Copyright Infringement Strikes Close to Home

posted in: blogging, personal news, writing | 0

Before I start: One reason I haven’t posted for a while is that I’ve actually been focusing on working out some things about the storyline of the new book—not Sunborn, but the following book, The Reefs of Time (working title). It’s been sending out shoots in some unexpected directions, which I guess is consistent with the theme of The Chaos Chronicles—but disconcerting.

There are a number of things I’ve been meaning to write about here, but what actually kicked me into gear is a just-discovered case of copyright infringement involving one of my short stories. I have several stories up for free on my web site, and each of them has at the top a copyright notice, along with a plain language statement that it is not permissible to reproduce them elsewhere on the web. Nevertheless, someone named “Jim” has chosen to do just that.

The story in question, “Shapeshifter Finals,” was published in 1995 in the anthology, Warriors of Blood and Dream, edited by Roger Zelazny. I’ve had it up for readers to enjoy for quite a few years. Earlier today, I did something I’ve done from time to time but not lately, which is to take a line at random from my online works and run a search to see if anyone has stolen the source. To my astonishment, I came up positive with this story. It’s been posted online, in its entirety, on a blog called Tales and Tributes. The blog owner apparently lifted it directly from my website, and gave me credit as the author but neglected to ask for permission, or to reproduce the copyright notice—thus giving the false impression that the work is in the public domain. The work is not in the public domain; it is copyright © 1995 by Jeffrey A. Carver.

I would contact the blog owner, but the thing is, “Jim” has no contact information on his blog. Apparently he doesn’t want to be contacted. Another thing is, according to a Whois.com lookup, the domain name, jimblogs.net, was created on the very same day my story was posted. How odd is that?

I have contacted the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to see if they can assist me in dealing with this, and I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it eventually. But in the meantime, if any of you out there in blogland know anything about jimblogs.net or “Jim,” I would appreciate hearing from you.

“The problem is when you’re not writing you don’t know if you’re lying fallow or if you’ll never write again.” —Norman Mailer

0 Responses

  1. Charlza
    | Reply

    I took a few minutes to dig for you 🙂

    I see his site is hosted with GoDaddy and it looks like he purchased their Proxy service. That’s generally used as extra protection from spam. Use GoDaddy.com’s Domain Search, then ‘Click here for more info.’ If you email the proxy email address listed on the record- (username@domainsbyproxy.com) it is supposed to be forwarded to his real email address. I have this service on one of my new domains.

    If that doesn’t work, you could try contacting GoDaddy customer service under Company Info and Jobs on the lower right of the main page. It has some phone numbers listed and the links to email the Public Relations department. I’ve emailed them before and got a reply within 16 hours.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Thanks for the info on the inner workings of GoDaddy! I have sent an email via the proxy, and we’ll see what happens. If I’m lucky, he’ll acknowledge his error and correct it. If not…well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess.

  3. Anonymous
    | Reply

    First of all while I do enjoy reading your posts here on your blog, but if the reason that you haven’t been is because you’ve been working on the next book, then I say keep working on the next book even if the blog gets a bit neglected! After all if you’re on a roll we wouldn’t want to do anything to stop that!

    Secondly I would be interested to hear how this whole copyright issue ends up getting resolved, so be sure to let us know how that goes.

    -tsmacro

  4. Kitty
    | Reply

    The story seems to have been taken down now, thankfully. What’s left of the blog doesn’t seem to make much sense.

  5. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    What ho! You’re right, Kitty. He’s taken down all of the September and October posts, seemingly retitled the blog, and apparently started from scratch. He never did answer my email, but I presume that’s what prompted him to pull everything down. (He had some other stories, one of them probably public domain, another possibly a similar case to mine.)

    I didn’t even get as far as demanding, or even asking, him to take the story down. I simply wrote and asked him to contact me about his use of my copyrighted material.

    I guess he knew what he was doing (of course he knew), and even a simple, nonthreatening inquiry jolted him into pulling the plug.

    The whole thing has been pretty weird. And a lesson to me to be vigilant.

  6. Charlza
    | Reply

    That is strange.

Post your comment before you lose your train of thought. (Mine already left the station.)