Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Three Most Notorious Cases of Plagiarism

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Not everyone is inspired, and this is why when it comes to racking the brains many people take the easy way out and opt to just copy what they need. There have been cases when many authors became a little more than inspired and resorted to blatant plagiarism.

Let’s look at the three most notorious cases of plagiarism in the publishing industry:

Rand Paul’s book, Government Bullies
When we talk about plagiarism, the latest case that comes to the mind is of Rand Paul. The famous Kentucky Senator wrote Government Bullies which maybe should’ve gotten him an award, but that didn’t happen. However, the book DID make him famous, primarily because it was copied from the 2003 Heritage Foundation case study. With 1,318 words copied and pasted into his book, the senator probably didn’t know that plagiarism is really easy to catch these days.

Alex Haley’s book, Roots
I’m sure we all remember the case of Alex Haley’s Roots, which won a Pulitzer Prize. Although Haley said that he did a lot of research into his own ancestors, it was later learned that the book was actually copied from The African by Harold Courlander. What followed was a high profile lawsuit that was won by Courlander. It was not just a notorious case of plagiarism, but also the Pulitzer Prize winning book was not non-fiction, or even well-researched for that matter.

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys

You might think that Haley was probably the only Pulitzer Prize winning author who landed in the plagiarism soup, but you would be wrong. Doris Kearns Goodwins (yes, the same writer who won the Pulitzer in 1995), wrote a book called The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys. As anyone would assume, a book written by an award winning author would be genuine. However, the book was copied from several sources. This led people to believe that her Pulitzer Prize winning book No Ordinary Time might also be a plagiarized copy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Worst Countries in eBook Piracy

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E-books have revolutionized the publishing world. They are easy to carry, have a global reach, and for some, can be easily pirated. Yes, as publishers, agents, and writers; we are aware of the scenario, but we cannot do much about it. What we can do, however, is learn more about it, so we have compiled a list of the countries that are the most notorious for e-book piracy.

Russia is a major player when it comes to e-book piracy. Although the e-book market has almost doubled since 2012, piracy is still on the rise. According to Eksmo, the largest publishing house of Russia, almost 95% of all downloaded e-books are pirated. This amount costs almost $120M to the e-book industry. The problem is so severe that a state agency launched a media campaign to encourage readers to buy books instead of pirating them. More than 70% of e-books published in Russia are from local authors. This means that piracy can be harmful to the country’s own resources.

According to a Dutch research company, Gfk, only 10% of the e-books downloaded in the Netherlands are actually paid for. A large section of the book-loving audience there prefers to share them with their friends or simply download them from torrent sites. And this behavior is not even illegal in the country. While uploading these books is illegal, downloading them is not. This might be a reason why the Netherlands is big in e-book piracy.

There are many book lovers in the United States, but not all of them are willing to pay for what they enjoy. As a result, the industry has lost $3B in the country. If we take an average, for each e-book published, almost 10,000 copies are downloaded for free. Some popular genres among pirates are technology and science, making such books lose as much as $1M in sales.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What is the Digital Copyright Act

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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a law that the United States put into place in 1998 through a unanimous vote in the Senate. This act criminalizes the sharing of devices, services used to pirate digital media, and the sharing of technology. This includes services meant to get around digital rights management software, which helps to control who has access to copyrighted works. One of the largest changes that this act makes is the exemption of liability from both Internet service providers and other intermediary technological services.

Here is a rundown of the provisions of the DMCA:

·       Title I: WIPO Copyright and performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act - It modifies United States copyright law to be in compliance with the two international treaties from which it derives its name.

·       Title II: Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act – Title II provides a safe harbor ability for Internet service providers. It limits their liability with regard to copyright infringement claims so long as they are able to meet certain requirements.

·       Title III: Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act – Title III allows for individuals or companies repairing computers or making computer modifications to make temporary copies of files found on this computers in accordance with the work that they are doing.

·       Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions – Including broadcast copy provisions, duties of the Copyright Office, collective bargaining and movie rights provisions, provisions designed to help with education across distances, and provisions meant to help libraries keep and preserve various sound-recordings.

·       Title V: Vessel Hull Design Protection Act – This adds protections under copyright law for boat hull designs. Formerly, these were not covered under copyright law under the auspices that their form could not be separated cleanly from their function.

This act has been one of the primary tools used by copyright lawyers to combat the piracy of digital media in the United States. A complete summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can be found at the United States Copyright Office website.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to Turn an Ebook into a Doc or PDF

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The process of converting an Ebook into a doc file or a PDF file is relatively simple and straightforward. One of the simplest ways of converting an Ebook into a PDF file is to use an online converter, such as this one. Simply enter the information for the Ebook, upload the file, and convert. The only problem with this option is that it is not capable of doing conversions using Doc files. It is, however, capable of converting to and from PDF and rich text format (RTF). RTF can then be easily converted to doc format using Word.

Many programs also exist to take care of this issue. One of the best is Calibre. The Calibre user manual has extensive information regarding the conversion of Ebooks to other document types. They have formatting considerations for the conversion of popular Ebook formats such as .mobi or .ePub to formats such as doc and PDF. The conversion usually requires a user to obtain plugins for the input and output file types, but those plugins are usually free. Calibre is one of the best document converters available and, best of all, it costs nothing to use.

Post Conversion Concerns

One of the most important aspects of the conversion of an Ebook is to check for errors after the conversion takes place. This includes common problems such as formatting and basic grammatical errors. Without sounding superstitious, strange things can happen during these conversions. Common sources of errors are hyphens and bulleted lists. Both of these usually require a little extra finesse when trying to get a clean looking final product.

Using any kind of software to convert one file type to another, particularly with documents, is likely to create a few errors. This is simply a part of the conversion process. If you are looking to make the conversion using an automated process and save yourself the frustration of doing it by hand, expect to go over the completed document at least once to check for errors that may have occurred during the process.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How Pirates Use Stolen Books for SEO

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Pirates are able to use the stolen digital media (primarily books) that they have in their possession in order to implement some search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and make money through both advertising and the sale of illicit materials. This is a widespread phenomenon that is only growing in size with the increased levels of book digitization and the sale of digital documents.

Here are the brief steps through which this occurs:

1.     The pirate gets a copy of the digital media in question. This is usually an Ebook, as the technique is more difficult to apply using either movies or music.

2.     A website is created along with a list of popular Ebooks, related search terms, and keywords.

3.     The website is promoted on the Internet and, as it grows in popularity, advertisers apply to be associated with it (often for less-than-reputable products).

This works because publishers often have trouble reaching high search rankings for their books. They promote themselves and promote the book using traditional means of marketing, but neglect to use SEO techniques themselves. This allows the pirates to reach the tops of search rankings. For instance: If you were to search for “Name of Book”, you may find some rankings near the top for sales of that book through traditional means such as the website of the publisher, the author’s website, or online marketplaces. If you were to change that search to “Name of Book PDF”, you will likely encounter a pirated website. This is simply because pirates know what their own users are going to search for and they are able to “game” the system by using the Ebook titles for SEO and getting their sites higher on search results.

This phenomenon is damaging to both authors and the publishing industry because it is not only spreading illicit copies of their books, but it is putting money into the pockets of the individuals who are making the copies of those books. The largest problem with this situation is that SEO is a specialized service and many publishers do not understand the need for its application in their business until it is too late to repair the damage caused by their own inaction.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How Hollywood Deals with Piracy

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Robbing Hollywood

When piracy of digital media began in the late 1990s, the issue was somewhat small and it was relatively easy to contain. The lack of high speed Internet connections made downloading large video and audio files difficult. Beyond that, the level of technology available to rip these video files from DVDs or to create digital media files from other types of physical media was simply not widespread. Fast forward ten years. High speed Internet connections are commonplace. Digital media is extremely easy to get. New sharing protocols such as torrents and new compression algorithms has made the sharing and piracy of digital media extremely easy to get into. This is a perfect storm for increased levels of piracy.

Reactionary Measures

The primary thing that Hollywood has done to combat piracy has been to react to its existence. They formed coalitions of lawyers in order to target assumed pirates. This has had positive and negative effects. The lawsuits filed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have historically been somewhat outlandish. Sharing the rip of a DVD could result in lawsuits for hundreds of thousands of dollars and other outlandish sums. This has results in a very negative view of the industry in the eyes of the public.

Beyond that, Hollywood has launched a massive public relations campaign aimed entirely at ending piracy. They put ads in front of movies with taglines such as, “You wouldn’t steal a car, would you?” in an effort to sway people against piracy. They also publish statistics about their losses and the effect that piracy is having on the film industry in major news outlets on a regular basis. By keeping the subject in the minds of the public, they hope to sway public opinion in their favor.

One of the few proactive measures that the film industry has taken is to include digital rights management (DRM) on the media that they produce and sell. This measure is meant to make it difficult for pirates to take control of their work and to share it or use it for unauthorized purposes. Unfortunately, pirates have been able to easily find ways around nearly every type of DRM that has been created.

There are also those people who see piracy as a good thing. It increases brand awareness and it has been shown that people who truly enjoy media will be willing to purchase it after they have viewed it. Some producers in Hollywood see piracy as a way to keep them on their toes. People will not be willing to blindly purchase movies based on trailers now and, thus, the film industry must modify their methods of media distribution and creation to “stay in the game”.