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Goodreads and Scribd - did you know they seem to plagerise stories?

Ernest Bywater

I don't have an account with either of them, yet there are author accounts in existence on them under my name. I don't mind them having the stories I put out in the world as free via Lulu, but I object to the others being available free. And the Clan Amir series was never put out as free stories - along with a book that isn't mine.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/list/7467972.Ernest_Bywater

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4786255.Ernest_Edwards

https://www.scribd.com/mr6ernest6bywater-1

Scribd has the five books I made available via the Lulu Market Channel that includes Amazon, but it has an author account and book that should be paid for and not free.

Makes you wonder how these sites operate.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

You do realize that people cannot download your work directly from Good reads, correct? Goodreads is essentially a large social network surrounding books. Goodreads is directly linked to Amazon's and other archives, so anything published on Amazon (or other sites) will show up in Goodreads, but if a reader wants to read something they find on Goodreads, they have to purchase it through the other sites. You would then get your standard royalty through that site.

As far as Scribd goes, they are strictly a subscription based site, so the only people who can download a book through them are the people who pay for subscriptions. I suspect that if your books are showing up in Scribd, it is because Lulu distributes to them. I say that because I only distribute through Amazon exclusively and none of my titles through any of my pen names, show up on Scribd. (If you make sales on Scribd and your titles show up because Lulu distributes to them, you should still receive royalties from the sale. Scribd pays fairly well for their downloads).

But neither of these sites plagiarize.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

You do realize that people cannot download your work directly from Good reads, correct?


I know nothing abut how Goodreads work. Their website has an author account with my name and some books listed. When you follow the links for the books they do not list Lulu as a purchase option location. None of the stores listed are approved to sell the book titles I'm concerned about. There are three which are free and available through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple iStore which I'm not worried about. The Clan Amir series aren't approved for sale via any of the stores Goodreads lists. They should not be listed at all.

As to Scribd, my knowledge level is the same, but they only list the books I've made available through the channel link to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Apple iStore so I can see where they got things from one of them. However of the listed books only one do I get a royalty off and they have it available as free for 14 days. And I've had no sales of that book through that sales channel.

If they're going to list my books and set up a page they should, at least, tell me about it.

Chris Podhola
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


The Clan Amir series aren't approved for sale via any of the stores Goodreads lists. They should not be listed at all.


Well, I think you're getting worked up before you look deep enough into this to figure out what's really going on. But if you actually try to access the sites listed by Goodreads, you will find that they are not actually available on these sites (I did not check them all, but out of the first four or five, none of these stores actually carried the Clan Amir Series). The buttons were available, yes. When I clicked on them, however, the book was either not there, or listed as 'unavailable for purchase'.

The reason the Scribd says 'free for 14 days' is because they do offer a 14 day free trial to new potential customers. This has no reflection on your title individually.

I am starting to question what your paranoia is toward bookstore companies. I don't think they are as evil as you continuously try to make them out to be.

Also note that Goodreads may not have any links to Lulu in general.

Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

Their website has an author account with my name and some books listed.


Just because your books are archived based on an author does not mean that you have an author page. They simply archive book titles by author as any bookstore does. It's just the way things are done within the industry.

JohnBobMead

Scribd doesn't, so far as I can tell, vet the books that people upload to see if they have the rights to them. There is a Scribd page with The Medieval Tailor's Apprentice loaded, it's not the author's page, and you can download it if you pay your fees to Scribd. So Scribd /does/ allow copyright violation. I'm pretty sure they don't insist upon screen names matching real names, so it would be real easy for someone to set up a page with the actual author's name, upload their stories, and voila! Scribd actively encourages uploadomg files; for every file you upload, you can download a file for free. Scribd keeps all the revenues for themselves, no funds pass on the the uploaders.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@JohnBobMead

Scribd doesn't, so far as I can tell, vet the books that people upload to see if they have the rights to them. There is a Scribd page with The Medieval Tailor's Apprentice loaded, it's not the author's page, and you can download it if you pay your fees to Scribd. So Scribd /does/ allow copyright violation. I'm pretty sure they don't insist upon screen names matching real names, so it would be real easy for someone to set up a page with the actual author's name, upload their stories, and voila! Scribd actively encourages uploadomg files; for every file you upload, you can download a file for free. Scribd keeps all the revenues for themselves, no funds pass on the the uploaders.


Unfortunately, not much of what you are saying here makes any sense. You say that Scribd allows just anybody to upload books, but keeps all of the revenues (according to their site, they do pay royalties). So, why would anybody bother if, according to you, they keep all of the money? Why would anyone bother supplying them with materials, whether the materials were theirs or belonged to someone else. They wouldn't even get name recognition out of the deal. That would still go to the actual author (Ernest's works are still under either his name or his pen name).

Also, why would other reputable companies such as Smashwords and Lulu (both of these companies do have distribution deals with Scribd). If they are engaged in these unethical behaviors, they stand to be dragged down along with scribd when the shit starts hitting the fan. (Which if they were doing this, eventually the shit would hit the fan. Authors do not just stand idly by while their work is trampled on, so if they are doing this, the monkey's wrench will fly).

No kind sir. Unfortunately, I think you are just blowing fart smoke.

anim8ed

The author pages on Goodreads are generic and at the bottom it asks if this is you. so you could open an account and claim them (not sure how they verify). They list on both that you write under two names so they are connected and both link to your website.

Goodreads is a book recommendation site based on social networking. I am sure they monetize by being an official affiliate sales outlet to the various book dealers with which they have links.

Whether or not you want to jump through the hoops to verify yourself on Goodreads is up to you. I don't see them as a problem as all they are doing is hopefully directing traffic towards your books and site. Personally I would rather purchase through the author's site rather than a third party or even the bookseller. Do the booksellers allow authors to be affiliate sales outlets?

Chris Podhola

@anim8ed

The author pages on Goodreads are generic and at the bottom it asks if this is you. so you could open an account and claim them (not sure how they verify). They list on both that you write under two names so they are connected and both link to your website.


If you actually go through the 'is this you' process, you are not automatically given an author page (I have no idea why anyone would do this because their is zero financial benefit). What happens is that you are then vetted to see if you are the author. You must provide an email address and go through a process to be given an author page. I know because this is how I got my author page on Goodreads.

And yes, an author can become an affiliate and make additional moneys through referrals (This is at least true on Amazon. I don't know about other sites). Doing this would not generate a huge revenue for most authors, however. Unless they have a website that generates thousands of hits per month, but many authors do it because doing so does give additional tracking information.

Ernest Bywater

@anim8ed

Goodreads is a book recommendation site based on social networking. I am sure they monetize by being an official affiliate sales outlet to the various book dealers with which they have links.


Interesting comment, in light of their terms of use copied below:

quote:

Main Terms
By posting any User Content on the Service, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have a right to grant, to Goodreads a royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, list information regarding, edit, translate, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, and make derivative works of all such User Content and your name, voice, and/or likeness as contained in your User Content, in whole or in part, and in any form, media or technology, whether now known or hereafter developed, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing for any purpose at the sole discretion of Goodreads.

Writer Terms
By posting or submitting any Work on or to the Service, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have a right to grant, to Goodreads a royalty-free, sublicensable (solely as required to publish the Work in connection with the Service), transferable (solely to a successor to Goodreads' business), revocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, publish, list information regarding, edit, translate, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, and (for formatting purposes or to conform to system requirements only) modify and make derivative works of the Work and your name, voice, and/or likeness in connection with the Work, in whole or in part, on and through the Service, and to permit and authorize Users to download the Work as specified by you through settings we may make available to you on the Service.

You authorize Goodreads to sell the Work free of digital rights management under a perpetual and freely transferable license to the User.

To ensure proper payment, you are solely responsible for providing and maintaining accurate contact and payment information associated with your account, which includes without limitation applicable tax information.

end quote

There's those lovely words again irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use - and I've never given them any approval for anything via anyone. But I don't mind what they do with the freebie books.

Chris Podhola
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


There's those lovely words again irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use - and I've never given them any approval for anything via anyone. But I don't mind what they do with the freebie books.


And yet, they don't sell or publish a damn thing on the site. Weird. It's just a bunch of die hard readers who go to the site and talk about what they love. Books.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
richardshagrin

My last business law class was very long ago, but it seems to me to form a contract you need both consideration and mutual consent. Maybe the law has moved along in the last 50 years or so, but how do they get away with enforcing stuff like that? Maybe with financially challenged people who don't know lawyers and couldn't afford one if they did, but if someone with resources went after them, couldn't they be shut down? Lets suppose they steal an edition of the bible that belonged to an influential church. Others could join in a class action suit and get damages enough to shut them down.

Chris Podhola

@richardshagrin

The whole thing is getting confusing to me. According to what Ernest quoted (and I don't doubt that his quote was legitimate), that they assume the rights to publish it. The only thing I wonder is if what they mean by 'user content' are comments spoken back and forth between users. The site is a social networking site and the users do communicate back and forth, but Goodreads themselves do not publish books, nor do they sell them. They probably do have affiliate accounts and they probably do make money if and when the Goodreads community uses Goodreads links to go and purchase titles that they find on the site, but I don't see how Goodreads could enforce any claims on the titles, because as Ernest has claimed, he has not given any consent for his materials to be on the site. Goodreads automatically accesses different archives and makes those titles searchable through their site, without any prior consent from the authors.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

And yet, they don't sell or publish a damn thing on the site. Weird. It's just a bunch of die hard readers who go to the site and talk about what they love. Books.


Yes, very weird, and makes you wonder why it's there! I suppose it may relate to who is their corporate owner - if it's Amazon, then that explains it - Amazon wants to totally own anything that goes near them.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

but how do they get away with enforcing stuff like that?


US law changes to empower corporate operations. Like why it's easier for a company to have a copyright for centuries but not a private person. Why a US company can keep renewing copyrights after the material is public domain in the rest of the world. Why a US comma can patent and copyright a medical formula and process invented in Australia and then demand royalties from the Aussie companies making it. Why the US legal system allows companies to patent parts of nature. Need I go on about crazy US law changes of the last four decades.

Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

'user content'


when you look at their terms of use they have two sets, one is general use and one is for writers - in both they refer to content. In one it's clear they mean reviews, comments, videos, and the like, while the other goes on to include stories and all other material posted to the site as well.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

Well, Ernest. Unfortunately you only have a few choices here. Stop publishing your work, so the evil bastards have nothing of yours to steal, or sue the evil bastards for linking to your work without your consent. I don't see how they can bind you to a contract that you never agreed to. That makes zero sense to me.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

That makes zero sense to me.


