Why’s My Free eBook For Sale On Amazon?

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Well-known marketing author, Seth Godin, doesn’t want you to buy his new book for sale on Amazon. First off, it’s not new. Godin published it in 2005. Second, he published it as an e-book and offered it for free download on his website.

So where did this $9.99 copy of Everyone’s an Expert (About Something) come from? It appears to be a company called BN Publishing, which has an eBay store as well. Godin’s book available in print form, distributed and promoted by Amazon, was news to him too.

"I didn’t authorize this book to be published," said Godin. "I have no idea who the publisher is and I certainly didn’t ask Amazon to email anyone [about it]."

The only problem is that he sort of did authorize it, indirectly. He published the book under a Creative Commons license – the wrong one if you don’t want something published without you. The faithful blogospheric commentators out there have highlighted two key differences in CC licenses.

The CC license Godin published under is labeled Attribution 2.5, stating:

You are free:

To copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
To make derivative works

Under the following conditions:

Attribution. You must give the original author credit.

For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.

Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.

There is another CC license called Attribution-NonCommerical 2.5, which allows anyone to share or remix the work as long as it is not for commercial purposes.

BN Publishing knew this. Apparently, it’s what they do.

"A quick dig this morning on the BNPublishing website seems to show their business model as taking non-rights-protected works and packaging them up for easy sale," said Christopher Carfi, co-founder of Cerado, Inc. "For example, they are also selling titles such as The Art of War and the like on their site."

While commentators sympathize with Godin, the general consensus out there is that he, pretty much, asked for it.

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  • Scrapncraft

    Seth certainly didn’t ask for it to be taken and published in print or otherwise. Like many other people, I assume that other people aren’t low enough to take something that isn’t yours. Refer to it, use an excerpt from it, but, don’t STEAL!

    • Mike

      He authorized this kind of use when he chose the CC license.

    • Bobbie

      You “assume that other people aren’t low enough to take something that isn’t yours”

      That is why they have copyright laws in the first place numbnutts. Duh.

  • http://www.resale-ebook.com Resale Ebook

    Most people do this don’t they?

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