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scope
12-17-2008, 10:14 PM
Does anyone have any info re the following new beta mode service I saw advertised today in Publishers Lunch. It's called "filedby author" and allows published authors to claim their own page (a kind of blog/web page) at apparently no charge. It seems interesting, but I'm not sure if there are any legal ramifications to published authors. I read their terms and conditions but I'm far from a lawyer.

steveokeefe
12-18-2008, 11:02 PM
Scope,

I'm working with filedbyauthor on PR for the launch. I don't have any comment on the legal boilerplate. It seems pretty clear from Wikipedia that you can maintain a database of just about anything as long as you aren't infringing copyright. I have a page on Wikipedia that someone put up, without my authorization or consent, and I am not allowed to edit it. What are the legal ramifications of that? Filedbyauthor believes I should be able to correct and control, to some extent, the content on my page. For me, that's an improvement. I'd be happy to answer any questions about the site.

With Thanks,
STEVE O'KEEFE
Claim Your filedbyauthor Page at
http://author.filedby.com

scope
12-19-2008, 04:11 AM
Hi Steve,

Thanks for the reply. The more I studied filedbyauthor and its founders, the more convinced I became to get in at the beginning. I joined the beta program, gave them the info on my published books (had to add a few manually which their computer didn't pick up) and a bio. It seems that getting into their beta program offers perks when they very soon go meta. I see where a number of prominent authors are already members. I like their simple concept and the ability to control your own published author page. As I see it, the 2 brains behind the company aren't doing it for kicks. They are very seasoned, credentialed,well known individuals in the publishing world. I'm sure they have a plan in place to try and make it a prominent site and garner large revenues through advertising and who know what else. Please keep us abreast of any developments as you may wish to share.

BooksRme
12-21-2008, 11:53 PM
"...the 2 brains behind the company aren't doing it for kicks. ...I'm sure they have a plan in place to ...garner large revenues through advertising and who know what else."

Great point, Scope. It's the "who knows what else" that I'm concerned about.

This is a huge undertaking, investment company dollars supporting it, so why ARE they doing this?

What IS the profit model here?

Not to be found anywhere on the filedby site, but this obsure little paragraph buried in their Terms of Service might offer a clue:

"…any material, information or other communication you transmit or post to this Site will be considered non-confidential and non-proprietary (“Communications”). … For any Communications you submit, you hereby grant FiledBy and its designees an unrestricted, royalty-free, irrevocable license to use, reproduce, display, perform, modify, transmit and distribute the Communications for any and all commercial or non-commercial purposes, and agree that FiledBy is free to use any ideas, concepts, know-how or techniques that you send FiledBy for any purpose whatsoever without compensation to you or any other person sending the Communication."
http://www.filedby.com/author/register/terms.asp (http://www.filedby.com/author/register/terms.asp)

Hmm...in other words, all material uploaded by authors can be used by filedby in ANY way...commercial or otherwise, for no compensation to the authors. Sounds like a bit of a content grab. Oh, the possibilities for commercial repackaging of author-supplied content! Books, for-fee databases, you name it.

Offering free websites to authors? Sounds like a tempting gingerbread house where a wicked witch is busy inside heating the oven to cook visitors lured by the sweetness of the exterior.

Author Beware...

scope
12-22-2008, 01:06 AM
BooksRme.

I also found the above paragraph curious and without obvious meaning. However, the only info you give them is a list of your published books and if you want, a brief biography. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I can't see the harm of a list of published books. After all, many, many sites already use writers names along with a list of their published books (i.e., Amazon, Barnes & Noble). Certainly these sites never asked my permission to do so. The bio I wrote is pretty brief and generalized. There may be more to filedby than meets the eye, but my understanding is you can opt out when they go meta. Time will tell.

BooksRme
12-22-2008, 06:50 AM
Scope, yup...author's name and books is harmless. But they don't need authors to supply that information. It's the added content that's valuable...whatever authors upload. You may have added limited content (smart move), but filedby is encouraging authors to upload a whole lot more.

Anything...*anything* you upload or add as content is theirs to do with what they want, FOREVER. Some things may be opt-outable upon going meta, but the use of content ain't one of them. That's what "irrevocable licence to use" means. Irrevocable. Permanent.

steveokeefe
12-24-2008, 02:24 AM
BooksRme & Scope,

Thanks for keeping us on our toes! I am not a lawyer, but the language in our terms of service also clearly states that authors retain copyright to whatever they put on the site. We need unlimited license to modify and move around the content for site management purposes -- the same sort of language is necessary at any site that accepts user uploads.

Beyond the boilerplate (which we are reviewing to make it clearer authors are not transferring ownership of their works to FiledBy) I can tell you our intentions for making money.

While the basic page on FiledBy will always be free, we hope to sell authors enhancements to their pages. We also expect to generate advertising revenue from the millions of user we anticipate searching the site once we enter our Beta phase.

This "private beta" phase is intended to help us spot problems before we launch -- and we have spotted some! For example, the registration procedure has already been streamlined based on early-adopter feedback. So thanks for telling authors about FiledBy. Let me know if I can answer other questions about the site.

Happy Holidays,
STEVE O'KEEFE

scope
12-24-2008, 03:44 AM
steveokeefe,

Thanks for your post. I assume you are a principal of FilededBy. If not would you tell us your position?

Simply put, if an author registers with FiledBy, what dangers or problems might the author encounter. In other words, what's the downside and what's the upside?

steveokeefe
01-06-2009, 04:14 AM
Scope,

My official title is "Interim Marketing Director" for FiledBy, Inc. I'm not a principal. I've been hired to do PR for the launch phase. I can't speculate on the exact meaning of the boilerplate, but I can comment on what I believe management's intentions are.

At this point, there is nothing for authors to upload to the site except a bio, a picture, and links to two sites. I do not see a "downside" in joining. The time it takes will most likely be offset by the visibility gained from the site.

The upside of joining now is that we will have an accurate bio, picture, list of books, and links when the site goes into Beta launch. At that time, authors will have the option of buying value-added services. But the basic page is always free.

Thanks for the Discussion,
STEVE O'KEEFE