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Thread: [File sharing] Docstoc

  1. #1
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    [File sharing] Docstoc

    I just discovered one of my short stories for sale on docstoc.com for $6.95. I've contacted the site and the editor of the magazine. It looks like they've scanned the original print issue and done a very poor job at that.

    Is there any way to get an alert when something of mine is put online? Someone told me it can be done through Google.

    Any help would be appreciated. I'm shaking I'm so angry.

  2. #2
    Lizard Lady Christyp's Avatar
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    Wait, what?! Like, they have it up for sale without your permission, and you're not getting paid? Are you serious?

    I have no answer for you, but maybe you should contact a lawyer. That's straight up BS!!!!
    Yes, I'm a writer. No, I don't want to write your memoir for you.



  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Send a DMCA takedown notice. By law, US websites have to respond to DMCA notices, whereas they can just ignore a contact from the author.

    Here's instructions on how to do it.

    As the holder of the collective copyright on the issue in which your story appeared, whoever is in charge of the magazine should also send one.

    - Victoria

  4. #4
    Is this thing on? Axordil's Avatar
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    Is it wrong of me that I wondered who would spend $6.95 on a short story?
    Writing without reading is like juggling without catching.

  5. #5
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Victoria, I am Canadian. Does this still apply? Also, the website has a DMCA Complaint Form. Should I fill this out or send a separate letter?

  6. #6
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axordil View Post
    Is it wrong of me that I wondered who would spend $6.95 on a short story?
    Yeah, I know. That crossed my mind too.

  7. #7
    Undercover, sort of... hillaryjacques's Avatar
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    Lady MacBeth, you can set up Google Alerts (google Google Alerts ) for key phrases such as the title or parts of the story, and you'll be emailed whenever they appear online.

  8. #8
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady MacBeth View Post
    Victoria, I am Canadian. Does this still apply? Also, the website has a DMCA Complaint Form. Should I fill this out or send a separate letter?
    Anyone can send a DMCA notice.

    Yes, use the complaint form. The fact that they have one suggests that they host a lot of pirated content, but also that they do take action on infringement complaints. Good luck.

    - Victoria

  9. #9
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Thanks for your help Victoria and Hillary. I've sent the DMCA notice and I will look into the Google alerts.

  10. #10
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    What's their URL?
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  11. #11
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveKuzminski View Post
    What's their URL?

    www dot proquest dot com

  12. #12
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady MacBeth View Post
    www dot proquest dot com
    Huh? What does ProQuest (a company that sells databases to libraries) have to do with this docstoc.com filesharing site?

    /me is confusled.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  13. #13
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaJeanne View Post
    Huh? What does ProQuest (a company that sells databases to libraries) have to do with this docstoc.com filesharing site?

    /me is confusled.

    I have no idea, but that is who provided the document to docstoc. The original contract I signed with the magazine allowed for no electronic rights. I emailed the editor to alert him in case other writers might be affected, but have received no response. The magazine is affliated with a university. Could that be it? If so, how can they sell my story separately from the publication without my consent? They bought first rights. Nothing more.

  14. #14
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady MacBeth View Post
    I have no idea, but that is who provided the document to docstoc. The original contract I signed with the magazine allowed for no electronic rights. I emailed the editor to alert him in case other writers might be affected, but have received no response. The magazine is affliated with a university. Could that be it? If so, how can they sell my story separately from the publication without my consent? They bought first rights. Nothing more.
    ProQuest is a legit company (full disclosure: I work for a competitor).

    If they included the journal that your story was in in one of their databases (and they almost certainly bought rights for the entire backfile of the journal, or back as far as a particular date -- several years worth of full issues, not just your story), it's because they purchased the rights from the journal's publisher.

    It sounds like the magazine you sold the story to may have sold the electronic rights, even though you didn't grant them. Or might there have been a clause that allowed them to include your piece in an electronic version of the journal?

    And then someone illegally copied it from ProQuest to put on the file-sharing site.

    Edited again to add: May I ask the name of the journal your story was included in? You can PM me if you don't want to post it here.
    Last edited by LindaJeanne; 02-10-2012 at 09:59 PM. Reason: for clarification
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  15. #15
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaJeanne View Post
    ProQuest is a legit company (full disclosure: I work for a competitor).

