Posted by & filed under Pirates & Politics. no comments yet :(

The mind behind the world’s largest, most accessible library sat alone without so much as a magazine to keep him company. Once called the resident boy genius of The Pirate Bay, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg is now isolated from the world he helped to connect. Bounced from Cambodia to Sweden to Denmark since he was arrested nearly a year and a half ago, he sees the inside of a court once again this Wednesday.



This guy. You can’t forget this face


The 30 Second Recap & Why We Care

Gottfrid lived quietly, but  by no means secretly, for several year in Cambodia. But in August 2012, with little in the way of legal proceedings, he was taken out of his home and deported to Sweden where, he was finally made to complete his one year sentence for the Pirate Bay.

Gottfrid has gotten many supporters through his work on the Pirate Bay, where he was known as Anakata, as well as for his less-famous work on WikiLeaks’ video Collateral Murder. But now, it’s not his work for transparency or free culture that’s a cause for concern – it’s the shady legal dealings surrounding his case…

Let’s Start Off On The Wrong Foot, Shall We?

Although he was so seriously ill (and in hospital!) that he could not attend the Pirate Bay appeal (local or Supreme Court), Sweden finalized the guilty verdict and his one year sentence. This left him no chance to defend himself like his fellow founders. When he was swooped up out of Cambodia (right after a totally coincidental, absolutely-unrelated-so-please-just-forget-it-already $50 million donation from Sweden) for unrelated charges, he was deposited in prison to serve out the TBP sentence without so much as a final appeal to exhaust.

Now, with his Pirate Bay sentence over and done with, Gottfrid is still locked away, facing charges of hacking companies in Sweden and Denmark…

Legal Déja Vu

While serving his Pirate Bay time, Gottfrid went to trial in Sweden over allegedly hacking into personal information at the IT company, Logica, and the scandinavian bank Nordea. Although he was first convicted of the charges, half were later dropped because prosecutors couldn’t prove he actually controlled the computer that was used in the break-in.

Despite this, and despite expert testimony supporting the court’s conclusion, the legal mess wasn’t over yet: Denmark decided to pursue it’s own case, complete with disturbing similarities to that which was already dismissed. This is how Gottfrid comes to be sitting in a Danish prison, awaiting a trial once more…

Treated Like A Violent Offender

It is not just the legal specifications of his case that cause suspicion, but also the prison’s treatment of Anakata. Solitary confinement greeted him on arrival in Denmark. Without even a jacket, he was unable to take the daily one hour outside that prisoners are allowed. Inside his cell no mail or books were allowed to help him pass the time. His lawyer, a former prosecutor, was shocked at the treatment, usually reserved for violent offenders. Prosecutors argued that Gottfrid could tamper with the case if given even a bit of comfort in jail – a watery excuse, considering he’d been under better conditions for months in Sweden and not given anyone cause for concern.

His isolation was not physical only – even normal social contact with the outside world, like the letters and reading material usually allowed to inmates, were denied him for a long time. Danish police claimed they could not read (or apparently could not find a single person to translate) English or Swedish letters, and that magazines such as The Economist could contain secret messages. Even textbooks for his studies in advanced mathematics were withheld long after he arrived at the prison…

Too Little… But Not Too Late!

Restrictions on Gottfrid’s prison conditions lifted somewhat after outrage finally reached the ears of the Danish authorities. Now, he may have his books (only 10 at a time, however), and receive his magazines subscriptions. He was even allowed to buy a Playstation 2 from the prison commissary, and he has some time to be with other inmates and to visit with his mother.

Social isolation is a punishment that leaves very real scars on its victims. Even though the long term – sometimes permanent – effects on the human psyche are well documented, solitary is still used by many countries that otherwise eschew torture. That Gottfrid is no longer subject to this is good news.


The fact that he was treated in this harsh manner to begin with is a cause for deep suspicion.

While isolation may be used as a safety precaution for inmates who pose a threat to other prisoners, Gottfrid is not in prison for violent offenses, and has not been accused of being a danger to other inmates. It is clear, therefore, that his isolation was not a safety issue – it was punitive. For any civilized country, pre-trial punishment is an abominable practice, which is why we must exercise vigilance in observing this case and hold accountable any responsible for ethical lapses.

Pirate, Activist… And Human Being

Although Gottfrid is accused of serious hacking charges (never mind Denmark’s suspicious use of discarded evidence) he remains one who has contributed greatly to the world and demands our support.



