Rip-Off Alert

Regular visitors to rifters.com know that most of the stuff I’ve ever published is freely available in a variety of e-formats on this site (and on some others). I’m a bit worried that this may not be a sustainable approach over the long haul (especially in times of global economic meltdown), but so far the counterintuitive-yet-undeniable truth is that going the Creative Commons route has only helped my writing career, such as it is. (In fact, I believe CC actually saved my career outright, by rescuing Blindsight from the oblivion to which it would have otherwise been doomed.) Anyone who wants to can download my work, copy and distribute it, convert it to other formats, hand it out as party favors, and masturbate in a warm tub to the soft erotic glow of my pixelated words on their e-book readers. Yay me.

There are some restrictions on this license, however. Authorship must be attributed, regardless of format. You’re not allowed to rewrite the text, even you think the torture porn was gratuitous in behemoth and you know you can make Blindsight’s infodumps less clunky. And you cannot charge money for work that I created and for which you paid nothing. (Or at least, you come to me first and we work out a deal where I get a cut.) The rights granted under my Creative Commons license are strictly noncommercial.

You can imagine, then, my reaction upon discovering this doofus here, selling “The Ultimate Peter Watts Collection” for £4.99 over at eBay.uk. The fact that he describes my short stories as “books” makes it pretty obvious this is no fan; he probably hasn’t read a word of my stuff, and is in fact selling the works of numerous other authors as well.

Anyone willing to pay for the Ultimate Watts Omnibus will most likely have already dropped by here and taken what they want, so it’s not as though I expect e-bookkeeper_norwich to get rich off my efforts. Still, it burns my ass that he’s even trying to; so if any of you have an eBay.uk account and ten minutes to kill, maybe you could report norwich-boy using eBay’s handy on-line fink menu. (I myself lack that option, having no such account — although I may well report through more formal channels over the next few days).

No biggie. But what an asshole.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Saturday January 24 2009at 02:01 pm , filed under misc, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

28 Responses to “Rip-Off Alert”

  1. Reported to eBay.

    Next stop: pitchforks aand flaming torches.

  2. I can’t help with the ebay problem, but thank you for posting your works online. I didn’t realize you’d done that.

    I read a lot of fiction, far more than I could afford to purchase. Most comes from the library, some comes from Internet sources like your website or tor.com. Or Project Gutenberg, for that matter. But I do purchase as much as I can manage, and it’s almost entirely from authors I like and want to support. That generally means they a. write well; b. have an online presence; c. have at least some material freely online. I try especially hard to support authors who are interested in encouraging their fans, and in developing business and promotion models that make use of modern technologies.

    Giving away some of your work is good advertising, and makes readers think favorably of you. Or at least, it makes me think favorably of you, though I also have a soft spot for biology PhDs turned writer.

  3. Good god — “asshole” is indeed the operative word.

  4. http://pages.ebay.co.uk/vero/notice.html

    According to eBay, you have to be the person who files this one. Looking at his book collections, though, I suspect the best option might be informing some of the other authors, or their publishers.

  5. What an ass. This problem calls for fire!

  6. It’s at times like this that I ask myself: What would Ken Lubin do?

  7. Seriously dumb asshole. Wow.

  8. Wow. Wrong on so many levels. Anybody know that guys home address? email address?

  9. This guy fails at fandom. Way to break Rule No. 1, doofus!

    and masturbate in a warm tub to the soft erotic glow of my pixelated words on their e-book readers.

    This, though? This is just asking for trouble.

  10. Ever read K.W. Jeter’s NOIR?

    Extract spinal column and mid brain of pirate and transform it into high quality sound cable.

  11. Happy Birthday my dear friend…
    Getting older, hu?!

    Luv, Jessie

  12. Ive taken it off, Im so sorry, you don’t actually think about the person before you do it. I feel like a complete asshole.

    My appologies and regards

  13. Infact it makes you think about all the people your ripping off!!!!! Im sorry for taking your life’s work and using it to try to make a quick buck, Im a complete prick who couldn’t write a story if I tried. Ive now stopped it all.. I’ve been just another of those knock off nigels and am glad you have said something as it was needed.

    My apologies once more and regards for the future.

    The arsehole that was the knockoff-ebookkeeper

  14. Well, Jeez. Now that you’re being so remorseful about it, I’m feeling a little guilty I came down on you so hard.

    But thank you for taking it down so promptly.

  15. Aww, he apologized. I’m sure he’s going to be sending you a check now right?

    No quarter!

  16. Dude, did you read his posts? He not only took down my works, he stopped shilling everyone else’s, too! He changed his evil ways and joined Doctors Without Borders! He was so heartbroken he couldn’t even spell right! He was more broken up than your car!

    As for sending me a check, I would be really really surprised if anybody had actually bought the Ultimate Peter Watts Collection. Why would they bother, when I can be had right over here, free for the asking?

  17. [quote]
    Anyone who wants to can download my work, copy and distribute it, convert it to other formats, hand it out as party favors, and masturbate in a warm tub to the soft erotic glow of my pixelated words on their e-book readers. Yay me.
    [/quote]
    The ßehemoth segments where Taka Ouellette’s being tortured by Desjardins could probably be used as wanking material by a certain minority. In case
    http://www.asstr.org/~snuffstories/ can’t be reached :)

  18. “Anyone who wants to can download my work, copy and distribute it, convert it to other formats, hand it out as party favors, and masturbate in a warm tub to the soft erotic glow of my pixelated words on their e-book readers. ”

    !
    I flunked getting the “scope of use” of the works as intended by the author, but it’s good to now have the proper protocol handy.

    Also, now I have a short movie in my head I can’t delete, sort of a Death of Marat, with Accidental Electrocution. *scrubs eyes* Nope, still there. Dang it.

  19. “Dude, did you read his posts? He not only took down my works, he stopped shilling everyone else’s, too! He changed his evil ways and joined Doctors Without Borders! He was so heartbroken he couldn’t even spell right! He was more broken up than your car!”

    I am not convinced. Just because he squirmed and slinked away like Gollum doesn’t mean he’s changed. Just that he got scared.

    That being said seeing how lightly you treat people who steal your shit i’m going to be transforming the basic thrust of Blindsight into a kid’s book for my 3 year old daughter. It’ll be a nice intro into the world she’s going to inherit. “Stay away from strangers with candy” comes first but “Stay away from giant tangles of interstellar nanotubes/superconductive self-replicating substrates when trolling the Oort cloud for heavy metal asteroids.”

    It’s an important lesson and if we don’t teach our kids…well…they’re just going to learn from pop culture and shitty Keanu remake movies.

    I laud your mercy but do not share it. I would have showed up at his flat with a copy of the knockoff and when he opened the door:

    The silhouette whispers “That’s my bread and butter you’re fucking with.”

  20. Seth saith: I laud your mercy but do not share it.

    Dude, mercy is so hot.

  21. […] Peter Watts also posted about this, and the seller actually apologized in the comments and removed the item, as well as all the other […]

  22. Hljóðlegur said: “Dude, mercy is so hot”

    If I based my decisions on whether they are hot or not I would probably die of depression within an hour. But of course any recourse is up to PW. Just felt like throwing the ‘cracking of skulls’ option out there.

    Guess I’m sailing into the wind on this. Huzzah!

  23. Seth said “Just felt like throwing the ‘cracking of skulls’ option out there. ”

    You’re right; the kicking of ass and taking of names is always an option. In fact, it’s the possibility of KoA&ToN rejected that’s exciting. Mercy that’s chosen is hot. It’s a figure-ground interaction.

    Huzzah!

  24. Peter,

    I have a problem that you can fix. I want to finish the trilogy, but the third and third-and-a-half books are no longer available. My reading habits make a laptop the wrong medium. I am unwilling to print the book.

    Years ago I worked on eliminating the use of chlorine-based bleaches from the pulp and paper industry, and saddled myself with way to much information on papermaking and paper grades. Book paper is simply much cleaner than printer paper. The former is mostly mechanical pulp which does not use chlorine bleach. The later is kraft pulp which is heavily bleached. Mechanical pulp is bashed to bits using machines and steam. This has the dual effect of wrecking the fibres and leaving a fair bit of lignin behind. The paper is weaker and slightly brown. Kraft pulp is disgested in a sulphite compound which seperates the various constiuents of trees into soup without doing as much harm to the fibres. That soup is then bleached using chlorine compounds (recently supplemented with O2, O3 and HO) to remove the lignin. The result is stronger whiter paper with a smoother printing surface. Using chlorine (or chlorine dioxide) bleaches result in hundereds of thousands of tonnes of chlorinated organics (lots of chloroform and worse lots of chlorinated aromatics) discharged annually into Canadian waterways.

    I’ve simplified, but not much.

    Also, I like the feel of a book in my hands.

    Now Nickel, after much coercion, conceeded that you might have copies squirreled somewhere. He fought valiantly to get me to go the creative commons route, but I can be very stubbon in my views on the chemical industry and its products.

    You would be doing me a great favour if we could arrange for me to purchase directly from you. Buying from an artist is also pleasing in itself.

    Deal?

    Gord

  25. I like Gord’s comment!! Made me love books all the more :)

  26. Hi Peter,

    I think it’s a really brave (and – at least from my poin of view, since I reside in a country where English Fiction is not that easily available – extremely fucking generous) thing you did by making your work freely available online. But trust human avarice and greed to figure out ways to rip people like you off…

    Blindsight is the first of your works I’ve read (I’ve downloaded all your books, and intend to read all your short stories… I think Blindsight was absolutely fucking brilliant… it’s the first truly hard SF book I’ve read… and it was a great experience. I’m glad you’re the one who broke my Hard SF cherry…

    so keep up the good work – and thank you again for making it all available to us not-so-fortunates…

  27. P.S. which is not to say that if i ever get my hands on the paperback or hardcover editions, i’ll say “Fuck it! why pay when you can read it in PDF or html?” … won’t hesitate for a second…..no sir… (even though parts of Blindsight were way over my ‘lil noggin, it’s still one of my favorite books…have just started Starfish and honestly think it’s a cool cool piece of work… love your website, too…. do don’t go on a long hiatus, dude… take all the time you need, but don’t give it up… ‘coz you’ve definitely got the gift…

  28. Wow, you are digging deep into the archives. Thanks for your kind words.