Take a Moment Out of Your Day to Shame an Appalling Thief

Namely, this dude, who uploaded to Amazon Kindle Store under his own name a bunch of science fiction works by others, including myself, CJ Cherryh, and Robert Heinlein. I’d note that in my case, in addition to ripping me off, he’s also ripping off Bob Eggleton, who did the inside art for the story. A bunch of scathing one-star reviews would be nice.

I will of course be filing a DMCA claim against this schmuck with Amazon in short order (as should all the folks or estates affected), but in the meantime mocking this dude for being stupid enough to think he could get away with this is the order of the day.

Also, Amazon: A little more oversight of Kindle submission process would be lovely.

update: Looks like they were taken down by Amazon. Thanks, you wide river, you!

112 thoughts on “Take a Moment Out of Your Day to Shame an Appalling Thief

  1. Excellent! When I heard about this earlier this morning, I researched each title, to find the original titles and authors, then on each title I sent a report to Amazon.

  2. Yeah, this is blatant. On the other hand, it’s Amazon too. I trust that bunch as far as I can hit ‘em with a brick. I’ll blast the dude in their reviews.

  3. I’m not sure it’s possible to shame the shameless, but I did post a couple of “reviews.” If each of “his” books attracts comments pointing out the theft, it may help to alert the unwary who stumble on his frauds.

  4. Amazon do some oversight- I recently got an email from them telling me that material in one of my short story collections was also available online. As this was from me publishing original versions of some of them on my blog it wasn’t a problem.

    Of course, it took them almost a year from the collection’s publication to notice…..

  5. One star review posted, and email sent to Amazon about what exactly they were thinking. Srsly, wth?

  6. Ugh. I’m surprised they haven’t found a way to automatically flag things like this. The 1984 debacle is at least a little understandable because it was a rights issue, 1984 wasn’t sold in an online form yet but these books are all in digital format. Take one paragraph from all your Kindle books and when you get new submissions from indie sellers look for matches. You can’t tell me they don’t have the computing power with EC2 to pull that off.

  7. If anyone is interested, the full list of original titles and authors, followed by those that are infringing upon their copyrights follows:

    • Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
    — A Stranger in a Strange Land, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

    • Destination Alaska, Lonely Planet Publications
    — A Journey to Alaska, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

    • Intruder, C. J. Cherryh
    — The Trespasser, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

    • Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
    — The End of Childhood, Ignul Jaif Farabi

    • Inverted World, Christopher Priest
    — The Reversed World, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

    • How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story, John Scalzi
    — How I Proposed to My Girlfriend – An Amazing Alien Sex Story, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

    • Time’s Eye, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
    — The Eye of Time, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

    • Mission Mongolia: Two Men, One Van, No Turning Back, David Treanor
    — Mission in Mongolia, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

    • Alien in the Family, Gini Koch
    — An Alien in the Family, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

    • Transcendent, Stephen Baxter
    — Exalted, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

  8. Minor typo in my last comment. This…

    • Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
    — The End of Childhood, Ignul Jaif Farabi

    …should be this…

    • Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
    — The End of Childhood, Ibnul Jaif Farabi

  9. If I’m not mistaken, copyright infringement usually implies material gain from the infringement, or at least the attempt of material gain. Thus, just hitting him for copyright infringement (hopefully from several angles, is the Heinlein estate as big as the Roddenberry estate? Gorilla arms could be handy) should be good enough.

  10. “I’m surprised they haven’t found a way to automatically flag things like this.”

    How? Given that a) under current copyright law everything you write is automatically copyrighted when you create it (no registration required) and b) a some-animals-are-more-equal-than-others approach (e.g. checking submissions against the texts from prominent authors such as Scalzi) would inevitably expose them to complaints (and possibly liability) when a ripped-off work from a not-so-prominent author made it through the check.

    The law as written requires Amazon to remove material when the copyright owner complains. That’s it.

    IMO this is a good policy. Otherwise every blogger would be responsible for, e.g., user comments, meaning that Scalzi could get sued if (again, e.g.) the sentence “everything you write is automatically copyrighted when you create it” above turned out to have been lifted from a copyrighted book. The SOPA/PIPA laws that were defeated recently would have meant just that.

  11. This is simply a matter of someone abusing a self-publishing platform. He could just have easily placed these books on any other site.

    I’m sure Amazon could set up a costly database to scan each submitted work for copyright violations (for which they’d have to have a searchable scan of each copyrighted work which would be…. impossible), or, it could just do what it does today: allow you to file DMCA claims, submit complaints through their website, and have people place 1 star reviews warning customers that if they purchase this good they’re purchasing something stolen.

