This is a guide for honest people. Do you know, the VERO programme does not even contain a specific section for EBOOKS or AUTHORS? How in the world is an honest booklover supposed to check whether or not the DVD collection of 300,000 e-books for Kindle, iPad, Nook etc is really legal?
EBay won't help.
Honest readers certainly cannot rely on the "Notes To EBay" stating that all the ebooks are in the public domain. There are perhaps 38,000 e-books on Project Gutenberg, and most of those really are in the public domain (but some mistakes have been made). If the ebooks are snagged from "online libraries" or "subscription sites" or notorious file hosting sites such as MegaUpload, or The Pirate Bay, they are not in the public domain. An author does not forfeit their legal copyright simply because someone uploads a copyrighted ebook to a "sharing" site.
If the words "All Rights Reserved" are in the front of the book, it is not legal to put it on a DVD and sell it on EBay or any other auction site.
Authors are also seeing a lot of false claims about "GNU licenses". Okay. It is illegal to take out a GNU license on someone else's work without their permission. I got this straight from the owner of the GNU site. So, if you see a DVD being sold, and it is fiction written in the last 100 years, or by a living author, the GNU license disclaimer is probably either misinformed or a bald lie.
Same with PLR and ReSell rights. Think about it. If an author tries to make her living from legal sales of her books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or any other online seller, why in the world would she give away her copyrights to a competitor on EBay? No matter how reasonable the author, she cannot compete with someone who sells her works for cents, when the least Amazon permits a self-published author to sell her ebook for is .99 cents.
Anyone who can afford to sell multiple copies of e-books written by living authors for less than $2.00 per each book on the DVD (ie $6.00 for 3 novels, $60.00 for 30 novels, $600 for 300 novels, $6000 for 3,000 etc etc) is a copyright infringer and a digital thief.... unless the author herself is selling her own works.
From time to time, authors discover that their ebooks are being illegally sold on EBay as part of a collection (perhaps of 8,000 ebooks, or 16,000 ebooks... or some other preposterous bargain number). Sometimes, EBay takes down the one auction that the author reports, but leaves up the other 5 or 6 identical auctions, and does not touch the 800 previous auctions going back a couple of years. Nor does EBay inform every Buyer who purchased any of those 807 DVDs that the Seller lied, and that the e-books are not in the public domain.
Consequently, EBayers who bought the "public domain" ebooks in good faith will genuinely believe that they also have the right to start their own auctions of the books, and they do. Or, they believe that the books are public domain, so it is legal to share them. It is not.
Occasionally, EBay will throw a pirate off EBay. But, EBay lets them back with new names. If you want to check on the reputation of a Seller, don't look at their Feedback. That is a scam. Click to see All feedback, then look at their past identities. That is a great clue to who is a copyright infringer, and knows it, and EBay knows it, too.
First Sale rights do not apply to e-books... because they are intellectual property, and although you might sell one (legal) original DVD, you cannot duplicate extra copies that were not paid for and sell those.
Here's the thing. The copyright infringement of e-books is not a victimless crime. It is costing vast amounts of money. Sooner or later, prosecutions of downloaders will begin. If you have illegal copies that you bought in good faith, and it is too late to complain to EBay and get a refund, at least do not compound the problem by "sharing" the ebooks, and certainly, do your own research to make sure that every author in your collection has been deceased for at least 100 years before you try to "Resell" the e-books.
E-Books and Copyright Infringement on EBay
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30 April 2012
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