Sunday, June 27, 2010

Open letter about copyright infringement to Allison Kelley, John Scalzi, Scott Turow.

Dear Allison Kelley, John Scalzi, and Scott Turow,

Thank you very much for everything you and your respective organizations do to defend authors' copyrights against copyright infringement. We very much appreciate having an address to which to send our complaints, and the comfort of knowing that you compile a database of the most egregious "pirates" and pirate sites.

Despite small triumphs, ignorance persists among honest readers; lies about the legality of "sharing" go unchallenged, and the problem is getting much worse.

Please Scott Turow, Allison Kelley, John Scalzi will you talk to one another, set up one powerhouse task force, meet regularly, share resources, engage your members, give authors one central "Go To" address where we can submit complaints, report piracy sites, blogs and yahoogroups, cc our take-down notices.

One forceful industry voice could shut down an entire account and insist on a hosting site complying with their own TOS where their TOS has been repeatedly violated, instead of individual authors taking down one file at a time.

Thank you.

Rowena Cherry
2010 EPIC Award, "Friend of ePublishing"

Permission granted to Tweet, Fark, Forward, Share.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

EM Radiation Research Trust - Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone

EM Radiation Research Trust - Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone

Following on from the previous post... so this will be upside down.

Cellphone Risks And Radiation : Men's Health

Cellphone Risks And Radiation : Men's Health

Too important not to share with my friends, IMHO. A friend on Twitter asked whether texting ought to be all right.
Well, brain surgery apparently costs $200,000 so is the focus of concern currently.

I've no idea if a study has been done of what happens when cellphones are held at waist level or on laps. I should imagine that there might be an effect on the reproductive system.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Excerpts from Penny Sansevieri's Newsletter (reposted with permission)

I love the tips that Penny Sansevieri shares.
Alas, too seldom do I actually do more than pass them on!
Penny's current newsletter contains a wealth of info, but is too long
for a blog post.

Here's Penny's advice on making good use of Twitter.

Feature Article: The Real Secret to Twitter
If you've ever been impressed by the number of followers someone has on Twitter, I have a newsflash for you: it doesn't matter.
The thing is, you can buy followers (no, I'm not kidding) sort of like buying mailing lists.
How effective is buying followers? Well, let me ask you: How effective was the last mailing list you bought? Whatever your answer is I can guarantee you that buying Twitter followers will be far less effective. Why? Because social media does not favor automation, it favors engagement, interaction, and yes, being social.
You might be interested in knowing someone's Twitter-reach or you might be trying to determine if your campaign is effective.
 Here are some key things to look at when measuring anyone's Twitter-success: 
1) How active is the person on Twitter?
2) How relevant to their market are their updates? For example did a mystery author just tell you she's washing her cat?
3) How much do they broadcast vs. communicate?
4) How often are they retweeted?
5) How many Twitter lists are they on?

One of the best ways to determine if your Twitter campaign is effective - or someone else's - is by gauging how often they are retweeted. Retweeting is an important factor in Twitter, possibly the most significant means to determine an effective Twitter person from an ineffective one. In fact, Twitter popularity lists aren't based on the amount of followers but rather on the amount of activity in a campaign. When I recently pulled up a list of the top 10 Twitter-ers in Southern California, I found that many in the top 10 didn't even break 10,000 followers. 

How can you determine how active an account is? 

There are a few services that you might want to look into. 

The first is Retweet Rank ( 
This service shows you (by user) how much someone has been retweeted as well as their most popular retweeted posts.

Twitter Analyzer ( is another great tool for determining how far tweets have traveled. You can isolate a user or a particular Twitter-stream. Very useful site!

How can you increase your tweet-ability?
Here are a few tips to help you grow your Twitter campaign:

1) Know what your followers want: the first piece sounds simple but could take you the most amount of time. Candidly, it took me three months to finally get a handle on what my followers wanted and what seemed to rank high on the retweeting scale. If you don't know what your followers want, try following popular people in your market and see what they are posting about. Use this as a guideline to help you dig deeper into what your market wants. 

2) Share useful advice: now that you've determined what your followers want to see on Twitter, make sure the information you are sharing is helpful. I know this sounds like an oxymoron. If you've determined what your followers want of course what you tweet on will be helpful, right? Wrong. Ask yourself what they need, not what you think they want. There is a big difference.

3) Don't overtweet: OK, full confession, I've been guilty of this from time to time but now I've found a good balance of between 4 and 5 posts a day. This may be a metric that works for you, but you'll need to determine that on your own. How do you know? If people start unfollowing you the reason may because you are overtweeting.

4) Balance broadcasting with communicating: this is a biggie for many of us. It's important to use any social media tool like a telephone. You would never call someone and just blast them with information, right? You'll give them something, wait for a response and then respond to their question and so a discussion ensues. Use social media as you would a telephone: communicate, don't broadcast.

5) Comment on current events that relate to your industry: becoming the go-to person for everything related to your industry is what most of us aspire to. Keeping apprised of what's going on in your industry is important and then, sharing the highlights or most significant items with your followers will go a long way toward growing your popularity.

6) Recommend helpful resources: much like current events, you want to offer helpful resources to your followers. This might not be appropriate to every market, but for the majority of us this works very well. Again, the more you can become a resource the more you will grow your popularity on Twitter or, for that matter, any social media site.

