Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Don't tolerate theft of your intellectual property. Morris Rosenthal can help you, for less than a buck.

Tom Lehrer is a singer - writer - pianist - mathematician and has long been one of my literary gods. 

Tom claims he “went from adolescence to senility, trying to bypass maturity.” He graduated from Harvard Magna Cum Laude at age 18 and made Phi Beta Kappa. He taught at MIT, Harvard, Wellesley and the University of California, but is best known for hilarious  songwriting, much of it political satire in the 1950s and 60s.

Tom's musical career was powerful but brief. He said he performed a mere 109 shows and wrote only 37 songs over 20 years. Britain’s Princess Margaret was a fan, and so am I. I can still sing Tom Lehrer lyrics I first heard in seventh grade. 

One of my favorite Leher songs is "Lobachevsky.Here's part of the "Lobachevsky lyrics:"

"I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky. In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics: Plagiarize!

Plagiarize, Let no one else's work evade your eyes, Remember why the good Lord made your eyes, So don't shade your eyes, But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -- Only be sure always to call it please 'research'."

So, why am I writing about Uncle Tom today? Because the web seems to be filled with people and companies who have followed his advice.

My websites, magazine articles and photographs have been plagiarized more than a hundred times (that I know of) going back to 1969. I'm not sure about my books, but I assume they've been subject to unauthorized copycatting, too.

In the past, I sent complaint letters, and was generally successful. One time I asked for help from the FBI department that deals with Internet crime -- and copyright violation is a crime -- and I was told to hire a lawyer. A stupid company in India copied the website of my telecommunications business, and even left in my picture and a list of my customer in the USA. I complained to the Indian embassy and got nowhere.

Morris Rosenthal is a pioneer in the POD book business and has recently turned his attention and ample intellect to detecting and fighting internet piracy, an increasingly pervasive form of intellectual property theft. He has written an excellent, important and valuable Kindle book called   
Morris says: "If you depend on search traffic to help promote your books, not defending your website from plagiarism can eventually lead to its demotion in search rankings. ...  you should register a copyright for any work in which you want to protect your intellectual property rights. ... I took a large corporation to Federal court for copyright infringement back in 2005, since the infringement on their authoritative website knocked the most popular page on my website for a 500 visitor a day loss. When I got them to remove the infringing page, my Google search position jumped right back where it was before the mysterious demotion. ... Remember that every infringing page you knock out of the Google search results is making the piracy business a little less profitable for the crooks. If it's just you or me working alone, we won't have any effect on the business model of copyright infringers, but if large numbers of authors and publishers take up the fight, we can change the economics of plagiarism. My ultimate goal is to convince search engines and large Internet sites to rethink their policies that support copyright infringement."

This small and inexpensive book can help you fight a big, expensive problem. I can't think of  better way for anyone who publishes books or operates a website to spend a buck. Buy the book and tell others about it. Morris is performing a very valuable service.

Why are there pictures of two Jewish guys on today's blog post? Why not? Besides, it's Chanukah.

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