The One Where An Author Steals Text From My Book To Sell Pirated Software

IWSParadonIn 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.

Emailexcerpt1What was going on here? I kept reading.

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 Emailexcerpt2chunk 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.

Here comes the legal bit: I’m not a lawyer, and nothing in this post or elsewhere on this site should be construed as legal advice.

What I do have is a layman’s familiarity with legal concepts pertaining to my profession and knew straight away that this guy was breaching my copyright, and probably my moral rights as an author too. The first should be obvious, although there is an interesting wrinkle worth pointing out in case you find yourself in a similar situation.

When I released Let’s Get Visible, I did a few guest posts to promote the launch. One of those was on the blog of ALLi – the Alliance of Independent Authors. The post was essentially an excerpt from Chapter 4 of Let’s Get Visible, the one dealing with Amazon’s category system and explaining how to optimize your category metadata.

ALLi had permission to run that excerpt, but that doesn’t stop that work (and those words in particular) being protected under copyright, and doesn’t give carte blanche for anyone else to use it either.

And, while the definition of “Fair Use” is regularly debated, and defined differently by different jurisdictions and, it seems, different judges, it’s quite clear that this doesn’t fall under any definition or interpretation of Fair Use, especially given that they excerpted the entire chapter and were using it for clear commercial purposes.

TL;DR for lazy scammers: just because you find it on Google, that doesn’t mean you have the right to use it.

So that’s the copyright angle covered, but what about moral rights? It’s an interesting legal concept. Unlike copyright, the law actually varies significantly from country to country, but the basics are somewhat similar. Moral rights focus on two areas: the right of attribution and the right to integrity – which means that you have the right to be identified as the author of your work, and no one else has the right to chop and change your words.

Moral rights are separate from the economic rights enshrined in copyright law, and one interesting difference is that while copyright expires after a certain period, often moral rights are unlimited (meaning that your work still has to be attributed to you even after the period of copyright expires and your work passes into the public domain).

Anyway, it was clear this idiot was breaching my copyright, and I had a pretty strong argument that he was breaching my moral right to the integrity of my work by making it look like I endorsed this product when my book does no such thing. The next question was who was behind all this.

A quick visit to the site behind the email – IndieWriterSupport.com – raised all sorts of red flags. I could see right away that it was a shady operation, and it seemed to be linked to dodgy looking “publisher” called ParaDon Book Publishing (presumably named so that it might be confused with Dan Poynter’s “Para Publishing” – and considering Dan passed away just two months ago, that’s a particularly classy touch).

This “publisher” appears to have been operating since 2013. I found complaints online dating from then, slamming it for being a crappy vanity press which charges reading fees. I also found promotional videos for ParaDon on YouTube dating back that far. Hilariously, one of the videos literally takes you down a dark alley to tell you more!

This “publisher” also makes a string of claims regarding various partnerships it has.

To the owners of Pixel of Ink, BookBub, Kindle Nation Daily, E-reader News Today, KBoards, Free Kindle Books & Tips, Digital Book Today, World Literary Café (and many more): ParaDon Publishing is pretending to have a relationship with you which I’m presuming it doesn’t.

Back to my situation.

I didn’t know how widely this email had gone out, so my first step was to try and establish same, while putting out a quick statement on Twitter and Facebook to make sure that everyone knew that I didn’t give permission for this and wasn’t endorsing anything.

My next step was to contact the Kindle Spy team to confirm they knew nothing about this, and to – hopefully – get this guy booted from their affiliate program. Usually the best way to deal with scammers is to cut off their oxygen supply, and it seemed like Kindle Spy affiliate income was his main money-maker.

Turned out I was wrong.

The Kindle Spy team were great. I emailed them via their contact page and got a response right away. They were extremely helpful and in a position to confirm two surprising things. First, this guy wasn’t a Kindle Spy affiliate. Second, they reckoned this was the same guy they were already chasing – someone had pirated their software and was selling unauthorized copies of same.

Sheesh.

At the same time, another helpful reader (who will also remain nameless) was doing some sleuthing. He followed the cyber-breadcrumbs and uncovered a bevy of potential aliases and false addresses, and indicated what he thought was the scammer’s real name and address – adding that there were already two arrest warrants out for someone of that name.

