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Old 06-17-2011, 11:12 AM   #1
L.J. Sellers
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E-book scams rise (buying or stealing content)

This short news piece was in Shelf Awareness today with a link to the full Reuters article, which is worth reading. It was rather startling, but it shouldn't have been.

A flood of e-book spam "that is far from being book worthy" is clogging the online bookstore of the Kindle e-reader, with thousands of e-books "being published through Amazon's self-publishing system each month," Reuters reported, adding: "Many are not written in the traditional sense. Instead, they are built using something known as Private Label Rights, or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book."

Internet marketing specialist Paul Wolfe said one popular tactic involves copying an e-book that has started selling well and republishing it with new titles and covers to appeal to a slightly different demographic, Reuters wrote.

"It's getting to be a more widespread problem," said Susan Daffron, president of Logical Expressions. "Once a few spammers find a new outlet like this, hoards of them follow. Amazon will definitely have to do more quality control, unless they want the integrity of their products to drop."

L.J.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:32 AM   #2
HarryT
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PLR is scarcely a new phenomenon - it's been around for years.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:44 AM   #3
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This is one area where traditional publishing offered some safeguards.

It's possible that this can really harm the credibility of indie published works, miring them in a sort of black market populated with "fakes" and so forth. People may stop trusting (or be leery of) ebooks not stamped with the name of a big publisher.
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:02 PM   #4
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Unless it comes as a recommendation from friends/family/some of you kind folks here, I tend to avoid indie published works. I had the horse-blinders on about PLR, though. Having read up on it now...I've heard about the process, but I wasn't aware what it was called Private Label Rights.
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:05 PM   #5
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"forcing readers to plow through many more titles to find what they want"

Necessary evil if you want to liberate publishing and allow more diversity in what we are allowed to read. I would have thought people would know how to sort the cream from the scum by now.
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:07 PM   #6
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Nothing new. I've been chasing down websites that have stolen my content ever since I became involved in ebooks - long before the Kindle popularized them.

It's like playing whack-a-mole on an infinite grid, sometimes.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:15 PM   #7
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Sounds like this 1995 story.
Quote:
Consider today's online world. The Usenet, a worldwide bulletin board, allows anyone to post messages across the nation. Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen.
[...]
What the Internet hucksters won't tell you is that the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don't know what to ignore and what's worth reading. Logged onto the World Wide Web, I hunt for the date of the Battle of Trafalgar. Hundreds of files show up, and it takes 15 minutes to unravel them—one's a biography written by an eighth grader, the second is a computer game that doesn't work and the third is an image of a London monument. None answers my question, and my search is periodically interrupted by messages like, "Too many connections, try again later."
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khalleron View Post
Nothing new. I've been chasing down websites that have stolen my content ever since I became involved in ebooks - long before the Kindle popularized them.
Sure wish someone would steal my poetry and publish it:

a frog
sat on a log
and wished he was a dog
in the middle of a bog
with a sky full of fog
then went for a jog
on a hog

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Old 06-17-2011, 03:42 PM   #9
khalleron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Sure wish someone would steal my poetry and publish it:

a frog
sat on a log
and wished he was a dog
in the middle of a bog
with a sky full of fog
then went for a jog
on a hog

LOL.

While I have had a few sites steal my original short stories, mostly what gets stolen are the PD books I formatted for esspc-ebooks.com

How I catch them is they steal the descriptions, too. I Google myself, and when I find 'Kate Halleron contributed this book', then I know where they stole it from.
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Old 06-19-2011, 02:54 AM   #10
crich70
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It's how some Urban Legends get around and mutate as well I think. Someone tells the story and it gets around, vanishes for a while and then comes back with a twist or two here and there.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khalleron View Post
... mostly what gets stolen are the PD books I formatted ...
Do you claim copyright for this editing and formatting? Otherwise, how can one steal something that's in the public domain? Just curious.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:56 AM   #12
HarryT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue_librarian View Post
Do you claim copyright for this editing and formatting? Otherwise, how can one steal something that's in the public domain? Just curious.
One could claim a typographical copyright on formatting of a public domain work. This lasts for 25 years from the date of publication of your version of the book.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:03 AM   #13
Ken Maltby
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Maybe the Amazon ebook offering that was taken and "re-published" has a price attached?

I might be a little pissed if someone was profiting from my hours of donated work.

Luck;
Ken
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:05 AM   #14
khalleron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue_librarian View Post
Do you claim copyright for this editing and formatting? Otherwise, how can one steal something that's in the public domain? Just curious.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Maltby View Post
Maybe the Amazon ebook offering that was taken and "re-published" has a price attached?

I might be a little pissed if someone was profiting from my hours of donated work.

Luck;
Ken

I'm not claiming copyright, but my work was donated to esspc-ebooks.com - no one has the right to profit from my labor (or Ken Mattern's) without my (our) permission.

It would be the same as if someone were taking books from the MR library and selling them on Amazon without alteration.

There might not be a legal recourse, but telling people to knock it off is perfectly legitimate.
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:19 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by khalleron View Post
There might not be a legal recourse, but telling people to knock it off is perfectly legitimate.
I think that it might be wiser to educate the buyers. I mean people eventually got the point that clicking on the bright red "Congratulations! You are our 1,000,000th visitor" button, so eventually they might get the point that they should look at the source of a book, even if it is sold by Amazon.
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