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Old 02-10-2015, 01:07 PM   #1
doubleshuffle
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Kbook: My new favourite rip-off "publisher"

Quite a while back I threw a public tantrum here about a nasty rip-off publisher who takes books from the MR library and sells them elsewhere. I've learned that it is no use getting worked up about that; it's just the way it is with public domain stuff.

And yet there is a new kid on the block who takes it a step further by not only taking the text from the MR editions, but also the cover images, in short, the complete books just as they are. And he has uploaded a massive amount of books to the Kobo store in a very short time.

So if you or your friends and relations have money to burn on stuff you can get for free here on MR, point them here.
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Old 02-10-2015, 02:21 PM   #2
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I've said it in the past and I'll say it again -- I really do think MobileRead should establish an imprint and publish the MR library (for free, obviously) at the various ebookstores. It could be opt-in, but I really do think it should be something to look into.

Besides being terribly convenient for ereader integration, it also means there will be less market for third-party ripoffs... if nothing else, the vendor systems would probably flag binary duplicates being uploaded by others .
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:05 PM   #3
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@doubleshuffle, thank you for bringing this to our attention.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:20 PM   #4
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Here is a link to HarryT's Sherlock Holmes Omnibus.

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/eb...lmes-omnibus-5

This proves they are rip-off scum.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:35 PM   #5
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The Kobo Aus site shows that Kbook has 1,815 results. I'm not going to scroll through them all, but isn't this an indicator as to how many kbook has ripped off, from everywhere!!
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:59 PM   #6
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This is a scum-sucking, bottom-breeding, low piece of trash.

You can quote me on that.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:01 PM   #7
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Oh, I will!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
This is a scum-sucking, bottom-breeding, low piece of trash.

You can quote me on that.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
This is a scum-sucking, bottom-breeding, low piece of trash.

You can quote me on that.
I agree Dr. Drib. I'd guess that for those of us who have worked on ebooks here in the MR Library the labor was a labor of love as we all love the written word and for someone else to grab up copies of our work and market it as their own is an offense. After all we didn't charge anyone anything for editing the file and fixing the TOC's etc. before uploading them here, so why should someone else get away with doing so?
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:10 PM   #9
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They can get away with it because the modifications/compilation is public domain usually -- I believe you can copyright the work you do (requiring others to use the text and make their own version) and Creative Commons is eminently suitable for this -- like the GPL2 with a different target audience.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:11 PM   #10
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Err... has anyone pointed this out to Kobo? I don't think they read MR forums, and they may not know that they are being used for this scam. Or of course it may be that they are the ones who are doing it.

I had a quick look through the Holmes Omnibus on the Kobo site (thanks for the link, Jon), and found nothing to indicate that it came from MR.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
This is a scum-sucking, bottom-breeding, low piece of trash.

You can quote me on that.


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Old 02-10-2015, 08:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
They can get away with it because the modifications/compilation is public domain usually -- I believe you can copyright the work you do (requiring others to use the text and make their own version) and Creative Commons is eminently suitable for this -- like the GPL2 with a different target audience.
I know the stories themselves are public domain, but are our specific versions might not be.
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:21 PM   #13
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I know the stories themselves are public domain, but are our specific versions might not be.
Generally speaking, they are, as that is how they tend to be released.

Otherwise the solution would be simple -- issue a copyright notice.
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:21 PM   #14
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The type of modifications done usually mean that the book itself would attract copyright. This person who has just copied everything would be breaching the copyright. I know vaguely that the US has a registration system for copyright and requires the use of a copyright symbol on the work, but am not sure of the consequences of not following that system. However, in Australia, the United Kingdom and likely the other common law countries copyright just exists, with no requirement of registration or requirement to show the copyright mark on the work.

There is then a question of whether the Download blurb waives such copyright. There is a reasonable argument that it does not, because although it asserts that the work is in the public domain it does say where it is not it is published with the permission of the copyright owner, which in this case would be the member or members making the modifications. People are clearly granted a licence to download and read the book, but how far does that licence extend? To verbatim copying and exploitation for commercial use?

I think the Library needs to be changed to an appropriate license which prohibits this type of behaviour. Certainly it should happen for any new uploads. I agree one of the creative commons licenses would likely be a good choice. This would require the co-operation of the "copyright holders", of course, not an easy task.

Amazon, Kobo etc should also be notified of what is happening, and if they will not take the books down, then asked to show clearly on the books page where the book has come from and where it is available for free. In many countries consumer laws could regard not doing so as "misleading". They could even be offered the contents of the library to be "sold" for free on their sites.

The situation is quite a complicated one, and raises many issues. US copyright should not be asserted without advice from a US lawyer.
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I had a quick look through the Holmes Omnibus on the Kobo site (thanks for the link, Jon), and found nothing to indicate that it came from MR.
If you do a read of the sample, you'll see the Book Designer formatting that HarryT used when he made that omnibus. The colored text is a clear giveaway. That and the same cover.
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