I won’t get into the weeds of all of that publicly for now, but you can cover much of the same ground by reading this Indies Unlimited investigation from 2013, or chasing down the names Judd Miller, Celina Marka, Artis Reed, and “newspaper mogul” Richard Egland – which all appear to be aliases of author Korede Abayomi – or by wading through this 22-page (!) warning thread on Absolute Write which includes ParaDon Books threatening a cyber-attack on their site (actually true! Plus just making the threat is a felony AFAIK). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg with this guy. Really.

Anyway, I happily passed a fairly thorough set of information to the Kindle Spy team for their own investigations and I plan to do the same with the relevant authorities.

But if you thought the story would end there, you would be wrong!

I made sure to tag the Twitter handle of Indie Writers Support when tweeting the blow-by-blow yesterday. I generally do this for two reasons. First, to try and get a response – often these guys aren’t very smart and will make a slip and/or admit their crimes. Second, so that the followers of that account will see my complaints.

This can usually go either way – total silence, or a hilarious attempt at defending the indefensible. Guess which one this genius chose?

Well thanks for admitting it. That was a real help!

There were lots more of those along the same lines, but my personal favorite where he actually trots out the E word:

Request granted!

So what’s next for this scammer? Who knows, but if it’s the guy I think it is, two arrest warrants were issued in the last few weeks in Great Falls, Montana, so it looks like the walls are closing in. Maybe when he’s doing a stretch he can ponder a little paradox: all this effort he’s putting in scamming people seems to be more trouble than, you know, actually earning your money.

And if you are this terrible at scamming, maybe you should change profession.

About David Gaughran

David Gaughran is Irish, living in Prague, and the author of Mercenary, A Storm Hits Valparaiso, Let's Get Digital, Let's Get Visible, and this here blog.
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104 Responses to The One Where An Author Steals Text From My Book To Sell Pirated Software

  1. talktoj8 says:

    Interesting article. I hope the guy is caught and held accountable. I myself ran into a situation awhile back where a book I released in April 2015 popped up on a search engine on a site that claimed to give members instant access to e-versions of just about anything…as long as you are a member. I attempted to join just to see if they truly had an electronic file of my book, but the membership cost money (surprise!) and I wasn’t about to enter my credit card info. My title was listed as one of the options, but I don’t know how they would have gotten ahold of it. I reported the site and used their contact page to inform them that I’d never given permission for my book to be distributed in that way and they were under notice that they were to remove it or face legal consequences. You’d think if all of these people have enough brains to try to con people out there, they could use those same brains to do an honest day’s work…

    • Most of those sites don’t even have any books, pirated or not. They’re phishing scams, intended to cull credit card numbers from people. Give ’em your card, and you’ll find your accounts cleaned out and your identity stolen. Some even have malware embedded in links to click for DMCA notices. Be wary.

    • D J Mills says:

      Me too, for one of my books. I tried to join but refused to give personal details, credit card, etc. so backed away. Glad to hear they don’t have my ebook for sale,🙂

      • nikventure says:

        Yes, it is a bit jarring when Google tells you that someone is offering your book for free. I’ve never clicked down the rabbit hole once I checked out these sites, but I suspected it would be something like a phishing scam However, for a second I did wonder if there are people who use kdp free days to acquire material to repackage.

  2. S. J. Pajonas (spajonas) says:

    Ugh. I’ll never understand why some people feel scamming will be easier than making an honest living. I’m sure he’ll be pondering this very thought in jail sometime soon. Great sleuthing work, David!

  3. Great article David! I hope they actually prosecute this guy and make it PUBLIC, so that these other thieves and scammers will perhaps think once or twice before stealing our work. I had a similar thing happen to a couple of my books as did talktoj8, whereupon when I googled my books, they were appearing on some scam site where people could download them for FREE, to which I never authorized, nor heard of said site. Needles to say I was infuriated, and to HECK with ‘exposure’. I do my own marketing and advertising, etc., I don’t need airheads and lazy scammers stealing my hard work. We as authors need to nip this in the butt and let these crooks know that we will hunt them down and toss their sorry arse in jail where they deserve to be. Whew, I feel so much better after a good rant. Hee hee.

