Blasty vaporizes pirated content in Google search results
eBook pirates who Google’s search engine to attract downloaders, and scammers use it (along with fake pirated ebook pages) to find their next victim.
Until today, authors and publishers had two options for dealing with the piracy in Google: file a DMCA notice themselves (an annoying process) or sign up with a general purpose anti-piracy outfit like Muso.
But now there’s a third option. A new anti-piracy service crossed my desk this week which focuses solely on removing links from Google search results.
Blasty is a startup that offers a hyper-focused service designed to solve just one part of the piracy problem. It’s still in beta, and is currently limited to invite-only, but I’ve had the chance to take it for a spin.
The process is pretty simple. After you sign up and install the Chrome extension, all you have to do is identify the content you wish to protect (web articles, video, audio, ebooks, etc) and then use Blasty to run custom Google searches for each piece of of content.
Each search will look something like this (only probably with more links):
Each of the orange blast buttons will let you file a takedown notice with Google for that specific URL. But you can also click a link, confirm that the piracy is going on, and then file a notice.
Aside from setting up a blast and clicking a few buttons, everything is handled automatically by Blasty. There’s no effort to file a takedown notice, but you should take the time to confirm that piracy is occurring.
Blasty warned me that they track bogus takedown notices and could censure users:
It’s better to be safe than sorry, which is is why you might want to also avail yourself of the option to whitelist websites so you don’t accidentally send a takedown notice to Goodreads.
As a blogger, I am intimately familiar with Google’s DMCA procedures, and I am overjoyed find a service that circumvents that frustrating process. This is not a complete solution to piracy, but it is a possible alternative for authors and publishers.
For example, Blasty can’t do anything about the more subtle types of piracy in the Kindle Store and Google Play Books, but it could make for a great tool for dealing with scammers who use fake pirated ebook listings as bait. (And yes, if the scammer is using a cover image and blurb, the copyright holder can file a takedown notice).
If you try Blasty, let us know what you think in the comments. I’m sure I’m not the only writer who is interested.
Nate Hoffelder publishes the blog The Digital Reader