Which describes 90% of US law changes of the last 30 years.

I've asked them to remove the stories I'm concerned about, and it'll be interesting to see if they do anything.

Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

Keep me posted (if you don't mind). I'm curious to see what their response is. My impression is that your stories don't actually exist on their site. What I believe happens is that when you do a search on Goodreads, stories are accessed from other sites like Amazon etc. If they can remove them however, it would show me that my impression is wrong and they do have their own archives.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Chris Podhola


What I believe happens is that when you do a search on Goodreads, stories are accessed from other sites like Amazon etc.


The Goodreads author page has a list of books with links to book pages which have a dropdown box list of sites they send you to to buy the books. The only problem is the books I'm complaining about are not approved for sale by, or listed with, any of the sites in the list. Now a couple did go to Amazon pages where the book is listed as Currently Unavailable with an edition date that's a few years out of date; but were never listed with Amazon then, either.

I'm beginning to think Goodreads is part of the Amazon corporate umbrella and it's used to funnel traffic to Amazon using the names of any authors they can get a hold of.

edit to add: The very minimum they should be able to do is to remove the page listing of my book from their site.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

The Goodreads author page has a list of books with links to book pages which have a dropdown box list of sites they send you to to buy the books.


It still looks to me like we're talking about the same thing. (Or we could be) I think the dropdowns they offer are standardized buttons and exist for every book regardless of where it is or is not sold. I still have my doubts as to whether your book is actually being sold on any platforms it shouldn't be. Just because the button is there, doesn't mean that outlet is selling it. If there are any unauthorized outlets actually selling your book, then your complaint becomes a lot more valid. As of now, I am still grey on what your complaint really is.

Right now, to my understanding, you are upset because there is a popular website out there who has the potential to send buyer traffic to your book(s). For some reason this upsets you. I don't really get why. You have not signed nor agreed to any contract with this site, so are therefore not bound to anything within its contract. No court in the world would uphold a contract that you were never complicit or privy to.

I mean you no offense, Ernest, but to me it looks like you do everything in your power to get in your own way.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Chris Podhola

To illustrate my point, if you have time or the desire, watch this interview by Gaiman about book piracy. It is a four minute video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qkyt1wXNlI

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

When you follow the links for the books they do not list Lulu as a purchase option location.

Once again, arriving late, so many of these points may already be answered.

When you create an author page, you can specify which links you want, and Goodreads will search for them. You can arrange to sell directly via Goodreads, but I don't know of many authors who utilize this feature, as the sales aren't particularly high for the cost.

However, if you don't have an author's page, then anyone can list your book. It's a review site for books, so if someone reads your book, they're free to rate or comment on it. As was mentioned, it's fairly easy to create an account and identify yourself as the author. However, on either site, if you find a book for sale which isn't being sold by you (i.e. that's authorized), you can request that it be pulled). It's not uncommon for people to download a free book and post it somewhere, charging $10, or purchase your book for $2.99 and charging $20. That's why it makes sense to search your name and your book titles, as well as searching for your book contents to find people ripping you off.

If Amazon or other site detects two different people offering the same book, they'll freeze both accounts and keep ALL the profits until the confusion is straightened out. Many newbie authors are intimidated and simply give up, walking away from writing rather than fighting to document their work. But a simple screen shot of your original documents, or a link to the sites you do offer it on should be enough to prove you're the original author.

The best use of Goodreads, is that users there are more likely to post ratings for your story. So by posting your books there, anyone who's read them will add a score, making your work more visible to readers. I had a few books which only had a single rating on Amazon, and after posting to Goodreads, I gained another five (on Goodreads), which only grew over time. Basically, it's free advertising.

As far as Scribd is concerned, it's a 'sharing' site, and many authors oppose those on general principal. I never sold on Scribd, so I removed it as a sales option. I've never allowed Amazon to share my books, which still seems to be the majority opinion among authors.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


By posting any User Content on the Service, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have a right to grant, to Goodreads a royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, list information regarding, edit, translate, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, and make derivative works of all such User Content and your name, voice, and/or likeness as contained in your User Content, in whole or in part, and in any form, media or technology, whether now known or hereafter developed, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing for any purpose at the sole discretion of Goodreads.


Ernest, you always get bent out of shape about the ToS (Terms of Service). On Goodreads, this simply means they own the right to any reviews posted on the site. If you offer books through them, they don't physically store the ebooks on the site. Instead they deal with paper books, which they can't then claim the rights to since the text isn't stored on the site.

I've offered several book giveaways there. Only print books are accepted, and you the author are responsible for shipping them to the random drawing winners, meaning nothing at all passes through Goodread's hands. It's a very safe way to generate pre-release reviews for new books.

P.S. The reason why they have a similar clause for authors is because, should you ever become famous, they want to retain the right to highlight the book you personally recommended. The clause simply states that you can't revoke the rights to the reviews and comments you made after the fact. Again, no story content actually changes hand with the site.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Chris Podhola

@Crumbly Writer

It's not uncommon for people to download a free book and post it somewhere, charging $10, or purchase your book for $2.99 and charging $20.


Wait ... you guys don't actually think there are people out there trying to steal the work of us small timers ... do you?

I highly doubt that it is all that common. Shit. Selling my work is hard enough at the low prices I charge, let alone trying to sell it at $10 or $20 bucks a pop. To be honest, this sounds like more paranoia to me and we have much better things to worry about than crap like this.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Ernest, you always get bent out of shape about the ToS (Terms of Service). On Goodreads, this simply means they own the right to any reviews posted on the site. If you offer books through them, they don't physically store the ebooks on the site. Instead they deal with paper books, which they can't then claim the rights to since the text isn't stored on the site.


CW,

I always get out of shape when I see terms that want to take control of my rights. In the quotes I gave earlier there was a section in general about the reviews and one about the posting of stories. Here's the story posting one again:

quote

Writer Terms
By posting or submitting any Work on or to the Service
, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have a right to grant, to Goodreads a royalty-free, sublicensable (solely as required to publish the Work in connection with the Service), transferable (solely to a successor to Goodreads' business), revocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, publish, list information regarding, edit, translate, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, and (for formatting purposes or to conform to system requirements only) modify and make derivative works of the Work and your name, voice, and/or likeness in connection with the Work, in whole or in part, on and through the Service, and to permit and authorize Users to download the Work as specified by you through settings we may make available to you on the Service.

end quote

Bold added by me for emphasis. It's clear it relates to the story I post because it's in the agreement for a writer to post a story. That I don't like.

Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

By posting or submitting any Work on or to the Service


My question remains. What posting or submitting of any work on or to the service, did you, Ernest Bywater, make?

None, correct? This is why I am so baffled as to why you are so worried about what their contract or terms of service state. You have made no submission to them. Therefore, they have no claims to any of your work, nor have they made any claims to your work. Nor have they published any of your work. They have simply provided their customers links to your work.

Nothing more has happened.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@Chris Podhola

this sounds like more paranoia to me


It happens. People have stolen short stories, compiled them into an anthology, and sold them on Amazon.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

This is why I am so baffled as to why you are so worried about what their contract or terms of service state.


I have a few issues with it.

1. It seems someone else has posted my stories there while claiming to be me - that's identity theft. And they assume it was me and expect me to abide by the terms I never agreed to.

2. Worse, they have pointers to push people to sites where my stories aren't sold. If they pointed them to my Lulu page I wouldn't mind them doing it, but they don't.

If you follow the links they take you to Amazon who says it's not available. Most people will give up. If they had no links at all most people would do a search on Google and find my Lulu page. Thus the process leads people away from where they can buy it.

3. The way they have things set up they can share with others around the world and not pay me a cent, and never ask me for permission. That's not right.

I'm very easy to find on the Internet and to be contacted. Yet they make no effort to do so.

4. Some of the editions they link to are out of date, but they don't say that.

5. On one of the pages they list a book belonging to someone else as one of mine. That's how good they are.

It's been a few days since I sent their support people an email about this and not even had a confirmation of receipt of the email yet.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Switch Blayde

It happens. People have stolen short stories, compiled them into an anthology, and sold them on Amazon.


Who? They? People? How many? How often? Are we just guessing here, making things up? Is this something that is a big enough problem to lose sleep over? If so, I must suck as a writer, because I do spend a little time every now and then seeing if my stuff pops up where it shouldn't. So far, nada. I don't even know that it would bother me if it did. Free publicity, no matter how it comes, is a good thing.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Chris Podhola
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Well, I'm still not convinced that anyone is actually claiming to be you. Your stories are still listed under your name and I fail to see how a third party would benefit. I can see how Goodreads benefits if they have affiliate links with the major booksellers. If customers follow the links and make purchases, the site would make money that way, but so would you.

I don't see how they are sharing them with others around the world without paying you a cent.

Some of the other complaints you have are worth following up on and I wish you good luck in getting them resolved.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Chris Podhola


the site would make money that way, but so would you.


Wrong, I'd not make a cent from any sales through the sites they list because I don't have those books listed with them.

As I said before, if they listed the sites where I do sell from it wouldn't be a problem, but they send people in another direction, and away from where I do sell my books. It's damn close to the bait and switch marketing trick.

Also, the sites get the advantage of saying they have more authors and books listed than they're authorised to list. An advertising point for them. I'd bet I'm not the only one who has work being listed like this. Another issue is the book that isn't mine they lump in with my books as Ernest Edwards.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

Wrong, I'd not make a cent from any sales through the sites they list because I don't have those books listed with them.


I get that you would want the correct sites listed. That makes sense as I said in the previous message, some of your complaints ARE legitimate and should be pursued.

And are you now worried about how popular Goodreads is? I mean seriously. I'm all for encouraging to to worry about things that you should be worried about, but my hopes for you are that your first priority always stays with writing. That's what you are good at. Try to get this stuff fixed if you can, but please, don't let it consume your energy. Put that to writing.

Switch Blayde

@Chris Podhola

Who? They? People? How many? How often? Are we just guessing here, making things up?


My stories have been stolen and appeared on other sites. Readers notified me. Some were free sites while others were for pay. That's why I stopped posting on ASSTR.

I remember people pointing to an author on Amazon who stole stories and sold them as anthologies. I don't have the details now. It was some time ago.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Switch Blayde

I guess my concern here is that it is easy to get caught up with worrying about things beyond our control and it is also easy to become paranoid about infringements of these kinds.