  4. Fascinating but not, alas, surprising. I had some work pirated by a newspaper in Florida. When I called to confront the perpetrator of this fraud, she said she thought it was okay because the work in question was something I wrote for children as a piece to be used in schools and since it was a good cause (education), wasn’t it okay for her to use it? (Without attribution or payment!) I had a lawyer explain in writing why it was not okay and eventually, I got paid. Your situation is way more insidious. So glad your sleuthing uncovered the scammer’s actions and wow, what an attitude they have! Hope they pay a steep price for this. Thanks for letting everyone know.

  5. Note: if there are any lawyers in the audience and I’ve mischaracterized either copyright law or the various laws pertaining to moral rights, do let me know and I’ll correct same.

  6. Seems to be all too easy to copy – from essays to novel ideas to text. Almost impossible to police but an interesting article. Most of us would never find out. Thanks for letting us all know to be on the watch out.

  7. Mark Lowey says:

    Hi David,
    Heroic effort. Keep up the good work.
    “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
    ― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: First Series

    I thought the above quote would appeal to you.

    Thanks to your inspiration, I now have a book cover, a copy editor lined up and a soon to be available website.

    I now of course think “my book” is useless, but I will still be sending you a free copy one day.
    Thank you again for inspiring me to come over to the dark side. Please feel free to use this e mail in any future presentations you do.
    You were the best and most inspiring bit of the whole course in York.
    Warmest regards
    Mark

  8. Anna Dobritt says:

    Reblogged this on Anna Dobritt — Author and commented:
    Very interesting article. A must read for writers.

    • That’s interesting… if someone reblogs your blog post to their blog, how is that OK? It seems like it all comes down to intention and integrity (whether they are trying to help you share your message and do something good for you… or not). But then the other comment, where the newspaper was sharing part of a children’s book because it was for a good cause and they thought it was OK… that seems to me to be morally integritous. Of course I agree this guy’s in the wrong, but should we never pull a few sentences from someone else’s blog when we’re either agreeing or disagreeing with them?

      Is it OK when it’s a conversation, and not OK when it’s a sales pitch? Seems to be a messy area if it comes down to whether or not the author is happy about the usage (which is fine, maybe that’s where the line has to be drawn: the author has full control). But in that case, we could never disagree with anyone online, by posting their arguments, and blogging our responses, etc… something which is common and I don’t believe to be against copyright law (the difference of course that they pulled this from a published book you have up for sale, I suppose).

      • “Fair Use” actually has a lot to say about all these scenarios. A very simplified version (again, not a lawyer) might be that if you are quoting for not-for-profit, informative or educational purposes (e.g. a review or an article on the same topic) then that is fair use. An example of the opposite would be a commercial, profit-making venture such as the one described in this post.

      • And in this specific case, a reblog takes a chunk of the post and excerpts it to their blog with attribution plus a link back here – which is part of the WordPress ToS I agreed to, and which I was more than happy to agree to because it’s the perfect mix of protecting my rights and enabling sharing. A win/win, you might say. In addition, such reblogging would seem to me to clearly Fair Use.

  9. Nancy Warren says:

    Oh, David, I’m so sorry this happened to you. The worst of it is, of course, it’s a shed-load of work for the infringed-upon writer, in this case you. I hope this slime bucket ends up in jail.

  10. I’d say “unbelievable” but…it’s not. I’m currently dealing with a situation where a client cancelled my contract (they “can’t afford me” anymore) but declines to remove my name/image/content as required by the cancellation. NOT happy…and will be pursuing legal remedies.

  11. So glad your friends flagged this, and I hope you clear it all up quickly. It’s maddening when these situations drag on.

  12. Carol Ann Erhardt says:

    Wow!! Great sleuthing! Hope the walls close in quickly and he begins to see the world through bars…the vertical kind. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Pingback: The One Where An Author Steals Text From My Book To Sell Pirated Software | The Passive Voice | A Lawyer's Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing

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  15. Suzan Harden says:

    Thanks for the warning, David! Reblogged with appropriate links and credit.

  16. herheadache says:

    Reblogged this on Her Headache and commented:
    I am sick of scammers. Unfortunately, they aren’t likely going away, but that doesn’t mean we should quit calling them out when given the chance.

  17. Alan Tucker says:

    Sorry to see this and sorry to see that the perpetrator might be from my neck of the woods (I live in Montana, though not in Great Falls). I hope this all gets resolved satisfactorily and soon!

