As any author should, I periodically use Google and Bing to search for new mentions of my books. On Wednesday, Bing sent me to http://cookbooks.booksmagazine.website/internet-hell-psychopath-accusations-murdered-0983057214.html That website was displaying an early version of some promotional copy I wrote for my new Internet Hell, with an early version of the cover.
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The dubious website gives the appearance of supporting copyright holders, but also tries to intimidate people to not make complaints:
Cookbooks Food & Wine respects the intellectual property of others. Cookbooks Food & Wine takes matters of Intellectual Property very seriously and is committed to meeting the needs of content owners while helping them manage publication of their content online. It should be noted that Cookbooks Food & Wine is a simple search engine of TV series available at a wide variety of third party websites.
If you believe that your copyrighted work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement and is accessible on this site, you may notify our copyright agent, as set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). For your complaint to be valid under the DMCA, you must provide the following information when providing notice of the claimed copyright infringement:
- A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed
- Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of the infringing activity and that is to be removed
- Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address
- A statement that the complaining party "in good faith believes that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or law"
- A statement that the "information in the notification is accurate", and "under penalty of perjury, the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed"
But wait, there's more:
I selected one of my books and then clicked on "Start Reading Today." I was then transported to a site operated by Medialid to create an account. I entered my credit card info and was transported to yet another site, operated by Mediagemm. I really wanted to find out how publishers get paid. I found a phone number and reached annoying and ignorant Alex. She wanted to sell me a subscription for $39.99 per month, but could not explain how publishers get paid.
She also denied that Mediagemm has any relationship with Cookbooks Food & Wine. I advised her to try to get a job working for an honest company because I was going to report her company to the FBI and Mediagemm might soon be shut down.
Back on the Medialid site I was encouraged to purchase the "All Access Offer" and donate a buck to send books to Africa. I skipped the donation (which I am suspicious of) and was sent to a page where i could read books.
Strangely, my own books were not available here, but I clicked on a biography of Elon Musk by "Pauline T." This author lacks ego. The book was out of date and amateurish. I also sampled a poorly produced bio of Bill Gates by Joseph Phillip Pritchard. Many other titles were displayed. I did not recognize any title or author. Some of the books are apparently published by HyperInkPress. The company says its mission is to make books out of blog posts.
UPDATE (7/2/16): Playster is another company offering my book for free, and infringing on my copyright.