Author Topic: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book  (Read 33861 times)  

Offline Daniel Knight

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Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
« Reply #75 on: March 03, 2015, 06:36:03 am »
Becca, this is so horrible. I can't stand people who take advantage of others and there are few things worse than feeling powerless to fix a situation like that. I'm glad Smashwords got your book back up - hopefully Amazon follows along quickly.

I let Passive Guy know about your blog post. I figure the more people who know about this kind of abuse the more we can hopefully do to prevent it or push for changes to stop it.

I second what some others have said too. How is an official copyright registration not the silver bullet to handle this? That is absolutely ridiculous. 

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    Offline Mr. Sparkle

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #76 on: March 03, 2015, 06:39:26 am »
    LOL. Any self-respecting ghostwriter would've done a better job cleaning up the typos in that first draft. ;)

    I think Mr. Sparkle was talking about the folks over on Warrior Forum who got taken in by my scammer.

    Yes, that is what I meant! Thank you, Becca.  :o

     Someone else last year hired a ghostwriter who turned out to be a plagiarist and caused their client to lose their KDP account. I was trying to figure out why someone would do something so cruel to an author, and the only monetary gain I could think of besides blackmail was being able to use content without being challenged. It's far more likely the fraudster in this case is simply a troll or a blackmailer.

    Glad your account is safe at Smashwords!

    I agree that there's no higher proof than actually holding the copyright title. If that doesn't prove it, what does? There are specific (badly written) clauses in the DMCA that require Amazon to respond to your counter-claim, and it doesn't sound like they are following them. Try to talk to a supervisor. If all else fails, go to Consumerist.com, then media blogs. Email Jeff Bezos. Contact the national media.
    Mr. Sparkle is disrespectful of dirt!

    Offline J.A. Sutherland

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #77 on: March 03, 2015, 06:55:13 am »
    We should do this as a preemptive measure because a blog post is never going to be reliable proof that content was created on a certain date. And certainly should never hold trump over a registered copyright.

    This is where a real trade organization would come in handy. Not only to speak to the retail channels as a single, louder voice, but to provide legal support and advice.

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    Offline sarahdalton

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #78 on: March 03, 2015, 06:59:17 am »
    This is really scary. I keep old files of my books on my hard drive, but like you say in the blog - what's to stop someone copying and pasting some text?

    Thank you for sharing, and I hope you get it sorted soon. :)

    Free and bargain YA books. Sci-fi, horror, and fantasy.
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    Offline shalym

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #79 on: March 03, 2015, 07:03:01 am »
    We should do this as a preemptive measure because a blog post is never going to be reliable proof that content was created on a certain date. And certainly should never hold trump over a registered copyright.
    So, just out of curiosity, what is the process when filing a registered copyright?  How do you prove that you wrote the book?  What's to stop me from going to a blog, copying and pasting the content into a book, and filing for a copyright?  (Just trying to turn this on it's head--would it be possible for someone to go to an author's website and take content from there and file a fraudulent copyright?)

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    Offline crow.bar.beer

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #80 on: March 03, 2015, 07:14:13 am »
    What's to stop me from going to a blog, copying and pasting the content into a book, and filing for a copyright?

    Nothing, but the registered copyright is a higher order of proof of copyright than someone simply claiming they own the copyright and the party demonstrating the superior evidence should be the one receiving the benefit of the doubt by Amazon.

    Offline ShaneJeffery

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #81 on: March 03, 2015, 07:24:24 am »
    If authors don't get behind Becca here, and vocally support the need for a petition and then sign it, they are inevitably opening themselves up to the same dangers.

    Offline C. Gockel

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #82 on: March 03, 2015, 08:03:30 am »
    Quote
    And to have Smashwords and Amazon block your work without allowing you to face your accuser is ridiculous.
    In a court of law this would be unacceptable (at least in these parts of the world).

    The DMCA says that Amazon CAN put Becca's material up and be not held liable (in such a case, the accuser would have to take Becca to a court of law. Since they are in India, that seems unlikely.)