  18. Tim Farley says:

    Thanks for sharing this. A clarification on Twitter, though – you say that you tagged the miscreant so that “Second, so that the followers of that account will see my complaints.” That isn’t actually true on Twitter. Your tweets don’t go to the followers of that account. If the tagged account replies to you, that tweet might be visible to their followers (and attract attention) but only if the bad guy doesn’t leave the @ as the first character of the post.

    • The tweets quoted above are from a later back-and-forth with the guy. The initial tweets were mention of his handle in the body of the tweet so the followers of that handle would see it in the normal way (unless that has changed? My understanding was mentions in the body of the tweet go into the feed, unless the mention is at the start of the tweet, in which case followers have to be following both parties to see the conversation). And then when I was replying during the back-and-forth, I was doing it via quoted retweets for maximum visibility. Plus he has a raw feed from his timeline on his webpage, meaning all his tweets were all over that.

    • (Please do let me know if I have any of that wrong, I’m quite braindead atm)

  19. annerallen says:

    Yikes! I’ve just had the entire contents of my blog pirated to sell ads for videogames in Brazil, so I know this stuff happens. This seems to be a particularly nasty pirate. Using the late Dan Poynter’s name is especially creepy.

    But I want to point out that this crook should not be confused with the #IWSG hashtag or the Insecure Writers Support Group. http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/ They are a legit, genuinely supportive group of writers led by scifi author Alex J. Cavanaugh and have nothing to do with this scammer.

  20. Tonya R. Moore says:

    Good grief. How crass of them. I’m rather impressed at the way you’ve handled all of this. I would’ve lost my cool and gosh only knows what else by now…

  21. Really interesting story. Educational, too.

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  23. Kudos to you and you’d think all that energy spent by the scammers could have been put to much better use.

  24. R. E. Hunter says:

    IANAL, but I was told in an IP course that the US does not have moral rights, just copyright. Canada does, though.

  25. Good on you for acting, and I hope the guy you were dealing with gets caught. It’s surprisingly difficult to enforce copyright. Even in the old days of trad publishing it was a problem. I’ve had slabs of my intellectual property appropriated without permission, license or payment at various times. One of the more egregious was about a decade ago. I notified my publishers, as my contract required, but the issue for them was that they weren’t likely to recover any money from the thief so it wasn’t worth them pursuing. I could, if I wanted. I did. The guy was repentant, turned out to be in the same town, and offered to take me out to lunch! (I declined). But that didn’t pay me for his use of my words. Back then, it was all print industry and the magazine he’d published in is long reduced to pulp. But it’s a different matter now – online tends to be permanent, it’s too easy to copy stuff, and – whether it was wilful in the case of the fellow you were dealing with or not – some people DO take the attitude that ‘if it’s on Google, it must be free for me to copy’. As we know, it isn’t!

  26. Thanks for writing this. Infringement is a rapidly growing problem. I’ve also had this problem (w/images) and it’s maddening how many people think anything they find online is free to use. They need to google Copyright Myths!

  27. “Everything on google is liable to public sharing.” Hahahaha Not “liable” and definitely not the way that guy did it.

  28. An excellent reminder that we need to make sure we research thoroughly. Thanks.

  29. Widdershins says:

    May they continue to be stupid!

  30. Reblogged this on David VanDyke's Author Blog and commented:
    Better than a soap opera…

  31. Jackie Weger says:

    Well, I’m a little late to the party, but I was already on to this guy…On eNovel Authors at Work I’m doing a series on promoters. I test and vet. Indie Author’s Support is one I tested. I bought a 30 day membership, but after I blogged that my membership did not give me access, my membership was voided. Also that he was selling a 20,000 name Reader’s Digest subscriber list. Where did he get that? He lures authors by charging only $1 to put a book on the site. I didn’t name the site in the blog, but I warned all of eNovel members away. Paypal needs to drop him. You might consider sending the info to Paypal. That would shut off his cash flow. Or maybe not. He accepts credit cards, too. That is scary. Sadly, this guy is NOT the only scammer among us. He just one of the more egregious and highly active. One or more lands in my mailbox every week.
    Do keep us posted! And good luck. Let’s Get Visible is my indie bible. Love it, use it and recommend it to every indie author I meet.
    Best from,
    Jackie Weger

