I had just finished presenting the Copywriters Pricing Bootcamp and was preparing to bring to market the most comprehensive pricing resource for copywriters ever created.
The landing page was ready to go and I was getting excited about the launch. The attendees had been ecstatic about the content and I felt confident that the copywriters in my world would welcome this exciting new product as a great way to start 2015, especially as an aid to earning more this year.
The evening before the launch I was on Amazon feeding my book addiction when what do I see?
One of my four Copywriters Pricing Bootcamp ebooks is being advertised!
I didn’t just happen to see it… it was in my face, being heavily promoted! There, along the right side of the screen, was the distinct orange and black design I had worked on for so long, oversized, looking back at me.
At first I was massively confused. I had two other ebooks on Amazon but I had not planned to put the four Bootcamp ebooks there. Yet there it was right in front of me, Copywriting Basics for Copywriters & Consultants: Meet Your Income Goals — Guaranteed!
And then I saw it. My name as author, CHRIS MARLOW, had been replaced by OJUOLA INFOTECH. And my brand had been hijacked. CHRIS NOTES was now OJUOLA NOTES.
Interestingly there was also another name on my book, Bolakale Aremu. My book… with two authors.
Searching the title of my book brought more alarm. It was being sold at virtually every bookselling outlet on the Web!
Barnes & Noble. Books-a-Million. Abe Books. Every Amazon site in every country that Amazon is in. And at all the smaller booksellers and even listed in the catalog for books, Ingram.
It was being sold on Kindle. As an ebook everywhere. And as a hard copy (ridiculous as it’s only 47 pages!). My thief also had it on Amazon for a lower price as “used.”
It became clear that I had a real problem that was going to cost time and money. Not a great way to start the year!
After my shock I became incredibly pissed. I’d been “raped” of my authorship… my brand and product had been stolen… and I was being prevented from bringing my larger product (of which the book was a significant component), to market.
But as is my nature, I was determined that this nasty info thief was not going to win! How could someone who has to steal, be smarter than me? I had not even thought at this point about exposing him.
Thus began my search on the keywords, Ojuola Infotech. It didn’t take long to learn more about him.
I discovered that “Ojuola Infotech” has two faces. Literally.
This one is his real face. Look at eyes. I see a calculating man in those eyes. He lives in Nigeria but he says he lives in Philadelphia.
This is the picture he portrays on some other sites. This one is on Twitter.
If you want to see how a Nigerian info-thief operates, just look up Ojuola Infotech on social media and the other pages he has. Here on Elance® he reveals that he’s from Nigeria:
Early on in my investigation I went to his Facebook page. There he was alongside his family in front of a house, all dressed in the colorful garb that I assume is common to their nationality.
I didn’t take a screenshot, dang it, because it’s the polar opposite of who he portray himself as. Soon after, he blocked me… probably because I was going around the Internet and wherever I could leave a review on my book, I would expose that he was a thief and this book was not his. He was on to me.
As I continued to gather all of the online information that I could about my book, I discovered with great alarm that the thief had bought an ISBN number for my book.
Through Bowker® that would cost $125. This is when I knew I was up against a professional who wasn’t playing around. Did he have my other three books in the series? Would I soon see them stolen as well?
My next move was to contact an Intellectual Property Lawyer.
His first question was, “Do you have that book copyrighted?”
“Ummm… well, yes… I put copyright notice on the work itself.”
“No,” he said. “I mean is it registered with the copyright office? And what about the brand… is it trademarked?”
The answer to both questions was a rather weak no.
We couldn’t go after him because he’s in Nigeria, but the first step in getting my book off the bookseller sites was to get my ebook a registered copyright. So that’s what I did as fast as my fingers could type.
I’d heard good things about The Trademark Company, so that’s where I went. Although you can register a copyright for as little as $35 at the U.S. Copyright Office, I didn’t mind paying $99 to The Trademark Company just to make sure it was done quickly and correctly.
Even though it takes five to eight months to receive a Certificate of Copyright from the U.S. Copyright office, you’re protected as soon as your copyright has been filed. I got my notice in just two hours.
My next step was to find the legal department of Amazon. It turns out that if you have a claim of copyright infringement, you have to comply with their process. Fortunately it was easy for me to prove that the book was mine. I had the other three books that make up the four-part collection and took a snapshot of my files proving the dates and components of the book.
While it was easy to prove my ownership, the process was tedious and it made me angry I had to do the process over and over again, one by one, with each online bookseller.
Amazon was swift in accepting my claim as true. However they said it might take some time to take the book down, and indeed it took about two weeks to get them off of the Amazons in all of the countries they’re in.
In the meantime, I continued to contact Barnes & Noble, Abe Books, Books-a-Million and some other smaller concerns. It killed my schedule for getting paying work done. But now, Ojuola and his buddy Aremu, are not making money off me. Since I caught them so quickly it’s doubtful they made any money at all.
But they’re probably making money off of other poor souls. They have four or five other books out at the same time as mine (such a coincidence!), and they are almost surely stolen.
So how did it happen to me?
According to my webmaster, he came to my site (probably using keywords related to copywriting or income), saw my landing page for the Copywriters Pricing Bootcamp product, and went searching for the downloads page. Even though I had created a cryptic URL, he still found it.
How do I prevent him from stealing from me again?
I don’t use a downloads page any more. Instead I’m using a service (E-junkie), that delivers the files via email.
He’d be a fool to mess with me again, and I doubt that he will. Because Ojuola Infotech is a very busy scammer. While looking at his online “properties,” I found this one where he offers to set up a non-U.S. PayPal account for you. (Obviously, he got his buddy Bolakale Aremu to pose as a client.)
In his sell copy, Ojuola Infotech reveals that PayPal will not allow some countries, including Nigeria, to use its services.
© 2016 Chris Marlow, All Rights Reserved
P.S. — Got a question? Got a comment? Has anyone ever stolen your content? Please share…