1 week live, 1 sale and already COURSE STOLEN AND PIRATED! Really!

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1 week live, 1 sale and already COURSE STOLEN AND PIRATED! Really!

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Hi

 

I launched my course a week ago, got one sale, and a couple of days later, already found my course content stolen and uploaded to a pirate site. It's behind a "premium" paywall so has to pay a monthly access to get to download the file (along with the usual viruses).

 

I can see exactly how it happened. There was a "student" who obviously created an account has they used the new learner coupon code, bought both my courses, on the 12th Nov and shortly refunded them. On the 13th both courses appeared on the page 1 on google on the pirate site.

 

Having just started and made one sale for a grand total of $2, it's a bit disappointed how easily content can get stolen and someone else benefits, not the creator and all my hard work. It's a 12 hour course so maybe that's why it got stolen?

 

My feeling as the course appeared on the "new" course feed which is being prowled by pirates. Therefore I am thinking a strategy to deal with this scenario in future, is to upload only 20-25% of my intended course content and then make the course live. After the pirates have had their fill when the course is new, a few weeks later, upload the remaining 75% content. In this way, the pirated course could only contain a minimum number of content rather than the full content, and the pirates have moved on.

 

The other strategy is to embed electronic signature in each video via stenography, though not sure it's worth it.

 

I guess I could take a compliment that the pirates thought the course was valuable enough to bother stealing.. if the course was shorter, maybe they wouldn't bother (hence strategy above to go live with minimal "poor" content). 

 

Any ideas how to deal with this piracy threat as it's almost killed my hopes for success in just a week on being on Udemy. 

 

Thanks

 

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Isn't online <anything> wonderful?

Having been on Udemy close to 5 years, it is just something you accept, it happens.

95% of pirates would never be your students on Udemy, it will have very little impact on your earnings here.

Pirates come back, making a limited content seems like a bad idea for the actual students.

If Hollywood with billions in earnings could not make a dent in piracy, then who are you and I?

 

Report it here: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/229604108-What-Should-I-do-if-I-Find-a-Course-on-a-Pirat...

 

/shrug, move on, focus on the things you can control (make better courses). 

 

 


Thor Pedersen - IT , Project Management, and Cyber Security trainer

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Don't let this get you down. My very first Udemy course was pirated the day it was launched. The exciting thing is that it is my best-selling course.  When someone pirates your course, it's not a lost sale because they never had any intention of buying it. Please do not let something as common as piracy stop you from creating courses. These people work full-time to take everybody's stuff. And honestly, that's not the audience you want to cultivate anyway. They are NOT purchasers or even prospective students. That said, I have ignored all forms of piracy of my courses. Had I let them get to me and taken down my courses I never would have made the money I have that changed my life. I would never have had over 100K students. Create more not less and do not give up.

 

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@TimMacLachlan This is a problem of any online platform. Making live the course without 100% may have some impact in genius students. It seen my course are getting uploaded in YouTube 😂. For myself I can’t stop such this, take it part of risk in the online world and move on.

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Isn't online <anything> wonderful?

Having been on Udemy close to 5 years, it is just something you accept, it happens.

95% of pirates would never be your students on Udemy, it will have very little impact on your earnings here.

Pirates come back, making a limited content seems like a bad idea for the actual students.

If Hollywood with billions in earnings could not make a dent in piracy, then who are you and I?

 

Report it here: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/229604108-What-Should-I-do-if-I-Find-a-Course-on-a-Pirat...

 

/shrug, move on, focus on the things you can control (make better courses). 

 

 


Thor Pedersen - IT , Project Management, and Cyber Security trainer

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It's a pity to hear something like that, but you don't have to make it too easy for such pirates. I, therefore, do not make the lessons in my courses available for download. If something can be downloaded, it is mostly PDF files that summarize or instruct the respective topic. Of course not a substitute for the video lesson but a good help for students who want to apply knowledge even if there is no internet connection.