Quite often, I consult with newer self published authors. Sometimes, they develop this false belief that their books are selling, but the platform they have chosen doesn't report all of the sales and keeps their money for themselves. Now, I certainly do recommend making sure you go with a reputable company for publishing. I'm sure there are some out there willing to rip off us little guys, but if you're dealing with the bigger names in self publishing, you can rest assured that if a sale is made, it is reported to you and you are paid your due royalties. The last thing these platforms want is a bad reputation, because their empires will fall like a house of cards if they got caught selling copies of books without paying the royalties they promised to pay.

Don't get me wrong, if you catch someone sticking their hand into your jar of cookies uninvited, smack their hand, stab it with a fork, or do whatever you have to do, but to sit around worrying about this kind of thing is counter productive. Don't give yourselves subconscious reasons not to write. Just write.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Chris Podhola

Chris, I've seen several works stolen, and we've discussed who had their works stolen on the old forum. It hasn't happened (as far as I know) on either SOL or FS, since it's a 'private site' requiring a log-in and ID, but copyright theft is a regular occurrence on ASSTR. That's the reason why so many authors remove their stories from there after a couple days/weeks.

Chris, it's a good practice to occasionally search for your stories, both the book titles and a random paragraph out of the story. If anything shows up on any sites you didn't authorize, report it and ask it be removed.

I had this done on one site I hadn't authorized, and later discovered that Smashwords authorized it, but since they didn't announce it, I didn't re-authorize it. The site offered the books for sale, but linked to the smashwords page for the actual sale.

Copyright theft is rampant. They don't hit small fry like us often, but they do if it's freely available. However, once it happens, there's not much you can do other than ask they be taken down.

P.S. I had my work stolen a couple (2) times. One time, it was a pseudo-book/porn site that wanted to attract new members. It was in a country which doesn't respect American's copyright laws, so there wasn't anything I could do about it. However, they copied my pages directly from ASSTR, which meant all the links jumped directly to my site, meaning anyone reading the story would end up visiting my site. As a result, I didn't fret about it.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I always get out of shape when I see terms that want to take control of my rights. In the quotes I gave earlier there was a section in general about the reviews and one about the posting of stories. Here's the story posting one again:

quote

Writer Terms

By posting or submitting any Work on or to the Service
, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have a right to grant, to Goodreads a royalty-free, sublicensable (solely as required to publish the Work in connection with the Service), transferable (solely to a successor to Goodreads' business), revocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, publish, list information regarding, edit, translate, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, and (for formatting purposes or to conform to system requirements only) modify and make derivative works of the Work and your name, voice, and/or likeness in connection with the Work, in whole or in part, on and through the Service, and to permit and authorize Users to download the Work as specified by you through settings we may make available to you on the Service.


Ernest, I imagine that, in this case, that passage refers to the items sold through the site, which is rare (i.e. most authors don't find it worthwhile paying the fee). In this case, it preserves their right to offer 'free updates' once the author removes the story. You'll find most of the book sites contain this language. It doesn't mean they will sell sell the work, or promote it once you've removed it, but it allows them to service it. But you're right, like most online service agreements, it grants almost unlimited access simply by someone visiting the site. Blame lack government oversight (sorry, Republicans, but you know it's true).

5. On one of the pages they list a book belonging to someone else as one of mine. That's how good they are.

Again, that's because the page was likely created by a reader, not a copyright thief. It was either done by mistake, or the readers incorrectly assumed it was written under a pseudonym. Another reason to go in and correct it. Once again, if you don't pay goodreads to sell your books for you, you've got nothing to fear.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

it preserves their right to offer 'free updates'


That may be what they tell people, but it is not what the actual words say. Over decades of dealing with the fine print in contracts and legislation I always look for the exact meaning and capabilities in the wording of such things. There are always many ways to word something and lawyers make a fortune from wording them to the advantage of their clients. When they have something worded in a specific way you can be sure they have a reason for it that's to the advantage of the client (ie Goodreads in this case) and not the other party.

Also, all the mainstream and general book sellers sell e-books and print books on the basis of you buy this as is and that's it none of them give you free updates later. I know Amazon, Apple, and a few others (all known for ripping people off to the max) say that's why they want the right to keep copies and making them available, but you can bet they also keep selling new copies of that to other clients after you pull out and they stop having to pay you royalties. There is no real justification for them to keep a copy for later sale or upgrade.

I blame both major US parties because both have passed laws to suit Corporate America due to over 90% of the politicians on both sides being owned by the companies paying them fortunes under the counter and in election campaign donations. The US Republicans may be at fault in the eyes of some, but the Democrats have also passed legislation to help companies stomp on the consumers and little people.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

That may be what they tell people, but it is not what the actual words say. Over decades of dealing with the fine print in contracts and legislation I always look for the exact meaning and capabilities in the wording of such things.

Ernest, I feel like we're beating dead horses again. My point was that, despite the ToS language, there's simply no way they have access to your stories! Why do you think no one but newbies ever pays to sell books on the site. I've listed books in their 'book giveaway' contests (where people request free books with the assumptions they'll write reviews), and it demands the author physically ship print copies of the books, thus there's no way the site gains access to the stories.

You ARE right that Amazon continues to sell books after they've been removed, but that's because Amazon stocks physical copies of print books to guarantee same-day shipping. I've never heard of them continuing to sell ebooks (I suspect, in your case, it was listed via your European book site, which never removed their submission from Amazon).

Chris Podhola

@Crumbly Writer

I always keep a spare dead horse in my closet just in case I feel like beating it a little more. The downside is mostly about the flies.

Chris Podhola

@Chris Podhola

And the smell. That gets to me a little too.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Amazon continues to sell books


yes they do, both print and e-books. Even the couple of my books they used to have access to as print books in the past they never purchased a copy to stock because they don't need to. The contracts they have are such that a Print on Demand printer nearest to the buyer will immediately print and ship the book once the order is paid for. But even if they did keep print copies on hand, they have a legal right to on-sell any books they've bought a copy of, but that doesn't apply to selling more copies of an e-book - which is something they've been shown to do in the past.

Crumbly Writer

@Chris Podhola

I always keep a spare dead horse in my closet just in case I feel like beating it a little more. The downside is mostly about the flies.

As an ex-Philosophy student, any time I hear about 'beating horses', I flash back to Fredrich Nietzsche, who's career ended when he witnessed someone beating a horse. He threw himself atop the horse to protect it, ranting at the top of his voice, and never recovered. He went insane (supposedly due to an undiagnosed case of syphilis). He spent the rest of his life in a mental institution, and his wife turned his books (about the fallacies of German suprematists) into tomes extolling Nazism.

richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

Its really expensive to own a congress-critter. Almost all of them are, however, for rent. Unfortunately, the rental period is extremely variable, and then the rent needs to be paid again. I do agree most organizations in the rental market are business companies. There are other organizations that rent legislators. Big Labor, Gun advocates (I though about using nuts, but I don't want a bomb through my window.) And other organizations Farm or Ranch groups based on crops or animals raised. Big Sugar got the prices of sugar in the US raised far above world prices, to support a few sugar cane producers. Its really expensive to run for office. One reason lots of successful candidate are wealthy is how long (and expensive) it takes to run for office, its hard for a real person to make a living and be a candidate, too. Of course if you make the laws, certain kinds of what look like bribery are not illegal. Being for rent attracts enough contributions that incumbent office-holders have exceptional success being re-elected. How long has your congress-critter been in office? Lots of terms, right?

Replies:   John Demille
John Demille

@richardshagrin

Big Sugar got the prices of sugar in the US raised far above world prices, to support a few sugar cane producers.


You mean the corn growers along with those who make Corn Syrup got the prices of sugar raised so that they screw the cane sugar producers (mostly outside the US) in the market?

richardshagrin

@John Demille

Short answer, yes. As I remember some Louisiana representatives worked with others on agricultural price supports, back scratching each other to get omnibus farm bills passed that all the farm state representatives had an interest in. There are sugar quotas for some countries, which benefits them, but lots of countries that produce sugar don't have a quota, or its very small. I think you are right about corn interests supporting high sugar prices. If world market pricing for sugar applied here, there would be a much smaller market for corn sweetener. If nobody cares, because they don't understand the issue, while a few in congress care very much, log rolling and other favor and vote trading can go a long way in doing things lobbyists want that are not particularly in the public interest. Given the opportunity to vote, should we pay two or three times world sugar prices in the United States, the vast majority of Congress would be opposed. Its not put that way. Do you support fair prices for farmers? gets a much different vote pattern. Its basically the same thing when you look at what the rules and quotas are for sugar imports in the blanket agriculture bills that get voted on. Welcome to Washington, DC where what we do has very little to do with what we say.

Ernest Bywater

@Ernest Bywater

I've asked them to remove the stories I'm concerned about, and it'll be interesting to see if they do anything.


Finally got a reply from Goodreads today (it includes my original email to them):

quote

Hi Ernest,
Thanks for writing in. Currently, the buy links you're referring to are customizable by each member. Anyone can set their buy link preferences, including what order they're displayed in and what buy links appear, in their account settings.

If a particular buy link appears on a book page, that doesn't necessarily mean that the book is available from that seller; it merely means anyone viewing the page can click to see if the book is available there. Since members can pick which booksellers they'd like to appear on every book page, they can pick and choose which seller they'd like to go through. If the book isn't available at one seller, they can just move on to the next one. As such, we can't manually change these links on the book page. Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns and we'll be happy to help.
Sincerely,
The Goodreads Team


On Tue, 6 Oct at 2:30 PM , ernest.bywater@gmail.com wrote:
question type: other
from email: ernest.bywater@gmail.com
summary: copyright infringement
question:
I am not a member of Goodreads, but noticed some of my books are listed there. I have a few titles that are available via the Lulu Market Channel to Amazon, KOBO, B&N, and Apple iStore, but the titles listed below are not on that channel and not legally available through any of the stores you list. I'm including your URL so you can easily find them and remove them. The other three titles as Ernest Bywater can stay, but all the Clan Amir ones should be removed unless you wish to provide a link to the Lulu store page for people to buy them at Lulu.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19102900-roslyn-research-yields-templar-secrets

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4786255.Ernest_Edwards

Regards,

Ernest Bywater AKA Ernest Edwards

end quote

Since it's not my account (which I told them) I can't make any changes, so their reply is a real intelligent and useful one - turn sarcasm off. Show how much they read the emails and how smart they are, negative IQ it seems!

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@John Demille


You mean the corn growers along with those who make Corn Syrup got the prices of sugar raised so that they screw the cane sugar producers (mostly outside the US) in the market?


