Thanks to Maine author Debi Emmons
for sharing information about
for sharing information about
It has come to our attention that a website located at www.storiesrus.com is listing and giving away free .html dowloads of some of the books from our company. At the bottom of this post is a copy of the letter we wrote to them today. It looks as if someone got old file copies of books published by us some time ago. Most were on sale before the year 2005.
That information could have come from almost anywhere. They might have bought the copies. They might have found them in the e-books folder in the 486 computer their Aunt Millie left to them. I don't know or care where or how the book files came into their possession. I only care that they cease and desist distributing our files.
Finally, there is no law against giving books away. Any book that is in the Public Domain may be printed, sold, or given away for free by anyone. For those who don't know, many good free reads may be had from Project Guttenberg ( www.gutenberg.org ) and if folks would like to give away free reading that's a good place to confirm whether a title is in the public domain and therefore legal to give away.
Below is a copy of the letter we have mailed to the operators and domain registrants of the relevant web site today.
March 28, 2013
From: Write Words, Inc.
2934 Old Route 50
Cambridge, Md 21613
To: Network Solutions, LLC.
13861 Sunrise Valley Drive
Herndon, VA 20171
To: Administrative Contact, Karen Ledbetter
and Technical Contact, Ray B. Morris
AGHOSTWRITER.COM / STORIESRUS.COM
PO Box 459
Drums, PA 18222
It has come to our attention that a web site you operate or host is offering free copies of many of our company’s published books, including books by authors: Debi Emmons’s (Night of the Tiger); Terry L. White (Hang Your Head Over, The Last Priestess, and Mustard Seed, ); Louise Ulmer (Serenade of the South); Jay Hughes (Delivery Road); Nancy Madison (What the World Needs Now and Clues to Love); Robyn Chawner (One Last Kiss and Passion Aflame); Marie Prato (Web of Fear); Carlene Dater (The Color of Death); Barbara Adams (Cobwebs and A Different Year); and Robert Legleitner’s, (Death in the Ruins), along with two by myself, Arline Chase, (Spirit of Fire, and Second Fiddle). They are offered as free HTML downloads on the website at http://www.storiesrus.com now although when the website comes up, it identifies itself as “A Ghostwriter’s Nest.”
I did contact the site staff via e-mail a few days ago, mentioning our copyrights, with the result that all the cover art and author's names were removed from the web site, though the full text of the books remained and downloads are still operational today.
Despite what some may claim, there is a difference between electronic books and physical paper copies. Real books are real. They sit on my shelf. I can hand them out to friends to read and return. That’s okay to do. If I give you a copy of a paper book, I no longer have it to give to someone else. If I sell a used paper book to someone on eBay, it is gone. I cannot then sell it again. And again. And again....
But with electronic data, hundreds of copies can be given away, while the original data remains in hand. It doesn’t quite seem wrong to offer a copy of something we’ve bought and paid for to a friend. It may seem just the same as lending a paper book. But when we offer as many copies as we care to make, and when we allow people to access, even access for free, intellectual material that clearly is copyrighted to someone else, we are not operating within the law.
Therefore, the giveaway books on the web site are in direct violation of the U.S. Copyright Law. There may be more than I have listed above, but that is what I have found on www.storiesrus.com so far this morning.
For the most part, the copyrights to these works are held by the authors and are now, or were at one time in the past, licensed exclusively to Write Words, Inc. for distribution and sales. All were created after 1978 and are covered under copyright law for at least 75 years after they were created, regardless of whether the author is living or dead. They also list books we have sold in the past, but no longer have the right to carry, including works by Tara Manderino, Liz Hamlin, and Canadian author, Jan Spencer.
It is possible that someone might believe, in error, that if the books are given away, it is not a copyright violation, But that is not the law as written in the US. If you distribute the material to anyone who clicks a button on the Internet, that is copyright infringement under the law. A Federal offence. Free books from the public domain may be posted, sold, or given away by anyone. But for works produced after 1978 that is not so.
To us, it appears the distributors somehow got hold of .html copies of some of our listings from about the year 2004, and took our files for their own use, perhaps believing they could legally do so. We appreciate their good taste in recognizing our abilities as publishers and the talents of our writers and former writers, but the market for e-book authors is very slim indeed in today’s economy. Please consider that each time a book is given away, our authors are robbed of a possible sale? And we are not dealing with a single author here, or even a single title, but with many.
We would like to see the operators of the site remove our books from their free content as quickly as possible.
If no reply is forthcoming and no action taken, then legal action may result.