  12. And they say science fiction isn’t predictive, lol.

    I’ve been talking about this (renamings on others works) for quite some time now and have been wondering how long it would be before we saw it really happening.

    Next will be the text with a new title “by” a name that is similar to – or perhaps the same as – some other attention getting one.

    Or (my favorite): “A NEW NOVEL BY R.A. Heinlein & I. Asimov & A. C. Clarke (Rapunzel Heinlein, Ichabod Asimov & Albert Camus Clarke, of course: what – you thought dead authors kept on writing?)

    SHAME SHAME SHAME, of course – probably more-so for Amazon than the idiot. This is what happens when there’s no way to vet origination of manuscripts.

  13. Well, I tried, John. All my reviews of the ripped off books were rejected by Amazon:

    Thanks for submitting a customer review on Amazon. Your review could not be posted to the website in its current form. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines:

    What I posted for each review was:

    This is a blatant rip-off. Amazon, you’ve been informed of this copyright infringement. Do the right thing. And if I’m repeating myself, that’s because I need to make this 20 words to work.

    Anyway, at least someone got their review through.

  14. My favorite is “A Stranger in a Strange Land” with a cover using the Giger Alien design.

    I kind of want to read about the Giger alien coming to earth and teaching humanity how to love.

  15. Here’s what I’d like to know. What stops this from happening with a real live honest to god book publishing firm? There’s your answer. And, not that it’s an honest to god tree extracted book in your hands–because I like ebooks too–but that it’s an organization of knowledgeable book people. That’s the kicker.

  16. Actually, to be more accurate, it’s a network of real live knowledgeable book people. Almost incestuous, to be honest, but a tight network. As opposed to proprietary.

  17. Amazon happily accepted all my reviews, all of which suggest that maybe Amazon should compare submissions to what they already have in stock. I also marked all the current reviews as useful.

  18. Reviews accepted across all of of the thief’s books:

    DO NOT BUY

    So, not just a thief, but a lazy thief. This twit is pirating good books & passing them off as his own work. I do hope the lawyers have fun with him…

  19. “I kind of want to read about the Giger alien coming to earth and teaching humanity how to love.”

    Yeah, when I saw that it was startling a bit. I would not want to see how that thing groks.

  20. Googling his name I found another one, “A Journey by Bicycle,” which has almost the exact description as David Byrne’s “Bicycle Diaries.” I sent a note to Mr. Byrne’s agency.

  21. Another writer’s blog I read had the same thing happen as Ian P above. Got notice from amazon that she was uploading work copyrighted on another site and to stop. Took several weeks to sort out that she was the author and that the other site was her own blog which had her name it big letters at the top of the screen.
    This guy didn’t mess around. Sort of got to admire the sheer bravado.

  22. The problems with suing someone for copyright infringement are many. First you have to find a lawyer to take the case. Secondly you need damages of sufficient size and you can only file in a Federal District Court, which is several thousand dollars in fees alone. Then you have to find the offending party and serve them (more fees). You also, in the USA, must have actually registered your copyright with the Library of Congress. No registration, no standing in Federal Court.

  23. Review entered. Tried to have a little fun with it in the hopes that this could turn into one of those epic Amazon review threads, at least until Amazon pulls these books. Unfortunate brain-fart on C. J. Cherryh’s name in my review, but I think we’re all getting the point across.

  24. Now that’s just odd. All my exactly identical reviews were rejected–save one, for “The Reversed World”. I swear, someone at Amazon HQ is spinning a bottle or somfing.

  25. Reblogged this on C W Reynolds and commented:
    Here’s an example of what not to do when writing. I agree with Scalzi’s attitude about the copyright infringement. I have added my own reviews to Amazon’s reviews for the items and have sent an email to Amazon to complain about the blatant copyright infringements on the part of the “author” Scalzi references in his post.

  26. Give the scum credit for good taste in reading.

    I wonder if he lives in a country that respects copyright laws? Not that you could expect much in monetary compensation. As long as he gets shut down, before he gets any cash, he will not try THIS scam again.

  27. NPR’s On The Media rebroadcast a segment from earlier this year in this week’s show, about precisely this issue of knockoff ebook titles on Amazon.

