The day before yesterday Richard Fox answered File 770’s article “Perjury, Not Piracy, Is the Problem” in a post on his blog, “If someone asks you to remove pirated stories, and you refuse, you’re wrong. All stop.” [Internet Archive link.]
There you can see Fox’s comment that I wouldn’t post here, rehearsing falsehoods, dodging significant questions, and working in some juvenile namecalling. He insists I should not have denied him the chance to defend himself at File 770. “I take the freedom of speech very seriously,” says Fox. He takes it very seriously — on other people’s blogs. Richard Fox doesn’t allow comments on his own blog.
Linking is not piracy. Fox’s deceptions start right in his title. File 770 never hosted a copy of Fox’s story “Going Dark.” We included a link to the Google Drive file, after seeing the URL on SFWA’s public-facing Nebula Reading List.
Courts have long held that including a link is not the same as hosting the material yourself. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc. (2007). The issue was also raised in a suit against Boing Boing, dismissed last year, analyzed at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
How links are chosen. File 770 runs features like JJ’s “Where To Find The 2018 Nebula Finalists For Free Online” as a reader service, impartially listing all the works available. We aren’t going to have people coming back to ask “Why didn’t you link to Richard Fox’s story on the SFWA site?”
Many online magazines post fiction free online, asking for subscriptions or Kickstarter support. That’s their business model. Many self-published authors post sample stories to publicize their work, another traditional marketing strategy.
Likewise, to attract attention to members’ work from all quarters, SFWA changed the Nebula Reading List to a public facing part of its site in 2015 (see the press release). It’s been public for four years. Whatever is linked to from there is visible to the public. That ranges from links to Amazon sales pages to links of the full text of works, as determined by the SFWA member involved.
How links get on the Nebula Reading List. SFWA has two ways for members to share work, as their FAQ explains.
- The Nebula Reading List. This is visible to the public. Members must be logged into the SFWA discussion boards to add new entries to the list.
- SFWA Members may also make work available in the SFWA Fiction section of the Discussion Boards. This is accessible only to members who are logged in to the Discussion Boards.
I asked Kate Baker, SFWA’s Executive Director, how this works and was told —
A member or the author themselves can create a listing on both the public/private reading lists. This does not fall under SFWA Webmaster or the Nebula Award Commissioner’s duties.
The person who created it would not have the ability to remove it.
What was on the SFWA site was also just a link — they did not host the file. They had no control over the files of “Going Dark” on the Google Drive.
However, the page listing the links could only be removed with SFWA’s assistance.
Pirate link on SFWA’S Nebula Recommended Reading List? According to Fox:
When this year’s Nebula Awards were getting attention, I shared my short story GOING DARK with the password protected site that was only for Science Fiction Writers of America. Sharing this was only for their consideration, and never for the general public as I had the story in an anthology that was for sale.
And yet he also says:
I deleted the post after the Nebulas, but I put on several different versions.
Where did the links on the public Nebula Reading List come from?
Somewhere in this milieu, a Google drive file of the story was created and made available for outside of the password protected site….
At Camestros Felapton’s post “Larry Correia Endorses Richard Fox’s Piracy Claims”, Fox has by now made over 40 comments and given a convincing impression that he doesn’t know how the internet works. How can anyone rely on his notion of what happened or might have happened when he can’t assess the most basic facts?
In February, Fox found Camestros linked to the same Google Drive file that was listed on the SFWA site. Fox says at that time “I thought you were hosting the file”. Camestros removed the link when asked. And Fox says, “After you removed the link, I assumed the file was gone”.
By the same token, Fox insisted my citing the same link meant I, too, was actually hosting the file.
The SFWA site? Fox claims, “I didn’t know they were there. Once Glyer pointed them out, I submitted the take down notices.”
Yes, I had to explain to him where the links led to. And once he had the information he filed a DMCA takedown notice against me anyway.
DMCA Takedown Notices. My ISP took down JJ’s post. Fox has tried to carry the day on Camestros’ blog by telling everyone —
You know who agreed with my position that linking to the story was piracy? Glyer’s ISP. Are you more experienced with that realm of internet management?
That is a complete misrepresentation of the law. If you fill out your DMCA takedown notice correctly, and the ISP you send that to sees they are hosting the targeted content, they are obligated to take it down and notify the customer of his rights, which includes the right to file a DMCA counter notice. The ISP is not the arbiter of the charge. They simply comply with the DMCA statute to avoid forfeiting the safe harbor they receive for obeying it.
I filed a DMCA counter notice, starting the clock running that gave Fox up to 14 days to file “an action seeking a court order to restrain the subscriber from engaging in infringing activity relating to the material on the service provider’s system or network.”
He didn’t follow through with any legal action because his takedown notice was a prank, and one he could do for free. My post went back online.
And it’s actually Fox who could be subject for damages under 17 U.S. 512(f) for his knowing misrepresentation that my link was infringing his copyright.
I’m ruler, said Yertle, of all that I see. Richard Fox reasons, “It’s fairly evident that I am the copyright holder of that story and if I say a link to something is pirated…it really shouldn’t be much of a discussion.”
So then, should I have taken the action Richard Fox requested anyway? I almost did. Then after I got a few more emails from him that amounted to “Yes you #!@%! pirate stop stealing from me oh and by the way let me repeat a few choice insults Larry Correia wrote about you, too” he convinced me it was a better idea to keep enjoying my legal right to post a link to something on the internet.
Larry has rushed in to try and prop him up. You’ve got to be impressed with Larry’s genuine humility in carrying water for guys like Richard Fox – because it doesn’t get any lower than that.
If you want a result, you ask like a human being. If you want a kerfuffle, you make false charges, namecall, and rope in renowned internet liars to echo your story – and the people who love that kind of thing will love Richard Fox.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. You know who else must have thought that Google Drive link was a valid public copy of Fox’s “Going Dark”? The SFWA Webmaster. Every work that made the 2018 Nebula Awards ballot got a dedicated page on the SFWA site. And it’s still online, still displays the same Google Drive link (though broken now) used in JJ’s post. (Just in case the original disappears five minutes after my post goes online, here’s a copy at the Internet Archive). A screenshot taken today shows the meta data about the link. (Click on the image for a larger version.)