Friday, April 03, 2009

No one is Immune to the Pirates

As we look increasingly at the world of peer sharing, we find more and more dubious postings. One would expect them to be hidden away on unknown sites and only know by word of mouth, but they aren’t and the problem appears to be far greater than we envisaged. This last week we have highlighted the clear infrigements that are happening in eBay, others have identified them on Scribd and on following up on news about we believe we have found yet more piracy of books.

Wattpad was founded back in 2006, and claims to be ‘The world's most popular ebook sharing community’ its trademarked strap line says ‘read what you like, share what you write’. It has iPhone and Blackberry apps and is obviously creating attention with them claiming to be the number 4 iPhone app in Canada and also to have ‘delivered over 150 million pages to mobile devices with millions more every month.’ ‘Using any mobile phone or the latest smartphone, you have instant access to hundreds of thousands of novels, short stories, fan fiction, essays, jokes and more. Anyone in the community can upload whatever they wish to read from.’

They clearly state in their terms:

Restricted Material
Do not submit any material that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, pornographic, harassing, hateful, racially offensive, or is otherwise inappropriate. We will promptly remove any such material submitted to the service.

Copyrighted Material
Do not upload copyrighted material for which you do not own the rights to or have permission from the owner. If you are a copyright holder and believe any user submitted content infringes on your copyright, you may notify us here or by email at Include a reference to the copyrighted work and contact information of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner. We will act promptly to investigate such claims.

Repeat offenders will have their accounts terminated and access revoked

It all sounds great and a novel way to share and encourage writing. When we searched we had no problem finding what clearly appeared to be in copyright material from authors such as; John Grisham, Tolkien, Margret Atwood, even ‘The Audacity of Hope’ by Barak Obama! There are also many excerpts and part works from books some with curious hyperlinks on words to sell products.

As a creative writing and sharing site we would fully support the aims of Wattpad, but it is clearly open to abuse operating within the DMCA and is yet another one to be watched by copyright owners. How can we move from reactive to proactive copyright protection?

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