Best

Martin Sutter

 

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Hi Martin

 

Thanks for your reply - strange this is I haven't made any of my videos downloadable! I made sure of that, so I think they used some sort of screen grabbing software. The other thing I don't understand is how they managed to get a refund. It's my understanding is that after watching a certain % of the course, then it's not possible to get a refund.. ie if a student watches 100% within 30 days can get still ask for a refund?

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ANYTHING can be downloaded with simple scripts, since it takes some skill most people can't, you making your videos downloadable or not has no impact on that.

For the refund that should be true, I don't know what the percentage watched for no refund, but it is supposedly there. 

So no, they should not be able to.


Thor Pedersen - IT , Project Management, and Cyber Security trainer

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just yesterday 1 of my students watched 100% course then he got refund . Really frustrating

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@TimMacLachlanwe are similar to the movie business... Piracy will happen... We can either continue to create new courses and make more money.. or focus on getting our courses off the piracy websites... I prefer the first option better 🙂

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I just had the same thing happen. Uploaded several courses very recently. Had a student enroll in two of those courses, then suddenly disappear from enrollment. No sale made. Today I found both courses on a piracy website. I'm currently dealing with that. In the meantime I have unpublished all of my courses. I will most likely remove them all from Udemy, and just continue to sell on my own platform as I have been. I am appalled at how quickly and easily someone was able to steal courses that were not downloadable.

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Hi Sabrina

 

Sorry to hear you are having the same thing happen as me. Every time I publish a course, as soon as it's announced as a new course, I get the usual Anonymous users who buy the course and the immediately refund it. Lo and behold, a couple of days later it's on the piracy sites. It's happens like clock work, without fail every time. They obviously lurk around the "newly published" lists on Udemy and target any new courses. I don't know why we can't just block anonymous users.

I now expect it to happen every course. The way I deal with it is as follows. I know others will disagree:

1. Upon publishing a course and getting it approved, I immediately 'hide' the course for 2 weeks. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but in my experience, the first few purchases are 95% pirates and happens in the first week.

2. I then unhide the course after the two weeks have past and have fallen off the new lists.

3. The course I upload is a cut down version of the course I intend to publish. Therefore if it's stolen, it's of limited use to someone trying to steal the course.

4. I drip feed the content over next few weeks.

5. I inspect the student's profiles purchasing the course, and if they look legitimate (pirates stand out like a sore thumb), then I send them a message to thank for their purchase and politely ask for their patience as I upload the content.

6. Once I month, I patrol the search engines and build up a list of the URLS with links to the hosting sites. 

7. I DMCA the file sharing sites and usually get the content taken down - most of the time, 95% of the piracy sites link to the same file shares. Therefore a quick email can kill the head of the snake.

8. I then use the tools in Google,Bing to take down the links of the piracy sites to cleanse the search engines of listings

9. In each of the courses, I now have a lecture at the beginning outlining the benefits of purchasing the courses - like help from me, fresh content, up to date content and the disadvantages of using a pirate copy and gently encourage them to buy from the official pages in Udemy.

 

This may be some help to you

Thanks

Tim

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Thank you for this outline of steps to take. I am new and will incorporate them from the start. Though I am exhausted reading what is required to protect your property, I don't want others profiting off my sweat. Thank you~

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Thank you for this helpful response, Tim. It's so frustrating, isn't it? I've contacted the website host re: removal, contacted Udemy. I'll need to republish the courses to report the infringement through Udemy's reporting process as well, and then yes, I'll report to Bing and Google. I've had similar issues on my blog with content scraping. It's such a hassle, honestly. And this piracy site, it seems to be almost exclusively Udemy courses. Such a joke. I really do agree that Udemy could be more rigorous in not allowing anonymous sign-ups. 

 

As for continuing with Udemy, I'm not sure at this point. I also use Teachable, which I love, and have never had issues with. But it's about helping people, right. And Udemy is a great platform with which to expand your reach and help more people.

 

I will think on the drip content idea, etc. Thank you again!