  32. We can always count on you to find the wolves in sheeps’ clothing (except that is an insult to wolves!) Too bad I am not in Montana anymore, I bet some friends would have other (i.e. vigilante) friends that could have quite an amazing field day with this!😉

  33. Julia says:

    I’m the Alice Shortcake who contributed to the AW thread and did a lot of research on Korede Abayomi, the gentleman in question. I recently created a website about Abayomi and his shady activities:

    http://koredeabayomiparadonbookspublishing.webs.com/

    • Oh my. That is very comprehensive indeed. I’ll be sharing (once I’m done reading!). Thanks.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Julia: Excellent piece. I read the entire post. For those authors who were scammed out of money and paid via Paypal…one can file a complaint with Paypal and get a refund. Paypal gets on it. Best way to shut off the guy’s flow of money is for Paypal to pull his account. I put one of my units on the site. I cannot get it off because after blogging how unsatisfactory the site, I’ve been banned. And can’t get in. Pffft.

      • Julia says:

        Jackie, I’ve just passed this information on to PayPal. Let’s hope they take some action…

      • Jackie Weger says:

        Julia! I did, too. Here is a strange event. Soon after I was banned from indiewritersupport.com a novel came out with my name on it…Jackie Weger–not my book. I emailed Amazon. Jackie Weger is my legal name. I own it. So identity theft. Haven’t heard a word since. But I don’t see the book on Amazon anymore. Woot!

      • Oh wow. Sorry that happened to you, glad you got it sorted fast. Guess I should keep my eyes peeled for any doppelgangers, eh?

      • Tech Worker says:

        Word to the wise when using paypal — ALWAYS fund with your credit card if you don’t know the seller (usually) because then you can go to your credit card to file a complaint as well. And credit card companies by default side with YOU until proven otherwise.

        YMMV, but after 30 years of using this strategy and 15 years of suggesting people do the same when using paypal, I’m pretty confident it’s worth a shot.

  34. Julia says:

    Thanks, David! And I’d strongly recommend anyone who has lost money to Indie Writers Support, even if it’s only a small amount, to get in touch with the police in Great Falls, Montana. I didn’t know that TWO warrants had been issued against Abayomi…time to update the website!

    I’d be very surprised if you’re the only author who’s work Abayomi has stolen. Bizarrely, when a spambot ‘member’ of IWS posted a spun article about how to improve your typing, Abayomi reposted it as his own work on Goodreads.

    • Yeah I’ve found instances of him infringing on others’ work and have let them know. I’m sure there are lots more examples of that. These guys don’t tend to do it just once.

      BTW, the warrant count could be three now. The dates of the two warrants I mentioned were December 28, 2015, and January 4, 2016. Both in Great Falls, MT.

      • Julia says:

        David, could you give me the names of the other authors whose work Abayomi has stolen?

      • Well, I’ll share what I know: four emails were sent out the same day, with four different lumps of text accompanying the promo text for KDSPY + the purchase links. One was copied from my book. One was copied from KDP Help pages – which I haven’t informed Amazon about yet. And I haven’t seen the other two emails yet (please forward them to me if any of you received them). Given the activity on the accompanying bit.ly link, I’d say there was at least one more send on Jan 6 using that bit.ly link, but whether that was with the same four “articles” or different ones, is anyone’s guess. And of course this person could be using multiple such links so the full extent is a great unknown. I’m also conscious of not pouring endless time down this rabbit hole, tbh, which is why I haven’t chased everything down personally just yet.

      • Plus there was another author who had an image + some promo text swiped, but just recycled on their website. I let them know, but they may well be doing nothing about it as it’s a different scenario.

    • btw you should comment over at Writer Beware’s post on this with the link too: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2016/01/freelance-mills-cyberbullying-and.html

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  36. dernhelm6 says:

    Reblogged this on Indie Lifer and commented:
    Text stolen from David Guaghran’s book and used to sell pirated software.

  37. grahamwriter says:

    Did you issue a ‘Take down Notice’ to his internet provider? It did the trick when my work was pirated. Yahoo squashed the crook involved immediately.

    • I would have if he had hosted the stolen content on his site, but this was in an email, and I’m not sure if you can file a DMCA takedown notice in that situation, and, if you can, who you would send it to (his email provider, his mailing list hoster etc.) and what action they could theoretically take, given it was via email.