I can picture the sugar cane rancher (?) pointing to his crotch as he dances around. "You can put your market right here!"

Richard, is there a big log-rolling lobby in Congress at the moment? 'D

Ernest, you'll need to go to the specific Goodreads page and identify yourself as the author of the work. If it won't allow you to, then you need to contact them again and demand they take the works down as copyright violations, but before you do, you need to investigate each link. If they access legitimate purchase sites, you've got no real objection (even if they list the wrong books). In that case, I'd simply attach a comment to the page, pointing out that you've never written the books in question. However, if the links go to someone else's Amazon site, then you should issue a take-down notice both to goodreads, and whichever service they're using to sell their copyright violations from.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer


Ernest, you'll need to go to the specific Goodreads page and identify yourself as the author of the work. If it won't allow you to, then you need to contact them again and demand they take the works down as copyright violations, but before you do, you need to investigate each link. If they access legitimate purchase sites, you've got no real objection (even if they list the wrong books).


CW,

1. I've contacted Goodreads on this issue and exchanged a number of emails. In their latest response they flatly refuse to remove anything at all and claim they have a legal right to breach the copyright laws on my artwork to display it on their website to allow their members to discuss the work.

In case you aren't aware, the cover artwork is a different copyright item to the story content, which is why it needs a separate statement on the copyright page.

2. They also refuse to make any adjustments to the lists of where the books are for sale and say that is up to the account holder to manage. Mind you, they allow anyone to enter any book they wish to and put in any sales links they wish to. Based on that you would not be violating their rules or policies to list every book in existence in the world and point the sale site information to your own website and then list those books as being unavailable at the moment. Although it's a classic bait and switch technique that's against the law in most countries it's legal on their site - or so they claim.

3. They put a lot of pressure on for me to create an account with them and put stuff available through them. They see this as the only way I can correct this.

4. It's very clear to me the site Goodreads has absolutely no interest in protecting an author's copyright or general rights in anyway, and their only interest is in promoting their site to their profit. They even violate author's rights in promoting their site and refuse to stop doing so when called on it.

I strongly recommend people not use Goodreads because I have to wonder what their long term plans are. Their terms of use are worded to steal an author's rights and they ignore basic author rights.

I'm happy to copy their latest response on to anyone who wishes to see it. Contact me direct by my email at SOL and use an email address I can easily reply to when you do.

Ernest

Replies:   Dominion's Son
Dominion's Son

@Ernest Bywater

In their latest response they flatly refuse to remove anything at all and claim they have a legal right to breach the copyright laws on my artwork to display it on their website to allow their members to discuss the work.


You need to determine where Goodreads is located. That will make a good deal of difference in terms of what copyright laws apply.

I doubt that they stated it that way.

Assuming that they are located in the US, most likely they claimed that this was "fair use" for purposes of allowing users to comment on the book.

If it does qualify as fair use under US law, they are not breaching your copyright.

If they are claiming fair use, there is a fairly good chance that they are right on that point if they are located in the US.

You will need to consult with an attorney specializing in copyright law in the appropriate country

It's very clear to me the site Goodreads has absolutely no interest in protecting an author's copyright or general rights in anyway


This is highly dependent on whose law Goodreads is subject to.

Under US law, there are no general rights outside of copyright that a creator would have over their works and there are certain limits to copyright.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominion's Son

Assuming that they are located in the US, most likely they claimed that this was "fair use" for purposes of allowing users to comment on the book.


I think Goodreads is under US law and is likely to be an Amazon subsidiary, but not sure about the link to Amazon. They have no physical contact address information, but have a US lawyer address and claim US law jurisdiction in their terms of service.

I'm aware of the fair use aspects of copyright. However, the fair use allows for 10% of the item copyrighted. Where they mess up is I make it clear there are two or more copyrighted items in relation to my stories and they have separate copyrights - the story is one and the cover artwork is a different copyright. Thus, under the fair use rules they can use 10% of the story for the purposes allowed under fair use, and also 10% of the cover art, but not the whole of the image. Thus display of the cover without permission is breaking the copyright laws. It's the difference between the copyrights that's behind the different covers when two publishers carry the same book - say a US edition and a UK edition.

Copyright info from one of the books involved, and is typical of them all.

quote

The Falcon
Copyright © 2007 by Ernest Edwards

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

Product names, brands, and other trademarks referred to within this book are the property of their respective trademark holders. Unless otherwise specified, no association between the author and any trademark holder is expressed or implied. Nor does it express any endorsement by them, or of them. Use of a term in this book should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark, service mark, or registered trademark.

Cover Art
The foreground image of the bird is the copyright of Eric Sloan and used here with his permission. The background is from an image titled DSC00686Cairns.jpg uploaded to Wikipedia by Tim35 released to the public domain on 22 May 2007. The manipulation is by Ernest Bywater. All rights to the final cover image reserved by the copyright owners.

end quote

Note two separate copyright statements, and the cover art recognises the copyright ownership of two others. None of whom gives anyone but myself and my approved agents approval to the images in any form. Goodreads is not an approved agent.

Also, the stories and artwork are created here in Australia and covered under the Australian copyright laws which are fully recognised by the US via trade agreements. I could take them to court under Australian law if I so wished, or under US law.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

However, the fair use allows for 10% of the item copyrighted.


No, fair use under US law is not that simple, particularly with images. How much can be used under fair use is dependent on both the nature of the work and the nature of the use.

A fraction of a percent of a text could be deemed a violation if the text is large enough.

On the other hand, the use of a complete image has been deemed fair use when the purpose for which it was used was commentary on the work. In one recent case concerning a photograph of a public figure, use of the complete image was deemed fair use where the use was commentary on the subject of the image.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Cover Art
The foreground image of the bird is the copyright of Eric Sloan and used here with his permission. The background is from an image titled DSC00686Cairns.jpg uploaded to Wikipedia by Tim35 released to the public domain on 22 May 2007. The manipulation is by Ernest Bywater. All rights to the final cover image reserved by the copyright owners.


That doesn't clearly read as you claiming your own copyright in the final cover art.

If you don't have your own copyright on the final image, you don't have standing to sue under US law.

I could take them to court under Australian law if I so wished


I don't know enough about Australian law to judge the accuracy of that statement.

However, if they don't have a physical presence in Australia or assets in Australia and they don't show up to respond to the Australian case, you will have to bring the Australian judgement to the US courts to get it enforced.

If you think this is worth pursuing, whether you decide to proceed in the US or Australian courts, you should probably consult with a US attorney so you are aware of what it would take to get an Australian judgement enforced in the US, what defenses they could raise under US law if all you have is a default judgement.

I know that there are cases where US appeals courts have reversed US default judgements in cases where the defendant showed up when the plaintiff was trying to enforce the judgement and the defendant claimed a lack of awareness of the case.

They could pull something like that to try to force the fair use issue to be litigated under US law. If you are going to pursue this, you should be prepared.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

That doesn't clearly read as you claiming your own copyright in the final cover art.


Regardless of if you read it as such or not, it makes it clear there is a copyright on the final image and they have no legal right to show the image without the approval of the copyright owner.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

However, if they don't have a physical presence in Australia or assets in Australia and they don't show up to respond to the Australian case, you will have to bring the Australian judgement to the US courts to get it enforced.


Tell that to the US law makers and Kim Dot Com about their stealing his money from non-US banks.

The Aust / US Trade Agreements include full recognition of each country's copyright laws and support of them. An Aust court judgement against the breaking of the Aust copyright by a US company will automatically be upheld in the US, just as the same holds true in the other direction.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


and they have no legal right to show the image without the approval of the copyright owner.


1. Under US law for fair use, that is not necessarily true. Even use of the full image could be deemed fair use depending on the totality of the circumstances.

2. Even if their use is not 'fair', only the copyright owner has standing to sue over it in US courts under US law.


Tell that to the US law makers and Kim Dot Com about their stealing his money from non-US banks.


While personally, I think Kim Dot Com is an ass, you're right he got screwed over by the US government. However, that was a criminal case brought by the government itself, not a civil case and, like it or not, that makes a difference.


An Aust court judgement against the breaking of the Aust copyright by a US company will automatically be upheld in the US, just as the same holds true in the other direction.


I agree, it would almost certainly be enforced by the US courts. However, it isn't going to be quite as automatic as you seem to think.

That said, assuming the defendant doesn't just roll over and pays without a fight, which seems unlikely given the attitude you have described so far, you will have to hire a US attorney and petition the US courts to enforce the Australian court decision.

While it is rare for US courts not to enforce foreign judgements (unless it's from a third world country with a dysfunctional court system) as a procedural matter the defendant will most likely be given the opportunity to argue that the foreign judgement should not be enforced.

Look, I'm not trying to talk you out of doing this or suggesting you are necessarily unjustified in doing it.

I am trying to encourage you to get appropriate legal advice in both the US and Australia. To make sure that you don't go in with too unrealistic a view of how copyright works in the US. I pointed out some areas where I think your claims might be vulnerable, areas that you should discuss with real lawyers.

Make sure your claims are as strong as possible before actually taking things to court.

Dominions Son

@Dominions Son

While it is rare for US courts not to enforce foreign judgements (unless it's from a third world country with a dysfunctional court system) as a procedural matter the defendant will most likely be given the opportunity to argue that the foreign judgement should not be enforced.


One area where even an judgement from a western democracy might be vulnerable is if enforcing it would be contrary to the US Constitution. In the US, copyright claims frequently get replied to with 1st amendment claims. The 1st amendment is part of why fair use is so much broader in the US than it is in any other country.

You went on quite a bit on the treaty obligations regarding copyright reciprocity. However, under US jurisprudence, those treaty obligations can never be superior to Constitutional requirements.

This is why I think you need proper US legal advice sooner rather than later.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

1. Under US law for fair use, that is not necessarily true. Even use of the full image could be deemed fair use depending on the totality of the circumstances.


I have the legal approval to use the aspects of the original images from their copyright owners, and the copyright of the combined finished product is mine. Thus they are breaking the copyright on a product I own. That's accepted US and Aust copyright law.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Look, I'm not trying to talk you out of doing this or suggesting you are necessarily unjustified in doing it.


DS, I'm not saying I'll take court action, I probably won't because I can't afford to pay for it in either system. I'm simply pointing out they're breaking the law and don't give a flying f**k about doing so because they know it'll be too expensive for anyone to call them on it. Thus they show their contempt for the authors they claim to be helping, which is the point I'm trying to make in this.