    PS I’m intrigued by the cover art for the ebooks he is selling through Amazon. It looks quite intricate, and I rather doubt someone selling knock-off ebooks under other peoples’ famous titles has paid for its use. In fact, it might be that this fellow is more clearly in violation of copyrights on the cover art than he is in legal trouble over the book titles: titles can’t be copyrighted, apparently, and it’s not clear you can prove he intended to defraud, rather than to pay homage.

  28. “What stops this from happening with a real live honest to god book publishing firm? There’s your answer.”

    Yes, we all know that big publishers never, ever, EVER publish questionable material.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salinger_v._Random_House

    Or (a bit closer to home):

    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=536779

    Not directly pertinent, but see also:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/07/arts/07frey.html

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/music/story/2007/09/01/bmg-napster-publishers.html

  29. I “reviewed” each book, using different but similar words so that the reviews wouldn’t get kicked as being identical. There’s a circle in hell for this pirate, and it’s a damned cold one.

  30. The same titles are also up on the UK Amazon site. I’ve reported them with reference to the US site’s reviews.

  31. Finished reviewing all of them, more or less in this format:

    This is a blatant theft of copyrighted material (Destination Alaska, by Lonely Planet Publications).
    It appears that ALL the books “by Ibnul Jaif Farabi” are actually stolen.
    Zero stars.

    Thanks to Gary Townsend for making it easy to be specific about which work is being ripped off in each case.

    Warren, the titles aren’t what’s being ripped off here. The stories and characters are. I’ve only looked at the descriptions, so I don’t know if he made any text changes at all, but even if he did, it’s pretty blatant.

  32. Done and done. One starred and an email sent off to Amazon inquiring as to what standards they DO use when accepting submissions.

    @crotchetyoldfan The exact scenario you wondered about has already taken place. Last month, some jokers decided to roll the dice by choosing pen names such as Nora A. Roberts and James A. Patterson. This was on Barnes&Nobles website.

  33. @gleonguerrero: My comment went to moderation (probably because it had a bunch of links in it) but major publishers can and do engage in copyright infringement (and not so-called “innocent infringement”, either). Random House got sued (successfully) for publishing J.D. Salinger’s letters without permisison. Ace issued editions of Tolkien’s works without permission and without paying royalties, under what they claimed was a copyright loophole. Bertelsmann had to fork over $130 million to the music companies due to their stake in Napster. There are other examples; those turned up in a couple of minutes of Googling.

  34. Well, all his “titles” seem to be gone now. I’m a little sad to see my reviews gone, as my description of said “author” made me smile: a virulent spore of mucus-like plant life that should have stayed in his petri dish. Oh well. I suppose I can always save it for the next one that comes along.

  35. Just to check, has anyone looked at the samples and verified they actually ARE the books we think he is ripping off? I inquire as the lengths don’t seem to match up…

  36. Is this guy a complete idiot? Those are big name books, big name authors. How did he ever think he’d get away with that? And I thought I had issues with people stealing MY work!

  37. He also appears to be self-publishing on Smashwords.com. HIs ‘works’ there include “Around the World in 80 Nights” (actually Bill and Cheryl Jamison’s _Around the World in 80 Dinners_), “A Journey by Bicycle” (actually David Byrne’s _Bicycle Diaries_, and “A Journey to Beijing” (also known as Tom Scocca’s _Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future_). The idiot is *using the jacket text* as his book descriptions, after changing any names to his.

    A Google search tells me he also once published “Rendezvous with Zama”, about a 10 trillion ton object approaching Earth, but Amazon’s taken that one down.

  38. wow impressive heuvos to bad they are attached to a slime bag. I wonder how long it would taken to get removed if Scalzi wasn’t included? John is ontop of all these interwebby things.

  39. They’re not all gone. I got to the “Childhood’s End” page by clicking the link from my Recent History list on Amazon’s home page. The book is still listed for sale, as of 1:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

    The other one I reviewed, “Stranger in a Strange Land,” is gone, though. Can’t get to it even via the e-mail about my review. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before “Childhood’s End” is gone too and probably any others that remain.

  40. Carrie V. said, “I kind of want to read about the Giger alien coming to earth and teaching humanity how to love.”

    They just want to hug your face. It’s their way of showing love!

  41. All three books that he offers through Smashwords are plagiarized. (I did a search on the first couple sentences from the first text page.) Reported all three. One of them is the David Byrne “Bicycle Diaries” mentioned above.

  42. I tried each of the links in Scalzi’s article and Cherryh’s is the only one that went anywhere.

    I also found this part of the copyright page to be ironically infuriating:

    The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyright materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

    This from a copyright infringer himself. Although this is probably straight from the scanned-and-uploaded file.