Many people hop on to Twitter thinking it's a numbers game when it really isn't. You can have a Twitter-tribe of millions and not gain the same kind of social media success that you would with only 1,000 followers. The wisdom of the crowd knows that it's not always the size of the audience that matters but how engaged they are in you and your message. Find the balance that works for. You'll be glad you did.

Book Authors, book publishers and other book peeps on Twitter:

and here:
 Twitter Tip - Twitter Gallery
Twitter Gallery:
Tons of free patterns, easy one-click installation.

Like this newsletter? Pass it on!

We never rent or sell subscriber lists to any third party. Your privacy is very important to us. Always. To subscribe to this newsletter, click here:
Copyright 2010 Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
--------------------------------------------------- ---------

Penny's Contact Information

By the way, one thing Penny didn't mention is Twit Wall.
Please check out mine! Then set up your own. 
Be aware that you will probably have to link your Twit Wall to your Twitter account, and then, everything you add to your Twit Wall will turn up as a Tweet (which could quickly put you over your 5-post limit as recommended by Penny).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Illegal Online Activity Funded By Major American Companies

Tehparadox is a file-sharing site. Its business model depends upon users posting copyrighted material which infringes the copyright owners' copyright. The TOS acknowledges that copyrighted material might be posted, and tehparadox disclaims knowledge and responsibility for this.

At the moment, the copyrights are apparently being violated for Harlequin books.

Here are some of the prominent companies in the business community who are displaying paid advertising (it has to be paid!) on this site. Please, if you have a moment, let these companies know how you feel about their funds making the "theft" of ebooks possible and profitable.

DeVry University
Universal Technical Institute
Keller School of Management
Oreck (vacuum cleaners)
Liberty Mutual

Are we all guilty of Misprision if we see these advertisements and fail to report them to the authorities? I seriously doubt it!

Under the US code and maybe under state codes, failure to report a felony is known as "misprision".\

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 1 > § 4
Prev | Next
§ 4. Misprision of felony

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a
court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known
the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the
United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three
years, or both.

Does anyone know if being an accessory before or after the fact of copyright infringement is a felony?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heart Attacks and the Census

Right now, my heart is pounding, my chest hurts, I'm shaking all over and I've just been forced to terminate a mental torture session with the census bureau.

I should be very interested to know how many heart attacks have been induced by census workers, and how many innocent, elderly folks will not live to see the benefits of Health Care Reform as a result of telephone harassment by census workers this spring and summer.

The telephone census seems to be deliberately designed to insult, offend, upset, infuriate and raise blood pressure in harmless, law abiding folk who are alone at home in the daytime.... and on Sunday evenings.

There ought to be a Congressional inquiry.

I just bet they don't ask the same questions to non-Caucasian households.  In which case, if the census phone calls are targeted as a result of racial profiling, is that legal? I cannot see it being politically correct... say in Arizona... to ask people the questions that I was asked.

I've been called three times for this "survey", so I do not believe that it is random.

I filled out my census form completely and promptly the week it was sent to me. I see no reason why I need to be recorded for a ten minute survey required by law (allegedly) to clarify whether I lied on my census form about how many people live in my home.

I refused to be recorded, but I suspect that my refusal was ignored. I requested that any questions outstanding should be mailed to me, but my request was ignored.

Among the questions I was asked (in random order, to the best of my memory) and which I answered truthfully, albeit at increasing volume, and interspersed with a few expressions of mild frustration.

Do these people live at this address?
Does anyone else live at this address?
Are these the only people who lived at this address?
Does anyone else stay at this address?
Are these people duplicate names for the same people?
Have you declared these people at any other address?
Have there been any births?

(Come ON! Our ages were listed on the census form!!! )
(I don't remember being asked about deaths, but I imagine it must have been asked)
Have you taken in any foster children?
Has anyone stayed with you?
Have you taken in any homeless people?
Is there anyone living at this address who you haven't declared?
Is anyone in this home not living at this home?
Is anyone away at school?
Have any of these people been put in a nursing home?
Have any of these people been put in a drug facility?
Have any of these people been imprisoned?
Have any of these people been put in a facility for sex offenders?
Have any of these people been hospitalized?
Are any of these people child abusers?
Has anyone come to stay with you?
Has anyone visited overnight?
Have you taken a vacation?
Have you gone away on business?
Do you have a second home?

Apparently, the worker is required to read the same lengthy paragraph about why she is asking these questions at regular intervals... to do with an accurate count of persons living in the home, also Title 13.

I asked if she was being paid by the minute, because this is all very cost ineffective. She said not. She said she had to read each item as it came up on her screen. So, it would seem that there is a script, and these census people read the script all day long. Other census workers were laughing in the background.

I feel calmer now. I'm not as old as I sound on the telephone, but that's nobody's business.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Apprentice Alf's Blog

Apprentice Alf's Blog

This site appears to reveal ways to get around Digital Rights Management
Please check it out and tell your publishers, so they know how to move to the next level.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shall We Nominate J A Konrath For An EFF Pioneer Award

Joe Konrath is the perfect nominee for an EFF Award.
Let's face it, a copyright defender simply isn't going to
win, so the next best thing for authors would be a truly
nice guy who is generous to colleagues and offers a hand 
up to authors lower down the career ladder.
Check out J A Konrath's blogsite. 
Here's how to vote for Joe!
* Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2010 Pioneer Awards!

