OPINION: When is theft, theft? And what to do about it?

Posted on April 6, 2014

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The Internet is a wonderful thing. I have friends and contacts all over the world courtesy of the Net. But it also has the downside of becoming another avenue for illegal, unethical and immoral behaviours among other things.

I recently learned of the website www.general-ebooks.com which provides links to all sorts of things including links to sources for eBooks, openly advertising as ‘FREE ebooks’. After exploring further, I can confirm there are plenty of legitimate links to paid sources for the work of a great many authors. But it is also providing links to sources for what are nothing more than stolen works. If someone obtains a copy of an author’s work and is making copies of that work available free to all and sundry, that is denying the author their lawful and ethical right to compensation for their intellectual property from initial ‘sales’.

General-ebooks.com is an expanding network, relying on others to keep supplying links. The sheer volume of links to particular websites that appear to house all manner of illegal copies of material is a source of concern.

When I alerted a particular writers peak body about this latest organised theft of people’s work, I was far from impressed to have one of their staff dismiss me by advising rather patronisingly that these websites are now ‘a dime a dozen’ and encouraged me to consider this the equivalent of a used book shop.

Wrong.

I am not a newb suddenly upset to learn that bad things can happen on the Internet. I explored this site and found an alarming mixture of legitimate and unlawful links. I found links to work of bestsellers and lesser known authors being provided free via a particular website. And so far, General-ebooks has not responded to my alerts and direct contact about these unlawful activities.

I can only encourage all authors out there to go to this link and run a search on both their name and the titles of their works to see if they are being legitimately provided or not. And then start periodically running searches via Google or other search providers to see where else your work may be appearing. And spread the word.

Over to you folks – what do you think about the subject? Should we just ignore it or consider it a means of indirect advertising?

Ross sig

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Posted in: Opinion, Publishing