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Robert Bacal

Two events today to drive home how current laws fail. On ScribeD, I discovered someone “shared” one of my McGraw-Hill books on customer service — the complete thing, which retails for about $10. SInce the uploader is all but anonymous, and ScribeD is protected under the current safe harbour provisions, I, and McGraw-Hill have no recourse to recoup any sales loses.

To add insult to injury, I now have to take the time to file a DMCA takedown request, wait to see what happens, and hope that they take it down.

Every time I see this kind of thing, and get put in this position, I question whether I should write more books, when there is no protection under the law.

The second event as coming across an article regarding plagarism on amazon via self-publishing. Apparently, particularly in the “adult” genre, people are copying other people’s material, packaging it up, publishing it both in print and Kindle formats. It’s not just limited to that genre. There is even a program that will create instant e-books by stealing other people’s material and gluing it together (don’t know about the details).

What’s even more chilling is that according to the report, organized crime is getting in on the game, because it’s such an easy “touch”.

So, once again, same deal. The legit authors can’t find the lawbreakers, and couldn’t reach them if they are out of country anyway, and amazon has almost NO obligation to anyone under the current law.

Placing the honus on legitimate authors is wrong. Allowing companies like amazon to sell this stuff, and make a profit, while not being liable for compensating victims is wrong.

Yet, that’s the law.

If you want books, and stuff even published on the Internet by people like myself who write in niches and who sell relatively small quantities, then you have to have protection under the law. And, I’m not particularly comfortable having organized crime get involved with impunity. Again, I don’t know if SOPA is the answer, but I DO know that companies that profit from crime, and make it possible to commit the crime, need to be held accountable financially. In the latter situation, amazon profited from sales of fraudulent goods. The authors didn’t. In the ScribeD case, again, they profit by having MY material on which they can place ads, so they, also, should be financially liable. Why is it MY job, when it is these companies that are making this kind of fraud and theft possible?