EFF established the Pioneer Awards to recognize
leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending
freedom and innovation in the realm of information
technology. This is your opportunity to nominate a
deserving individual or group to receive a Pioneer Award
for 2010. The International Pioneer Awards nominations
are open to individuals and organizations from any
country. Nominations are reviewed by a panel of judges
chosen for their knowledge of the technical, legal,
and social issues associated with information technology.

How to Nominate Someone for a 2010 Pioneer Award:
You may submit as many nominations as you wish! This year
we've made it possible for you to nominate someone
using our online nomination form. We also welcome
nominations via email, but please use one form or email
per nomination. If emailing entries, please submit your
entries via email to We will accept
nominations until August 9, 2010.

Simply tell us:
1. The name of the nominee,
2. The phone number, email address or website by which
the nominee can be reached, and, most important,
3. Why you feel the nominee deserves the award.

Nominee Criteria:
There are no specific categories for the EFF Pioneer
Awards, but the following guidelines apply:

1. The nominees must have contributed substantially
to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of
computer-based communications.

2. To be valid, all nominations must contain your
reason, however brief, for nominating the individual or
organization and a means of contacting the nominee. In
addition, while anonymous nominations will be accepted,
ideally we'd like to contact the nominating parties in
case we need further information.

3. The contribution may be technical, social, economic,
or cultural.

4. Nominations may be of individuals, systems, or
organizations in the private or public sectors.

5. Anyone may nominate a potential Pioneer Award
recipient, and you may nominate more than one
recipient. You may also nominate yourself or your
organization. Please send separate email messages for
each nominee.

6. Anyone can receive a Pioneer Award except:
     - current members of EFF's staff
     - current members of EFF's operating board
     - current Pioneer Award judges
     - past Pioneer Award recipients

7. Persons or representatives of organizations receiving
an EFF Pioneer Award will be invited to attend the
ceremony at EFF's expense.

More on the EFF Pioneer Awards:

More on Joe

Lawsuit Against Downloaders

Downloaders on "pirate" sites have long assumed that 
they are relatively safe, and that predatory copyright 
owners will only go after Uploaders.
It would seem that downloaders (at least of movies) 
aren't as safe as they thought they were. One wonders what 
"legitimate defences" people who
download copyrighted material without paying might have.
Firstly, ignorance is no excuse under the law... at least, 
not in Britain.
Secondly, it is highly likely that at least some of these 
downloaders have participated in public conversations on 
public sites discussing the illegality of what they are 
doing and ways to avoid being caught at it.
EFFector Vol. 23, No. 15 June 11, 2010

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a
desired change.

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

In our 537th issue:

asking judges in Washington, D.C., to deny attempts by
the U.S. Copyright Group (USCG) to lump scores of people
as defendants into copyright infringement cases. The USCG
has stacked the deck against the defendants by requiring
all of them to defend these cases in Washington, D.C.,
regardless of where they actually live.

EFF has long been concerned that some attorneys would
attempt to create a business out of mass copyright
lawsuits, shaking settlements out of innocent people who
aren't in a position to raise legitimate defenses. EFF is
asking the court to step in now and force USCG to follow
the rules that apply in all other cases.

For the full press release and link to the amicus brief:

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Administrivia

EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)

Richard Esguerra, EFF Activist

Membership & donation queries:

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:

Reproduction of this publication in electronic media
is encouraged. Signed articles do not necessarily
represent the views of EFF. To reproduce signed articles
individually, please contact the authors for their
express permission.

Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be
reproduced individually at will.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Here's a really interesting experiment with a Stephanie Meyers book. Apparently, readers may read the book free as long as they do so solely and exclusively on the site.

In other words, no permission is granted to "share" the book on any pirate sites. Moreover, Hachette Group states that it is impossible to print the novel or download it onto a reader or phone.

I shall watch the pirate sites with great interest to see if Hachette is correct about their impenetrable protection for the work.... and I sincerely hope that they are correct.

It's also very interesting to see that some stores are reporting that the availability of the work as a free read is hurting sales. Presumably this is a temporary phenomenon which will end around July 7th, when the free read goes away.

Kudos to all concerned!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

From Authors' Guild for my Bloomberg-Published Friends

The following is quoted in its entirity (with blanket permission)  from an email alert shared with me by Authors' Guild. My membership of Authors' Guild costs me $90.00 a year.

John Wiley & Sons acquired Bloomberg Press, the books division of Bloomberg, in March. At the end of April, it began sending a letter to hundreds of Bloomberg Press authors purporting to inform them "about a few differences in the accounting systems of Bloomberg and Wiley that it will be helpful for you to know about."

While this sounds innocent enough, it isn't. If signed by an author, the letter is actually a contract amendment that will materially and adversely affect the royalty rates of many Bloomberg Press authors.

Among other things, this contract amendment would:

1. Change royalty rates based on retail list price to rates based on net receipts. We've reviewed several Bloomberg Press contracts. All provide for royalty payments based on the retail list price (although we understand that there may be many based on net receipts). The Wiley letter misleadingly presents this to the author as good news: "We are pleased to inform you that we will be paying your royalties on the net amount received..." This change will, for many authors, effectively slice royalties by up to 50% for some book sales. Wiley's letter fails to disclose that.

