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Moral Question on Lost Stories

ustourist

When an author has removed stories from the site and someone is seeking them, if another person has a copy, should they share it?
Should it make any difference if the story has been removed from - for example - BtFH but is still available on SOL, or if it is removed from everywhere, bearing in mind not everyone can navigate ASSM or BtFH and stay sane.
If so, how could they send a copy to the person seeking it, since addresses don't appear to be available and I certainly wouldn't want mine posted on a forum. Keeping control of my details was one reason I would never use GG Forum.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@ustourist

Technically, sharing a story file without the direct permission of the author is a breach of the copyright laws.

Morally, it's a personal choice. Many see it as sharing the good story that the author had originally allowed people to read for free.

Edit to add: In regards to my stories, I do not mind people sharing the html copy available on SOL or FS and am prepared to approve certain publications the right to print most of my stories for free. But I do not approve other websites placing copies of my stories on their sites without direct prior approval by me, nor the use of the copies available from Lulu or dpdotcom without my direct prior approval.
I know people who have no problems sharing a copy of a story that had been available for free, but will never share anything they had to pay for. It's your call.

PeckingChicken
Updated:

The easiest way to answer this question is that if a story is available somewhere just pointing the reader in that direction and let him or her figure it out. When a story has been removed from everywhere it gets murky. I'd treat that situation... situationally.

I would have no problem dropping a pdf or mobi file on a friend (even just an internet friend that I have exchanged a few emails with) but not on someone who just asks here. So if a user of this forum that I have also corresponded with asks for a file, I would have no problem sending or sharing it out. If YOU asked (someone I have never corresponded with), I would not.

IF the file is requested to dodge a cost, I definitely would not participate (unless the publisher makes copying available in their license). A case in point; someone last week asked for a copy of FF Fembot: Darlene. A story that is available here for premium members. That is a file I would not share... but if it was a still a free story I might have if I could have been bothered to reply.

As to how... since there's no PM feature here and relatively few members of the site have their email addresses showing, I would guess you would have to leave an address in the forum or a dropbox link or some such.

Like I said, for me it's situational. It's also understood that there are some who disagree with me or would have other conditions before sending a copy of a file that they didn't author to someone else.

As for Google Groups... it's pretty easy to disconnect your profile from a group... as is changing your screen name in that group only.

Replies:   ElDani
ElDani

@PeckingChicken

IF the file requested is to dodge a cost, I definitely would not participate

This is pretty much my view on it.

I've helped out in the past when some readers were looking for stories that had been removed from SOL or other free story sites on the net for one reason or another. While technically not complying with copyright laws, I've never redistributed those stories publicly or done so with any content the author has decided to offer commercially. I've never felt bad for it and would consider doing the same again if it came down to it.

Switch Blayde

@ustourist

As an author, I wouldn't want anyone to share my stories with anyone else. Even the free ones.

If for no other reason, my name is on it. Imagine a situation where what you wrote was once legal, but then the law changed and it became illegal. I'd either change or delete those stories to comply with the law. But I can only do that if I know where the story is.

Dominion's Son

@Switch Blayde

If you wrote and published a dead tree version of a book where the law changed so the subject of the book was illegal in some way, you would not have the legal right to confiscate and destroy the copies that had already been released.

JohnBobMead

@Dominion's Son

If you wrote and published a dead tree version of a book where the law changed so the subject of the book was illegal in some way, you would not have the legal right to confiscate and destroy the copies that had already been released.


Um. You would have the responsibility to recall all copies from booksellers, libraries which held copies would be required to remove them from their collections, and used booksellers would also need to remove them from their stock. And individuals who had copies in their possession would now be in violation of the law, and would need to destroy their copies. Providing copies to someone would be a criminal offense, which includes, clearly, private individuals.

In the case of items which are still legal, but the author has chosen to remove them from the standard distribution points, technically making copies of the files to give to someone is violation of copyright. You can give them your copy, but you have to remove it from your storage systems so you no longer have it yourself. When an item goes out of print, but is still in copyright, one can traffic in the existing copies, but making additional copies is a violation of copyright, unless you have made arrangements with the copyright holder.

There's the concept of "fair use", but that only covers making copies of small portions of published works, such that no substantive harm is done to the copyright holder's revenue stream. "Fair use" limits the number of copies that can be made, and the percentage of the item that can be copied, without needing to work on copyright clearance.

Switch Blayde

@Dominion's Son

JohnBobMead explained it better than I can.

