Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Internet pirates are not happy with President Obama (an author) and Vice President Biden (a well known passionate defender of copyright). Today, I received this (from EFF):
Dear Friend of Digital Freedom,

The U.S. government has made two proposals this week that threaten online speech and privacy in radical new ways. Either one, if passed by Congress, will fundamentally rewrite the rules of the Internet. EFF is fighting hard for your rights and needs your help.

These proposals are the most frightening we've seen in a long time. The first is a bill called the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act," which would give the Justice Department new powers to censor websites accused of aiding "piracy." The second is an Obama Administration proposal that would end online privacy as we know it by requiring all Internet communication service providers -- from Facebook to Skype to your webmail provider -- to rebuild their systems to give the government backdoor access to all of your private Internet communications.

EFF is battling these threats to Internet users' privacy and freedom of speech, and we need your support. More than half of EFF's funding comes from individuals like you, and none of our funding comes from government grants. That means that when EFF goes toe-to-toe against government attempts to snatch away your rights, we pull no punches in defending the civil liberties of all technology users and innovators.

Become an EFF member today, and join the ongoing fight for privacy, free expression, and civil liberties on the Internet, as we face down these threats and secure a better future for us all.

On the other hand... (say I)

PayPal makes 0.40c every time some "sharing" Yahoo group manager sells a $2.00 link to authors' in-print, in-copyright books. Why is this allowed? Why are there SEVENTEEN "Bookmix" collections of dozens of copyrighted books, some of which include four recent works by the same author?

I could understand that sharing one book by an author might be good promo, but not an entire series. Does EFF not understand what they are helping to do?

Is it right that YAHOO and PAYPAL have no responsibility for the actions their business model supports and apparently encourages?

Is it right and fair that Club Freebie can charge "a convenience fee" of $2.00 and profit from copyright infringement by pirates? Is it right that Club Freebie can legally hide behind this wording:
"Please note that we are not the 'hosts' of these books, neither did we upload them to any hosting provider. We simply find links to books, that were freely available on the web and share our findings with our members."

'FREELY AVAILABLE'? I wonder whether the publishers agree that these books are "freely available".
"Freely available" is a bland euphemism for allegedly stolen property that could very well be infected with viruses, malware etc.

Nevertheless, they are charging $2.00 to sell links to "freely available" e-books that --it is reasonable to guess-- effing pirates have uploaded to the internet.

This isn't just a single book for promo... this is multiple works. So, if this is LEGAL, the law has to change. The alternative is for the general public to side with authors, and turn in pirates, and generally let it be known that "sharing" is not right or fair.

Here's a copyright alliance petition

Dear Copyright Advocates,

As promised, we seek to keep you updated with news from Capitol Hill that affects your rights as an artist or creator. Read on to find out more about a new bill that is targeting rogue pirate sites. And take this opportunity to make your voice heard!

On Thursday, September 30th, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on legislation that will target web sites that profit from infringing music, movies, books, images, software, and other creative works. These websites don't give a dime to artists. The legislation is called "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" or S-3804. It is sponsored by 16 Democratic and Republican senators and its chief sponsor is Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Our online world is now polluted with professional, legitimate-seeming sites that offer a wide array of artistic works for free and are supported by ads sold on the sites. Sometimes these sites even charge subscription fees for access to creative works. NOT A DIME OF THAT MONEY ever reaches the artists who create the work, such as an independent filmmaker we blogged about recently or another independent filmmaker profiled today in The Los Angeles Times. These sites profit from theft, pure and simple.

The legislation would encourage online ad brokers, online payment processors (such as credit card companies) and ISPs to cut off the income flow that feeds this piracy. As comic book author and illustrator Colleen Doran said in her Creators Across America video, "These sites wouldn't be around if not for the dough."

A growing number of artists are banding together to support this legislation. Colleen has used her blog to promote the legislation (here and here). In addition, a coalition of artists has put together an online petition you can use to let your elected representatives know how important it is to keep rogue web sites from profiting from your work. As the petition notes: "The theft of copyrighted works like photography, music, movies, books, software and games is a devastating problem... This rampant theft inhibits the ability of American businesses to invest and innovate -- and stifles the capacity of American artists and creators to earn a living, support their families, and invest in their own creative development."

You might also want to let Senator Leahy know you appreciate the hard work he and his colleagues are doing on behalf of artists.

We'll keep all of you informed as this legislative effort continues.
Lucinda Dugger
Director of Outreach

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