    HOWEVER Amazon and Smashwords are not *REQUIRED* to do so. My guess is Amazon WILL put the material back up, BUT it will take some time. What Becca really needs is a PERSON at Amazon, in the legal department. If Rosalind, Hugh Howey, or some one else of that level knows anyone over there, that would be the biggest help.

    My guess if this isn't resolved, it will quickly escalate into a scam that affects larger and larger numbers of us.


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    Offline Carradee

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #83 on: March 03, 2015, 08:10:32 am »
    If authors don't get behind Becca here, and vocally support the need for a petition and then sign it, they are inevitably opening themselves up to the same dangers.

    We authors are open to the same dangers regardless of if we support Becca or not in this current instance, which makes your statement logically fallaciousunless it was a threat, which I doubt is what you meant. ;)

    Becca, I'm glad that you got it resolved on Smashwords, and I hope things work out with Amazon for you soon.
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    Offline Ros_Jackson

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #84 on: March 03, 2015, 08:13:55 am »

    Also, +1 on forming some kind of semi-formal trade union type thing. This thread and Yoda's thread highlight the dangers the anonymity of the internet poses to self-published authors.

    I thought ALLi might cover some of that legal ground. http://allianceindependentauthors.org/

    Is anyone here a member? It's 75 a year, which seems a lot if you don't want all of the services they offer.

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    Offline ShaneJeffery

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #85 on: March 03, 2015, 08:18:55 am »
    We authors are open to the same dangers regardless of if we support Becca or not in this current instance, which makes your statement logically fallacious--unless it was a threat, which I doubt is what you meant. ;)

    That's true if the petition is unsuccessful. It's only unsuccessful if it doesn't get sufficient support. Obviously, there is no actual petition yet, I'm just saying there should be one and everyone should sign it.

    Frankly, any author who reads this thread properly and dismisses it is part of the problem.

    Smashwords resolved it because there's a human there who sees the reality of what is happening. The reason amazon haven't responded as quickly is because they're working from automated responses without any reasonable human intervention. Without that intervention, authors will be destroyed far and wide.

    We have to stand up against this insanity.

    Offline D-C

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #86 on: March 03, 2015, 08:22:31 am »
    Becca, email Jeff. He DOES respond (Or one of his higher execs will).

    Offline Carradee

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #87 on: March 03, 2015, 08:51:55 am »
    That's true if the petition is unsuccessful. It's only unsuccessful if it doesn't get sufficient support. Obviously, there is no actual petition yet, I'm just saying there should be one and everyone should sign it.

    []

    We have to stand up against this insanity.

    I agree that it's something to stand up against, BUT against what, specifically, and what response will be effective? DMCA abuse is still going to be a potential problem if there's a successful petition. As has already been pointed out, the abuse is possible due to an inherent problem with the DMCA.

    I can't be the only one who remembers when a bunch of authors (at least some of them here on KB) freaked out about a perfectly legitimate site, ignored those pointing out that it was a legitimate site, and got that legitimate site shut down due to abuse of DMCA notices. It wasn't even been 2 years ago. And now, all of a sudden, "Oh, this is WRONG! We need to make a petition to improve how DMCA is handled!" Where was that indignation towards DMCA when authors* were the guilty party?

    *Note that I'm not accusing you or anyone else of specifically having been part of that mess. It's just a precedent that the writer community here was familiar with, and yet the connection wasn't made thenand I now seem to be the first person to bring it up, on page 4 of this thread. Makes me feel a little sick, tbh.

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    Offline crow.bar.beer

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #88 on: March 03, 2015, 08:54:08 am »
    That's true if the petition is unsuccessful. It's only unsuccessful if it doesn't get sufficient support. Obviously, there is no actual petition yet, I'm just saying there should be one and everyone should sign it.

    Frankly, any author who reads this thread properly and dismisses it is part of the problem.

    As long as you're being frank about a hypothetical petition the hypothetical failure of which would be the fault of all the authors who are a part of the problem.  :P

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #89 on: March 03, 2015, 09:10:23 am »
    Becca, email Jeff. He DOES respond (Or one of his higher execs will).