When it was discovered that Tracy Lords was under 18 when she made all her porn movies except one, the male actor was prosecuted for child pornography or having sex with a minor or something like that. They failed because her phony id used for age verification was government issued, like a driver's license. But all copies of the movies had to be destroyed.

What we post on SOL pushes the limits of what's allowed. I would have loved to publish my most recent novella on Amazon, but since it has underage sex and incest, it was not allowed. By posting stories like that on SOL, we are taking some risk. To take control away from the author as to where his story exists is an injustice to the author.

One reason I stopped posting on ASSTR was due to the theft of my stories from that site.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@JohnBobMead

Actually, both you and Switch are right. Also, a lot will depend upon the legal jurisdictions involved.

Switch is right in that you have no legal right of your own to recall the books. The best you can do is request the booksellers to send the unsold books back for credit and not to sell any more, but you can't force them to.

You're right in that a court may issue a court order for you to recall the books sold, then you would have a legal right to collect the sold books, but you'd have to compensate the people who had them.

On the legal side, the general rule is the laws can't make something wrong that's already happened. Thus a new law prohibiting certain types of books would stop you writing or selling any more, but those already in private hands would have to stay there.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Switch,

From what I saw in the media at the time of the Tracy Lords incident the laws stopped the selling of copies of the films and the public playing and the playing for payment of the film, but they were unable to force private owners to hand the films over. Thus the movie reel style copies that places hired were returned and destroyed because they could no longer be legally played, but the video tape copies in private hands weren't even chased, people were asked to return them but they couldn't be forced to. Now you see some of those video copies being offered for sale around the Internet at high prices.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

people were asked to return them but they couldn't be forced to


Except it's illegal to possess child pornography, and since Traci Lords was underage when the films were made, those films are child pornography. Anyone who owns them and gets caught will spend a lot of years in jail.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

And that's where the legal jurisdictions and specific laws come into play. I'm not familiar with the wording of the California laws, which is where they were made, or the laws as they stood at that time in every US state. However, the facts are she was 16 years of age when she started making the porn films, at that time it was legal in many states and countries to have sex at 16 but not legal to pay someone to have sex at 16, in some the age was 18. Her videos were sold around the world. The court order to destroy them was issued, but only those who lived in places where 16 and 17 y/o sexual images were called child porn had to return the privately owned copies - which most did to be on the safe side, but they were not classed as child porn in all the places the copies ended up in. The company involved had to take strong action to avoid the trafficking actions, but there was no way they could trace down every copy or force the consumers to hand them over where they were legal. The films made after she turned 18 are all legal.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

she was 16 years of age when she started making the porn films, at that time it was legal in many states


Never allowed in any U.S. state. Age of Consent is a state law and varies from state to state, but the porn industry is controlled at the Federal level for the whole country. And it's always been 18.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Switch,

try reading the rest of the sentence and see the meaning - your quote stopped short of where I said to have sex at 16 because that sentence was about the age of consent, and further on in the sentence I mention about being paid for sex at 16 not being legal. Please quote the whole and discuss the full meaning of the full sentence.

Edit to add: The US laws also had no effect on the copies of the films sold or shipped outside the USA.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
redhot_363236

@Switch Blayde

I suggest you research the legal term "ex post facto"

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominion's Son

@JohnBobMead

I never said or implied that someone with an existing copy could legally make more, so your "fair use" lecture is a non-sequitur.

"And individuals who had copies in their possession would now be in violation of the law"

Very true, but that is on them and not the original author. They would have an obligation to destroy their copy to be in compliance with the law. That is a very different thing than saying the author has the right to forcibly confiscate them and destroy them himself.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Ernest, I was responding to the part I quoted. It had nothing to do with the age of consent so I left that out. They are two different things in the U.S.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@redhot_363236

I suggest you research the legal term "ex post facto"


Why?

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Switch, that part you quoted was the middle section of a sentence that was on the age of consent which then went on to say payment for sex had a higher age of consent. That's why I was upset about it being quoted out of context.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Okay, I'll quote the whole thing and comment on sections:

I'm not familiar with the wording of the California laws, which is where they were made,


Nothing to do with where the films were made.

or the laws as they stood at that time in every US state.


Pornography laws are not at the state level. they're at the federal level.

However, the facts are she was 16 years of age when she started making the porn films, at that time it was legal in many states and countries to have sex at 16 but not legal to pay someone to have sex at 16, in some the age was 18.


