Bookstooge Lawyers Up!

First, apologies to Bookwraiths, as I’m sure I’ll say something unpleasant about lawyers. But he’s still a really good guy. Honest!

Bookwraiths is a real 1%’er

Second, thanks to PC Bushi for his email question, which while I answered, gave me some grist for a post. I’m always on the lookout for postable material. And don’t confuse PC with his cohorts, Kaijubushi and Gitabushi. It makes for some confusing times if you do 🙂

You have probably noticed that I start every review of mine with a legalese spcheill that invokes the Mighty Power of the GPL 4.0 License. Of course, you probably glance over it and ignore it now, as it should be. But did you ever wonder WHY it was there in the first place? Is Bookstooge, who is now referring to himself in the 3rd person, such a narcissist that he believes every word he writes is more valuable than pure gold? Or perhaps there is a tragic tale of woe from ages past which has left him scarred and forever broken? Such a Man of Mystery! Now I’m intrigued, aren’t you?!?



Gather around kiddies and I’ll spin you a yarn of heartbreak, courage, devotion to principle and so much violence that even John Wick would blanch.

It all started long ago when I first joined Librarything for the first time. I was a young, naive book blogger with little public exposure and much belief in the innate goodness of other bloggers and the sites that hosted them. Any site that was ALL about books had to be good, right? Being naive, when I joined LT I didn’t read all the fine print NOR did I go through the extensive options for almost everything. Thus, I unwittingly sold my soul to the devil and my reviews could be shared with “corporate affiliates” of LT. Thus, parts of my reviews ended up on sites like Russian Babooshkas with Big Boo…ks and other places that charged monthly fees for unlimited downloading of ebooks. It made it appear that I, along with other LT members, had joined up at Russian Babooshkas and then written our reviews of the books. At this same time Google was in full on scrape mode and I found several paragraphs of my reviews gracing Google books, without me having giving any sort of permission. I was a VICTIM!!!!



So I started putting some made up stuff at the beginning of my reviews, so THAT would get scraped. Then I saw that Calibre had a gpl license, 2 or 3 and really liked the language. GPL actually deals with software and mainly free software, so my appropriation of the language is complete horse puckey. That’s actually why I now use a 4.0 license, as no such thing exists. Since the kind of person, or vanity publishing company, that would take your review without permission is also the kind of person who doesn’t know jack squat about GPL licenses,  then it all works good. And it ended the scraping.

So there you have it, the time that I personally “liberated” 100 rocket launchers and destroyed Google for a day because they stole a review of mine. Now wasn’t that a great story?




38 thoughts on “Bookstooge Lawyers Up!

  1. Is it real people doing the scraping or all automated bots? I’m wondering if it is the generic nature of the licence text that stops them or someone actually worried about getting sued?

    Side note: there are very few things you are allowed to sue for in NZ but copyright is one of them. We just had an example where Eminem sued the Government of NZ for ripping off one of his songs for their ad campaign.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 99% of the time it is bots. And soon after I started adding it Google got spanked pretty hard by the law courts in the US for their scraping. But my version of the story is more intense and awesome 🙂

      I have had one instance where a vanity press, Penumbra Publishing, took my review of one of their books, stripped the gpl license and put it up on their website without my permission. Needless to say, that was the last book of theirs I ever read 😦

      Liked by 1 person

        1. To be fair, they did credit me. But between taking out the gpl bit [which means they decided to copy the review without my permission anyway] and the fact that the author had been talking to me on my blog, and could have easily gotten permission [I really liked the book], just made it sour.
          what made it really bad was their response. They denied ever having seen the gpl part and their justification was that everyone on Facebook was always posting things without permission.
          So I altered my review to reflect the publishers part 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Crediting isn’t really sufficient, especially in your case where you had stated no republication without permission. We’ve had a big crack down on that, and need to contact the (scientific) publisher to get written permission to use any copyrighted material (particularly images).

            What I don’t get is why people don’t just apologise and admit they stuffed up rather than trying to justify it.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. This sure was one helluva story. I actually assumed it was some legal thing to prevent people from reproducing your reviews and sharing it on other platforms, but this definitely enlightens me on its real significance. 😀 Bookstooge struck back smoothly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, I’ve always wondered about that disclaimer you add to your reviews, and now I know! Thanks for the interesting story!

    By the way, I have a question about a whole different-but-sort-of-related matter and am just curious in general on what you think. What are your thoughts on blurbs, if a publisher took a quote from your review and put it in a book?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And knowing is Half the Battle! Go Joe!!!

      If it was a netgalley book, then that is their right. I read the fine print with Netgalley. I was fine until one of my blurbs showed up. So I stopped using NG. That’s the trade off.

