Plagiarism

January 1, 2010 at 9:36 am (Misc) (, , , , )


UPDATE: Lulu has removed, not just my stolen material, but all offending material. That means some of the links in this post will no longer work. Back to the post…

And really bad plagiarism at that.

I received an email from someone suggesting I check out a book on Lulu.com, that it might be a copy of my book. Sure enough, this other guy, William Miller, had posted my book, with the original cover (that had my name on it) and the original description on his own “author” page. He also offered a decent little discount on the price. Nice guy. I tried to get an image of his copy of my book, but I can’t find anything on any of the internet archives, which is just as well. His work does show up in a Google search and you can see the cached page from a Bing search.

I contacted Lulu.com and they promptly took my book down. Thanks guys.

But, as I type this, Mr. Miller still has an account. Further, works published under his name are copies of older works, although again, he offers a discount. At least he took the extra effort to provide a different cover graphic. I’ve been in touch with other authors that were on his page (one of them was the original contact that got this started) and it appears that some of them have had their work removed. I appreciate Lulu’s fast response to this issue, but from what I can see, at this point, they’ve only done about a 1/4 of what they need to do. They should pull down all of Mr. Miller’s work and shut down his access to the system. Then, they need to do at least a little bit of oversight to ensure that people can’t do this in the future.

Just so we’re clear, Simple-Talk and Red Gate set up that Lulu page. I wrote the book on spec for them (and thanks, again) and they have publishing rights (although I have copyright). I’m not fighting over this for money because I won’t make a dime if an extra book sells on Lulu, or anywhere else for that matter. I just really and truly hate being ripped off, even though, in this case, money is not involved. I’m especially peeved because of the amount of work that goes into writing a book, even an obscure technical manual that’s only 200 pages long.

I also want to emphasize another point. I think Lulu is providing a great service and they seem to be doing things in an above the board, if somewhat inadequate, fashion. Based on the experiences that I’ve had to date, I’d recommend them for people who wanted to self-publish. I don’t mean for this to be a hit piece on Lulu. I want to get the guy who did this smacked around a bit more and make sure he, or others of his ilk, can’t do it again.

And one other point, kind of a side point, I started posting about this when I found out about it on Twitter. My first response from Lulu was through Twitter. I’m actually wondering if they first saw my complaint on Twitter instead of in the email I sent. I’m going to chalk it up tot he power of Twitter.

If you do want a print copy of the book in question, you can get it on Lulu, or a slightly newer version on Amazon.

9 Comments

  1. Phil Factor said,

    This is disgraceful.

    The USA’s Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act implements the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and requires the ISPs to “adopt and reasonably implement a policy”of addressing and terminating accounts of users who are found to be “repeat infringers.” of copyright. This type of copyright infringement is usually referred to a ‘DMCA 512 violation’. Yes, a complaint by, or on behalf of the copyright holder, to an ISP of a DMCA violation will be a thing that any respectable company doing business on the internet via an ISP is keen to avoid.

  2. Steve Jones said,

    I see this stuff often, someone wanting to make money and lacking the morals to do it honestly. good work, Grant, and I’m sorry it happened.

    I’ll have someone from Red Gate put a little pressure on Lulu to remove all the works and try to prevent this.

  3. scarydba said,

    Thanks guys. Lulu did respond very quickly and took the work reported to them down, all to their credit. I just wish they’d keep going and clean out the rest of the guy’s account or, better still revoke his account, or even better, start bringing some lawyers in and prosecute the scum. Some of the books he’s ripping off are worth hundreds of dollars. We’re talking felony crime here.

  4. Donald K. Burleson said,

    Lulu does not perform due diligence. They can check in an instant with a google search to if an author is stealing, but they don’t bother.

    I had a book stolen by an author, and Lulu offered it for sale:

    http://dba-oracle.blogspot.com/2009/03/book-self-publishing-enables-copyright.html

    I think that this is aiding and abetting criminals, and Lulu should be held liable for helping those who steal intellectual property.

  5. Jeff Moden said,

    I’ve been going through the same thing where people will rip off one of my articles and post it on their site and word for word. I don’t care if they post my name or not… I wrote the articles for SqlServerCentral.com and I keep get to keep the copyright. Like you said… no money involved here. I just hate rip-offs and moroffs that try to beef either themselves or their websites (trying to draw in advertisers) up by stealing material because they don’t actually have a creative bone or any sign of morals, ethics, or legal behavior in their entire body. Such scum needs to be water-boarded in a vat of pork chop juice… and in one direction only. ;-)

    So far as LuLu goes, I had actually considered using them but since they apparently don’t do even a cursory copyright check (c’mon… how hard is it!?) and have not IMHO taken the full and proper action I believe they should have in this case, I’ll find someone else.

  6. scarydba said,

    Hello Mr. Burleson,

    I’ve read a lot of your work. Thanks for posting that link.

    You do need to wonder about their process. The slightest, most cursory check of the information in this case would have revealed a problem. That it wasn’t done is more than a bit troubling.

    But it is hard in this day & age. Not all books are made electronic, and those that are are frequently under DRM protection, but that can be bypassed. How would a service like Lulu determine a work that wasn’t available without the DRM had already been copyrighted? There’s still a lot to learn here, for everyone.

  7. scarydba said,

    Hey Jeff,

    I’m in total agreement with you, obviously. I’m still inclined to give Lulu the benefit of the doubt here. I just think two holes have been exposed. One in their vetting process, if any. The other possibly in their very business model. But that second hole is a problem for any and all electronic publishing.

  8. dotw said,

    There’s a lot of noise been made recently about individuals ripping-off big companies by using file-sharing (BitTorrent, etc). We could do with a bit more noise about big companies assisting in the ripping-off of individuals, like here.

  9. scarydba said,

    I’m not 100% sure I agree on that one. After all, Lulu wasn’t ripping me off, Mr. William Miller was doing the theiving. Lulu was just acting as a conduit. They clearly need to have some sort of vetting put in place because this wasn’t even remotely subtle thievery.

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