Legal to have sex at 16 is age of consent. That doesn't apply to pornography. Nor does paying for sex (prostitution).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Paying for sex can be as paying someone to film them engaging in sex or to have sex with them, which I said was not legal at 16. What constitutes pornography varies from legal jurisdiction to legal jurisdiction, as does the age at which people can get involved in that type of work. Also, some film footage and pictures can be unlawful pornography if they were paid to pose or act for them, but the same images can be legal if they were not paid or promised any payment - that's why many amateur sex films are legal despite the ages of the participants.

However, this is wandering far off track of the main point I was making about the right of the company to force people to hand back copies of the films made. In some cases they could do so, and in others they had no legal right to do so. In some places owning a copy of those early films was against the law and is probably still against the law, while in other places it was legal then and probably still legal. It all comes down to the laws applying in the location the person is when it comes up.

aubie56

Here's a situation that can further confuse the issue. A few years ago, a woman in Massachusetts was arrested for making child pornography because she photographed her two children, one male, one female, and both less than 3 years old in the bathtub at the same time.

She was caught by the clerk in a photo developing kiosk where she had the photos developed. The case actually went to court, but I cannot remember how the case was settled. I do remember that a lot of people made a big deal out of this case of "obvious pornography."

I guess that there are a lot of unreconstructed Puritans still around!

-- aubie56

tppm

In California the age of consent is 18, no ifs, ands, or buts. And Tracy Lords was 15 when she started, and made one porn film after she turned 18. The only reason, Ms. Lords didn't go to prison herself is she agreed to rat out her producers (to whom she had lied about her age).

Under U.S. federal law possession, production, or distribution, of "Child" porn (child defined as any actual human being under 18 and porn defined as prurient photographs) is illegal

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
JohnBobMead

@Dominion's Son

Hmm. I need to work on my phrasing and topic shifts. My first paragraph was mainly in response to Dominion's Son's post, as quoted. The succeeding paragraphs shifted back to the original poster's question about the morality/legality of making copies of no longer available stories for people, which to me, a former Interlibrary Loan librarian, leads to a discussion of "fair use", because people make all sorts of wild claims about what they can do as "fair use", especially if something is out-of-print.

And I will restrain myself, and not shift topic here, but instead end this post. Several paragraphs of text have just been deleted, and it was getting very convoluted.

Replies:   Dominion's Son
ustourist

The original question was asked as a moral issue since the law is not consistent across countries. Since the topic has drifted though, and just to throw a little confusion into it, at some point copyright will become an issue - though not in my lifetime.
If nobody knows who the author is, whether they are dead or alive, or even where the story was first published, then how can copyright be determined to have ended and open availability to exist. Does using a false name, temporary address, and never making a written copyright statement mean it doesn't exist? Proof of ownership will be almost impossible.
Bear in mind that multiple countries are involved and US unilateral changing of copyright limits doesn't necessarily apply in other countries.

Dominion's Son

@JohnBobMead

It's also a good idea if replying to more than one person in one post to be clear about what parts are in reply to whom.

Ernest Bywater

@tppm

she was 15 when she sat for nude photos, but her first porn film was after she turned 16. In each case she'd provided them with valid government identity documents saying she was of legal age - identity theft by her. And how does that force people outside the US jurisdiction to send back the videos of those films in their possession?

Replies:   PeckingChicken  tppm
Ernest Bywater

@ustourist

Correct, the copyright does get mixed up when the person uses a nickname. If there is no clear link between the the real name and the nickname and a copyright case goes to court, the person claiming their copyright has been infringed has to first prove it's their copyright. In some countries the courts can declare the unowned nickname as be by anonymous and in the public domain after a certain period of no one proving a claim to the pen name.

Switch Blayde

@ustourist

how can copyright be determined to have ended and open availability to exist. Does using a false name, temporary address, and never making a written copyright statement mean it doesn't exist? Proof of ownership will be almost impossible.


Easy. I have my stories on my hard drive and the files are time stamped. With my novel, I actually have earlier versions of it.

PeckingChicken
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

And how does that force people outside the US jurisdiction to send back the videos of those films in their possession?


IT doesn't. It didn't even really inside the US. What was the issue... and what was the law that the publisher of the tapes got hit with concerned interstate trafficking of child pornography.

Distributors were ordered to send them back to the vendor selling them for destruction (and they really did that rather than destroy them onsite because they didn't want to deal with them) and retail and rental outlets were told to destroy them. I worked for a vid store back then and moved not long after to a distributer while in college and got the inside scoop from both sides.

tppm

@Ernest Bywater

And how does that force people outside the US jurisdiction to send back the videos of those films in their possession?


