allison argent

A sort of limited PSA

In case you haven't heard, the apparent culprit for all the mass downloading by bots on AO3 a month or so ago is a site that's hosting a variety of ebooks. And by which I mean not only the published types or works, but also the type that's posted on AO3 for free. Both of which are being rehosted for profit.

Obviously, AO3/OTW is aware of it, and there's been some suggestions of how to respond if your fic has been rehosted- you can send both the site and its host Cloudflare, although I'm not actually sure how long it'll take to get a response. Especially seeing that Cloudflare hosts other sites that are very liable for copyright infringement on a much larger scale.

(My two cents- I don't have much theoretical moral ground to stand on, and I strongly suspect that if this was another run of the mill site offering ebooks for free or for profit as many other sites in existence are, I really wouldn't give it a second thought. Or a lot of other people, for that matter. But my issue here is not the typical type of infringement, but more that it's putting up work that's publicly made available for free and charging for it.)
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been investigating this - they have like 18 of my fic on there. :/ I submitted a 'removal of content' request, but I don't expect much.

My issue too isnt about any sort of infringement. but about how fic should remain free and a hobby. Even when legit networks tried to launch that 'for pay' fanfic service (for their own properties) I was all WTF. Do they even exist anymore? hahah.

If anyone is going to make money off my fic it should be the original content creators. Joss should make money from my Buffy fic. lol. I just don't want people to be paying for fic; it's wrong. It needs to remain free (in the financial sense) to remain fun and ultimate to remain free (in the spiritual sense)
It seems a lot of people have been getting their stuff taken down? But there's also just as many people who still haven't had any luck, so. That said, AO3 said that it isn't actually hosting the files themselves, but just linking back to AO3.

Yeah, I have very strong feelings about keeping fic free and noncommercial. Like, fic is basically a form of oral tradition, where instead the medium of the storytelling is now electronic instead of oral, and the means to keep track of the changes each person introduces to the next iteration of the original story. Especially where fic has been made free and is intended to be free.
As far as I can tell, you're only asked for your credit card info when trying to download the [Full Version].pdf formats. They've left the .epub and .mobi formats free-access. Which is weird for a for-profit site. I don't know why they've only locked the .pdf's.

I normally don't have a beef with people redistributing my AO3 stuff with credit, unless a.) I've already got a copy specifically floating around on the site, and b.) they're monetizing it. Given what I've found out above, I don't even know if the site is trying that hard to make money off this whole scheme, but if they are, they're being really dumb about it.

I've submitted a ticket but won't be holding my breath. Anyways the chance that people would ever pay for fic is miniscule, since it's free on AO3.

Edited at 2015-04-14 03:43 am (UTC)
From what I remember reading, a lot of the revenue is from the various ads that they have, etc. A lot of other people have said that it looks to more or less be a phishing site meant to grab people's credit card info, so.

They've sort of done something about it, only not really. Eh.
Ugh, they have 5 of my fic on there and I submitted a removal of content request, but I'm not going to hold my breath DX
Well, they sort of responded? As in, they took down their search function and there's a domain name change, but the listed fic is still there (although said fic is really a rehost of AO3, so).
putting up work that's publicly made available for free and charging for it
Exactly! I'm only a reader, but I'm very grateful for the amount and variety of stories fandom provides for free that is often even better than published fiction. I really hope that this doesn't scare off writers. I'm also really baffled by the amount of fic that's apparently on the site since I've seen so many people saying that they stole their stories.
I don't think it should scare off the writers, because it's less of a big issue and more of an irritation? Like, putting stuff up on ff.net or AO3 is more or less just saying 'here world, look at what I'm handing out for free' so in that sense, it's not likely to impact very much. It's just more of an irritation than anything, honestly.

That said, the only thing I could see it doing is upping the number of people who set it so only registered users can read/download fic, but even that's not so effective against bot trawling.