    I was hoping this would get resolved through the normal channels, D. I mean, am I the only one who thinks it's TOTALLY NUTS that I have to send an email the CEO of a $150 billion corporation in order to solve a problem created in 15 minutes by some two-bit scammer? What a ridiculous waste of that JB's time, or of the time of whatever highly paid executive he delegates it to. But yeah, it might well come to that. I still haven't heard back from KDP.

    Smashwords resolved it because there's a human there who sees the reality of what is happening. The reason amazon haven't responded as quickly is because they're working from automated responses without any reasonable human intervention.

    I think this is exactly right. Smashwords is small enough and focused enough on books that the person dealing with my problem 1) really understood copyright law and 2) was able to pop across the hall and ask a computer person whether dates of blog posts can be faked. Maybe it wasn't a literal popping across the hall, but you know what I mean -- the parts of the company are connected and work together so that knowledge is pooled, and the company's overall reaction is sensible. With a behemoth like Amazon, I bet the different segments are much more discrete. I very much doubt the KDP people dealing with my problem are in the same building with the computer folks; they might not even be in the same nation. In that kind of environment, I bet people are much more likely to follow formulaic responses.

    The DMCA says that Amazon CAN put Becca's material up and be not held liable (in such a case, the accuser would have to take Becca to a court of law. Since they are in India, that seems unlikely.)

    HOWEVER Amazon and Smashwords are not *REQUIRED* to do so.

    This is my understanding of the situation too. When I filed the DMCA counter-notice, I created a "safe haven" under the law. Now the legal responsibility for Nolander's non-infringement is mine to bear, so the retailers can sell it without fear of reprisal. But they can still choose not to sell the book ... just 'cause. When you own a store, you can decide what you want to sell in it, and those decisions can be as capricious as you'd like. My hope is that Amazon wants to be seen reliable and steady, not capricious.

    My guess if this isn't resolved, it will quickly escalate into a scam that affects larger and larger numbers of us.

    Yes. This was my main motive in publicizing it.

    I can't be the only one who remembers when a bunch of authors (at least some of them here on KB) freaked out about a perfectly legitimate site, ignored those pointing out that it was a legitimate site, and got that legitimate site shut down due to abuse of DMCA notices. It wasn't even been 2 years ago.

    Yep, I remember that. In that case, the DMCA notices were in good faith, but mistaken. At the time, I didn't think about the event as pointing to a problem with the law itself -- just to people's tendency to jump the gun. But designing laws that take people's tendency to jump the gun into account would be a fine idea, wouldn't it? We're all capable of misunderstanding something and leaping to conclusions, after all.

    Thanks to all of you for your kinds words and support. It means a lot. :)
    « Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 09:22:38 am by Becca Mills »

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    Offline 69959

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #90 on: March 03, 2015, 09:36:02 am »
    I'm glad to hear that it's resolved with Smashwords. At least that's progress. Did you see the Passive Voice picked your blog post up? (Sorry if that was already mentioned. I skimmed some of the posts in the thread.)

    Offline C. Rysalis

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #91 on: March 03, 2015, 09:37:02 am »
    Becca, go here: this should give you leverage in convincing Amazon to put your book back up. As mentioned before (not sure if you saw the post), it seems counter notices have to be filed in a very specific way to be effective.

    http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/responding-dmca-takedown-notice-targeting-your-content

    I'll PM as well, just to be sure.


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    Offline ShaneJeffery

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #92 on: March 03, 2015, 09:48:14 am »
    Becca, go here: this should give you leverage in convincing Amazon to put your book back up. As mentioned before (not sure if you saw the post), it seems counter notices have to be filed in a very specific way to be effective.

    http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/responding-dmca-takedown-notice-targeting-your-content

    I'll PM as well, just to be sure.



    Wow. This makes perfect sense.

    I'm going to sleep like a baby now ;)

    Offline Mark Tyson

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #93 on: March 03, 2015, 09:51:14 am »
    If authors don't get behind Becca here, and vocally support the need for a petition and then sign it, they are inevitably opening themselves up to the same dangers.

    I also agree!