It doesn't, but possession of child pornography is itself a felony, so anyone possessing it would, once it was revealed to in fact be child pornography, destroy or hide it (turning it over to law enforcement wouldn't work, because that could be used as proof of possession), the same for stores, which could be gotten on both possession and distribution (two felonies).

So while the material couldn't be recalled per se, anyone caught with it would be in trouble.

As for anyone outside U.S. jurisdiction (is there any such place), that would be up to their local laws.

BTW ex post facto doesn't come into play here as the laws in question have been in effect since at least the 1920s, and possibly since the late 19th century (when they were used to block distribution of contraceptive information).

Replies:   sejintenej
Invid Fan

I do like what the Japanese have done. Having finally making porn involving real children illegal (animation and drawings are still OK), I think they've given people a full year to clear their computers of the stuff. After all, it would be unfair to suddenly jump on people who had legally obtained it just the day before.

sejintenej

@Switch Blayde

You could have withdrawn a story for a multitude of reasons - someone considers (rightly or wrongly) that the story refers to them OR you have since published it for payment OR you are embarrassed for some reason OR...... It is your option, we readers do not know why you withdrew it so IMHO we should not distribute without your specific permission

sejintenej

@tppm

Ernest Bywater has pointed to a legal minefield. In the USA an age of 18 is imposed but a few other countries have other ages from 14 to 21. The USA reserves the right to and occasionally does charge résidents and nationals of other countries for actions which are offences in the US but not the country where the victim lives and carried out the action. As an example a Swiss company was ordered by its own courts not to carry out a specified action but the courts of New York fined the "offender" one million dollars per day that it obeyed the courts of its home country. The whole question is a legal nightmare

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

Swiss company was ordered by its own courts not to carry out a specified action but the courts of New York fined the "offender" one million dollars per day that it obeyed the courts of its home country.


Do you have a link for that? Google doesn't turn up anything directly on point.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Dominions Son

I suspect it had something to do with identifying the owners of certain bank accounts, the revelation of which is (or was) a violation of Swiss law, and is a requirement of U.S. law.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@sejintenej

The last I heard, there were still a couple of cases working their way through the US legal system concerning the differences between US law and the laws of other countries. two are in regards to US courts demanding information from the overseas companies of a couple of multi-nationals while the local companies are refusing to supply the information because doing it is in violation of the local privacy laws.

Another aspect, and I'm not sure if it still holds, is when the US first passed some laws on copyright piracy they included provision for the company owning the copyright to hack the offending site and take it down. However, that's a major felony in most other countries and they have no legal right to do it. Haven't yet heard of anything happening along those.

Also, the US copyright laws are causing havoc. All the stories by A.C.Doyle are now in the public domain, except for a couple that are part of a special edition printed in the US and the company with that US copyright keeps renewing it and gets up the nose of anyone trying to reprint the stories in the US or make films from them, which is why some of the films have been made in Canada instead.

Dominions Son

@tppm

I suspect it had something to do with identifying the owners of certain bank accounts, the revelation of which is (or was) a violation of Swiss law, and is a requirement of U.S. law.


I don't think so, I found several stories on that, but it doesn't quite match sejintenej's description. There is no mention of a daily fine, or a prohibiting court order from the Swiss courts.

That case is a tax evasion case involving US citizens with accounts at a particular Swiss bank.

The bank admitted openly from the beginning that it knew that US clients were using them for tax evasion and that they were actively helping their US clients to evade US tax law. The bank protested that what they were doing was perfectly legal in Switzerland, but never claimed it was legally prohibited from sharing the requested information with the US government.

Also, it should be acknowledged that the bank plead guilty to aiding and abetting tax evasion and has gone out of business.

Replies:   sejintenej  sejintenej
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

The New York company was Marc Rich, a subsidiary of a Swiss company of the same name. The New York courts demanded that the parent export all its books to the USA and the Swiss courts decided that obediance to the demand would constitute economic sabotage and specifically ordered the parent not to send any such information to the USA

OK, Marc Rich himself was persona non grata in many countries including the USA so he was prevented from leading the fight of the case

I was not involved in that case but in another the New York courts wanted a man who was thought to be in Italy and the Italian police wanted the same man who they thought was in the USA. If only they had looked in the telephone directory (annuaire) .......

sejintenej

@Dominions Son

I should add that Marc Rich was a trading company simply buying and selling a wide variety of goods; it was not a Financial company though it did have an excellent information seeking ability

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

I found the case I think you are referring to. It's an old case though, from the 1980s.

http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1178&context=njilb

It's a criminal case, not a civil case (tax evasion under New York state tax law).