BTW I used to have a job where part of it was looking into the real life application of copyright laws in Aust and US in regards to certain types of academic papers and advising the authors on how to handle such issues. That was over a decade ago, but the main points and principles still apply. Should I take actual legal action I'd get a lawyer to handle it because they'll have the latest info, but I know they're breaking the law.

BTW KDC is an idiotic rectum, but the US AG is a bigger one.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I have the legal approval to use the aspects of the original images from their copyright owners, and the copyright of the combined finished product is mine. Thus they are breaking the copyright on a product I own. That's accepted US and Aust copyright law.


I haven't been reading this discussion, just skimming portions of it. And I don't know much about Goodreads. But I don't see Goodreads displaying your book cover as a violation of copyright.

How many times have you read an article about an issue of a magazine with the cover of the magazine in the article? Isn't that what Goodreads is doing?

They're not selling your novel. They're not using your book cover image to sell anything. They're displaying the book cover the same way the article displays the magazine cover (or if the article is about a book, the book cover).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

The 1st amendment is part of why fair use is so much broader in the US than it is in any other country.


If I had the money to take this issue up in the US courts I'd more likely win it there, because if I lost it on the basis used, certain other US corporations would have many mulit-million copyright abuse law cases thrown out on the same grounds. Think RIAA and MPAA in regards to things on the Internet.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


How many times have you read an article about an issue of a magazine with the cover of the magazine in the article? Isn't that what Goodreads is doing?


Actually, SW, that is not what Goodreads is doing!

In a magazine article they list the true publisher and where you can really buy the book while giving you a review of the book's contents. In a couple of cases there is a review, but the is no review for most of them. Also, the links on where to buy do not go to where you can buy them.

Edit to add; They're using my book covers in a bait and switch operation to push people to a website that doesn't carry those books and seems to be a sister corporation.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I have the legal approval to use the aspects of the original images from their copyright owners, and the copyright of the combined finished product is mine.


Again, there are a couple of potential problems under US law.

When building a work that is a combination other works, under US law there is a minimum level of your own original work that you must put in for ANY copyright to attach to the final image. And even then, copyright may attach only to those portions of the work that are original to you. This is not unique to images. There have been cases where people have published anthologies of public domain stories and had their copyrights on the anthology invalidated all together because they didn't add enough original work or had the copyright declared enforceable only as to those parts of the complete work that were originally theirs.

Copyrights on dictionaries, phone books, and encyclopedias don't cover the complete work as under US law facts can not be copyrighted.

The second issue is the 'fair use' issue. You can not discount this issue. 'fair use' under US law is fact intensive and based on a totality of the circumstances. With images, either photographs or artwork, there are cases where use of the entire work has been determined by a court to be fair use.

Do not write off the fair use issue without consulting a US copyright lawyer.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Think RIAA and MPAA in regards to things on the Internet.


The MPAA has actually been fairly quiet about internet issues, The RIAA however, a few years ago ran a big public legal campaign where they were going after everyone and any one. It backfired on them, hundreds of cases were dismissed en mass and their lawyers were sanctioned.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Also, the links on where to buy do not go to where you can buy them.


I've never been on Goodreads -- until now. I just created a sign-in.

I did a search on my author name and found that one person reviewed my novel. I guess that means she bought it. Anyway, the links do take me to the correct place to purchase it -- either KDP or Unlimited. Those are the places I put it.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

When building a work that is a combination other works, under US law there is a minimum level of your own original work that you must put in for ANY copyright to attach to the final image.


DS,

There are two main areas of building on the works of others, one has simple copyright aspects and one is very complex.

The complex one is when you do not have an advance approval from the other copyright holder/s beforehand. In that case a whole swag of issues as to how much etc comes into use.

The simple issue is when you have the advance legal approval of the other copyright holder/s to use and alter their image. In that case the new altered image is your copyright and yours alone. In that case it's also best to recognise the original image and list the copyright owner of the original image and how you have the legal right to use it. Below is a good example of this that's a lot easier to comprehend:

quote

Cover Art
The background image is NGC 1999 by NASA & STScI, and in the public domain - NASA MP Photo Guidelines, 12.05.08. The Athletics pictogram is in the public domain as a black figure. The manipulation and merging is done by Ernest Bywater.

end quote

Original background image from NASA is public domain, original pictogram was black and white and public domain. Final image has altered colours on the pictogram, trimmed NASA image and extra text added is a final copyright of Ernest Bywater only. The variation is more than sufficient to make it a new copyright.

In the cases with Goodreads the images include two private copyright images I got permission to use, I used only part of those images to merge and add text to make a totally new image that is very different from either original.

However, due to lack of funds, I won't be taking it to court.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Anyway, the links do take me to the correct place to purchase it -- either KDP or Unlimited. Those are the places I put it.


That's good for you, and it's the case for a the ones I have out there free, but it's not the case with the books I complained about.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


The simple issue is when you have the advance legal approval of the other copyright holder/s to use and alter their image.


Not under US law. Under US law, advance legal approval of the copyright holders on any components is always necessary unless fair use applies (which is always a complex issue), but that permission never sufficient by itself for a new copyright to apply to the derivative work.

Under US law whether a new copyright attaches to a derivative work is entirely about the nature and degree to which the original works have been transformed.

As to public domain works, permission from the copyright holder is impossible because there is no copyright to hold.


In that case it's also best to recognise the original image and list the copyright owner of the original image and how you have the legal right to use it.


That is always best from a moral perspective, when publishing a derivative work. However, at least as to US law, it is only necessary if your license from the owner of the original work specifically requires it. Since a license is never needed to create derivative works from public domain works, it is never necessary as to those works.


In the cases with Goodreads the images include two private copyright images I got permission to use, I used only part of those images to merge and add text to make a totally new image that is very different from either original.


You originally said that the background work was public domain, not copyrighted. Permission from the creator of a public domain work is irrelevant.

What matters for determining if copyright attaches to the derivative work is how much of the work is original to the derivative.

Yes, what you describe now is probably enough for copyright to attach, but, this is the first time you actually described how you transformed the images.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Arquillius

You can, with Scribd atleast, ask for your works to be removed under the DCMA. They must comply. I have asked them to do so now. My work listed is pay only.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

You originally said that the background work was public domain, not copyrighted. Permission from the creator of a public domain work is irrelevant.


When a person owns a copyright and then places it in the public domain they've given people permission to use it. It's because of this I try to use images that are in the public domain, if I can. There's a hell of a lot of stuff that the US government has placed in the public domain, and some are only a few years old. I make a point of making sure my changes are sufficient to make it a new significant work and not a minor derivation.

However, all this is getting away from the main point of what i was bringing up in this thread - and that is how Goodreads claim to care about Indi authors but don't give a damn about them at all and are prepared to rip them off when they can.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Arquillius

You can, with Scribd atleast, ask for your works to be removed under the DCMA. They must comply. I have asked them to do so now. My work listed is pay only.


Thanks for that. I'm not too worried about the books Scribd list because they are ones I do have listed on the Lulu Marketing Channel that includes Amazon, I'm just upset they didn't say anything to me about them and aren't happy to talk to me unless I go through the full formal DMCA process - which, for those five titles, I'm prepared to let stay there.

However, I'm mega pissed with the attitude of Goodreads.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

When a person owns a copyright and then places it in the public domain they've given people permission to use it.


Most of what is in the public domain is public domain because either the copyright expired or it was published prior to the Berne Convention and wasn't registered so it was never copyrighted. The number of works that were voluntarily placed in the public domain is tiny.

There's a hell of a lot of stuff that the US government has placed in the public domain


Actually the US government doesn't place anything in the public domain in an active sense.

Between the Copyright Act and various public records acts, the US Federal, State and Local governments are barred as a matter of law from claiming copyright in anything they produce.

Literally everything the US government publishes is public domain.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

However, I'm mega pissed with the attitude of Goodreads.


You have reason to be.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Literally everything the US government publishes is public domain.


There are a huge number of images with the notation ... was taken by ... in the course of their duties as an employee of the US Government ... and is placed in the Public Domain ... and most of them a damned good images. For whatever reason they chose, the US government has made them public domain. I've only scratched the surface of what's available and seen lists of many thousands of such US government images.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

However, the fair use allows for 10% of the item copyrighted. Where they mess up is I make it clear there are two or more copyrighted items in relation to my stories and they have separate copyrights - the story is one and the cover artwork is a different copyright. Thus, under the fair use rules they can use 10% of the story for the purposes allowed under fair use, and also 10% of the cover art, but not the whole of the image.

Ernest, this is the silliest bit of nonsense I have ever heard from you. According to you, no book review could ever display a cover image of a book. That would essentially shut down ALL book marketing in any country abiding by copyright law. Granted, no one can copy and use the full cover art, cut most reviews in books, magazines or online display low-res images of the books they review, just so readers know what it looks like.

Granted, I've never studied the use of copyright as it applies to cover art, but your selective understanding of it implies there can be NO independent reviews (without express author approval) of any copyrighted material. That flies in the face of 'fair use' practices.

By the way, the goodreads.com site is located in the U.S.

Ernest, goodreads told you how to correct the information. According to their site, anyone can review (ratings are counted as full reviews in this case), so anyone is legally entitled to create their own links to the book--especially if you the author don't provide those links.

If you want to provide the correct links, or correct the information, then you need to create an "Author Account" on goodreads. That way, anyone searching for your books will see YOUR author page, and will likely go there first (after reading a review which alerts them that others like the book).

If you choose not to participate in the 21st century marketing, that's your choice. But you can't complain about incorrect information when you refuse to post the correct info.

John Demille

@Crumbly Writer

By the way, the goodreads.com site is located in the U.S.


And is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
garymrssn
Updated:

Just my opinion: Goodreads may not be a "Bait and Switch" site. They may however be a "Click Bait" site, making money from each click to an external link.
It would still be a legal issue as to whether that use exceeds what is allowed under copyright law.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Ernest, goodreads told you how to correct the information. According to their site, anyone can review (ratings are counted as full reviews in this case), so anyone is legally entitled to create their own links to the book--especially if you the author don't provide those links.


CW, The issue is not with the ones where they provide a link to where the book is lawfully sold, but where they provide a link to their parent company who is not selling the book at all and using my name and my book as a bait and switch to get people in. That's why I didn't complain or bitch about the books which I have out there as freebies - only the one's I'm selling and they have links that take the reader away from where the books are sold.

As to creating an account, considering the abusive terms of service Goodreads have, and the fact their policies are to not listen to authors, why would I abet them in this behaviour?

