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