2. Empower Wiley to keep an author's book in print with a lowball print on demand royalty of 5% of net receipts. (Bloomberg Press had no print on demand program.) The contract amendment, which provides no threshold level of sales for a work to be considered in print, essentially grants Wiley a perpetual right in an author's book for a pittance. The 5% of net receipts royalty rate for print on demand editions is as low as we've seen.

We've asked an independent royalty auditor to review the affects of these contractual changes on royalty income. The royalty auditor found reductions of 24% to 43% using actual sales figures and applying Wiley's amendments. (The precise affect of the amendments will vary by title, depending on particular categories of sales of the work.)

The Authors Guild strongly urges Bloomberg Press authors to not sign this letter without careful consideration. If you have received this letter, consult your agent or a publishing attorney or contact a lawyer in our legal department so you understand precisely how this amendment would affect your rights and royalties. Important: if you have already signed the letter and returned it to Wiley, contact our legal department immediately. Non-Guild members are welcome to contact us as well. All communications will, of course, be held in confidence.

This is no way to do business. The letter is shocking from a publisher of Wiley's stature. In our view, Wiley should tear up any signed letters it has received and start over, forthrightly explaining to its new authors the contractual changes it is seeking and how this may affect their income and their right to terminate their publishing contracts.

Feel free to forward, post, or tweet.  Here is a short URL for linking:

I believe that the permission to post, tweet, link etc is something everyone ought  to do. Please spread the word by Tweeting.

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

Out of fairness to Wiley, I feel that I ought to add the email from Authors' Guild that come today (Friday June 11th 2010). Again, I quote with Authors' Guild's blanket written permission.

Late yesterday afternoon, John Wiley issued a press release disputing some of the assertions in our alert of yesterday morning. In our alert, we called Wiley's April letter to its Bloomberg Press authors "deceptive" and "misleading" and that it would "materially and adversely affect the royalty rates of many Bloomberg Press authors."

We stand by every word of our alert, and we again call on Wiley to start over. No sensible Bloomberg author with a contract providing royalties based on the retail list price of their book would have signed Wiley's amendment if they were fully aware of its effects. Wiley should send Bloomberg authors a new letter, informing the authors that they are disregarding any previous consents to Wiley's proposed contract changes and clearly explaining how the new terms they're suggesting differ from the authors' existing contracts.

Or, as Scott Turow put it on reviewing their response, "Wiley should knock it off and do the right thing."

In any event, here are our replies to John Wiley's various assertions:

1. Wiley's response says that its April letter to Bloomberg authors "explain[ed] the changes in plain English" and invited authors "to discuss these changes or raise questions."

Wiley's April letter is plain enough, but it avoids any hint that its changes will greatly reduce many Bloomberg authors' royalties. This is fundamental. Wiley's a sophisticated publisher, well aware of what it's doing and well aware that most authors aren't publishing attorneys. It could have spelled out the effects of its proposed contractual changes in equally plain English. If it had done so, then the offer to discuss the changes would have been meaningful.

2. Wiley says that Bloomberg authors' "response to this new alliance has been positive."

This doesn't really respond to our assertions, since it says nothing about the actual letter amendment. To the extent this does refer to the letter amendment to the contract, we note that if one sends a misleading letter, one might successfully get positive responses.

3. Wiley says it "believe[s] former Bloomberg authors will be paid higher royalties in most instances."

The calculation is pretty simple, really. For Bloomberg authors that were paid royalty rates on the basis of retail list price, as is the case for every Bloomberg contract we've reviewed, the author, for example, might receive royalties of 15% of the retail list price on a hardcover priced at $25, or $3.75 per book. If you instead base the royalties on the publisher's net receipts, and the discount to the retailer is a typical 50% off list price, then the author receives 15% of $12.50, or $1.88 per book.

So we're not quite sure where this is coming from, but we note that Wiley doesn't say that it will be paying higher royalty rates, nor does it say that it will pay higher royalty amounts per book sold. It may be assuming that its marketing will be better than Bloomberg's was, so sales will be higher, and the author will benefit, even with reduced royalties per book. That could be, but increased sales are no reason to reduce the contractually agreed royalty rate.

Or, it could be that most Bloomberg authors were already paid on the basis of net receipts, so the effects of the Wiley amendments might be minor. Perhaps there are many such contracts, and perhaps the effects would then be minor. Beats us: we haven't seen an example of a net receipts Bloomberg contract yet.

4. Wiley says that "the limited number of contract amendments the AG apparently chose to select are not therefore representative; nor are their 'calculations' accurate."

While it's true we didn't discuss all of the amendments, things don't look much better if we expand our review. For example, here's one of the amendments we didn't discuss: "For any sales made at a discount of fifty six percent or more, your royalties will be calculated at 7.5% of net receipts and there will be no deductions for manufacturing costs." But the Bloomberg Press contracts we've seen pay authors more than 7.5% of net receipts for those deeply discounted sales. Again, an author who doesn't happen to be a publishing lawyer might not get that. That there will be no deductions for manufacturing costs sounds like a good thing, but the Bloomberg contracts we've seen only deducted those costs for what are essentially remainder sales, books sold at discounts of 75% or more. Royalties on remainders have always been trivial.