    If they included the journal your story was in in one of their databases (and they almost certainly bought rights for the entire backfile of the journal, or back as far as a particular date -- several years worth of full issues, not just your story), it's because they purchased the rights from the journal's publisher.

    It sounds like the magazine you sold the story to may have sold the electronic rights, even though you didn't grant them. Or might there have been a clause that allowed them to include your piece in an electronic version of the journal?

    And then someone illegally copied it from ProQuest to put on the file-sharing site.
    Any idea how I should proceed? The editor has never responded to my email. The magazine is highly respected, not one I want to be blackballed against. I've reviewed my contract and I signed off no electronic rights. The DMCA notice went through yesterday. I don't want to cause trouble, but I'm furious about this.

  16. #16
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    You might want to ask who is in charge of licensing for the magazine the story was in, and contact that person, rather than the editor (who may not be involved in that aspect of it)

    Also, you might consider contacting ProQuest, and ask about their licensing agreement with that publisher, as a contributor who never sold the publisher electronic rights. I have no idea how they'd respond, but it's worth asking about.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  17. #17
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Thanks again, Linda. I have written an email to ProQuest. We'll see what happens. I will also look into who licenses the magazine.

  18. #18
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Oh, one more thing. If there are a lot of ProQuest articles on that docstoc.com site, especially coming from a single account, that's something ProQuest is more likely to take a notice to than a complaint about a single article.

    Completely aside from the fact that the magazine shouldn't have sold electronic rights it didn't own (which ProQuest will likely say is between you and the publisher), ProQuest is not going to be happy to hear that someone is selling PDFs from their system on a file-sharing site.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  19. #19
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Thanks Linda!

  20. #20
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Just thought I'd update this thread for anyone else who ends up in a similar situation. ProQuest did indeed require the literary magazine to request that my story be removed from the Docstoc website. The magazine, which did not own the electronic rights, has done this, but the story has yet to be removed. Hopefully, it will be taken down soon.

  21. #21
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    I am appealing to the AW community for advice on where to go from here in my battle to have my story removed from docstoc.com.

    The DMCA complaint I filed was dismissed because docstoc has a partnering agreement with ProQuest. They insist on their website that I go through ProQuest to have it removed, but ProQuest is not responding to my emails.

    The magazine in question was helpful initially, but as the story is still for sale more than a month after I first contacted them, I am sceptical. Recent emails from them have not addressed my questions and usually amount to a one-line response.

  22. #22
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    I'd say it's lawyer time.

  23. #23
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    The DMCA complaint I filed was dismissed because docstoc has a partnering agreement with ProQuest. They insist on their website that I go through ProQuest to have it removed, but ProQuest is not responding to my emails.
    A DMCA notice is part of a producedure that protects Docstoc from being sued by you.

    So if you have provided Docstoc with a valid DMCA notice, then if Docstoc chooses not to take it down (perhaps because of some other agreement) then Docstoc is no longer protected by the 'safe harbor' provisions of the DMCA - they have accepted full liability for the copyright infringement.

    You are under no obligation to deal with anyone else - you can go ahead and sue them .. if that's what you want to do.

    Good luck,

    Mac

  24. #24
    Out, damn'd spot! out, I say. Lady MacBeth's Avatar
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    Just an update...

    After I threatened legal action, docstoc.com finally removed my story yesterday.

    What an ordeal!

  25. #25
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady MacBeth View Post
    Just an update...

    After I threatened legal action, docstoc.com finally removed my story yesterday.

    What an ordeal!
    Yay! Glad they finally took it down. I'm sorry you had to go through such trouble.

    Of course, now I feel silly having insisted that ProQuest couldn't have given the stories to docstoc themselves. As someone working for a company in the same industry, I know that the mass licensing model that they and we use doesn't automatically transfer to individual sales such as docstoc.com has. I assumed they wouldn't have sent stuff to docstoc en masse, since therin lies a path frought with landmines with regard to licencing and *cough* copyright issues.

    So I figured it must have been "some kid" that uploaded the files without their knowledge. And I figured that since fair is fair, I'd point this out even though proquest are a competitor



    Yeah.

    I'll refrain from further comment, since I can hardly claim to be unbiased wrt their business decisions.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

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