the individual giving them your software in the first place. You can effectively find and takedown every leaker but if there is an organization behind the piracy you will be playing cat and mouse for a while. Like I said, worry about the top distribution. They are the ones with the resources or friends that will keep hitting you so those are the ones that propagate all the thing down to all the piracy aggregator websites out there.

Note that some piracy sources are impossible to track. No website, no email, nothing. Those are old school teams which usually gather in IRC or something like that. The rest of the teams are easier to find because some of them even run full featured websites with premium sections, twitter accounts, etc. Those are usually the ones which harms most and the easiest to hit.

Hitting them where it hurts

The best that you can do is to hit them in their income source which is usually premium accounts. There is no payment gateway (apart from bitcoin) in which you can do an illegal activity and get money for it, almost all the payment processors have an AUP that forbids any activity related to copyright infringement.

If they have a premium section, accept donations or do any activity in which they can get paid then you can hit them. Easy as identify their PayPal email account, Skrill or anything and send the proper copyright infringement notice.

For PayPal you can find the instructions here: https://www.paypal.com/ca/webapps/mpp/ua/infringementrpt-full which you can sign using DocuSign or any eSignature app out there.

For Skrill you will need to contact them about “security”, the same applies to all the other processors.

When doing the report make sure to include everything you can. Every screen capture, URL, anything that can prove what they are doing and how it affects you (this is the important part).

When you sent the report the payment processors will usually seize the money right away. In my experience the least that you can expect is that they will eradicate your product from their website and in most cases they will just close doors shortly.

Measures against retaliation

When they get the notice the payment processor could share with them some sensitive data like your address or maybe something else. I’m not 100% sure about how much of your data is shared at all, it depends on how the payment processor handle the report, but if you are concerned about that try to use maybe a PO box address, an Skype number, etc. Remember that you are causing the lost of an undisclosed money amount so well, best to take precaution. Besides that, I get a ton of DDoS but for Envato authors this isn’t an issue.

Final thoughts

I spent a lot of time sending DMCA to every file hoster, website, everything. That is just a waste of your time and now I only focus in keep developing and have Google somehow clean.

I’ve takedown some sources, sure. It cost me countless DDoS attacks, threats, etc. I try to develop and to sell something cheap for what you get but you will always have people that just want absolutely everything free (I do indeed offer a free Open Source release). I think that the only person that can decide whatever your work is free or not is the author himself (you) and that people making money about it has nothing to do with sharing. Is just people stealing, period.

I really hope this helps others.

Rodolfo B.