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Legitimate eBook Lending Community Closed After Copyright Complaints 288

Posted by samzenpus
from the never-share dept.
Ian Lamont writes "LendInk, a community for people interesting in using the lending features of the Kindle and Nook, has been shut down after some authors mistakenly thought the site was hosting pirated ebooks. The site brought together people who wanted to loan or borrow specific titles that are eligible for lending, and then sent them to Amazon or BarnesAndNoble.com to make the loans. Authors and publishers who were unaware of this feature of the Kindle and Nook, and/or mistakenly assumed the site was handing out pirated copies, were infuriated. LendInk's hosting company received hundreds of complaints and shut the site down. LendInk's owner says: 'The hosting company has offered to reinstate Lendink.com on the condition that I personally respond to all of the complaints individually. I have to say, I really do not know if it is worth the effort at this point. I have read the comments many of these people have posted and I don't think any form of communication will resolve the issues in their eyes. Most are only interested in getting money from me and others are only in it for the kill. They have no intentions of talking to me or working this out. So much for trying to start a business and live the American Dream.'"
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Legitimate eBook Lending Community Closed After Copyright Complaints

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  • DMCA irrelevant (Score:5, Informative)

    by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @09:40PM (#40926453)

    I did not see DMCA mentioned, only "cease and desist". The "were infuriated" link contains equal parts infuration and people reminded the infuriated that lending was part of their agreement, if they checked the box to allow it.

    You invented DMCA because you associate it with copyright protection. What seems to have happened, based on the information presented, is that the hosting company was inundated with C&D notices instead of DMCA. These are legally backed threats which can lead to lawsuits directly, outside of the control of the DMCA process.

    In other words, the hosting company most likely had a choice between shutting down the service and responding to multiple court summons, if not full blown cases. Were I the hosting company, I would have folded, and I would have laid the responsibility of responding to the customer, just as this company did.

    C&D is a lose-lose proposition unless you have deep enough pockets to defend yourself. DMCA covers the host well enough if tey do what they are supposed to do. Which is most likely why the authors went with C&D instead of DMCA. One is quicker, one is more effective. If you're going for the kill, as the summary says, C&D is the way to go.

  • Re:Easy.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @09:45PM (#40926499)
    The DMCA (which I assume the takedown requests are filed under) already includes a provision that states the claimant is liable for all costs associated with false takedown requests. People just haven't bothered to push them on it.
  • Re:Crowdsource (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @09:51PM (#40926559)

    whois reveals that their host is: http://www.medialayer.com/contact/index.html

  • by Synchis (191050) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @09:52PM (#40926563) Homepage Journal

    This really disappoints me. :(

    I saw this coming when the site started circulating the facebook groups I'm involved in. In each case I explained how the site worked, and defended LendInk.com for what they were doing.

    The knee-jerking that resulted in this sites shut down is a perfect exampled of what happens when a bunch of frustrated indie authors don't take the time to read or research a site before crying foul.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @09:53PM (#40926579)

    He was making money through amazon's referral program, getting a cut from every book that was purchased via clicking through his site. That's no longer the case because of Amazon's spat with California's new sales tax law. (He's based in California.)

  • Re:Crowdsource (Score:5, Informative)

    by number11 (129686) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:17PM (#40926795)

    If you know you're going to win why pay for a defense? Just represent yourself. The facts in the case are self-evident.

    You never know you're going to win. It's always a crapshoot. Sure, sometimes the dice are loaded in your favor, but even loaded dice fall wrong sometimes. You didn't know the proper legal procedure? And no, it's not intuitively obvious. You're screwed. Even if you did everything legal right, dotted all the "i"s and crossed all the "t"s, it's still a crapshoot. Especially if an opinionated judge, or a jury, is involved.

    "A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client." It's unfortunate, but true. Sometimes, if you have a sympathetic judge, you can get away with it. But don't count on it.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:21PM (#40926837) Homepage Journal

    Authors had to sign contracts allowing said lending though. Not all did, and you can't lend out those books, not even once.

    Thing is, book lending is good for sales, as Baen has discovered.

  • Re:DMCA irrelevant (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:29PM (#40926889) Journal

    A Cease and Desist Notice is an entirely different animal than a Cease and Desist Order, signed by a judge.
    It's far more likely that random authors sent out copypasta C&D threats^w notices and the hosting company folded as a result of ignorance.

  • Re:Easy.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:37PM (#40926959)

    17 U.S.C. 512(f) Misrepresentations. – Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section —

    (1) that material or activity is infringing, or

    (2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification,

    shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

    Take that as you will, I imagine it depends on a case by case basis but lost revenue should be included, in at least some cases (IANAL, of course).

  • Re:Easy.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by HiThere (15173) <`charleshixsn' `at' `earthlink.net'> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:44PM (#40927013)

    You need to read the wording of that more carefully. The filer of the request for a takedown just says that he has a good-faith belief that he is acting on the behalf of the owners of the copyright. The guy who tells him to fire the notice isn't under any kind of oath or penalty at all.

    So all the lawyer has to say is "I believed my client." and he's off the hook. And the client was never ON the hook.

  • Re:Easy.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:59PM (#40927117)

    And now they are engaging in book-burning..... I mean topic erasing. The topic where the authors complained has been deleted. They are trying to cover-up their actions.

    I created a new topic here: http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,122736.0.html [kindleboards.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @11:05PM (#40927169)

    The lady is now currently scrubbing her website of all her posts on the subject. Try these google caches

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Spl34jUBXMMJ:allonbooks-thekingdomofallon.blogspot.com/2012/08/what-is-pirate-site.html+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Spl34jUBXMMJ:allonbooks-thekingdomofallon.blogspot.com/2012/08/what-is-pirate-site.html+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    Oh, and she hates Neil Gaiman.