      But if wasn’t a NG book, then I’d be screaming bloody murder and breathing fire and generally trying to find an axe and an address so I could commit some murder 😀


      1. Ah, cool, yeah I figured even for non NG books, it might be part of an unspoken agreement or some free use thing if publishers use a sentence or a small sentence from a blogger’s review. I rarely get asked when my reviews get quoted, but I honestly don’t mind, though I do wish they’d tell me if only so I know to pick up the finished book so I can have a keeper copy.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Going one step further I personally consider review requests and asked for ARCs in the same vein as NG reviews. Basically you are providing a review in exchange for the material being reviewed so once the author or publisher gets that review they can basically use it how they want (within reason).

          That said, if I read and reviewed a book all on my own then I’d expect someone to ask permission before posting it somewhere else or quoting it in the promotional material.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It is all in the details. Like I told Mogsy, if it is unspoken, it doesn’t exist.
            Because what you personally consider, what I personally consider and what the author/publisher of said book considers, are probably vastly different things 🙂

            But that is why I don’t use NG very much. I don’t like the terms, so I don’t get to use the service. It is an exchange that I’m just not willing to make 🙂

            I really suspect what I’ve dealt with shapes that response though. Most people seem fine with getting a blurb onto a book.


        2. If it is unspoken, then it doesn’t exist. It is not unspoken at NG, it is explicitly spelled out that the publishers of the books you read and review can take what they want.
          I had a blurb taken for Tad William’s book, the Best of Tad Williams. That was pretty much when I stopped using NG. I don’t want my stuff used.

          Fair Use is a tricky beast and I tend to view it through the lens of commercial and non-commercial. If an entity is using something to make money, like a blurb on a book they are selling, then it isn’t fair use.

          And that is why lawyers will never go out of business 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. While I am sure I rest comfortably within the 1%, that just ain’t right. Commercial v. non-commercial use is relevant to fair use analysis, but it is not remotely dispositive.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I almost lost the thread of the story amongst all the comedic hijinks! 😉 I’m not supposed to be here, but for ignoring my better sense for a moment, it was fun!

    I often wonder if my reviews will be stolen, but the authors are dead (mostly) so it’s probably less likely; only perhaps high school and university students who are too lazy to work hard and fail to see where that laziness will get them in the long run perhaps?

    I’ve got to run and if anyone asks, I wasn’t really here ……. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I have a hard time just writing a plain story.

      I could see your reviews being used by lazy students for sure. But I doubt you’ll see them ending up copied across Goodreads 🙂

      Never saw this comment, no worries!


    1. It went through quite a few iterations before I settled on how it is now. The only change I made this year was to change it to a 4.0 license and as the websites I used change, so does the description.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my colleagues had this appraisal of opposing counsel: “She is everything that is wrong with lawyers. I mean, I’m half of everything that is wrong with lawyers, but she is everything.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wati????

    Are you telling me my reviews on LT are being systematically being stolen? WTF?

    The key point here is not that algorithms will run the modern world, but that there are people who at least in principle understand them.
    That era is coming to an end when one specific set of algorithms, genetic algorithms, create new ones that no Human would ever be capable of understanding. So, when things go wrong in future it may be impossible for anyone to figure out why.

    I know all about building bots, but I didn’t know they used them to steal frigging reviews!!! What’s the world coming to?? Reviews?? Porn I understand, but reviews? Books?

    What the hell!

    What will happen when a bot goes out drinking all day on a Saturday comes home and posts some highly offensive remarks on twitter, what will we do then, how will we punish it? Corrupt it’s binary? Jesus!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bad bot, BAD! Go to your place. Place!

      Somehow, I think that treating them like dogs isn’t going to work 😦

      As for LT, just check your settings and unclick the “share” one. Not sure where exactly it is now…


    1. See, behind every crazy thing I do, there is a deep and cogent reason.
      Of course, if I was a real super hero, I could just fly over to Publishersland and smack them all around for a bit.
      I guess I’ll just have to keep dreaming 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Like the commies care about GPL Licenses and lawyers. Although, if it worked, it works.

    I’ve had the opposite problem, my reviews being pulled from sites because they are posted in multiple places. Apparently if a review looks too similar it gets flagged and removed on places like Amazon because it appears on your blog or Goodreads. Not exactly motivating to add reviews to Amazon as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not particularly worried about commies. When Reagan revealed his super powers in ’86, laser beamed ol’ Gorby in the head and then the tanks took over Moscow, I figured their time was done.

      Oh wait, that’s the other universe I’m from. Hang on, gotta clear my head here….

      Yeah, most commercial places want exclusive stuff. I’ve reviewed a couple of items on Amazon but it has always been stuff I’ve bought and not books.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Man, this is practically as good as that Grimdark romp 🙂

      Of course, now I’m imagining you in long blonde pigtails skipping through a meadow singing as loud as you can 😀


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