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April 17, 2012

Amazon has a problem with knock-off ebooks

Spamazon? | The Passive Voice
Until recently, if you had typed “Steve Jobs Isaac” into the online retailer’s search box, the first choice that popped up wasn’t the best selling book by Walter Isaacson, but instead one with the same name and a similarly sounding author, Isaac Worthington. The book appears to be selling, even though Amazon’s one reviewer gives the book a single star and calls it a “poorly produced pamphlet.” Presumably, Worthington’s book is based on exclusive interviews with Jeve Stobs. There are a number of books on Amazon with similar titles to much more popular ones. Fifty Shades of Grey, the steamy romance novel that has created buzz around the world, is the No. 1 selling book on Amazon. Also available on Amazon: Thirty-Five Shades of Grey. Both books are written by authors with two first initials – E. L. James and J. D. Lyte – and both are the first in a trilogy about a young girl who falls for an older, successful man with a taste for domineering sex. The publisher of the bestseller Fifty says the book is “a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.” The author and publisher of Thirty-Five, which came out in early April, apparently believe that description fits their book as well, word-for-word. Also selling on Amazon is I am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Twilight New Moon. Neither is the book you are likely looking for. . . . . It’s perhaps more shocking that Amazon not only sells the books, it’s also helping their authors create them. All of the apparent copycat books that Fortune found on Amazon were made through CreateSpace, which is a division of Amazon. Authors can use CreateSpace’s system to design and self-publish their own books. The books then go on sale on Amazon and other sites. Amazon splits the proceeds with authors. It’s a different relationship than most publishers have with their authors, but there is no way for consumers to know that. On Amazon and other sites, CreateSpace is listed as the publisher of the books. “It’s the book equivalent of spam,” says lawyer Eric Rayman, a former attorney for Simon & Schuster. “Amazon should be taking steps to stop this. It’s bad for consumers and it’s bad for the book business.” . . . .

April 12, 2012

Lawsuit tries to claim that embedding a video if a violation of copyright

The Lawsuit That Could Throw Up Legal Barriers to Embedding Video | ThinkProgress
Over at Ars Technica, Tim Lee brings news of a disturbing lawsuit, now supported by the Motion Picture Association of America, that could set a legal precedent that embedding copyright video, rather than hosting it, counts as copyright infringement: “Although there is nothing inherently insidious about embedded links, this technique is very commonly used to operate infringing internet video sites,” the organization writes. “Pirate sites can offer extensive libraries of popular copyrighted content without any hosting costs to store content, bandwidth costs to deliver the content, and of course licensing costs to legitimately acquire the content.” The MPAA also notes that embedding can enable sites to monetize infringing content by surrounding it with ads… Numerous websites embed content from third parties they have not personally inspected. Under the theory articulated by Grady, and supported by the MPAA, these websites would be responsible for this content, exactly as if they had stored it on their own servers. This could create a serious disincentive for sites to allow users to post embedded content, hampering the convenience and user-friendliness of the Web