  • Re:Easy.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @11:11PM (#40927213)

    And now I got banned.
    No warning of any kind.
    They just didn't like my copying of slashdot's article to their forum. That shows you how these authors operate in the real world. Censorship and shutting-down personal websites of their readers/buyers.

  • Re:Easy.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by galaad2 (847861) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @11:57PM (#40927539) Homepage Journal

    in this case it's simple to prove the "knowingly materially misrepresent". The contract that those authors SIGNED with Amazon explicitly says in very BOLD LETTERS:
    https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=APILE934L348N [amazon.com]

    5.2 Marketing and Promotion; Kindle Book Lending Program.
    [...]
    5.2.2 Kindle Book Lending Program. The Kindle Book Lending program enables customers who purchase a Digital Book to lend it subject to limitations we establish from time to time. All Digital Books made available through the Program are automatically included in the Kindle Book Lending program. However, for Digital Books that are in the 35% Royalty Option (as described in the Pricing Page), you may choose to opt out of the Kindle Book Lending program. This will disable lending of the Digital Book by customers who purchase it after you have opted it out, but this will not affect the right of customers who purchased it when lending was enabled to continue to lend it. You may not choose to opt out a Digital Book if it is included in the lending program of another sales or distribution channel. If we become aware that a Digital Book you have opted out is included in the lending program of another sales or distribution channel, we may enable it for lending. Digital Books that are in the 70% Royalty Option (as described in the Pricing Page) cannot be opted out of the lending feature.
    [.... and a bit below...]
    KDP Select Option Terms and Conditions.
    [...]
    2.2 Inclusion in Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program. Digital Books included in KDP Select will be automatically included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program described in more detail here. ( https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=200798990#KOLL [amazon.com] )

    Q.E.D.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09, 2012 @12:18AM (#40927681)

    To save all of you the trouble, here's the moblist so far on the facebook link:

    Robin Helm, OG Tomes, Buck Stienke, Ken Farmer, Dawn Sinclair, Joyce Godwin Grubbs, Tony Riches, Rebecca Treadway, Lisa Kz, Mari Passananti, Melody Peugh, Stephen Dafoe, Karen Kennedy Samoranos, Gerry Huntman, Rhea Rhodan, Kai Starr (Kaichi Satake), Anne Barnhill, Vicki Batman, James F. Ross, Scarlet Hunter, Alisha Paige, Merris Hawk, Cathie Dunn, Roscoe James, Trish Marie Dawson, Mark Patton, Sandra Peddle, Bill Wilbur, Rachel Lyndhurst, Melinda Hammond, Chrystalla Thoma, David Naughton-Shires, Electa Scott Graham, Kate McCormick, Seumas Gallacher, Juliet Cardin, Benita Brown, Julie Parker, Jenny Woodall, Pam Mangol Bitner, Liz Ringrose, Anne Polhill Walton, Lesley Cookman, M.m. Bennetts, Gerry Huntman, Prue Batten, Chrystalla Thoma, Karl Jones, Anna Jacobs, Deborah Gafford, Nely Cab, Tessa Berkley, Nan O'Berry, Sharon Cathcart, Lauren Gilbert, Naty Matos, Tory Michaels, Cerian Williams Hebert, Karen Cino, LaVerne Clark, Erin Dameron-Hill, Kissa Starling, Emily Harvale, Rosalind Smith-Nazilli, Seumas Gallacher, Paula Martin, Melanie Pearce, Jeanette Baird Vaughan, Trace Rybarczyk Broyles, Trevor Belshaw, Pam Howes, Deb Harris, Gayl Taylor, Nanette Del Valle Bradford, Ella James, Raven McAllan, Linda Gillard, Jenny Woodall, Virginia McKevitt, Morticia Knight, Judith Arnopp Novelist, Heather Nelson, Ruth Watson-Morris, Rebecca Rynecki, Victoria Pearson Writer, Maxi Shelton, David J Howe .... and a whole lot more I'm sure but Facebook refused to load the messages any further.

    Special mentions go to :

    Aimée Reinhart Avery (belittling posters), Renaissance Romance Publishing (yes, a publishing house that cannot be bothered to investigate), Shawn Lamb (unremorseful), Danielle Yockman (abusing/belittling posters esp. with comments like "Doubt you would've bought a copy anyway. *shrugs*")

    Authors who apologised:

    Jennifer Hanning

    Authors who actually took the time to investigate and found no wrongdoing:

    Michele Poet, Philip Catshill, Shanon Nowell

  • by Pembers (250842) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @04:10AM (#40928859) Homepage

    Another indie author here. I saw the hysteria in one of my Facebook groups last week and decided to see for myself. I searched lendink for my name and saw my three books listed. One of my titles is available only for the Kindle at the moment, so I thought I'd ask to borrow it for the Nook. That should determine whether they really were just matching up people to borrow books, or were pirating them.

    Before they'd let me borrow a book, they wanted me to offer one for someone else to borrow. I pretended to have one of my own titles to offer. They asked me for the author and title so they could do a search on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but then seemed to ignore the author and just bring up the first match for a search on the title. One of my books has the same title as about ten other books. The others have "and" in the title, which most search functions ignore. So the site wouldn't let me offer my own books to be borrowed. Meaning that regardless of whether they were pirating or lending, they weren't very good at it.

    I suppose for some indie authors, it's easy to believe that the reason they're not making megabucks is because everyone's pirating their book. Easier than believing it's because of Sturgeon's Law...

  • Re:Crowdsource (Score:4, Informative)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @10:52AM (#40932469)

    He used to be an Amazon affiliate. He hoped that people using his site would do more than just borrow books, but also buy books. And then he would get a cut of the sale (something like 2%). Unfortunately his timing was bad because Amazon terminated all California affiliates.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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