We stand by our calculations, which were done using real sales figures by an independent royalty auditor. Wiley can't possibly know if our calculations are inaccurate, since they don't know which books were in our sample.

5. Wiley says we issued our alert "without speaking with Wiley concerning its specific assertions."
Actually, we raised these specific concerns with Wiley in an e-mail on Friday, May 7th:  "[T]hese letters strike us as a deceptive way to make substantial, material changes to a book contract.  We think any signed letters you received in response should be ripped up and this whole thing redone.  When it is redone, we don't think there's any good reason to change the royalty structure or the termination rights of the Bloomberg authors." We then spoke to Wiley.  Wiley told us that the net effect of the changes was complicated and that authors would do better overall.  We weren't persuaded, but we hired a royalty auditor to be doubly sure that we were reading the changes correctly.

Our job, in any event, is to play the role of watchdog. While in this instance we raised our issues with Wiley, we don't believe we're obligated to speak to a publisher when we see egregious behavior before we alert our members.

Do not sign Wiley's misleading letter and send it back to them. First consult us or your agent or your attorney. If you have signed the letter, we urge you to contact us immediately.

Wiley asked us to send you their response. It follows.

Wiley Responds to Authors Guild

Hoboken, NJ, June 10, 2010—Since Wiley acquired the rights to all formerly Bloomberg book titles on March 11, we have been working to provide a wider audience and more sales for these authors. On April 29, Wiley sent letters to the affected authors explaining the changes – in plain English, which we felt would be most helpful and informative for our authors. Wiley invited authors to speak directly with a specific (and named) publishing officer if they wished to discuss these changes or raise questions. Their response to the new alliance has been positive.  

This morning – without speaking with Wiley concerning its specific assertions – the Authors Guild issued an “alert” to its authors, claiming that the Wiley letter is deceptive and inferring that the Wiley changes it effects will reduce royalties for all or most former Bloomberg authors. This is simply not the case. We believe former Bloomberg authors will be paid higher royalties in most instances. The limited number of contract amendments the AG apparently chose to select are not therefore representative; nor are their “calculations” accurate. In any event, Wiley stands by its offer to discuss their individual contracts with all affected authors. We are happy to address any questions and concerns they may have about their individual contracts. Wiley is committed to the Bloomberg authors and is confident we will provide the best possible working relationships for them.

Feel free to forward, post, or tweet.  Here is a short URL for linking:

Rowena Cherry

Wednesday, June 09, 2010 Message Forums - Oil rig attack?(C&P) Message Forums - Oil rig attack?(C&P)

Interesting conspiracy theories worthly of a Clive Cussler novel.

Why Homeland Security Should Be Interested In File-Sharing Sites

This public comment in a public forum sparked a minor firestorm:

".... It took me a full day to realize that people were downloading a book that had been digitally encoded with my full name and IP address in the tag on every page. ...(rant redacted)... There was steam literally coming out of my ears, I was just that angry. I mean, DRMs and other such identifying features are one thing—they're pretty much invisible to others and can be removed. But having a person's name and IP address printed on every single page for all to see is quite another and that kind of information in the wrong hands could be disastrous...."

The lawbreaker who posted this is concerned about her identity, so I will not give full attribution. I consider this small fragment of a long public conversation meets the Fair Use criteria, as it is a small fragment, and I am using it for the purposes of education, commentary, critique etc.

The correspondent's public friends, most of whom are (for the time being) anonymous, went on to advise this young idiot how to crack DRM, how to remove publisher-generated code, and of the suitable precautions that any perpetrator of file-sharing should take.

Pirate sites are global. The owner could reside in Russia. The site could be hosted in The Netherlands. There could be "Teams" in India. Or Iran.

Most members are fairly anonymous. They can keep their profiles private. They can pm each other. (Some, however, openly befriend each other on Facebook and follow each other on Twitter, and it is easy to see how truly global these pirate friendships can be.)

The e-books aren't hosted on the pirate sites. Members share links to files which are hosted on other sites. Everyone disclaims responsibility. Many hosting sites pay lip service to DMCA but blatantly conspire to keep secret the real names of the uploaders and to conceal the titles and author names of the books being shared.

For instance: Sticky: Hide & Code Your Links Or The Posts Will Be Deleted

As we can see from the comments above, many pirates know how to remove DRM and personal information. If they can do that, they could ADD information, couldn't they? We know that some of them add viruses!

Haven't spies and so forth used books as means to communicate secret messages? What was the Enigma Code about? Now, with ebooks, anyone who wanted to pass a secret message wouldn't need two copies of a physical book. They wouldn't even need to purchase a book at all.

Maybe that is too fanciful. Hey, I write fantasy for a living. That's the way my mind works.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

"Crazy Tuesday" today

Crazy Tuesday is warts-and-all radio. Sometimes, we're totally unrehearsed, and this afternoon, 2pm Eastern until 4pm on Tuesday June 8th is going to be one of those occasions. This is pantser stuff (a publishing industry term for seat-of-the-pants writing). Listen Live by clicking here, and then on "Listen Live". You also have the option to listen "On Demand" at your convenience.