    BTW, I’m not pirating the above section, I’m quoting it as part of a review.

  43. Just checked through your link and there’s no content associated with this name now…maybe someone at Amazon got the message.

  44. One of his other titles on Smashwords was a retitled ripoff of Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” which is hilarious as it’s in the public domain and he could have just pubbed the original version with no repercussions.

  45. Sorry, my bad. It looks like that one is actually a ripoff of someone’s food-porn book, which probably is under copyright. Shoulda known.

  46. Just for the record,… Xopher, titles are not copyrightable (per the US Copyright Law), but you are right that this scumbag did more than that, he or she also claimed ownership of all those works.

  47. @jbwhelan

    Technically, what’s in the public domain with Verne are his works in the original French. The English translations may or may not be in the public domain. On that point, my question is: Are all the English translations of Verne’s works the same? After all, you can find various translations of Dostoevsky and others. Some translations might be older; others more recent. The same is true about Shakespeare… modern English versions might vary. The copies I own are from the Pelican Shakespeare Library, but I’ve never compared them to, say, Folger’s.

    Most republished works include additional material (introductions, afterwords, info about the author, info about the time period in which the story takes place, etc) that *is* copyrighted.

  48. Interesting that he was able to do this. We’re publishing a lot of e-book revivals of previously-published (in hard copy) SF books at Event Horizon and DarkStar, all under legal contract. Every time we upload a new or reprint e-book, Amazon.com requires that we send them a copy of the contract/permission letter. How did this copyright thief manage to convince Amazon that he had these properties under contract? Something about this stinks.

  49. What I failed to point out in my previous comment is that each translation of a work carries its own copyright.

  50. I’m glad Amazon pulled it. I think this sort of thing is extremely frightening to me, being considerably less well known. In fact some have said I’m a bit paranoid in my need to copyright everything. But I’m old school, and I formerly copyright everything I publish as a book or eBook with the Library of Congress. However this kind of thing makes me paranoid about put story excerpts from works in progress on my blog.

  51. Theophylact, it seems that in most cases the title is the only thing he DID change. The only case for fraud is in his representing the work as his own and making sales thereby, which strikes me as pretty shaky. If only Mythago would stop by and explain!

  52. @Gary, good points. I’d have to research the status of Verne’s US copyrights–and since it’s a Sunday, I think I’m just going to do some gaming and have a nap instead. ;)

  53. CJ Cherryh posts on her blog:

    “WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the link is now down. On a weekend, yet, —Amazon has reacted…

    ……to a barrage of reader reviews and complaints. Thank you all. Thank you, Adhunfai, for reporting it. Thank you, John Scalzi, for putting up an FB post. Thank every one of you whose eloquence turned up the heat on Amazon.

    Stay alert for this hydra to grow a new head and let us know if it happens. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

  54. Add  bookbasset.com   to the growing pile of associated sites.
    (earlier comment routed to mod queue, probably due to URL count)

  55. Searching “Ibnul Jaif Farabi” on google returns a lot of results for Amazon (now cleaned up), Smashwords, and other eBook sellers + other Amazon books not listed in the comments (ie. RENDEZVOUZ WITH ZAMA). Google links hint that this person may be living in Bangladesh.

  56. @Xopher, the lawyer you really need here is C.E. Petit. (You want to get into an argument about the health effects of industrial toxins or landlord-tenant law in California, though, I got your back.)

    Still, off the top of my head, he’s representing these works as original creations by him, when they’re actually books written by somebody else – so there could be fraud perpetrated on the buyer, who did not get what they were told they were paying for. The doucheloaf is not defrauding the authors, but he is stealing their intellectual property. It would probably be difficult on practical level to sue the guy, but Bangladesh is a signatory to the Berne Convention and apparently other international agreements which respect intellectual property rights.

  57. I think “teh interwebs” should make the name Ibnul Jaif Farabi as famous as that of Judith Griggs.

    And what was the one more recently, about some tech support dude sending a cutomer rude emails?

    Yeah – Ibnul Jaif Farabi needs some of that fame.

