Mailing List Archive

Alphascript Publishing scam
> David Gerard said:
>
> ++++++++++++++
>
> 2009/8/13 David Goodman <dgoodmanny at gmail.com>:
>
>> I would be exceedingly uncomfortable with us organizing a negative
>> campaign against any publisher not actually violating our copyright.
>> .  A factual campaign, providing information is another matter. It
>> would be entirely appropriate for individuals, even in a somewhat
>> coordinated way, to add a review, just pointing out that it is
>> entirely a copy of a Wikipedia article, and available free in  an
>> updated version from our website--and in updated form.
>
>
> "The contents of this book are reprinted from Wikipedia. Thanks to Dr
> --- for making Wikipedia content available commercially in printed
> form, in full observance of copyright requirements. We do this to
> spread knowledge, after all!"
>
>
> - d.
>
> +++++++++++++++
>
> And David Gerard also says:
>
> ===============
> 2009/8/14 Renata St <renatawiki at gmail.com>:
>
>>> As long as the books give sufficient indication that they are from
>>> Wikipedia, ...
>
>> Inside the book -- yes, plenty of indication about copying. But nothing to
>> warn you before you buy. People are buying these books tricked into thinking
>> it's an original content.
>
>
> Yuh. Point it out in reviews etc.
>
>
> - d.
> ===============
>
> To me, this smacks of an utter disregard for the intent and spirit of
> the free license.   It's the same sort of flippant administrative
> attitude that (nearly) allowed Guy "JzG" Chapman to grossly plagiarize
> my original, freely-licensed work, delete mine from the edit history,
> then prance about claiming that the work was his own, written "ab
> initio".  That made me want to vomit, and now I feel like vomiting
> again.
>
> Sorry to resurrect a thread like this, but I only became aware of the
> phenomenon recently.
>
> To give an example of how such a book is marketed on Amazon:
>
>>>>>>>>
> History of Buddhism (Paperback)
>
> by Frederic P. Miller (Editor), Agnes F. Vandome (Editor), John
> McBrewster (Editor)
>>>>>>>>
>
> These people are not Wikipedia editors.  Is it appropriate and/or
> legal under the terms of the GFDL or the CC-by-SA for a
> freely-licensed work to be "claimed" with a preposition such as "by",
> which by any interpretation of the English language in this usage,
> would connote authorship?  Personally, I don't think it is appropriate
> (thus that nauseous feeling I mentioned earlier).  But, I'm not a
> highly-paid lawyer, so maybe I just don't know better.  I've been in
> situations before where I know I am ethically correct, but helpless in
> the light of the law.
>
> It strikes me that this is something that Creative Commons or other
> organizations with Godwin-like attorneys should be aggressively
> pursuing, but we didn't hear from any of them in the original thread,
> did we?  Mike, could you illuminate this conversation with your
> professional opinion?
>
> Greg
>

Sorry, I didn't edit the subject.

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Re: Alphascript Publishing scam [ In reply to ]
What can Creative Commons or Wikimedia do in these cases? They aren't
the rights holders, so even if they wanted to they couldn't sue. And
if they could sue, they couldn't afford it. Legal remedies are
available to the folks whose work is included, but I think generally
speaking they may not have much motivation or means. Wikipedia content
is reused all across the web and in print without the type of
attribution required by the GFDL - this is nothing new.

Nathan

(Replying again on the thread with a subject.)

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Re: Alphascript Publishing scam [ In reply to ]
Robert Rohde said:

+++++++++
At its core though, the fact that Wikipedia works can be repackaged
and sold is a feature of the free content movement.
+++++++++

Via trickery? Some accomplishment.


Andrew Gray says:

=========
this may be a failing of Amazon
=========

Amazon... Where have I heard that name? Oh, yes! They invested $10
million in Wikia, Inc., didn't they? Sorry to see that they don't
help to respect the licenses that Wikipedia and Wikia are both built
upon.