Over the weekend, my enterprising and compassionate colleague Alisha Paige posted a request for donations of autographed novels for an auction to benefit a child who needs surgery for epilepsy to a group of authors known as IWOFA (Infinite Worlds Of Fantasy Authors).

My producer, PIVTR radio station owner, and colleague Lillian Cauldwell has about the biggest heart of anyone I know, so I called her and asked if we could do a special "Crazy Tuesday" show today to help Caleb Warren, his mother Ami Russell, who is Alisha's editor, and the authors who are donating books for the auction.

Ami Russell will discuss what it is like to be an editor today, what it is like to be an editor with an epileptic child, how epilepsy affects lives and what hope modern medicine offers, what she are doing to raise funds for Caleb's surgery, how authors are helping by donating their books, what the donated books are, why Ami chose an auction as a fundraiser, how listeners can participate if they wish to/find out more, what else is being auctioned.... I hope that Ami will be able to share some heartwarming stories.

Authors who have pledged to autograph and mail books for the silent auction on June 16th, and whose book blurbs and possibly excerpts will be read on Crazy Tuesday include:

Lillian Cauldwell: Donating Anna Mae Mysteries, The Golden Treasure

Alisha Paige: Donating The Wooden Nickel

Tina Ferraro: Donating The ABC's Of Kissing Boys

Sky Purington: Donating Destiny's Denial

Diana Cosby: Donating His Captive and also His Woman

Nan D Arnold: Donating Hitting The High Notes

Jacquie Rogers: Donating Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues and also a CD by Justin Saragueta

Michele Hart : Donating Looks Are Deceiving

Ilona McAvoy: Donating Jadead (short story within A Box Of Texas Chocolates)

Vicki Batman: Drive My Car

PS After the show...

I learned a great deal about epilepsy, cortical dysplasia and a lot more besides. For instance, many epileptics prefer one to refer to their "seizure disorder".

If it works, this is the mp3 of the show:

Rowena Cherry

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Write More. Write Faster. Write Better. Sell Cheap.... Catch 22

"Write More, Write Faster, Write Better Quality, Write Consistently, Sell Cheap..." then, pirates promise, "we'll buy it if we like what we've already read."

At the same time, pirates complain that the ebooks they read without paying for are --pardon the expression-- "crap", and they claim that they read ebooks from pirate sites in order to avoid paying for crap.

Am I the only person to see a contradiction in what authors are told by pirates? How many first drafts are polished, first rate literature? Why does the editing process take so long? Rhetorical. I know. It takes at least six hours to read every word of a novel, probably more, and when an author is too close to her work, she sees what she expects to see, not the typo or the inexplicable name/eye color change or mis-attribution of a sentence within a fast paced dialogue scene.

Have you ever wondered why first books are often the best, and why many authors' later books in a series aren't quite as satisfying? I know that I have. I notice it most when novels abruptly wrap up in the final three pages, as if someone had yelled "Time's Up!" or whatever adjudicators say just before they collect examination papers.

When I'm sitting quietly eavesdropping on agents and book club leaders at booksignings and conventions, I often hear these industry experts wonder why a favorite author's most recent books don't live up to her earlier promise. They blame editors.

I suspect that these critics are both right, and wrong. I suspect that authors are being pushed to write faster, and they don't have the time to focus on the quality of what they write.  One might spend ten years honing a first book before an editor buys it. If it does well, the author may be offered that break-through, three-book contract, but the kicker is that the books are due at six month intervals for the next eighteen months.

That does not leave a lot of time for preliminary research, for thoughtful editing, or for revisions. No time to battle a copy-editor over a clumsy synonym that may be okay according to a thesaurus but is far from the "mot juste".

Piracy will probably increase the pressure on authors and publishers, and quality will deteriorate. I cannot see how it is not going to be a vicious spiral. To save time and money, books will not be thoroughly edited. Mistakes will slip by.

Now, this is all right if both authors and readers look on books in the same way that they look on fast food. Literary beefburger. Story telling sausage. Gobble one. Swallowing, grab another.

A speed reader probably skims a book for the story (I don't know. I don't speed read. I've seen some reviews written by prodigious readers, and have found them less than accurate, even on points of plot.)  If one has 2,000 ebooks on one's ereader and one's goal is to get through them all in a year, one is not going to spend six hours relishing nuances and turns of phrases. Ah, well! It's useless to rail against haste. We live in a fast paced world.

To sustain the food metaphor, if I'm going to consume (or write) junk, I'd still rather have something complicated and layered, like candyfloss or one of those ice creams that come in a paper-wrapped cone, and the wafer cone is lined on the inside with an invisible sheen of frozen chocolate.

How long will it be until story telling is rather like that sad joke about the convention of comedians? The guy on stage says, "Number Fifty-Two!" and everyone roars with laughter, because they all know and love joke number 52.

Alas! I liked Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries for the method. I liked the way Miss Marple solved the crime. If I wanted to simply zip through, and find out who committed the crime, I'd read the last page. Sometimes, I do read the last page before I buy a book!

I liked Arthur Hailey books because his research was fascinating and detailed, and I loved to learn true secret insider stuff. I liked George Orwell for the same reason.

