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Ride the waves

Simon Whaley sets sail to tackle the pirates on the choppy seas of copyright infringement

I don’t want to worry you, but have you seen this website?’ Those were the words from a concerned fellow author who’d found all her books were being offered for free, as pdf downloads, via an unscrupulous website. I searched for my name and found nine of my books listed. My immediate reaction was ‘Shiver Me Timbers’, or words to that affect. Then I wondered what I should do about it.

In this business of writing, copyright allows us to licence others to reproduce our work in a variety of agreed formats, hopefully for some financial reward. My first book, One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human, published by Hodder & Stoughton, is available in print and ebook format, because that’s what the contract agreed. The only other businesses who can publish my words in these formats are the four foreign publishers who’ve negotiated the right to do so.

Therefore this website, offering free pdf downloads, was not only infringing my copyright but also Hodder & Stoughton’s rights as the authorised publisher of the electronic text.

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Writing for the Modern World • CRIME: Inner city inspiration with rising crime star AA Dhand • ROMANCE: How to write 21st century love stories • 'Dear Writer...' – the no-nonsense writing advice you need to read • Easy IT: The best free software for all your writing life needs • WIN! Agent feedback in our new Picture Book Prize Includes WRITERS' NEWS: 20 packed pages of competitions, opportunities to get published and insider know how. WIN! £91,361 in writing prizes

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