  38. Gregory Lynn says:

    There’s nothing quite like villains whose stupidity is exceeded only by their arrogance.

  39. Pat Gragg says:

    I had my author name and the look (formatting) of my book copied a couple of years ago. If you looked me up, you’d think his book was mine. Amazon finally made a move and he changed the name from Pat Gragg to Patrick Gragg. It’s all faded away now (I hope!).

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Ewww, Pat. That stinks. I didn’t make a big deal out of it when it happened to me. But I prolly need to follow up. I didn’t want to shine a light on it…I think now were are gonna have to be ever more vigilant and speak up and out. Good luck with your books.
      Jackie

      • Jackie Weger says:

        That’s ” we are…” dang. Trying to watch Life Below Zero and type at the same time…Laffin’ at myself.

      • Pat Gragg says:

        At the time, I had some conversation with a fairly well known writer who was experiencing the same thing. It seems to be common place.
        And good luck with your books, Jackie.
        Pat

  40. Hi David-

    Well, I can tell you we’ve never heard of this guy here at FKBT, nor is he on our list of paid advertisers. This is not the kind of publicity for promoting the independent author we want!

  41. Julia says:

    There’s some questionable stuff on the list of services and software peddled by Abayomi:
    http://www.readersbooks.info/wp-content/plugins/oiopub-direct/purchase.php?do=custom

    He also boasts about FaceBook Advertising: “Even Facebook’s advertising rate can not match what we are offering you, and that’s because we know how to crack and greatly deduce their advertising rates. If you are a long follower of our network, Indie Writers Support, then you will know that we have cracked few other codes of Facebook, and other networks, FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF INDIE WRITERS.” How very altruistic of him!

    • chris says:

      “What makes WorldsBestsellingBooks.com and ReadersBooks.info more powerful than any other book-relating websites out there are the powerful-linking-tools that are integrated into every Book pages.
      Our developers at Indie-Writers-Support have compute an ingenious website-layout (usable for every available books) that will soon become the futuristic themes for every publishing authors.”

      And though the English grammar reads like a nigerian 411 email, plenty of new writers WILL sadly fall for it!

  42. Good post, worth reading, disturbing as it is. Theft is theft regardless of whether it is physical or intellectual property.

  43. jy butler says:

    Hi David,You won’t remember me but we met at the York Writers Conference a few years ago – I was about to start work on a book about Russian conjoined twins who I’d known for 12 yrs and was looking for interest. I met David Llewellyn there, who was a reader for Conville and Walsh and he helped shape the book and we took it to an editor in Harper Collins who wants to buy it. So far so good, but everyone is telling me to now go through a literary agent to negotiate the contract and I’m thinking WHY? HP want the book, they’ll help me edit it and their editor is GOOD. Why now go to some snotty agent? I need support to strike out! And my other book is self published – just need to start a presence to market it. Juliet.

    From: David Gaughran To: julietbutler@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Wednesday, 13 January 2016, 13:08 Subject: [New post] The One Where An Author Steals Text From My Book To Sell Pirated Software #yiv4717432768 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4717432768 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4717432768 a.yiv4717432768primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4717432768 a.yiv4717432768primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4717432768 a.yiv4717432768primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4717432768 a.yiv4717432768primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4717432768 WordPress.com | David Gaughran posted: “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 ” | |

  44. jaymountney says:

    Reblogged this on jaymountney and commented:
    Writers need to unite against stuff like this. All thanks to people like David Gaughran who actually take time to research and follow up scams of this kind.

  45. jaymountney says:

    Thanks, David, for a most interesting post. I’ve reblogged and hope to attract more people to reading your always informative work.

    I have personally had work – travel writing – ‘lifted’ from a blog and reblogged without attribution but the scammer had the stupidity – or gall – to use my name, and was discovered when I was searching myself on Google. The reblog was on Blogger and Google were very helpful in getting it and the bogus blog removed.

    But just as a head-up to you and some of your commenters, in most countries you do not ‘own’ your name. You just have to look at the average phone directory to see how impossible that would be to police. There are various measures you can take with regard to use of your name in commercial situations but in some cases, if the other person gets there first, it is you who have to back down.

