In today’s episode we are going to out a two-bit huckster who tried to put one over on yours truly, take a quick detour through the verdant fields of copyright law (and the slightly plainer meadows of moral rights), and then end with an example of how to handle a scammer.
Sound fun? Strap yourselves in!
A helpful reader – who will remain nameless for reasons that will become obvious – emailed me yesterday morning. I was just about to start work but the subject line caught my attention: Did You Give Permission For This?
Uh oh. I started reading the message he had forwarded.
It had originated from a domain called IndieWriterSupport.com (you can cut-and-paste that address or Google it, but I’m not linking directly and giving them an SEO boost). And it appeared to be a straight cog from my book Let’s Get Visible.
At the end of this considerable (2,411 word!) chunk from Let’s Get Visible some text had been added promoting a product called KDSPY – which is the new name for what was previously known as Kindle Spy.
There was then a bit.ly link to purchase KDSPY, which suspiciously went direct to a PayPal purchase page rather than the site of KDSPY, followed by another call-to-action asking people to visit IndieWriterSupport.com – the same domain as the one which had sent the email.
To be clear: I have never used Kindle Spy, let alone endorsed it, and I certainly didn’t write about it in Let’s Get Visible – I think the product wasn’t even launched until a year after I published that book – and I hadn’t written about it anywhere else for that matter. I’d also never heard of the website sending the email, nor given them permission to use my work.
Someone had taken a chunk of text from Visible, without permission, and replaced the end of the chapter as I had written it with extra text endorsing Kindle Spy, as well as purchase links, making it look like I was making the endorsement.
You can make these images larger by clicking, but the green line on the left-hand side indicates text lifted from Visible (that’s the very end of over two thousand words nicked from my book), and the red line indicates text added by someone else to promote Kindle Spy.
Needless to say, I was quite unhappy about this. Continue reading