I can complain about others who deliberately use incorrect information to use my work to help push their own sites.

As to a proper book review, in those case the display of the cover art is in violation of the copyright law, but is ignored by the publisher and the author because it's a real book review. On that point, most cover art on a book via a major publisher is the copyright of the publisher and not the author, and they usually give the reviewers permission to start with. Also, in the Goodreads case, many of the books do not have a review with them at all and it isn't a requirement, which also blows away the claim it's a review.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@John Demille


And is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.

Thanks for confirming that, John, I thought it was the case but hadn't done the work to prove it.

Crumbly Writer

@garymrssn

Just my opinion: Goodreads may not be a "Bait and Switch" site. They may however be a "Click Bait" site, making money from each click to an external link.

If they were, they wouldn't link to anyone not paying their fees. However, I can link to my own website from there, so I'm convinced they don't charge any fees for links to book sites.

The issue is not with the ones where they provide a link to where the book is lawfully sold, but where they provide a link to their parent company who is not selling the book at all and using my name and my book as a bait and switch to get people in.

Ernest, in that case, those would be people working for the publisher. However, I find that unlikely, as publisher employees would be an incredibly small number of goodreads members. Instead, I suspect those 'invalid entries' were entered by someone simply entering Amazon's general site, rather than a specific book site. Author's (or publishers) would know which pages they're linking to.

I still contend that a 10% free-use would be included with a screen shot that's only 5% of the total copyrighted image (though I don't know the specific limitations). However, for book covers it gets complicated. Copyright wouldn't prevent you from taking and posting photos of book covers, only that you can't sell a book with the same cover (or make posters of them).

Also, book reviews aren't required, but book ratings are! If they include ratings as a shortened review by the public, then each book posting would be authorized by the book review free-use guidelines, whether they're 'authorized' or not. If you're not convinced, then I suggested you research copyright protection of book covers, and see what's covered under fair-use conventions and what's not.

Ernest, John, yet, Amazon does own goodreads, but the purchase occurred only a few years ago, and Amazon didn't change the operation of the site, leaving those in charge in their existing positions. What they did is to provide the site with a large cash infusion, and make it easier for Amazon to list their own books.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

As to a proper book review, in those case the display of the cover art is in violation of the copyright law, but is ignored by the publisher and the author because it's a real book review.


You may be right as to Australian copyright law or European copyright law. However, this is dead flat wrong when it comes to US copyright law. Use of the cover art for a legitimate book review could be deemed fair use under US law (if it were litigated) and if it is a fair use, it is not a violation of the copyright.

On the other hand, there are factors in this specific case that you have described that go against fair use (that they used the whole image isn't one of them). Plus their response to you was decidedly obnoxious. So I do think you have a legitimate complaint.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I still contend that a 10% free-use would be included with a screen shot that's only 5% of the total copyrighted image (though I don't know the specific limitations).


1. The proper term is fair-use, not free-use.

2. Under US law there is no bright line rule that anything more than X% of the work can not be fair-use for ANY X up to and including 100%

Under US law, determining fair-use is a balancing test that considers many factors including but not limited to: the nature of the work, how much of the work was used, how it was used and the purpose for which it was used. No one factor is ever controlling.

Use of the complete work will almost never be deemed fair-use by the courts for text works. However, the US courts have in some cases deemed the use of a complete image to be fair-use.

Now the one big no-no of fair-use in US law is if the use is for commercial purposes.

Chris Podhola

I still think the benefits to using Goodreads far outweigh the potential paranoid consequences described in this thread. Goodreads has 25 million subscribed users. That is a rather large market to ignore just because you don't want to be a member author, so you can program the buttons the way you want to.

To me, it sounds like chopping off both your legs, just to make sure you don't someday come down with athletes foot.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

To me, it sounds like chopping off both your legs, just to make sure you don't someday come down with athletes foot.


Anyone supporting Amazon, Goodreads, and any other sites with the same sort of abusive terms of service remind me of the behaviour of Mister Neville Chamberlain and his behaviour in September and October 1938, especially when he declared, "I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Now I recommend you go home, and sleep quietly in your beds." Like Chamberlain, those who ignore the attitudes of the people involved ignore the reality of the situation.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

those who ignore the attitudes of the people involved ignore the reality of the situation.


What is the reality of the situation. What is it that you think Amazon and Goodreads are going to do to us poor authors?

I mean are you fucking seriously comparing book sellers to what the fuck happened during World War II. Are you fucking nuts?

Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

I mean are you fucking seriously comparing book sellers to what the fuck happened during World War II. Are you fucking nuts?


I'm comparing the attitudes and behaviours of the supporters of people who have shown they do not care about others or the rules, just themselves. Using a historical incident that demonstrates those same attitudes and behaviours is a fair and accurate way to get the point across.

Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

What is the reality of the situation. What is it that you think Amazon and Goodreads are going to do to us poor authors?


The reality is Amazon and Goodreads have wording in their terms of service that allows them to steal material from others and to rip people off, wording that the main stream publishers and most other indi publishers do not have in their terms or contracts. If they don't intend to abuse those terms, why do they have them there? Ignoring what they say is just shoving your head in the sand and saying it doesn't exits, just like Neville did.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Ignoring what they say is just shoving your head in the sand and saying it doesn't exits, just like Neville did.


I ask again. What is it that you think they are going to do? If you're going to respond to the question, try actually answering it. What do you believe the end result will be to those who 'shove their head in the sand and say it doesn't exist?'

To date, the consequences for me for participating in the programs offered by both Goodreads and Amazon are positive. Because of these two companies, I do not have to work a nine to five job.

Sounds like they know what they are doing and I am thankful for their existence.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola


I ask again. What is it that you think they are going to do? If you're going to respond to the question, try actually answering it. What do you believe the end result will be to those who 'shove their head in the sand and say it doesn't exist?'


You're happy with the results to date! Good for you! Chamberlain was happy with the results to date in Oct 1938, and stayed that way until Sept 1939 when the Germany Government showed what they were really like. Now lets take that to Amazon and Goodreads.

They include terms of service that allows them to keep, use, and sell for their profit anything and everything you post on their sites and they can cut out having to pay you anything for what they use. No fair minded person would list such terms if they didn't intend to use them at some point in time. In fact, no one without a history of ripping people off uses such terms.

Goodreads is part of the Amazon corporate umbrella, that's Amazon the same company that sold people e-books and then stole them back without advance notice and didn't refund the payments received, just offered the same value as store credit so they could keep the profits. The same corporation that closes people's account out on a whim and then keeps all the money received without paying any on to the author or seller.

If it looks like a rip off artist, walks like a rip off artist, and quacks like a rip off artist setting your up; it's damn likely to be a rip off artist setting you up. Con-men have to get your trust before they can steal from you. Which is where these people are at.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

They include terms of service that allows them to keep, use, and sell for their profit anything and everything you post on their sites and they can cut out having to pay you anything for what they use. No fair minded person would list such terms if they didn't intend to use them at some point in time. In fact, no one without a history of ripping people off uses such terms.


Ever heard the saying that, 'crime doesn't pay?' It stems from the idea that eventually, if you commit crimes, the law will catch up with you. The same thing applies to companies. Bad behavior will always be rewarded with diminishing profits. If they start ripping off authors, authors (just as you have done) will distance themselves from the company engaged in the bad behavior.

In other words, I'm not ascared of their nasty ToS clauses, because I know they are smart enough to behave like professionals. That is what they are. I actually like the fact that they are bold entrepreneurs. It makes me feel protected, knowing that they care so much about success. Through mutual benefit, they will grow as a company as I grow as an author, but if they screw us authors over, the only assured outcome they will enjoy, is bankruptcy.

This is the basic law of success and Amazon isn't so powerful that they can defy the laws of nature.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Arquillius
Updated:

Yeah, just a quick update for those of you wondering...

Aric Chronicles, My work that showed up on scribd, that I BOUGHT the copyright for when I first published it, has been pulled from Scribd.

Here's what they told me "We have received your complaint regarding content posted on Scribd. However, our records indicate that the document hosted at

https://www.scribd.com/book/262968899/Aric-Chronicles-The-Birth-of-a-Hero

was posted by its verified publisher, lulu.com. The publisher has not indicated to Scribd that they have authorized your request to remove the content from their Scribd account (https://www.scribd.com/lulu.com-3).

The document(s) referenced at the URL(s) above were not removed from Scribd. Please direct any questions or concerns related to this content directly to the publisher."

You may want to know what I said at this point to get them to remove it, well I told them "Dear Jason,

Lulu did not inform me of, nor did they ask my permission to post that. Please take it off your site before I make it a quick point to remove the object from Lulu, just to make you in violation of Federal Law.

No, doing that is not benieth me.

Sincerely, Joshua L. Edwards "

Yes, I told them to remove it, or I'd make it so they were breaking a law and was an asshole about it. I'm within my rights, in my eyes, because I hold the copyright and the permissions to said copyright, not my publisher. The permissions Lulu used to post it on scribd was the "All others" they put up there. I had checked it accidentally when I set up this copy of the e-book which was meant to only go for the Istore and the Nook store....

Scribd replied this morning with: Thank you for contacting Scribd. We have processed your DMCA copyright infringement notification.

At the date stamped on this notice, Scribd disabled access to the document(s) at the following URL(s):

https://www.scribd.com/book/262968899/Aric-Chronicles-The-Birth-of-a-Hero

pursuant to the DMCA notification that we received on 14 October 2015.

So just a heads up, real easy to force scribd into a corner to remove what ever you feel is necessary.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

Ever heard the saying that, 'crime doesn't pay?'


yes, I've heard it! I'm also aware of the fact that the crime statistics shows the majority of crimes go unsolved. Another thing is in the US your ability to avoid being charged with a crime goes up in dire

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Crumbly Writer

@Arquillius

Aric Chronicles, My work that showed up on scribd, that I BOUGHT the copyright for when I first published it, has been pulled from Scribd.

Acquillius, if I was you, I would have talked to Lulu before threatening Scribd. Now, they're unlikely to accept any books from you, as you're now likely labeled as a 'litigious troublemaker'.

Setting lulu straight first wouldn't have burned any bridges and would still have removed the work.

Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

yes, I've heard it! I'm also aware of the fact that the crime statistics shows the majority of crimes go unsolved. Another thing is in the US your ability to avoid being charged with a crime goes up in dire


And I suppose you also believe the people committing these unsolved crimes are living some prestigious life, sipping Mai Tai's on the beaches, watching the sun set over the horizon, smiling about how wonderful the crimes they committed are. I suppose you believe that these criminals don't spend their lives looking over their shoulders, wondering when the hammer is going to come down on them. I guess you think that they are not sitting in some alley right now with a needle stuck into their arm after cracking some old lady over the head for her purse, taking her wallet to buy heroine.

The fuck Ernest? Yes. there are crimes that go unsolved, but the people who commit them are not living wonderful lives. They are not making millions of dollars and laughing their way to the fucking bank every day.

Amazon is a multi billion dollar corporation for a reason. They are bold entrepreneurs, yes. Criminals? No. You have no evidence to support that (and I do not consider their ToS criminal). I'd be curious to know what an actual copyright lawyer would have to say in regard to their ToS, but I highly doubt they would hold the same opinion as you do.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola


And I suppose you also believe the people committing these unsolved crimes are living some prestigious life, sipping Mai Tai's on the beaches, watching the sun set over the horizon, smiling about how wonderful the crimes they committed are.


Some are, some aren't. A lot depends on the type of crime they committed and how much they netted. A lot of big hit white collar criminals are sitting back in the sun, while some sit in prison.

As to criminals not making millions: heard of a ponzi scheme and how many have been shut down, how about pyramid selling schemes.

The only reason much of what Amazon does isn't criminal at this point in time is because they the abusive and immoral actions in their terms of service and get you to agree to it as a contract term beforehand. If they did the same thing without you first agreeing to it they would be charged.

If the terms Amazon use are so good, why don't all the publishers use them? They don't because they're aren't out to rip people off as much as Amazon are.

If Amazon are son nice, why do they advertise several of my books on their websites when I've never given them permission to advertise those books? Then, instead of re-directing people to where they can buy the books they simply say not currently available in a way to make people think they will be available in a few weeks time, when the book has never been available through Amazon and will never be available via them.

Danged if I know why you love them so much? Do you have shares or work for them? It don't matter to me, but they have abusive terms, they've previously abused clients and authors - or have you forgotten they way they abused the Hachette authors last year?

I put one book for sale via Amazon through Lulu, Amazon insisted in dropping the price on their site without any discussion with me or why. It took weeks to get an answer: The Amazon policy was they have set price levels and they reduced the price by $0.96 to the next one below because I set a price that was $0.04 below the next one up. They didn't give me a chance to change the price. And they now list it as being available for another dollar below that. My original price set was US$5.95, first Amazon price set at US$4.99, current listing is US$3.99. Great an honest company, right!!

Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

Danged if I know why you love them so much? Do you have shares or work for them? It don't matter to me, but they have abusive terms, they've previously abused clients and authors - or have you forgotten they way they abused the Hachette authors last year?


I love them so much because you have been publishing way longer than I have, we have about the same number of titles in print, and yet, I make three times what you do in sales.

Look. If you are so adamant about constantly shooting yourself in the foot and making your business decisions based on emotions, go for it. If you don't care about finding a larger platform of people to read your books and want to waste all of this energy fighting with a company that doesn't even realize you exist, go for that as well.

Me ... I want to sell books. I want to grow my audience. publishing directly with Amazon, enrolling in Kindle Unlimited does that for me. My sales grow every single month. Every time I publish something new, I enjoy more momentum.

I don't get the impression that you can say the same, but like I said ... If you love Lulu so much, have at it.

I like sales. I like success. I like growing my audience and Amazon seems to like the same thing.

Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

The Amazon policy was they have set price levels and they reduced the price by $0.96 to the next one below because I set a price that was $0.04 below the next one up. They didn't give me a chance to change the price. And they now list it as being available for another dollar below that. My original price set was US$5.95, first Amazon price set at US$4.99, current listing is US$3.99. Great an honest company, right!!


This actually proves my 'crime doesn't pay' point perfectly. Amazon messed with your pricing and you pull the titles. They didn't gain anything by screwing with your title's pricing (although I don't understand your explanation of why they did this). As a matter of fact, they lost by doing so. You are pulling your work from their site.

This is what would happen if they started dorking around with authors on a large scale. More and more authors would stop publishing with them, their inventory would decrease, and their profits would diminish. They gain nothing by doing these things.

I suspect, however, that maybe they are screwing with you just to get you out of their store.

I don't blame them. You don't impress me as someone who's easy to work with.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

This actually proves my 'crime doesn't pay' point perfectly. Amazon messed with your pricing and you pull the titles. They didn't gain anything by screwing with your title's pricing (although I don't understand your explanation of why they did this). As a matter of fact, they lost by doing so. You are pulling your work from their site.


When I asked about the first price change Amazon told me have price levels at the .99 cent points ($0.99, $1.99, $2.99 etc) so when I set the price at $5.95 they dropped it to the level of $4.99 instead of pushing it up to $5.99. Since then they've dropped it again to $3.99 without telling me - I had to find out by doing a search.

Unlike many people I'm prepared to act, most just shrug their shoulders and ignore this sort of behaviour or just accept it. I've had too much of that sort of crap over the years and don't accept it now.

They seem to be doing a roaring trade with my freebie books that I give out for free as a community service. Dozens of each title each month.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

Unlike many people I'm prepared to act, most just shrug their shoulders and ignore this sort of behaviour or just accept it. I've had too much of that sort of crap over the years and don't accept it now.


Believe it or not, I am not trying to discourage you from taking action. My concern here is the mindset you take on regarding the things you are confronted with.

Example: Goodreads provides an opportunity to lead countless people to your book. They are not a bookstore. They are not a retailer of any kind. They are simply a social media outlet where book lovers gather to discuss books. They are linked to retailers so subscribers to the site can view books, review them, discuss them, connect with authors and connect with each other about the subject that they love so much. Books. They have twenty five million subscribers. Most authors strive to make good use of this opportunity.

You discover that your books are listed on Goodreads and your mindset races to 'how do I get my books off of there'.

I sincerely believe that you misinterpret ToS clauses. I sincerely believe that you exaggerate the possible consequences to doing business with these companies. You act in detriment to your potential book sales without consulting a copyright attorney first and I believe that instead of trying to figure out how to climb the mountain before you, you lop of pieces of your body to make it more difficult to reach your goals.

Even with this price difference thing, you had other options, and yet you rushed to get them off the site. Your prerogative. Don't get me wrong. I just think these are bad decisions on your part. The goal should be to expand your potential audience and not shrink it.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola


Example: Goodreads provides an opportunity to lead countless people to your book.


Except they point people at their corporate partners and not at where my books are for sale. How does aiming them away from my sellers help me? It doesn't.

The wording in the ToS is clear, and Amazon has used the same wording to rip people off in the past, they wouldn't have it there unless they intended to use it at some point.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

Except they point people at their corporate partners and not at where my books are for sale. How does aiming them away from my sellers help me? It doesn't.


Of course they do if left to themselves. I would expect Lulu to do the same thing. If they don't, they are idiots. To say, 'buy from me because I'm better than my competitors' is human nature. It's the competitive spirit at play. It is business.

They offered to allow you to alter where your books were listed. Of course, in order for you to do this, you have to open an author account. Again, this is a reasonable expectation. Goodreads is a social networking site and not a retailer. The fact that it is owned by Amazon is irrelevant, but does explain why they listed sites associated to them first. If I owned Amazon and Goodreads, I would do the same. I would not necessarily list Lulu first. As a matter of fact, I would probably list them last. lol They aren't much more than a fly on the wall to Amazon.

But you refuse to become a member of Goodreads, citing their ToS. As I've stated many times, this is your prerogative. It doesn't benefit you, however. It hurts you and your ability to grow your audience. Had you spoken with a lawyer and he advised you to do this, I would have no argument. You, however, did not. Instead, you go out of your way to rail against Amazon, Goodreads, the United States and blah, blah, blah.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

Ernest, Apple has long had a policy of pricing every book (and app, and song, and movie) in .99 increments. Amazon made it optional, but now it sounds as if they're making it mandatory.

Simple solution, adjust your prices or you'll be penalized. These sites charge these prices because it boosts sales! People see the $.99 and think "Wow, it's on sale!". However, if you're charging more than others, it actually helps you to promote a separate pricing strategy (Say by charging even dollar amounts, or using .98 increments). But again, you're playing by those site's rules, not your own. If you want to play in their ballpark, they you use their balls, not your own. So either play ball or get off the field.

By the way, I had been charging using a different pricing policy, but recently changed back to the more common .99 one, so I didn't notice any penalty from such behavior.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

To say, 'buy from me because I'm better than my competitors' is human nature. It's the competitive spirit at play. It is business.


The situation is not a case of Amazon saying buy from me it's a case of Goodreads sending people to a site that doesn't even carry the books in the hope the people will then look for other things to buy while there. In short, they're using my name to push people to their site.

Chris, you find me a US lawyer I can work with from Australia and not have to pay him anything and I'll work with him. I've had training in contract law and decades of experience working with laws and legal contracts in writing them, interpreting them, and reading them; which is why I have issues with all the extra crap Amazon and Goodreads put in to give them room to abuse clients.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

So either play ball or get off the field.


Which I've done. I didn't like it when Amazon dropped the price to their $4.99 because of their policy, but left the book there. However, in the last four months they've dropped the price to $3.99 and don't reply to emails about why they did it. So I've had Lulu pull the book from Amazon. Now I have to wait and see what Amazon will actually do about it.

Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

The situation is not a case of Amazon saying buy from me it's a case of Goodreads sending people to a site that doesn't even carry the books in the hope the people will then look for other things to buy while there. In short, they're using my name to push people to their site.


You said yourself that Amazon owns Goodreads. They obviously give their site priority. I assume they also standardize their buttons, so unless you open an account, you can't take control of which buttons are available. It is no fault of Goodreads at all that you are not willing to open an account and modify the buttons so the vendors you want presented are there.

I also point out (again), that you are not on Amazon's radar. Neither am I. We aren't even bacteria on the fly on the wall to Amazon. Thinking that they are using you, me or whoever, is preposterous. They don't need to do that. Everyone knows who Amazon is.


Chris, you find me a US lawyer I can work with from Australia and not have to pay him anything and I'll work with him. I've had training in contract law and decades of experience working with laws and legal contracts in writing them, interpreting them, and reading them; which is why I have issues with all the extra crap Amazon and Goodreads put in to give them room to abuse clients.


Ernest, it is not my responsibility to provide you with a lawyer to accomplish your tasks or meet your goals.