    Wearing a different ‘hat’ I do voluntary work for an archive that hosts the work of ‘amateur’ (i.e. not-for-profit) writers. We frequently run across this myth that if you can Google it you can use it and have to disabuse would-be ‘authors’ gently, or in some cases not so gently.

    Last year we were one of the sites helping a federal investigation into ebooks-tree.com. At first their offer of free books, both amateur ones and published material, seemed to be a straightforward piracy case. But further investigation – including intrepid researchers setting up throwaway emails to avoid problems – showed that it was indeed a monetary scam, with the site used to phish for credit card details (not everything on the site was free) and possible identity theft. The legal authorities took over the case and so far as I know, it is still rumbling on.

    So, lots of warnings to everyone to beware on all kinds of fronts. I’m also UK based and am a bit shaky on US law, but the site I work with operates under that and I think you’ve covered everything major.

    Good luck to you and everyone involved in getting this rogue dealt with.

  46. Paula Cappa says:

    Thank you for posting! The more we know, right? Bravo, David.

  47. Pingback: Weekly Round up of Indie Publishing News and Stuff – 17 January 2016 | Self-Publishing Roundtable

  48. What a horrible thing to go through.😦 I applaud you for your actions.

  49. My first book hadn’t been up two days before someone was offering it for free on Youtube this past November.

    I’m being a beta for software called Blasty! which is being developed so that you can list your book titles and blog content in one place, do a search on your material through the Blasty! interface, and, if you find infringement, click a Blast button – and it is supposed to remove the offending content from the internet. It removed the offending video from Youtube. You whitelist places where it’s okay to be mentioned (reviews, etc.).

    I asked, and they said they are still looking for betas in case anyone wants to try them out. I’m really much too small (1 book, 1 blog) to be a good beta tester for them. It’s free now.

  50. Pingback: About This Writing Stuff | Phil Giunta – Paranormal, Fantasy, and SF Writer

  51. C.S. Wilde says:

    This is beyond scary.

  52. Julia says:

    Two members of IWS have posted on the site to say that they’ve been unable to reach ‘Judd Miller’ after they emailed him to ask why he hadn’t provided the services for which they’ve paid. Usually Abayomi deletes such messages within hours but the latest crop has been there for a couple of days now. I hope this means that he’s finally been arrested! Sadly, despite these posts being clearly visible on IWS’s front page people are still joining.

  53. Jackie Weger says:

    It is wishful thinking to believe Abayomi has been arrested and even if so, he will bond out. IMO what he is doing is setting up another scam site with another alias/name…he has a mailing list. He is gonna use it. Just do due diligence when those emails arrive. Paypal has made scams even easier with the new program that one cannot see who one is paying for services or charity or anything else. Everything we need to know to be successful is free on the Internet. Every time I get a beggin’ letter to take this virtual course or that for $299…I instead spend it on book promotion. There is no easy way for an indie author to earn a fat royalty check. It is W.O.R.K.

    JackieWeger
    eNovel Authors at Work

  54. Shadowolfdg says:

    Reblogged this on celenicearth and commented:
    I think it goes without saying that any affiliation I thought I had with this company has just been removed.

  55. nmykel says:

    If it’s coped from another blog and attrbuted to it and for educational purposes and you don’t use it for monetary purposes is there a problem? I’m a newbie and don’t want to be breaking the law.

    • I’m not a lawyer, but that’s my basic understanding, yes. What you describe is standard practice.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      I’m weighing in here: If you copy a blog, or any part of it, the lead sentence or the blog’s name needs to be live linked to the original blog/author/name–all of which is done when we “reblog.” One then adds one thoughts, opinions and comments. It doesn’t matter whether you copy it for money, to educate, or prestige; it is not the done thing to hijack another’s blog or any part of it, without attribution. However, there is such a thing as “fair use”. http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/what-is-fair-use/

  56. Pingback: The One Where An Author Steals Text From My Book To Sell Pirated Software | archanarp

  57. Pingback: Whispers and Warnings For 02/25/2016 | WritersWeekly.com

  58. Jay Lemming says:

    Ugh. Sorry to hear about your (and some of the other commenters’) experience with Abayomi and frauds like him. I think the more that writers such as yourself, David, have the knowledge, persistence and wherewithal that you have, the better off we will all be. I hope this guy gets what he deserves and thanks again for looking out for the integrity of all writers.

