TUEBL has recently come under fire from a small number authors and publishers who did not know about our service and thought we were up to something no good. Instead of replying to each problem individually on Twitter, we thought we would answer some of the most common questions here and provide our own statement.
On behalf of TUEBL and myself (Travis McCrea), I would like to start by apologizing to any author/publisher who found copyrighted material on TUEBL. While we encourage our users not to upload copyrighted material, we have yet to find a way to block the upload of copyrighted material before it’s posted. This is not an issue unique to TUEBL: Facebook, Flickr, Grooveshark, SoundCloud, and other websites are working to find ways to protect copyright holders while allowing the free flow of information.
Even YouTube with it’s parent company Google has had a problem with this, they only recently came up with a solution which cost them millions of dollars and impedes on the rights of countless people who are uploading fair use material, or even just random videos that get caught in the crossfire. Even if we wanted to use their system, it would be very difficult if not impossible for TUEBL to replicate.
Because of the load it would put on our servers, we don’t and can’t have a user system. Our “user system” currently is powered by another website who was kind enough to offer TUEBL integration solutions and a place for people to talk about TUEBL but other than that is not related to TUEBL.
As a published writer myself, and having a second book on the way… I know what it’s like to be attached to your writing. TUEBL disagrees with current copyright law, and I believe that authors who cling to copyright are misguided by an industry which wishes to hold them back… however, TUEBL is not the one to make that choice for an author, we are simply here for the authors who want to go somewhere new.
Our current copyright system was developed side by side with a Harper Collins UK’s Vice President who was in charge of copyright management. We developed the system for him so that his company could immediately remove books they owned the rights to. For everyone else we were using traditional DMCA methods, having a copyright holder email us and us manually approving the takedown which could take up to 72 hours. This is how most sites still do it.
We changed the system and opened up this instant copyright removal system to everyone. Even though other websites who tried to do this have had issues with bogus takedown claims, we wanted to assume good intent so we launched our system that we had built for HC for everyone. Unfortunately it was abused, heavily, there were automated scripts which were indiscriminately removing content from our website and authors were complaining that their books had been removed.
A few weeks ago we finally tackled this situation by redeveloping an entire DMCA system. This new system is still fully automated like the old system, but requires a bit more effort. Still above and beyond the complaince requirements set forth by the US DMCA system, we asked for the basic information that the DMCA requests of every person who submits to any site:
* Contact Information (inc Phone, Email, Address)
* Information about copyrighted work
To a new author, or an author who hasn’t submitted many DMCA notices in their life… these might sound scary. We assure you that they are very standard, you can look at the DMCA requests which have been submitted to Chilling Effects to see example DMCA notices https://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi — also note how labour intensive it must be to file a DMCA notice like this.
To make the system easier for copyright holders to use — we made the site remember the information that you stored on our server so that if in the future you have to remove more copyrighted material (which we hope you don’t), you wont have to fill out any more information everything should just be done. Fill out your unique code at the bottom and Bobs your uncle.
While we are truly sorry that any copyrighted material has been uploaded to TUEBL — it is a part of the modern Internet. Community websites get copyrighted material uploaded, what shows the true intentions of those websites is what they do next. TUEBL has proven itself to be a top website in the realm of protecting copyright holders by giving them the tools they need to remove their work.
We are always developing new ways to help authors who upload their books to TUEBL, and we hope that many of you see the archic ways of copyright and decide to upload your books yourself. You get a wealth of knoweldge about how frequently your books are being downloaded, links back to your website, and soon a system where people can donate to you directly through TUEBL.
It makes us sad any time a person is upset. At the time being, we feel the best course of action is to leave this here… and take a step away so that cooler heads can prevail. Of course, we will still be here to provide support to any author who needs it.