 

Sabrina

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The same thing happened to me as well. As soon as I uploaded my course at udemy, the next moment I saw it appear on the pirate web sites.

Yet my course was on premium price.  I do not know how Udemy cannot prevent such theft.

The thieves' actions are obvious: they pay for the course, download it and then ask for refund. Perhaps, Udemy could make the refunding somewhat  more difficult.

Or we need to come up with some clever ideas so that they will not bother downloading it. 

I do not know how other teaching platforms such as Teachable and the likes  prevent this kind of theft. 

 

Fevzi

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I created a new course a few weeks ago. As soon as it was approved by Udemy, 3 students bought the course, even if it wasn't indexed by Udemy and before I had made any announcements about it. How is this possible?

Of course, after a short time they refunded the course. So my assumption is that there are multiple accounts and they download different parts of courses, in order to bypass the refund limit.

My conclusion is that Udemy is a paradise for internet bots, I've seen this so many times. Maybe Udemy likes this, since it creates the illusion of a bigger audience.

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Hi all 

 

Absolutely - each of my courses within a couple of weeks of going live there is always a user 'anonymous' from Egypt that purchases the course for a big discount (regardless of price) and then after a day downloading the content, refunds the course. Bam! It's then uploaded onto a pirate site. I don't know why we can't block anonymous users or from certain countries like we can on a certain marketplace site. I think it should be our choice to exclude certain countries from purchasing or users hiding behind anonymous details. I've yet to find a valid, genuine anonymous user.

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I feel the same about Udemy. The same thing happened to me a few months back. I informed the Udemy about the  incidence. They could at least prevent the first buyers from refunding it. Somehow, the first buyers are the thieves who somehow purchase the course at reduced price even if  the course is not placed  in the Udemy Deals program. They do nothing about it. That demoralizes the teachers really.

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Hi Tim- I am a new author and am just now finishing my first (of what I hope to be many) course. How are you searching for your courses? How would I know if someone pirated my course? Please advise. I'm inclined to agree with Thor that this may be par for the course (no pun), but I'd still like to know if my material is stolen, even if I can't prevent it or punish them. Thanks!

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Hi 

I do a Google and Bing search for my course name plus "download", "free" and inspect the entries in the first 10 pages or so. Some are legit, and could be affiliates so be really careful of those. Others are obviously dodgy sites, bulletin boards etc. I found that most sites will link to the same content on file sharing sites. There are about 5 main file sharing sites. Once you find the links, make a list and then so a DMCA request on the file sharing site page. Most sites have one. Most respond within about 48 hours or so. Once you kill the head of the snake - where the content is actually located then the pirate sites don't matter as they then link to dead links. Actually these pirate sites can act as a form of advertising as, dead links will frustrate any one looking for an easy picking.

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I noticed this behavior and concluded that the first anonymous purchase might be the (contract-based) reviewer hired by Udemy. You might have noticed that only instructors and co-creators have admin rights to watch content in a dedicated preview mode. A discount coupon for third-party contracts/or full-time employee reviewers can be accommodated to save software costs. To get paid, they must refund the course. I can imagine the sales algorithms ignoring the first few sales; this is cleanly swiped under the carpet.

@Bella, please confirm with the product team if such mechanisms are in place.

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I was wondering why I had several refunds in January. This is a long term course that historically had one refund in 3 years, and suddenly bam….all the sales from Black Friday refunded.

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Don't let this get you down. My very first Udemy course was pirated the day it was launched. The exciting thing is that it is my best-selling course.  When someone pirates your course, it's not a lost sale because they never had any intention of buying it. Please do not let something as common as piracy stop you from creating courses. These people work full-time to take everybody's stuff. And honestly, that's not the audience you want to cultivate anyway. They are NOT purchasers or even prospective students. That said, I have ignored all forms of piracy of my courses. Had I let them get to me and taken down my courses I never would have made the money I have that changed my life. I would never have had over 100K students. Create more not less and do not give up.

 

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