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9361Web SiteSelling Merriam Press PDFs Illegally

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  • Ray Merriam
    Jan 15, 2012
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      I just happened to come across a web site this evening that has a digital store where they are selling PDFs via download and on disk. ALL of the things they are selling are Merriam Press-created PDFs. Most are PDFs of old manuals and other material that is in the public domain, but some are of books I have published and are copyrighted by the authors or myself. While anyone can scan and sell PDFs of old manuals and the like, to take the PDFs that I have done, many of which required the purchase of the item and some of those items cost hundreds of dollars, and then sell them without any reimbursement to me, is just plain thievery. And selling copies of material that I published is certainly illegal and violates copyright laws and can get them into serious trouble.
      I have sent the owner of the web site a private message advising him that I have found him out and demanded he pull everything off his site. I don't expect it to do any good, of course. One of the books I have published, "Crew One," he has listed on the page as Coming Soon. I am sending a copy of this to the author of that book, as well as to authors of the other books he has already listed and is selling. I am sending this to other authors as well, so if you are one of my authors, don't assume your book is on this site.
      I have run into this before. Someone purchased a copy of a manual I scanned and sell as a PDF (I recently produced a printed edition of it as well). They posted it on a web site where anyone can post just about anything (including copyrighted materials) and anyone can download the files for free (to get full access to everything on the web site, and get the fastest download speeds, you have to pay a monthly fee, but the files themselves are free. I know it is my PDF because the original had a stamp, in purple, on the front cover with the original owner's name and rank and this is clearly visible on the image of the front cover on the PDF. I acquired that manual and scanned it a number of years ago, and in order to scan such items to get the best possible quality scan, I remove the pages so I can scan each page separately (I literally tear them out of the publication, in effect destroying them and after I have finished scanning them, I throw the pages away, so he can't claim he happened to buy the copy I had and scanned it).
      Another individual, who I actually know, after buying a PDF of one of the books I published, posted it on another free web site. I found it and requested the web site remove it because of the copyright violation, which they did. I knew who did it, even though his name was not given on the web page, because he is always doing this sort of thing, copying and making PDFs or buying PDFs (on a very specific subject)and uploading them to free web sites. He believes that because he is old and on welfare, he is immune to any prosecution.
      I am beginning to wonder about selling PDFs at all. The eBook versions I am creating will have DRM (Digital Rights Management), but I'm sure people will figure a way around that. I know people who have sold photocopies of my printed books over the years. If there is a way to do it, there are scumbags who will do it.
      One solution to this would be to sell the PDFs only by download and sell them dirt cheap, so that it would make it unprofitable for anyone to steal and sell my stuff. The only legitimate  sources for any Merriam Press PDFs are my web site (only on disk by mail), Lulu (only as downloads), and for the moment, Payloadz, also only as downloads but I am probably going to drop them as the monthly fee isn't worth the small amount of sales I have gotten through them.
      Here's what they state at the top of the Digital Store page:
      Welcome to the G/K43 Digital Shop
      Our shop sells older and newer digital books in the following formats: PDF books for immediate download and books on CD for mail delivery.

      Books are written by knowledgeable authors who are considered experts in their field, and have researched subjects for long periods of time to produce accurate documents. Once you pay for your digital book you will have unlimited access to redownload the book.

      Purchased books are copyright to their respective authors and through a contract with the G/K43 Forum we have the exclusive rights to sell them here. Downloadable books are not public domain and they are not free.

      After your purchase is complete, you will be able to access your private download area.

      If you are purchasing a CD please note this in your payment along with delivery instructions and allow 24 hours for processing and 5 business days for delivery. Delivery is included in the purchase price.

      * If you are the Author of a book and would like to sell it here, send chick a PM
      The statement in the third paragraph is a total lie. They have no "contract" whatsoever with the authors or myself for any of the titles they are selling. They certainly don't have "exclusive rights." And "Chick" is a crook. But then with a stupid name like "Chick," what do you expect?
      I posted this warning at the top of my home page:
      DO NOT Buy From the G/K43 Forum Digital Store!
      The G/K43 Forum web site is illegally selling copies of PDFs that were purchased from the Merriam Press. Every single PDF they are selling through their Digital Store is a Merriam Press-created PDF. They are even selling PDFs of books I have published that are copyrighted by the author or myself. If this sort of thing makes you mad, complain to them. I have sent a private message to the owner of the web site, but I expect it to do no good. If anyone who is a customer of mine is a member of this web site, complain to them, post messages about the illegal methods they are using to line his pockets at my expense. Anyone can buy their own original copies, scan them and sell copies of the same items I sell PDFs of, but don't buy copies of my material and sell them. And NO ONE can sell PDFs or any kind of copies of the books I have published and are copyrighted by my authors or myself. That will get you into really serious trouble.