I think the vociferous pirates are the locusts of literature. They'll do their thing, they always have and they always will. But if they don't respect and observe copyright laws anyway, (and as long as the government isn't seriously enforcing the laws) why do they want to change those laws for the rest of us?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Guest Post by KS Augustin

You obviously read Rowena's blog because you're reading these words. Have you noticed how opinionated she is? How downright cranky on occasion? How she loves looking for that political subtext? She's a woman after my own heart!

While I've been a bit anxious appearing at other blogs, I have no such qualms here where I can always rely on straight-shooting Rowena to say what she means. It doesn't matter whether I agree with her or not. She's got balls, and I admire her for that.

There, just wanted to say that before I got started.

I write SFR (Science Fiction Romance) and, to me, part of the rationale behind science-fiction is pissing people off. By and large, if you want a comfortable read that neatly fits into your views without taking a single shuffle out of line, you don't read sf or any of its sub-genres. And me, I like to shake things up a bit.

Grim view of the future? Check. Discrimination? Check. Brutality? Check.

And, against that dark background, what better than a love story? But not just any love story. How about a highly intelligent woman who really just wants a big fat pay-off for her years of hard work? Or a man whose memory is wiped every two days? How about putting them on a military vessel at the edge of space and then telling them they have to escape somehow? Why don't we mix in a technology to give, or take, millions of lives? Throw in an handsome ship captain with his own secrets? A skilled scientist who's turned his back on ethics? And you, as you figure out who, really, are the terrorists in this tale?

That's IN ENEMY HANDS. It's one of the launch titles of Carina Press. If it sounds intriguing but you'd like to know more before you slap down your hard-earnt cash, the entire Prologue is up at my site Have a read and see if it's your cuppa. And yes, it's written in UK English.

Thanks for having me here, Rowena. I've had fun.

Kaz Augustin is a Malaysian-born writer of science-fiction, romance, and permutations of the two. Her website is at and she blogs at You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter; just look for “ksaugustin”.

COMPETITION: I'm giving away two copies of IN ENEMY HANDS at my blog, Fusion Despatches []. To be in the draw, stop by and comment at the Competition post, telling me at which blog you read about my book. You have till 30 June!

Reproduction Rights (and Distribution, too)

An author has the right to control the reproduction, distribution and performance of his/her works. That is the crux of copyright law, and when it comes to ebooks, an author's right to control the reproduction and distribution of a work trumps other considerations.

That means that file "sharing" infringes copyright, because it is impossible to "share" an ebook without creating a copy. Providing an author's generosity doesn't interfere with other contractual agreements, an author is free to give away copyright-protected rights.

J A Konrath is giving away a collection of short stories: Jack Daniels Stories, and is thereby causing quite a stir. Find out more:

Before we had ebooks and file sharing, authors who wanted readers to sample their works, contributed short stories to anthologies (and still do so). Now, short stories are often given away freely from authors' websites. I prefer that model.

Here's what I wrote as a comment to J A Konrath, pointing out that what works well for an author who has a good body of work available for sale might be devastating for an author with only one or two works ready for the online shopping basket.


You are blessed to be quite prolific.

When pirates say: "Write Faster, Write Better, Write Cheaper..." that's not a problem for you.

If a pirate shares one of your books, the chances are, there are ten or eleven more of your books that he might buy once he's discovered you.

What about the author who only has one book?

If pirates share that, it's all very well them loving it, and vowing to buy everything else that author writes, but they've read everything he or she has in print, that book's sales is what her editor judges him or her on, and in this economy (for publishing) there may never be a contract for a second or third book from that author.

No amount of admonitions to write faster, better, cheaper will make any difference to that author.

Moreover, some authors cannot write fast and well. Editing takes time. Not everyone types with perfect spelling and grammar.

When one rushes to publish, mistakes are overlooked, shortcuts are taken, there's no time to fix the wobbly bits of a plot.

Moreover, if you've spent any time on Astatalk, for instance, you will see that there are the Releases. And there are the Requests.

Pirates read one book, and they don't buy the next one. They request it. 

EFFector ( "Reproduction... is encouraged" )

Before I reproduce this very interesting and informative EFFector newsletter with information about cutting people off from the internet (which in the case of ebook pirates who upload novels they do not own to file sharing sites seems like a pretty splendid idea to me!) and about Facebook and Google and other monstrous invasions of privacy... I must point out an improvement to the privacy settings that I noticed on my Facebook account today.

Apparently, I can choose whether or not to show my sex to all my friends on my profile page. I don't mind casual visitors seeing my Gender confirmed in writing. 
Here's Effector. 
EFFector Vol. 23, No. 14  June 1, 2010

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a
desired change.

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

In our 536th issue:

in reality, cut people off of the Internet, turn ISPs into
copyright cops, and create a global framework that puts
severe restrictions on innovation. Use the link below
to see if your member of Congress is on the appropriate
committee. Then tell him or her not to be fooled by this
chicanery and demand that ACTA be limited to addressing
international counterfeiting.

To take action on ACTA:

UNPRECEDENTED OVERSHARING, joined by a concerned chorus of
privacy-conscious users. In response to the firestorm of
criticism, Facebook announced a series of privacy changes
to the social networking site last week. The changes are
improvements, and users should make the most of the new
privacy controls, but there are still critical privacy
gaps that Facebook should address.