You say that you have so much experience, but you have repetitively stated misenterpretations of coypyright law, which has been pointed out to you at various times either in this, or other threads. I don't feel your interpretations are delivered unbiased. I am left with the impression that you hate Amazon, hate Goodreads, hate the United States and who knows who else you hate. It all feels like paranoid ravings to me.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

You say that you have so much experience, but you have repetitively stated misenterpretations of coypyright law


I've stated accurate interpretations of the copyright laws as applicable to my works. My books are written and copyrighted here in Australia, thus they come under the Australian laws and not under the US laws with a few oddities that are only in the USA due to corporate influence on the law makers aren't that relevant to me because the International laws agree to recognise the laws of the countries of origin.

Giving priority is where two places sell the goods (a book in this case) and they give preference to one seller over the other. That is not the case when the site being given preference to doesn't even sell the goods in question.

I can't understand why you see Amazon as being so benevolent when there's plenty evidence of how they abuse clients and have done so several times in the last few years.

Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

I can't understand why you see Amazon as being so benevolent when there's plenty evidence of how they abuse clients and have done so several times in the last few years.


It's not that I believe they are benevolent. I believe that you make poor judgments, exaggerated claims, and rash decisions.

But anyway. This conversations has stopped progressing. Good luck, Ernest. I sincerely hope your sales pickup.

Crumbly Writer

Ernest, I'll say again, I doubt the improperly linked "Amazon" buttons were set up by Amazon to 'trick' anyone into purchasing from Amazon. People are already purchasing books from them in droves. They don't need faulty links to sell goods. Instead, I suspect it's an enthusiastic reader who provided the links to the book and screwed up, not double-checking that the links were valid. If you had an account, you could contact them and alert them that their links and information is bad, or at the very least provide more accurate and reliable information/links. So don't bitch when some newbie to html posting screws up. In this case, it's NOT a criminal conspiracy by vast corporations!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

US laws with a few oddities that are only in the USA due to corporate influence on the law makers aren't that relevant to me because the International laws agree to recognise the laws of the countries of origin.


Actually, at least one of those US oddities is one that the corporate content publishers (books, songs, movies) here in the US would love to get rid of (fair-use) but can't, because the unusual scope of fair use in the US is required by the US Constitution.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

the unusual scope of fair use in the US is required by the US Constitution.


The Aussie laws are based on the Berne Convention and they allow for Fair Use, but a little different to that of the US. It also allows for the use of up to 10% for many things.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I doubt the improperly linked "Amazon" buttons were set up by Amazon to 'trick' anyone into purchasing from Amazon.


Default settings aren't accidental. Nor are policies whereby the company ignores the copyright owner and allows anyone to put anything up. The situation is created by their policies and default arrangements and they refuse to do anything about fixing it except to put pressure on me to join and give them permission to do what they want.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Default settings aren't accidental. Nor are policies whereby the company ignores the copyright owner and allows anyone to put anything up.

I used the site before Amazon purchased it. Those policies were in place long before Amazon took over. It's always been a user site, which allows author participation as a way to boost reader enthusiasm. It is not an authors' website, nor even a book promotion site. It's geared to readers. Amazon purchased it as a way of promoting the books published on Amazon (i.e. they gave the same sufficient funds to promote independent books, which otherwise wouldn't get the attention they deserve).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Just received another email from someone higher up the food-chain at Goodreads. It summarise as the links are made by the account holder and no one else can change them, so even if I now created a Goodreads account I can't change the links already in place if I wanted to. However, the only names on the pages are mine and it makes it look like the accounts are mine, which they aren't.

Thus it comes down to there is either no way you can find out who the account holder is and take the issue up with them, or someone using using my name. I can't tell which it is from the data on the site. They flatly refuse to do anything about it any of the issues or points I raised, including having a book by another author of the name Ernest Edwards linked to my books.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

so even if I now created a Goodreads account I can't change the links already in place if I wanted to.

That's what we've been saying all along.

However, the only names on the pages are mine and it makes it look like the accounts are mine, which they aren't.

Again, that page will remain indefinitely. However, by joining you can:

1) Add a comment on the page, stating that you are the author, and list the errors.
2) Add your own page, which has the correct information and links.

At this point, the tens of thousands of readers (easily) on Goodreads all think you're disorganized and don't care about the quality of your work. But, if you post your own information, the two pages will show up side-by-side on a search of your name, and readers can do an honest comparison of the information.

Short of that, since you refuse to join any site which has questionable ToS (which is essentially ALL of them!), may I suggest you sent me the link to the page in question, and I'll add a comment to the page correcting the information. I could also add your books to the site utilizing the correct information (anyone can post reviews or book information to the site, and information presented from another author would have more respect than one from someone who's not the author). It's replacing one bad reference with another, but at least it provides access to the correct information, which is more than you're doing bitching about it endlessly!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Short of that, since you refuse to join any site which has questionable ToS (which is essentially ALL of them!), may I suggest you sent me the link to the page in question, and I'll add a comment to the page correcting the information.


CW,

Thanks for offering to post a comment, the links that I'm the most concerned about are:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25384953-clan-amir---the-berant-umama-wars

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25404183-clan-amir---the-falcon

Both are available at Lulu but I don't see Lulu on the store lists. All my books are available from Lulu.

As to sites with bad ToS, I've only found half a dozen that are so bad I won't join then; Amazon and Goodreads are two, and three of the others are vanity print sites known for ripping people off.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

As to sites with bad ToS, I've only found half a dozen that are so bad I won't join then; Amazon and Goodreads are two, and three of the others are vanity print sites known for ripping people off.

I cringe every time I upgrade my Mac/iPhone/iPad because of Apple's overreaching ToS, but I hold my nose because their products are so reliable (the technology is supported, rather than being offered in one version, only to be yanked with the next).

I'll have to see what I can put together in terms of book reviews for you, along with commentary explaining the need for the update. I'll also post explanatory comments on the one guy's posts.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

If you need a copy of the books in e-pub, let me know and I'll e-mail them to you.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Crumbly,

What is Librarian status on Goodreads?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

What is Librarian status on Goodreads?

You can apply to become a Librarian, someone who can modify others story details. They're like 'Editors' on Wikipedia. They're called Librarians because they correct misleading classifications and 'refile' reviews and postings.

Author's are considered 'semi-librarians', as they can edit the details on their own books, but they have to appeal to the official Librarians in order to correct certain details of their stories.

Ernest, I hadn't thought of it, because I haven't had many dealings with them, but you could lobby one to change the listing of that one book which isn't yours to change the entry. However, I'm not sure how you go about contacting one (for an entry you didn't create).

Ernest Bywater

On the advice of, and with the help of, Crumbly Writer I've created a Goodreads account and am using it to take control of the information on my books. There is a way I can limit what is posted to a short description and the cover image, so I'm giving it a go.

Thank you all (well most of you) for your comments and concerns in this thread.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

(well most of you)


Even though I'm sure this was directed toward me (I don't blame you. I can get pretty intense sometimes), I'm glad to see that you are taking positive action toward taking control of the thing that you are dissatisfied with. Hopefully doing so will help you.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Chris Podhola

Ernest's problem is that someone else created a goodreads ID as him and his pseudonyms, so he's unable to change the entries. However, he's able to associate the entries to him and post correct alternate entries. It's not a perfect fix, but it provides more accurate details about his book than existed before.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Crumbly Writer

Ernest's problem is that someone else created a goodreads ID as him and his pseudonyms


Well, I have to admit, that if the Goodreads system allows just anybody to create an ID as if they are the author when they are not, it is a definite downside to their system.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Chris Podhola

Well, I have to admit, that if the Goodreads system allows just anybody to create an ID as if they are the author when they are not, it is a definite downside to their system.

It's a common problem on most websites, being brought to attention now that trolling is becoming so popular (people going online to purposely chase people away from a site or product). Many sites have had to completely revamp their sites to prevent others from stealing existing user's IDs.

Goodreads is slightly different, as it's not an author site, but is a reader site. As such, any author can list any book they want, and can create any ID they want. Once an author joins, they can identify themselves as the legitimate author, but they can't erase the entries that readers have created, because they often contain their honest reviews of the books they read (before the authors discovered the value of the site as a marketing tool).

In Ernest's case, he mistakenly added the prefix "Mr." to his ID when publishing his books on lulu, and now all his books are attributed to "MR Ernest Bywater". It was that ID which was stolen. So I suggested Ernest simply sign in as plain "Ernest Bywater", and post alternate posts with additional and more accurate information. The cream always rises to the surface, and the crap tends to float away as it's simply not as attractive or enticing.

But I've been fighting the effects of trolling on many sites. It typically occurs anywhere you're allowed to create invented IDs. People tend to become incredibly hostile when their IDs are hidden, which is why LinkedIn has always been my favorite forum group. If you think your future boss might be checking what you say online, you're not as likely to spout off at someone you don't know.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

In Ernest's case, he mistakenly added the prefix "Mr." to his ID when publishing his books on lulu, and now all his books are attributed to "MR Ernest Bywater". It was that ID which was stolen.


CW, my account at Lulu is as Ernest Bywater I've no idea where the MR came from. I suspect, from looking at some of the entries it was added by a reader who initiated the entries to place a review of my books.

I've been uploading my books and even on an entry I created where I co-authored with Cazna and initiated the author Cazna, I'm not allowed to make any changes to the Cazna profile - but a Librarian can. SO I'll get them to do that. I've already taken over control of some of the book entries that existed before, and just have to work at taking over the rest. I'm hoping by loading all my cover images and blurbs anyone wanting to add a review will have to attach it to my entry in future.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

my account at Lulu is as Ernest Bywater I've no idea where the MR came from. I suspect, from looking at some of the entries it was added by a reader who initiated the entries to place a review of my books.

From what I saw, several of your books on lulu are credited as "MR Ernest Bywater", hence my theory that you mistakenly specified the prefix when you created your lulu ID. I imagine the person who posted the items did it with the best of intentions, doing it to feature your work, but simply didn't know enough to get the information correct (it doesn't look like it's been updated in some time). I'm guessing they created the ID in your name to make the entries "more authentic", rather than an attempt to assume you're ID. I'm also guessing the user hasn't used the ID since (though I could be mistaken, since they posted some of your recent works.

For the others here, Ernest has several IDs. The one is question has the best data, an earlier pseudonym his publisher insisted he use has resulted in mostly just data about out-of-print books.

By the way, if you ever become a goodreads editor, I've always wanted to add character information to my book postings, but I've never been able to enter it (though I can enter location info.). I'd love to find out how I can get that information added.

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