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Ask Dr. Lock: Can I Lock Someone Else’s eBook?

Ask Dr. Lock: Can I Lock Someone Else's eBook?

Today’s Question: February 11, 2014

“Hi Doc, I’m new to content locking. I have a nice eBook written by one of the top internet marketers and he allows it to be distributed for free. If I take that advantage and lock it, would I be against Adscend Media’s TOS? Thanks.”

Kubai M., Nairobi

Dr. Lock: Kubai, first off, I like that you are paying attention to our terms of service. This dedication to learning the rules of our network shows that you are a valuable publisher in our network. A “tip of the cap” to you for focusing on compliant content locking!

Now let’s get back to your question and hopefully the information below will give you some more clarity on whether to proceed with locking the eBook in question. Is locking that particular eBook a violation of our terms of service? Unfortunately, I won’t be able to provide you with a definitive “yes” or “no,” as more information is needed. An eBook, as with all pieces of published content, isn’t consistent in the types of usage rights and copyright restrictions that it allows. Basically, usage rights and copyright restrictions can vary from one eBook to the next and depend on the author’s discretion. Therefore, I can’t say with certainty that locking the eBook that you referenced is not against our TOS.

The fact that the author allows free distribution of the eBook is a great start in the process of making sure that locking the eBook is a TOS compliant practice. However, more information is needed before you can know if your usage would violate our TOS. For example, an author may allow an eBook to be distributed for free, but may not allow that same eBook to be used for commercial purposes, may require some sort of source attribution, or may have other usage restrictions that the author considers vital to protecting the rights of that eBook. Therefore, even though an eBook may allow free distribution, locking that eBook may still constitute copyright infringement. At Adscend Media, any usage of copyrighted materials without permission is a violation of our terms of service.

So, how can you find out if you can lock that eBook without violating our TOS?

To determine if you can lock the eBook, I recommend first reviewing the terms of service and/or terms of use on the eBook publisher’s site and on the eBook itself. These areas may have information which can help you decide if locking the eBook may cause copyright infringement. Next, and most importantly, I recommend that you contact the author and ask for permission to lock his or her work. This method is the easiest way to know if you have the author’s permission to lock the eBook.

In the end, to avoid going against our TOS, it is always easier to lock content that you own or have the rights to use as you please. However, locking content from other sources isn’t necessarily a bad idea. I just recommend that you get permission from the creator of the content first.

Finally, please note that we aren’t legal professionals and this post shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. If you have any additional copyright and/or fair use questions, please contact your attorney. For more information on our terms of service, please visit:

Good “Lock”

-Dr. Lock

Dr. Connie Tent Lock is the “World’s #1 Content Locking Expert” according to himself. When not content locking everything, you can find Dr. Lock roaming the halls of the Adscend Media offices.

The Doctor is always available to help you make more money using Adscend Media’s AdLock® technology. To ask Dr. Lock a question about content locking, please email your question to Please note, if you submit a question to Dr. Lock, you are giving Adscend Media permission to post your question on the Adscend Media Blog. If you do not want your question posted on our blog, please add “Don’t Post” in the subject line of your email.

Tony Cohn

Tony Cohn is a marketing manager with Adscend Media, a leading rewards-based advertising ad platform for mobile apps and games. When not at work, Tony enjoys watching New York Mets baseball, smoking cigars, and running. Originally from the Bay Area, Tony currently resides in Sacramento, CA.

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