  59. Indie Writers Support offers paid reviews on Amazon, or did so last October. Amazon knows about it, so hopeful authors (who are not put off by the appalling sp/g) are probably paying and not seeing reviews posted.
    Quoting for purposes of education/illustration…..
    “Hire Our Reviewers (http://bit.ly/15XYGTr)
    In order for any independent author to make it to the best-sellers list he or she will need at least one professionally written review of the published book. And nothing is more pleasing to an author than he or she reading the published reviews of their readers.
    Do you know that a succinct review of your book can boost your book-sales dramatically? In fact, that very review could be the reason you make it to the best-sellers’ list.
    Our staff at Indie Writers Support would love to learn about you and your book, and if you order our reviewing service, we will download your Kindle book (with verified purchase), read it within a two week period, and post an honest review of the story. We will tweet the review on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc., and post the review on GoodReads and Amazon.com
    Let us put your book / eBook to the attention of thousands of readers.
    Our review of your book(s) will be published on five different book-blogging sites and throughout all of our social media networks.”

    At one point, IWS was also selling 900,000 Facebook profile names and email addresses. Quoting from IWS for educational/illustrative purposes “Brought to you by “WWW.INDIEWRITERSUPPORT.COM”
    Facebook.com is an open community for all people with over one billion active users.
    We have extracted 900,000+ facebook members (with email addresses and profile links so you will know who they are) who show strong interest in Reading, based on these related topics; books, audiobooks, eBooks, novels, creative writing, essays, magazines, newspapers, poems, manuscript, literature etc.
    You can use this list to expand your online visibility either through facebook invitations, ads, or emailing..”

  60. textopisec says:

    Reblogged this on … A Writer After Dark and commented:
    Scammers never learn…

  61. Eve Anderson says:

    I notice not only that but a place offer me the complete series in a box for $1.00

    I notice the author inmmediately

  62. mikeflow34 says:

    Wow, I can’t even believe the email exchange there David. Thanks for posting this…

  63. Pingback: Freelance Mills, Cyberbullying, and Plagiarism, Oh My! – Review Journalists Website

  64. Pingback: Freelance Mills, Cyberbullying, and Plagiarism, Oh My! – Journalist Reviews

  65. Caryn says:

    Honest question. I occasionally pirate ebooks if I have already purchased the print version. Ebooks are easier to travel with and I personally find it ridiculous that I would have to pay for the same book twice. Is this immoral?
    Note that I do not seed copies of the ebook if I do this. I ask this out of curiosity; I am not trying to make assumptions on the actions of those pirating the OP’s books.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hello? Say you own a green Porsche and you’re going out to dinner, but hey! the color of the car doesn’t match your strappy red Jimmy Choo shoes…do you steal a red Porsche?

      Honest question? Followed by dishonest behavior. Stealing is stealing however one justifies it. I personally do not think honesty and integrity are ridiculous. Out of style in the 21st Century, perhaps.

      • I don’t think that analogy holds. In this instance, the reader has already paid for the paperback. So it would be more akin to purchasing a sandwich in a deli, and then getting into your car, and the deli owner running outside and saying that this sandwich can only be eaten on the street, and if you want to eat it in your car you have to buy their car sandwich special add-on for another $5.

    • Hi Caryn. There is a wide range of views on piracy. Some authors will vociferously oppose any form of piracy, others are more ambivalent about the whole thing in general. I fall into the latter camp for the most part. Personally, I don’t have much of a problem with what you described. If someone as already splashed out $15 for the paperback, I think they should get the e-book for free. Amazon’s Matchbook program allows me to offer that facility to readers, but, obviously, I can’t extend it to readers who purchase my paperbacks elsewhere. I wish I could, but the possibility of an industry-wide bundling solution was killed by publishers insisting on DRM (ironically enough). I’ve written more about piracy here: https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/how-to-increase-piracy/

  66. Muz MURRAY says:

    You are lucky you only had a bit of text pirated. Last week I saw via Google Alerts that my book “Seeking the Master – A Guide to The Ashrams of India & Nepal” was being offered as a free download from a pirate site named “Free-ebooks.com” and who claim to have had over 2,000 downloads from satisfied free-loaders. That represents sizable income lost (even though I am offering it for a negligible sum on my website: http://www.mantra-yoga.com). But I am at a loss to know what to do about it.

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