Thievery isn’t flattery

Even if it’s free, you can always buy it cheaper.
Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #11

There are few things that make me more angry than people stealing other people’s ideas — one reason why I hate plagiarism. Among those who steal, I think there is a special place in hell for those who claim they do a favor to the persons they steal from, e.g., via the excuses:

  • “I made it more famous (under my name)”, or
  • “I also invested effort to distribute it, you should thank me for it.”

Document information at Thievery is not flattery — done without my knowledge, claiming to be the publisher, and changing the copyright status … three absolute no-gos.

There are also less extreme cases, where people upload books or other material they do not own to web repositories. In a way, I have no problems with it — after all, I profit from it as well and all knowledge is worth having (to quote Carey). However, it should be done openly — the uploader should not claim the book was his, “graciously” waive the rights of the authors in the process or otherwise harm the author. Unfortunately, this happened with my book on Scribd. Someone has uploaded it and did three things that really annoy me:

  1. The uploader claims to be the publisher (“Published by”)
  2. The uploader did give the Copyright as “Attribution Non-commercial”, which it is not, it can be downloaded on this site but it is still copyrighted by me.
  3. The uploader did not inform me about it (if scribd was needed for whatever reason, I might have made it available there myself, I still might do, but under my own name).

At least, the “publisher” did not edit the PDF and replaced my name so I have no reason to assume malice. Still, not very nice, esp. without telling me about it.

Don’t take me wrong, I want my book to be read, to be available, to be shared. But I also want what every author wants: feedback. It was downloaded a hundred times at Scribd — this was feedback that I missed. And while I love the idea that someone might found it useful and am very happy if readers point their friends and colleagues to this book/site, uploading the book somewhere else goes to far.

Now it’s going to be interesting to see how fast Scribd is with a takedown notice. Never thought I send out one of those …

So, for all those who want to share it, please send the link to my download page — this gives me feedback when I look at the download statistics and other people the opportunity to look at the postings I wrote after I published the book.

Thank you 🙂


Well, that was fast. Send the eMail with the DMCA notice at 09:58:23 MEZ, content was taken down at 19:38:49 MEZ. Less than 10 hours. Not bad. But I feel bad … like it might seem that I do not like that someone likes my book — not true. I love it when I write someone likes my book. I just do not want people to upload it to another platform under their account, trying to change the copyright status (which they cannot legally do) and not telling me about it. Hrrrmm … anyway. This reminds me, Organizing Creativity (second edition) gets a year old in less than two weeks. I think I have a nice birthday present for potential readers. Looking forward to it … 🙂

Categories: Book Information, Feedback, Organizing Creativity 2nd Ed.

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