For an in-depth analysis of the Facebook privacy changes:

For a step-by-step guide to the new privacy options:

For the Bill of Privacy Rights for Social Network Users:

For a round-up of reactions to the privacy changes:

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

EFF Updates

* Google Launches Encrypted Search
Encrypted search improves user privacy by protecting
against various forms of electronic eavesdropping.

* Google's Open Wi-Fi Privacy Mistake Must Be the Last
Google's inadvertent collection of unencrypted Wi-Fi data
using Google Street View cars is a rookie mistake and a
wake-up call for users to beef up their use of encryption
on open Wi-Fi.

* EFF Seeks Attorneys to Help Alleged Movie Downloaders
Are you an attorney licensed to practice law in the
United States? If you are, EFF needs your help to fight

* EFF Adds to Massive Archive of Government Records
Almost 200 FOIA requests and over a dozen lawsuits
have netted us a treasure trove of government records
on surveillance, contracts with Google, travelers'
complaints, and more.

* Judge Shields Identity of Critic Facing Baseless Lawsuit
EFF successfully defended the free speech rights of a
user facing a bogus lawsuit from a company criticized on
a Yahoo! message board.

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :


* EFF's DEF CON 18 Getaway Contest Update!

Eighty-one participants have raised approximately $2500
so far in EFF's DEF CON 18 Getaway Contest! This week
the Holy Handgrenades team remains in first place with
a $600 total, followed by Nodes with $500 and individual
contestant Evan Keiser with $65. It's still anyone's game,
so you're not too late to join the fun!

Register for the DEF CON 18 Getaway Contest today and
receive a personalized referral link. Send the link to
your friends and family, and tell them why they should
support EFF. The contestant(s) to raise the most money
for EFF between now and June 30, 2010, will win:

- two DEF CON 18 Human badges;
- a standard room at the Riviera Hotel for the nights of
July 29-31;
- two tickets to the Vegas 2.0 Party at the Top of the
Riv on July 29;
- two tickets to the iSEC Partners Party, location and
date TBD; and
- two badges to the Ninja Networks Party, location TBD,
on July 31.

There are prizes for second and third place winners,
as well. Visit for more information
and official contest rules. Contact with
any questions. See you in Sin City!

* Help EFF Go to SouthEast LinuxFest!

EFF is looking for donations of airline miles, flight
vouchers, and hotel points for travel to SouthEast
LinuxFest in Spartanburg, SC, as well as other conferences
and speaking engagements. If you have enough airline miles
for a free ticket and would like to send an EFF staffer
to a conference, let us know, and we will help you with
the process of making the reservation. Please note that
at this time we are unable to combine miles from multiple
individuals. We are also looking for hotel rewards points
to help reduce our overall travel costs.

As a thanks for your donation, we can offer a free
membership and a mention in EFFector (if you'd
like). Please contact if you can help!

* EFF Seeking Staff Intellectual Property Attorney

Dream job alert:  EFF is seeking an intellectual property
staff attorney for its legal team. Responsibilities
include litigation, public speaking, media outreach,
plus legislative and regulatory advocacy, all in
connection with a variety of intellectual property and
high technology matters.

Qualified candidates should have at least four years of
legal experience, with knowledge in patent law and at
least one other IP specialty (copyright, trademark, trade
secret). Litigation experience is required, including
significant experience managing cases, both overall case
strategy and day-to-day projects and deadlines. Candidates
should have good communication skills and interest
in working with a team of highly motivated lawyers and
activists in a hard-working nonprofit environment. Strong
writing and analytical skills as well as the ability to
be self-motivated and focused are essential. Tech savvy
and familiarity with Internet civil liberties and high
tech public interest issues preferred. This position is
based in San Francisco.

Interested applicants should submit a resume, writing
sample, and references to

* EFF Seeking Webmaster

EFF is seeking a full-time webmaster to start
immediately. This person will be responsible for
managing content and building web features on,
and helping to build and maintain EFF's web initiatives
and campaigns. The environment is fast-paced; the work
is cutting-edge. A love of technology and familiarity
with related civil liberties issues is a must.

The ideal candidate will have a broad range of experience
in web development, including:

* Standards-compliant XHTML/CSS markup
* Web scripting languages: PHP, Javascript
* Open-source web server technologies: Unix, Apache, etc.
*Graphics production, editing and optimization
* An eye for clean user-centric web design and layout
* Organizing and keeping track of large amounts of complex
web content

Additional familiarity with any of the following is
a plus:
* Drupal CMS theming and development
* Subversion (or similar concurrent versioning system)
* Writing blog posts, press releases, web content, etc.

Salary $45,000-$50,000 with benefits. To apply, send a
cover letter and your resume with links to some samples of
your work to Please send these materials
in a non-proprietary format. No phone calls please!

The job is based out of EFF's offices in San Francisco,
CA. Applicants must live in or be able to relocate to
the area.

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Administrivia

EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)

Richard Esguerra, EFF Activist

Membership & donation queries:

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:

Reproduction of this publication in electronic media
is encouraged. Signed articles do not necessarily
represent the views of EFF. To reproduce signed articles
individually, please contact the authors for their
express permission.

Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be
reproduced individually at will.

Current and back issues of EFFector are available via
the Web at: