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  • Bogus B5 Books

    A while back somebody pointed to these books and I pointed out the oxymoron of them claiming ôHigh quality Wikipedia articlesö and laughed them off. Now IÆve looked a little further. One of the æeditorsÆ of Alphascript-publishing.com links to 33,918 items on Amazon and another with Betascript-publishing.com (hmmm...a pattern emerges) links to 18,278 items on Amazon. Basically, these people seem to be doing searches on Wikis and throwing them together as books (80-110 pages for the most part) for $40-$60 each. In other words, theyÆre leeches. They create nothing of their own and profit from the labor of others.

    Yeah, well, everybodyÆs got the right to make a buck, right? Except...

    Now Amazon is sending emails to people whoÆve bought other B5 items on their site to promote these books. Since the books are æin stockÆ and shipped from Amazon, I think itÆs likely that these æbooksÆ are actually being produced by AmazonÆs POD section.

    I've posted negative reviews on several and intend to finish up after posting this note. I don't know if it'll do any good but I invite anybody else so inclined to post their own negative reviews along with me.

    Jan
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

  • #2
    Oh dear, the chancing bastards, that’s just taking liberties.

    Just noticed number 14 on the list, I wrote that wiki article on the Omega – complete with quotes from some interviews from the site. If by some miracle anyone ever comes across a copy of these “books” let me know if they include any quotes from the site (above and beyond the few repeated on wiki), including concept artwork (they claim it’s 88 pages – they’re isn’t 88 pages worth of info on wiki for ALL the B5 ships).

    If they’re ripping off the free content of B5Scrolls (which took a couple of years to put together) I’ll do more than write a negative f*cking review. ; )

    [edit]
    And number 11 on the Starfury!! . . . . . .bloody hell.

    Wouldn't the owners of wiki jump on this from a great height. If not, then *maybe* they might be behind it as they're always looking for cash to keep the thing running.
    Last edited by Triple F; 03-28-2010, 07:48 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jan View Post
      A while back somebody pointed to these books and I pointed out the oxymoron of them claiming ôHigh quality Wikipedia articlesö and laughed them off. Now IÆve looked a little further. One of the æeditorsÆ of Alphascript-publishing.com links to 33,918 items on Amazon and another with Betascript-publishing.com (hmmm...a pattern emerges) links to 18,278 items on Amazon. Basically, these people seem to be doing searches on Wikis and throwing them together as books (80-110 pages for the most part) for $40-$60 each. In other words, theyÆre leeches. They create nothing of their own and profit from the labor of others.

      Yeah, well, everybodyÆs got the right to make a buck, right? Except...

      Now Amazon is sending emails to people whoÆve bought other B5 items on their site to promote these books. Since the books are æin stockÆ and shipped from Amazon, I think itÆs likely that these æbooksÆ are actually being produced by AmazonÆs POD section.

      I've posted negative reviews on several and intend to finish up after posting this note. I don't know if it'll do any good but I invite anybody else so inclined to post their own negative reviews along with me.

      Jan
      According to Wikipedia's Terms of Use:

      To grow the commons of free knowledge and free culture, all users contributing to Wikimedia projects are required to grant broad permissions to the general public to re-distribute and re-use their contributions freely, as long as the use is attributed and the same freedom to re-use and re-distribute applies to any derivative works. ...
      Although the terms of service does not explicitly appear to prohibit sale of information from Wikipedia, I still consider it plagiarism.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by Jan View Post
        A while back somebody pointed to these books and I pointed out the oxymoron of them claiming ôHigh quality Wikipedia articlesö and laughed them off.

        ...

        Now Amazon is sending emails to people whoÆve bought other B5 items on their site to promote these books. Since the books are æin stockÆ and shipped from Amazon, I think itÆs likely that these æbooksÆ are actually being produced by AmazonÆs POD section.

        I've posted negative reviews on several and intend to finish up after posting this note. I don't know if it'll do any good but I invite anybody else so inclined to post their own negative reviews along with me.

        Jan
        Yes, I got the same pile of emails from Amazon, seeing what it was I would not touch it, probably a good idea to make some ( - )reviews.

        Latest email of that sort arrived today.

        Definitely people who buy this are ripped off.
        Jan from Denmark

        My blog :

        http://www.babylonlurker.dk

        "Our thoughts form the Universe - they *always* matter"

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by Triple F View Post
          Just noticed number 14 on the list, I wrote that wiki article on the Omega – complete with quotes from some interviews from the site. If by some miracle anyone ever comes across a copy of these “books” let me know if they include any quotes from the site (above and beyond the few repeated on wiki), including concept artwork (they claim it’s 88 pages – they’re isn’t 88 pages worth of info on wiki for ALL the B5 ships).
          Judging from the 'titles' of the books, they're adding searches until they get to a number of pages they want.

          Wouldn't the owners of wiki jump on this from a great height. If not, then *maybe* they might be behind it as they're always looking for cash to keep the thing running.
          As Dan notes, below, it seems to be according to Wiki's terms of use. Regardless of who's doing it, it seems wrong to me.

          Originally posted by Dan Dassow View Post
          Although the terms of service does not explicitly appear to prohibit sale of information from Wikipedia, I still consider it plagiarism.
          I'm not sure what to call it except that the people doing it are leeches, making profit from the work of others without adding anything of their own.

          Originally posted by babylonlurker View Post
          Yes, I got the same pile of emails from Amazon, seeing what it was I would not touch it, probably a good idea to make some ( - )reviews.

          Latest email of that sort arrived today.
          I don't know when it started, a friend told me about the number he'd gotten recently. Up till then I thought it was just one or two books.

          Looks like they're selling via Amazon UK also. Only a few titles, none B5 related, on Amazon Canada.

          One wonders if those awful pictures with the listings are the real cover 'art'. <shudder>

          Jan

          EDIT: Looks like they won't let me do reviews on Amazon UK. Anybody able/willing to help out there?
          Last edited by Jan; 03-29-2010, 04:47 AM.
          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Jan View Post

            Looks like they're selling via Amazon UK also. Only a few titles, none B5 related, on Amazon Canada.

            One wonders if those awful pictures with the listings are the real cover 'art'. <shudder>

            Jan

            EDIT: Looks like they won't let me do reviews on Amazon UK. Anybody able/willing to help out there?
            'Cover art' indeed - *shudder* - or *double shudder*

            I have been buying stuff mainly from .co.uk, so I might give it a try ...
            Jan from Denmark

            My blog :

            http://www.babylonlurker.dk

            "Our thoughts form the Universe - they *always* matter"

            Comment


            • #8
              This is just disgraceful.
              Going back, oh years now, I attempted to write a guide to Babylon 5, synopsising the episodes (they were full synopses) and following each with a critique, explanation and comments, also doing profiles on all the main characters.

              Most of the info I put in the book came from painstakingly watching each episode several times, and then filling in a few bits of cast bio etc from a few sites. At the time, I was worried that even using THAT amount of someone else's material/research would make the book less "mine" and lead to possible accusations of plagiarism.

              I needn't have worried, as the book wasn't published, since an official guide was due that year. But the point is that I was worried about using, I would say, two or three percent of non-personally-researched material, and here are these guys, blatantly ripping off other people's work and passing it off as their own? And making a profit??

              GAAAHH! Where's a room full of angry Narns when you need them????

              Comment


              • #9
                ... and here are these guys, blatantly ripping off other people's work and passing it off as their own? And making a profit??
                Except, they aren't even trying to pass it off as their own. My reading of the blurb on the Amazon sites indicates to me that all they have done is lifted some articles/information straight out of wikipedia, put it into book form and slapped a hefty price tag on it.

                But then this is a world where people download freely available trial versions of Windows from Microsoft, stick them on CDs and auction them off on eBay for anything up to &#163;30 a pop ... and people buy them.

                Not to mention the number of times I have seen people win eBay auctions for second hands items bu bidding more than it would have cost them to buy the same thing new on the high street.

                What was it Agent K said in Men in Black? "A person is smart, people are dumb!" ... as long as they are, other people will try and persuade them to open their wallets for something that in reality costs nothing.
                The Optimist: The glass is half full
                The Pessimist: The glass is half empty
                The Engineer: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by babylonlurker View Post
                  I have been buying stuff mainly from .co.uk, so I might give it a try ...
                  Thanks, Jan, that'd be great. Don't know if it's the usual Amazon delay or not but only one other person has a review up. I love that somebody added a bunch of derogatory tags, though! Anybody else want to join the negative review party?