Look, if the license is itself a feeble instrument that almost begs to
be mocked, then I guess the "caveat emptor" applies not only to the
stooges who might buy these books (is there any evidence that anyone
is actually purchasing them?), but also to the content generators who
release their work under licenses they (falsely) think will carry some
oomph in the marketplace. I do agree with Mr. Gray that Amazon has
made a poor corporate judgment in not demanding more straightforward
attribution of its publishers. I guess Amazon makes a number of bad
judgments. Their stock is up less than 9% over 10 years, with no paid
dividends.

Greg

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Re: Alphascript Publishing scam [ In reply to ]
On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 10:30 AM, Gregory Kohs <thekohser@gmail.com> wrote:
> Look, if the license is itself a feeble instrument that almost begs to
> be mocked, then I guess the "caveat emptor" applies not only to the
> stooges who might buy these books (is there any evidence that anyone
> is actually purchasing them?), but also to the content generators who
> release their work under licenses they (falsely) think will carry some
> oomph in the marketplace.

Yes, you shouldn't submit anything to Wikipedia that you're not
comfortable basically releasing into the public domain. The GFDL
offered little protection, CC-BY-SA offers even less, and the WMF's
interpretation of CC-BY-SA offers basically no protection (the only
entity that the WMF says has to be given credit is "Wikipedia", and
they can't even sue if that credit isn't given, so basically you've
got a catch-22 situation where the people who could potentially sue
aren't the people who are harmed).

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Re: Alphascript Publishing scam [ In reply to ]
I have submitted the following to GNU.org, to Amazon, to Alphascript
Publishing, and the FTC, so maybe they can professionally sort it out.
I may not have legal footing, but if not, it still stinks:

Amazon.com is allowing the fraudulent marketing of published content
by Alphascript Publishing.

The materials in these books:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&sort=relevancerank&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=John%20McBrewster

...was not authored "by" John McBrewster. It was authored and edited
by several editors on Wikipedia.org who claim copyright to the
material and released it under the terms of the GFDL and the CC-by-SA
licenses. As you can see, Alphascript is making no attempt in its
marketing to inform the buyer that the material is freely licensed,
that it has merely been re-packaged (not "edited"), and that the
listing of these ancillary editors does NOT fulfill the attribution
terms on the free licenses which transport this media.

I have multiple expectations:

(1) That the GNU.org and the FTC will act to the best of their abilities to work
with both Alphascript Publishing and Amazon to inform their course of
action to help assure that proper attribution and sourcing does come
into effect, or simply to advocate removal of these publications from
the marketing database hosted by Amazon until they are made compliant.

(2) That Amazon more effectively address its few publishers who are
brazenly violating American licensing laws, even if they are offshore
companies.

We need go no further than Amazon's own terms of service to read:

Intellectual Property

* Recopied media. Recopied media infringe upon copyrights and
trademarks and are illegal to sell. Unauthorized copies, dubs, and
duplicates of any copyrighted material are prohibited on Amazon.com.
This includes:
o Books - Unauthorized copies of books are prohibited.

The content published by Alphascript is authorized if and only if the
terms of the original licenses have been met, and I assuredly believe
they have not been so met.

Gregory Kohs
Cell: 302.463.xxxx

CC: FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection
(Case number: 24307600)

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Re: Alphascript Publishing scam [ In reply to ]
I wonder what Alphascript will think of this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/6130037589

Americans love a good bargain. Too bad I don't have the time to
duplicate this effort the 5,000 times to keep up with them.

Greg

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Re: Alphascript Publishing scam [ In reply to ]
Is 19.95 your cost? I'ver mentioned before that this is the best way to effectively put them out of business.

 



________________________________
From: Gregory Kohs <thekohser@gmail.com>
To: foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
Sent: Wed, October 14, 2009 10:10:32 AM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Alphascript Publishing scam

I wonder what Alphascript will think of this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/6130037589

Americans love a good bargain.  Too bad I don't have the time to
duplicate this effort the 5,000 times to keep up with them.

Greg

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Re: Alphascript Publishing scam [ In reply to ]
I have submitted the following to GNU.org


It doesn't make sense to send something like this to a gnu.org mailing list.
The GNU project does not accept copyrights in any official capacity--that
work is done by the FSF. And, it's really only worth emailing them if people
actually assigned copyright to the FSF of the work. Besides, people from the
GNU project and friends of the FSF are on *this* mailing list already.

-Josh
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