According to the foot notes in the document I provided a link to, Mark Rich and Co. provided to the US court an affidavit from a Swiss law professor that turning over the documents would violate Swiss law. This seems an odd decision if the court order you claim existed actually existed.

Replies:   sejintenej
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

One more thing, if you are just beefing about the US and the extra territorial application of law, you should be aware that the US isn't the only country that does it.

1. There are at least two crimes where extraterritorial jurisdiction is the international norm: counterfeiting and piracy.

2. A decade or so ago, but still more recent that the case you are going on about, a Spanish court tried to try a Central (or was it South) American former head of state (Pinochet if I remember correctly) for crimes against humanity. The Spanish court didn't even try to claim some kind of connection to Spain, it openly tried to claim universal jurisdiction.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

There are some International Laws and agreements in place, the two most people know of are he Berne Convention on Copyright and the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War. There's a whole swag of such laws and one of them is Piracy on the High Seas and others related to a group of activities collectively known as Crimes Against Humanity - e.g. Genocide, etc. Enforcement of those laws is not a bid for extra territorial powers, just enforcement of International Law. Where that becomes an issue is when they try to apply the laws of the Convention on a country that isn't a signatory to it.

Replies:   Dominion's Son
Dominion's Son

@Ernest Bywater

Actually, the Spanish prosecution caused an international uproar for two reasons.

1. The new government in the country in question made a specific deal not to prosecute in exchange for a peaceful transition.

2. The international treaties covering war crimes and crimes against humanity had never been and were never intended to be used to allow foreign prosecution of heads of state or former heads of state.

sejintenej

@Dominions Son

I can confirm that the fine as I stated did exist. I THINK that the situation was resolved when Mark Rich sold his empire and it changed its name. (He then started a new company Under the old name but didn't seem to get anywhere.°

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

My objection is that a US court can decide to try a case in respect of something which legally happened in another country involving non-US citizens solely because it would be illegal if committed in the USA.

I am excluding those cases which Dominions Son refers to below but I can't see why the courts in little puddleduck, omaha should decide they can try a case which did not directly involve the USA. (OK that is my rant and not relevent to SOL; end of moan)

Dominions Son
Updated:

@sejintenej


My objection is that a US court can decide to try a case in respect of something which legally happened in another country involving non-US citizens solely because it would be illegal if committed in the USA.


A valid objection, but the case you cite is not a good example.

First, It is a case with corporate defendant, not an individual non-US citizen.

Second, it is well established that a country in which a foreign corporation does business can claim jurisdiction over that corporation for purposes of enforcing it's laws.

In the case you cite, the accusation was that the Swiss parent company was engaging in sham transactions with a US subsidiary for the sole purpose of avoiding state tax liability in the US state in which the subsidiary was located. Since transactions between the US and foreign company were implicated the acts occurred at least partly in the US.

The report I linked to analyses how and why jurisdiction was asserted over the foreign corporation if you care to read it.

The US court went through significant analysis showing that the Swiss company was doing business in the US in a number of ways. The US subsidiary was determined not to be fully independent from the Swiss parent company for among other reasons Marc Rich was personally the CEO of the US subsidiary and the two companies shared a number of other BOD members. It was also shown that a number of the BOD members of Marc Rich's Supposedly Swiss company were US residents.

Under US law, If a parent company wants to claim that a subsidiary is independent, having shared directors is a big no-no.

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

I can confirm that the fine as I stated did exist.


I wasn't talking about the fine, but the court order you claimed was issued by the Swiss courts prohibiting the Swiss parent company from complying with the document subpoena from the US court.

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

My objection is that a US court can decide to try a case in respect of something which legally happened in another country involving non-US citizens


As long as we are talking about this in terms of corporations, not actual citizens, can we also discuss fines, injunctions and other penalties that EU courts have imposed on US companies?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Arquillius

Regardless of LEGAL injunctions, and back to the topic here, cause we all know that someone in china can just go "Well Ima gonna make it be back up" and nothing happens.... You should defer to the original author and ask. They can be pretty cool if you reach out. If you can't reach them, consider it a lost cause.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Actually, when you dig into those cases you'll find that the US companies have daughter corporations established in EU countries to be able to operate commercially in those countries (the same is true of most countries, including the USA) and the fines are levied on the locally registered daughter companies. If they aren't paid then all the local company assets are confiscated and the US parent is refused the right to operate in that country. Which is exactly how the USA operates.

However, you can move onto the Kim Dot Com case where the US having used economic pressure to make other countries freeze bank accounts and stop the operations in Kim's companies in other countries.

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