  58. Bangladesh is a possibility, though I suspect that neither the name nor domain registry information are accurate (query ‘whois’ for ereaderiq.com or bookbasset.com). However, at least a few of the links found via Google have a name other than “Ibnul Jaif Farabi” listed as the page author.

    old aggie @10:15 pm:   Second the motion. 
    FAME ON

  59. The trouble is suing the guy in Pakistan.

    Hence my comment on CJ’s Facebook: “Almost tempting to start a Kickstarter for third world copyright bounty hunting. ;)”

    It’s nice to think this is just greed, but sometimes the more egregious flavors of online fraud are used to finance organized crime or even terrorism. Even just on the commercial issue, if I had a stake in this I might ping the State Department and find out how to sue somebody like that.

  60. Heres Scalzi on his latest tour(Classic)

    [link deleted because both off topic and patently stupid - JS]

  61. Midas, you seem to have typo’d or otherwise erred in your link, which takes me to a 2008 Joe Scarborough clip about how scary White folks should find the people that can somehow be connected to Barack Obama.

  62. A favorite listing from the Lulu page:

    A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal
    By Ibnul Jaif Farabi
    eBook (PDF for Adobe Digital Editions): $3.99
    Download immediately.

    A Cook’s Tour is the written record of Anthony Bourdain’s travels around the world in his search for the perfect meal. All too conscious of the state of his 44-year-old knees after a working life… More >

  63. Midas’ post remains but I deleted the link because it was off topic, not to mention dumb. Midas, in the future try to make your cheap shots at least marginally relevant to the topic at hand.

  64. This reminds me of that Australian fraud “Buy an e-reader get 300 e-books on a CD free” thing from earlier this year (or was it last year). It’s something that should just not slip through the cracks if they even remotely cared about copyrights.

  65. if you google the name, you see links to fiction and non-fiction books he claims to have written all over the web. I doubt he is an American. It would be too hard to catch him. When I google the name I see 3 profiles with this name, so there good be other people who unfortunately have this name.

    Abnul Jaif Farabi

    google the name for yourself.

  66. Apparently there is a guy with this name in Bangladesh. He has some ‘blogs’ that look like it are hijacked material. Unfortunately there also appears to be a kid in India who is on a dating site with the same name. Poor kid.
    The guy in bangladesh is also a website designer.

    https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/users/Freelance-Logo-Designer_~~27c810f76a56194a/

    Amazon will have the IP address of the guy who uploaded the ebooks. I don’t know what it will take to get it. A simple tracert from windows should tell you the country this was uploaded from. If its the US, you can get a lawyer to get a subpoena to track down the upload location. I would be willing to bet he had to attach a bank account or paypal to his Amazon.com account so Amazon can transfer money to him.

    if he is outside the US going after him will be near impossible, but if he is in the US, you could possible sue him or get the police to go after him.

  67. If this happens alot, I would think that amazon would leave themselves open to lawsuits. There has to be laws in the US that would force a vendor to atleast check for obvious plagiarism. I doubt amazon wants to sell plagiarized material, but they should at a minimum have to spend a little money and resources blocking the completely obvious.

  68. Bangladesh is so impoverished – I wonder how much it would cost in US dollars to have some gentlemen visit him and explain his folly in the native idiom?

  69. Since I’m assuming that he’s been properly shamed at this point, I’m going to instead wonder if part of his problem is that he’s operating under an old print paradigm that not only lets people get away with pirating content in a country that’s physically distant from the original country of publication (and with a different legal system that might make it difficult and/or expensive for someone to sue if they ever found out about it), but that almost mandates that people get content that’s pirated because it never gets officially published in their country in the first place. I’m not justifying this guy’s actions, I’m just wondering if there’s more of a bootleg culture in someplace like Bangladesh with regard to this sort of thing.

  70. Pirating it is one thing, which we’ll leave the lawyers to sort out, but claiming this is his own work is another. It’s not only legally wrong, but morally, under any standards of religious or secular morality I ever heard of. The guy is a habitual thief and liar, and I think Allah has a special place for those.

  71. One of my favorites is the profile that shows his name as “Sir King Abnul Jaif Farabi.”

    If it weren’t for the multiple other sites that list him as a freelance web developer, Photoshop expert, etc., I might suspect he’s a tween.

  72. Do note that the thief probably made zero. Amazon and other sites do not pay out until 60 days after the end of a given month, which allows time for this sort of thing to be flagged. Sadly it is the authors and readers who have to be vigilant. Very glad someone caught it.

  73. Heh, ripping off the rest of you is stupid; ripping off Heinlein is suicidal. Damn fool will be lucky if he doesn’t end up lynched. We oldtimers are the ones who put the “Fanatic” in “Fan”.

  74. …is it wrong that this whole issue introduced me to another author I’ve never read before, and bought one of his stories…?

Comments are closed.