Tuesday, 17 April 2012
How to 'republish' free material from Wikipedia IS a Corporate Scandal
How profitable, or ethical, is it to republish work that is available for free on wikipedia?
I was surprised and rather angry that our free wikipedia article called "Community Film" has now appeared as a "book" edited by Zheng Cirino. But Duc Publishing is just an imprint of VDM Publishing. (See below)
Has anyone come across this 'writer' and 'editor' of over 4500 books? Would you spend £25 on what you can have for free? Take a look on Amazon.
And the cover bears the curious imprint 'Books for Africa'. OK. So this is about social mission and redistribution, right?
I would be curious to see how they reference and attribute my work based on the Wikipedia Edit / page history.
But I don't think I need to waste £25 reading my own work, which is already available for free!
(Even the Product Description simply copies my words from the opening of the Wikipedia article on COMMUNITY FILM)
Here is what one commentator (erich666) said on Slashdot
"In recent months a flood of so-called books have been appearing in Amazon's catalog. VDM Publishing's imprints Alphascript and Betascript Publishing have listed over 57,000 titles, adding at least 10,000 in the previous month alone. These books are simply collections of linked Wikipedia articles put into paperback form, at a cost of 40 cents a page or more. These books seem to be computer-generated, which explains the peculiar titles noted such as 'Vreni Schneider: Annemarie Moser-Pröll, FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, Winter Olympic Games, Slalom Skiing, Giant Slalom Skiing, Half Man Half Biscuit.' Such titles do have the marketing effect of turning up in many different searches. There is debate on Wikipedia about whether their 'VDM Publishing' page should contain the words 'fraud' or 'scam.' VDM Publishing's practice of reselling Wikipedia articles appears to be legal, but is ethically questionable. Amazon customers have begun to post 1-star reviews and complain. Amazon's response to date has been, 'As a retailer, our goal is to provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any item they might be seeking.' The words 'and pay us' were left out. Amazon carries, as a Googled guess, 2 million different book titles, so VDM Publishing is currently 1/35th of their catalog, and rapidly growing."
Finally I note this comment from Geoff Brigham
"The creators in the free-knowledge community are in fact copyright holders, just like the creators in the media industry, but unlike most industries, creators in the free-knowledge community volunteer to promote progress and innovation by releasing their content under a free license that provides their creations to the world for no cost."