                  Jan
                  "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Garibaldi's Hair View Post
                    What was it Agent K said in Men in Black? "A person is smart, people are dumb!" ... as long as they are, other people will try and persuade them to open their wallets for something that in reality costs nothing.
                    True enough. And universe knows that I'm not against making a profit; I've bought and sold plenty of B5 collectables and memorabilia over the years. What concerns me is that there's such a hunger for new B5 material that folks will snap some of these up without realizing and then the backlash will be against the show.

                    Jan
                    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Jan View Post
                      True enough. And universe knows that I'm not against making a profit; I've bought and sold plenty of B5 collectables and memorabilia over the years. What concerns me is that there's such a hunger for new B5 material that folks will snap some of these up without realizing and then the backlash will be against the show.

                      Jan
                      Jan, I share your concern. Fortunately, it appears that no one has bought any of these POD bogus Babylon 5 books from Amazon.com. There is no Amazon.com Sales Rank for any of the B5 related POD books, whereas the top selling books "edited" by Lambert M. Surhone, Miriam T. Timpledon, Susan F. Marseken has a sales ranks of 584,810, 696,519, 792,999, 475,664, and 542,220 indicating that very few people have fallen for this scam on Amazon.com.

                      I plan to write a formal letter of complaint to Amazon.com which I will carbon copy to Warner Brothers legal department.

                      It looks like this scam has been going on for a long time.
                      http://www.mail-archive.com/foundati.../msg08336.html

                      Re: [Foundation-l] Alphascript Publishing scam

                      Gregory Kohs
                      Wed, 14 Oct 2009 08:14:16 -0700

                      I have submitted the following to GNU.org, to Amazon, to Alphascript
                      Publishing, and the FTC, so maybe they can professionally sort it out.
                      I may not have legal footing, but if not, it still stinks:

                      Amazon.com is allowing the fraudulent marketing of published content
                      by Alphascript Publishing. ...
                      http://www.alphascript-publishing.co...=nav&nav=10044
                      Alphascript Publishing is a trademark of VDM Publishing House Ltd.
                      Address: 17 Rue Meldrum
                      Beau Bassin
                      1713-01
                      Mauritius
                      Phone: 00230 467-5601
                      Fax: 00230 454-9984
                      Email: [email protected]
                      Website: http://www.alphascript-publishing.com
                      http://www.vdm-publishing-house.com/about.html
                      VDM Publishing House Ltd. in Mauritius was founded by Dr. Wolfgang P. M³ller as a sole shareholder and is providing service for several publishing houses and has agreements with international book wholesalers.
                      http://www.vdm-publishing-house.com/contact.html
                      VDM Publishing House Ltd.
                      Directors: Benoit Novel
                      Address: 17 Rue Meldrum
                      Beau Bassin
                      1713-01
                      Mauritius
                      Phone: 00230 467-5601
                      Fax: 00230 454-9984
                      Email: [email protected]
                      Website: http://www.vdm-publishing-house.com

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Eh, does no-one else think JMS should be told? I'm sure he would be happy to write a scathing review and, as the creator of Babylon 5, has to be incensed that people are ripping his show off?

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          There's a thread up on the moderated newsgroup so it's likely that he knows about it already, Trollheart.

                          Jan

                          ETA: Looks like that's definite. Found this on one of their 'out of print' book pages:

                          Copyright Violatoin, Illegal Publication, March 23, 2010
                          This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering (Paperback)
                          This book contains the script for Babylon 5 that I alone retain the rights to publish or sell, and have done so under [...] Under Writers Guild rules and contracts, no other entity or person has the right to publish this material. Please contacct Amazon to request that this title be withdrawn. This is the worst sort of piracy.
                          Last edited by Jan; 03-30-2010, 10:14 AM.
                          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Jan View Post
                            There's a thread up on the moderated newsgroup so it's likely that he knows about it already, Trollheart.

                            Jan

                            ETA: Looks like that's definite. Found this on one of their 'out of print' book pages:
                            There are 8 books listed on Amazon.com with the keyword search:
                            "alphascript publishing babylon 5"

                            All are out of print.

                            Dan Dassow

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