What to do if your book is pirated by Apple

Oh yes, I’m going to keep gruddamn moaning about this!

Anyway here’s a resource if you find yourself in this situation. Note that so far the outcome of this process is…nothing but further silence but in theory this is what you do.

You need to go here https://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/itunes/ibooksstorenotices/#?lang=en

This is only if you are the copyright owner or acting on their legal behalf. There doesn’t not seem to be a general spot for letting Apple know that they are selling pirated books if you are just a customer. Which is odd because a customer has a legitimate complaint if they are being sold stolen goods.

I’m going to make my complaint again because I still haven’t heard back from their legal people. At least this way I’ll get an educational blog post out of it. More after the fold:


You then have to give contact info:


You’ve then got to give a link to the offending work. This is a bit tricky because while the iBook store is web-based you can usually only access it via the iBooks app.


Luckily that search function allows you to have a look for the link. That raises some issues when you have a legitimate version of the same book on the store!


Luckily, the dodgy one has a wrong sized cover and an impossible release date, so I can select it.

You then pick the issues. They are ask questions about which territories this applies to and in general you won’t know so I assume you click “Yes”.


That scary check box about perjury is so your complaint follows the process of a DMCA takedown notice. Note that Apple takes 30% of iBook sales, so actually this is a bigger deal than a DMCA. DMCA was designed to protect ISPs from liability for copyright theft that OTHERS are profiting from. Here Apple are actively participating – even if it is unwittingly.

I’m going to pick three issues:


I think that covers it! There’s not any clarification on those categories (e.g. ‘publicity’?).

Then write a message:


I’d advice a more professional tone than the one I adopted there.

Click the scary legal box and submit!


Followed by:


Actually, I missed that bit about replying to the confirmation email with more info. Interesting!

Then wait, and wait, and wait…



8 responses to “What to do if your book is pirated by Apple”

  1. I’m not sure if that ticks all the DMCA boxes, because nobody knows exactly what they are. I suspect it ignores the party of the Nth part spinning widdershins and there isn’t a box for Wingardium Leviosa, so… I dunno.

    You could have ticked publicity, since this is your Hugo packet submission and you’ve been written up here and there for that, like the nice Australian publishing people and File 770. It could be argued that having this out there for such a stupid price would lessen the value of your good “name” and that would affect your chances of winning a shiny rocket, even infinitesimally. The goodwill of the public and the value of your good name are intangible, but they are legal assets — else we wouldn’t have libel and slander laws. And rather a lot of Fan Hugo nominees then go on to become feelthy pros (just look at the Retro nominations), so it theoretically could affect your future earnings.

    The sum total of all these possibilities can make it go away, over and above their liability for enabling/profiting from fraud.

    The monk might not care, but the vegetarian might someday want to become a big famous TV chef with branded goods and all! Do it for the cast-iron skillets and new more-edible varieties of tofu!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I can’t supply a form notice, but I can list the six statutorily required elements, which in my (admittedly too law-geekish) opinion are reasonably clear. This is quoted verbatim from United States Code chapter 18, section 512 512(c)(3):

        (i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

        (ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.

        (iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.

        (iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.

        (v) A statement that the complaining party has a 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.

        (vi) A statement that 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.

        (Some technogeeks immediately overinterpret the phrase ‘electronic signature’ and assume it means PGP or such. Nope. In context, this just means basically your name under ‘Sincerely,’ or such.)

        There is no magic power whatsoever to this formulation; it merely ensures valid DMCA takedown notice. Service providers certainly can and sometimes do ignore notices, but then suffer the drawback that they may be sued for contributory copyright infringement, having thus failed to qualify for the service provider ‘safe harbour’ they gain if they participate in the takedown process. The second, third, and fourth elements must be present in the original complaint to make the tackdown request minimally (and conditionally) valid. If they’re present but some of the other three are not, the service provider can keep qualifying for safe harbour by communicating back to the complainer to get further clarification (providing the missing data).

        There’s a bit more to this, e.g., the infringing uploader can contest the takedown by sending the service provider an opposing ‘putback notice’, but I’ll not cover that here.

        Yrs. truly has operated a Web server since 1993 (linuxmafia.com / unixmercenary.net), and therefore studied this matter sufficiently to protect his own rights as an online service provider, which is why the front page of my Web site (near page bottom) documents how to send me (as registered DMCA notification agent for my domains) a qualifying takedown request and why ONLY qualifying requests will be taken seriously. Between the lines, I seem to have adequately implied ‘Don’t even bother with bogus threats/complaints’, as I’ve not had a problem with those.

        (Apologies for my country’s overly baroque copyright legal regime.)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Also, Apple’s HQ is in the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and they take a dim view of shenanigans. Note that Google’s is as well, and note how fast infringing copyright gets yanked from YouTube.

      I found this regarding iBooks stuff:


      Note halfway down page 1 “Taylor Trist” got several free infringing books kind of zapped, s/he merely got the links to said books off Google. I think. Whether Apple then actually got rid of them, I dunno. Looks like the more common problem of copyrighted books being offered for free by nefarious pirates. Arrrr.


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