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #94 on: March 03, 2015, 10:09:18 am »
    Becca, go here: this should give you leverage in convincing Amazon to put your book back up. As mentioned before (not sure if you saw the post), it seems counter notices have to be filed in a very specific way to be effective.

    http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/responding-dmca-takedown-notice-targeting-your-content

    I'll PM as well, just to be sure.

    I think this is the best run-down on counter-noticing I've seen, C. Thank you! I've subbed it into my blog post. Really a good resource.

    I'm glad to hear that it's resolved with Smashwords. At least that's progress. Did you see the Passive Voice picked your blog post up? (Sorry if that was already mentioned. I skimmed some of the posts in the thread.)

    That's terrific! Big thanks to Passive Guy. I bet lots of indie writers who don't hang out at KB read the Passive Voice, so that'll help get the word out. Forewarned is forearmed, hopefully.

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    Offline David VanDyke

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #95 on: March 03, 2015, 10:21:13 am »
    It does seem that having some sort of union or collective would help indies tremendously. A little organization and a pooling of some funds to cover lawyer fees if necessary might provide a little muscle when facing scammers.

    This is one of the reasons I'm joining SFWA despite its problems. There are other organizations, such as RWA, if you write in that genre. If you're making a living at this, it's another layer of protection or potential help.

    Offline Indiecognito

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #96 on: March 03, 2015, 10:43:53 am »
    Becca, I'm so sorry this happened. It's nuts.

    That said, I'm so impressed by your detective work and your blog post. You've not only expressed everything with amazing clarity, but you've also given the rest of us a reference if this sort of thing becomes a regular scam. I'm grateful that you chose to talk about it so publicly.

    Best of luck with it. I hope it gets resolved really soon.

    Offline jdcore

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #97 on: March 03, 2015, 11:17:35 am »
    I just read your post but have not read all the comments on this thread, so if somebody else has mentioned this I apologize. You were very smart not to give your actual name and contact info in the DMCA counter. My suspicion is that the entire thing is a fishing exercise to get your info and then blackmail you under threat that he/she will drop your dox unless you pay.
    « Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 05:32:27 pm by jdcore »

    Offline Susanne O

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #98 on: March 03, 2015, 11:33:52 am »
    I don't have to tell Becca I support her and that I'm doing everything I can to spread the word on Facebook and twitter. I'm also retweeting all the tweets I see, like David Gaughran's and Courtney Milan's. I'm hoping all here are doing the same.

    We are also hugely supporting her on the Writers Pub.

    Maybe we could create a hashtag on twitter? Would that help?

    Offline C. Gockel

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    Re: Fraudulent DMCA notice filed against my book
    « Reply #99 on: March 03, 2015, 12:17:14 pm »
    Quote
    Section 512(f) of the DMCA creates liability for knowingly making false claims in a DMCA takedown notice or counter-notice. See 17 U.S.C. 512(f). So, if you claim in a counter-notice that your content does not infringe the complaining party's copyrighted work while knowing this to be false, then the copyright owner can win damages from you, including court costs and attorneys' fees stemming from your wrongful counter-notice. Note, however, that this provision also works against a person or company sending a wrongful takedown notice. If someone claims in a takedown notice that you are infringing their copyrighted material while knowing this to be false, then you can win damages from them in a lawsuit. In recent years, the targets of wrongful takedowns have fought back and won damages and favorable settlements from individuals and companies sending bogus takedown notices. For instance, in Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc., 337 F. Supp. 2d 1195 (N.D. Cal. 2004), two students and their ISP sued voting machine manufacturer Diebold after it tried to use DMCA takedown notices to disable access to Internet postings of the company's leaked internal email archive. The court granted summary judgment to the students and ISP on their claim, finding that portions of the email archive were so clearly subject to the fair use defense that "[n]o reasonable copyright holder could have believed that [they] were protected by copyright." According to the EFF, Diebold subsequently agreed to pay $125,000 in damages and fees to settle the lawsuit. For another example, see Crook v. 10 Zen Monkeys in our legal threats database. Someone who has sent a baseless takedown notice about your content may be more inclined to back off if you remind him or her about section 512(f) of the DMCA, in addition to sending a counter-notice.

    Oh, lookie ...

    But the best thing would be for Amazon to have a policy of simply putting material back up.


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