Sunday, October 10, 2010

Complimentary Books? But "compliments" of whom?

On the fringes of the law are people who tell lies and lure honest folks into illegal activities. Then, there are the cynical major corporations such as PayPal and Yahoo who profit from this sort of thing, and refuse to take any sort of investigative action.

What would you think, if you saw this in your email?
Another 54 Complimentary Books.
Book Mix 20
Dear Members
We are sure you will find something of interest in this terrific mix of complimentary books!
Another 54 Free Books for Everyone! (Book Mix 20). When you click the link below, follow the simple instructions on the book page to arrive at the download links page. Easy!
Would you realize that you are about to become a pirate?

If you are told --twice-- that the books you are about to receive are "COMPLIMENTARY" and once that they are "FREE", you'd expect that the authors and the publishers had given permission for this.


The books have been stolen, pirated, illegally uploaded to a hosting site or pirate site in violation of the authors' copyrights... "shared".

You don't know this. You've no reason to suspect that you are doing anything wrong, so you click the link.


Sounds good. In fact, the books are only free to everyone who chooses to steal them. And they are not really free. You are about to get your computer loaded up with tracking cookies. Also, you will probably be asked to send $2.00 to PAYPAL (and PayPal will take at least 44 cents as their commission for being part of this sale of links to stolen goods), or you will be asked to click on a link to watch an advert.

I believe that this is click fraud, and it is illegal. The advertiser wants people who are potentially interested in the product to click the link and actually watch the ad. The advertiser pays per click. Do they really want to pay for several hundred thousand people to get links to stolen ebooks?

Notice the instructions to "Skip Ad" after 5 seconds.

Its easy to collect all the books below for FREE!
Simply click the link below, watch the advert for 5 seconds, then click on the YELLOW BUTTON (Skip Ad) as it appears at the top/right of your screen and you will be directly taken to the main book page!

Scrolling down....

Please note that we are not the 'hosts' of any 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!

Get a clue. This disclaimer is here because these people know that what they are doing is on the shady side of the law. Are they an "Online Service Provider"? If so, the DMCA applies to them, and the safe harbor provisions protect them.

Here's what Chilling Effects says about safe harbor

In order to qualify for safe harbor protection, a service provider who hosts content must:
  • have no knowledge of, or financial benefit from, infringing activity on its network
  • have a copyright policy and provide proper notification of that policy to its subscribers
  • list an agent to deal with copyright complaints

But, are they hosting content? Is a list of links to illegal books "content"? Is a list of links a copyright infringement? You cannot copyright titles.

Ah! Here's the thing. They may not be hosting the books, but they are hosting the COVERS. Cover art is usually copyrighted. A lot of people think it is in the public domain, but they might not be right about that. Now I have my rights back to Forced Mate, Insufficient Mating Material, and Knight's Fork, I must create my own covers if I want to self-publish those books.

In the middle of the display of illegally uploaded and hosted book covers is an advertisement by Tudor Court Condominiums. I wonder why Simon Ditchbum believes that people who unwittingly steal e-books are likely to be interested in moving to Thailand.

Maybe you'd like to ask him! He published this info in his paid advert, so I guess he welcomes inquiries.

Contact us on Skype: simon.ditchbum 

Contact us directly...
International: Tel: +66 (0) 818 630 201, Tel: +66 (0) 861 122 850

Moving down....

Uh-oh. The other major sponsor is MARKETING CHAT which is another weebly site and appears to be run by the same wonderful, honorable, sharing people who run the Freebie club.

They are ripping off a whole 'nother selection of cover artists and book authors.

Notice this wording, too. This is where YAHOO is involved in this. And if you think YAHOO doesn't know, think again. This author complained to YAHOO and was banned from the group.

Join our FREE BOOKS club TODAY!

Subscribe to freebookclub

If you want to be kept informed of the LATEST selections of books & audio books, then why not join our FREE Club

Subscribe to marketingchat

Now, we are almost at the bottom of the page. Let me point out that there is no copyright notice, symbol or statement of copyright policy, no contact info, no listed name of the copyright agent to whom one should complain, no DMCA link.

Anyway, I am making "Fair Use" of their content. I am using it to illustrate a report, a critique, a commentary in the public interest.

Here is the honest reader's first ... maybe third... hint of trouble. Check this out and see what you think.

Useful Download Info

After clicking the links below each book summary, and downloading the file(s), you will find that most files are saved in ZIP format or in .RAR format, if you do not have the program to open these .RAR files on your computer, you can get it FREE here: http://peazip.source A simple search on Google will find you many free programs like this. ZIP files are opened with WinZip (most computers have this program on their computers, however, if you do not, simply go to and download the program free!) 

 Word to the wise crackers. Yeah. I know the links don't work. I messed with them. OK?

Zipped files are easy to open. Simply click on the book links, taking you directly to the download page. Click on the 'Free User' button (each host is a little different, but all offer free download, you just have to wait a few seconds!), click the download button and your book will start to download. Once fully downloaded, your computer will ask you if you want to OPEN or SAVE the file. We suggest that you first SAVE the file to a place on your computer, eg; My Documents. Once you have done this, you can easily find the file, and by clicking on it, it will open. You will then see all the smaller files inside. You can either select all of these at once (click on the top one, then hold down your SHIFT key while you click on the bottom one, then click EXTRACT. It will then ask you where to save the files to (we suggest My Documents for now unless you have already created a new folder and place you would like to keep them). The programme will then save the files. If you prefer, You can also OPEN the file straight away. It will then start to gradually load the file. Once it is ready (100% loaded), you can then click OPEN again, and you will see all the smaller files in the box. Select one or ALL of these files, and click the 'EXTRACT TO' link. You will then be given a choice of places you can save the UNZIPPED files. 
1. There are no book summaries.
There were book summaries on the previous 19 "complimentary" collections, but I infer that someone told these terrific people that hosting summaries lifted from the publishers' sites was dodgy.

2. Should you infer that if you click the links, you go directly to a page that hosts the book you want? Maybe. What's the deal with the ZIP?

Who uploaded the books to zip folders?
What is a .RAR file, and do publishers sell e-books as .rar files?
In the binary newsgroups, RAR is used to compress large files. As people post larger and larger files, it has become more important to compress them down as much as possible. That's why RAR and yEnc were invented, and that is why they have caught on so fast. Typically, a poster will compress his file with RAR.

So... RAR is commonly used by persons intent on infringing copyright to enable them to compress and publish large folders (such as e-books). Of course, not all RAR users are pirates, just as not all dogs are borzois.

3. Notice the English English spelling. The perpetrator of magnificent generosity with other people's work (authors' works) may be an Englishman.

4. Why are there lots of smaller files? What are you downloading and unzipping apart from the stolen e-book you thought you were getting? Trojans? Maybe. Remember, you are getting stolen content from a pirate site.

5. I wonder what is the deal with these choices of where to save the new files. Could it be... more advertising? Or maybe you have to pay membership and join a storage site? If you know, do tell!

Rowena Cherry

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