Of course this totally has nothing to do with the viciousness with which he is being pursued…… Nope. Absolutely nothing. Totally unrelated.

To be clear: Anakata has served his time for the Pirate Bay, and the case ahead of him now is not related to his activism. For my part, I do not have the expertise or the closeness to the case to evaluate his guilt or innocence. However, it is fair that he should have a fair trial, the opportunity to defend himself, and treatment befitting a free country.

As the drama from the Pirate Bay case and Collateral Murder fade, it is more than ever important to remember that someone who has contributed so much to the world remains behind bars. Many of us are indebted to this man. And guilty or innocent, hacker or pirate, activist or not – due process is for everyone. We owe Gottfrid our continued support and vigilance in securing his rights.


Posted by & filed under Uncategorized. 2 comments

Hey again TUEBL-ers! Aelius here again. Remember me, you know, the one who lives here? Breaking news: I’m still here! 

I really hate any kind of “sorry I haven’t been around” posts. But, TUEBL-ers, I owe you one.

So here it is: I am sorry.

Writers are supposed to be impervious. We’re supposed to be tireless, disciplined writing machines, keeping our heads down, putting word after word, letting adversity, critique, life and anything else that could get in our way bounce right off. Sticks and stones aren’t supposed to break through our alligator-thick skin.

But you know what? We’re not alligators. We’re human.

Bleh, I know. It sucks.

This is not me. Yeah, I know. I’m pissed about it too. Booo

And when it comes to writing, I’ve got a thick skin. I mean, I learned to write on the internet for god’s sake. Do you know what an internet critique group is like? Think 4chan with more pretentiousness and less decorum. So yeah I’ve got my alligator hide well-fitted. I can take the red pens, the form-letter rejections, and the one-star reviews.

But when I look up from the page, the alligator hide falls away.

And I just can’t shed that goddamn humanness.

I’m a sensitive gal. Although I can take critique in writing, in life I just don’t like confrontation. When the flames start flying, I like to take shelter.

Last month, there there were flames.

If you were around before Thanksgiving, you saw the angry mob come out in full force with their pitchforks and torches. Although I don’t actually run TUEBL1, the angry mob doesn’t make that distinction. And you know what? Having a mob come after you sucks. (And here’s a gigantic THANK YOU, by the way, to those of you who spoke up to support our little library during the last mob of angry trollfaces! :-) )  I’ve explained before that TUEBL only links to CheapassFiction because there just aren’t that many blogs talking about libraries – especially not the digital ones. And you know what? Now I totally understand why.

But you know what else? I lied.

This isn’t an apology post at all. This is a post to say that I am done taking shelter.

I’m done retreating. I’m done letting the mobs and pitchforks and torches and trollfaces get to me. I want to be here. This is my blog, and I stand by it, TUEBL posts and all. I am not ashamed to admit that I’m human and I HATE it when people break out in angry hysterical mobs instead of having civilized conversation. I hate it. BUT, I’m here because……… well, because it’s my blog, for one. But I’m here supporting TUEBL because I believe in the service that TUEBL provides to the world. I believe in the crucial role of libraries in our community – on and offline. I believe in the value of access to books for readers. I believe in the necessity of adaption – and survival – for writers. And I believe in the powerful opportunity that the digital world brings to creators.

If TUEBL can take those principles and build them into reality, then how can I not support it?

No more retreating.


1. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, TUEBL is run by Travis. Travis occasionally posts here when he has some official announcement or something he wants to say right to the community, but otherwise, he’s busy, you know,  actually running TUEBL. So 99% 2 of posts on this blog are my own, they are just my own thoughts on writing, reading, politics, and kittens. Especially kittens.
2. No, I didn’t actually do the math. But I’ve been blogging here for like 3 years, and Travis has posted thrice. So whatever the percent of this blog that’s mine, it’s pretty damn close to 100.

Posted by & filed under TUEBL. 15 comments

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:

* Name
* 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 — 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.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized. no comments yet :(

Shocker of the year, people: PayPal has blocked the Kopimist Church of Idaho!

Ok. It’s not the jaw-dropping scoop of the century. With their (admitted) politically-motivated blocking of WikiLeaks, PayPal made it crystal clear a long time ago that they are not exactly an equal-opportunity service provider. We can’t be surprised when they make life difficult. But we also don’t have to be ok with it.

And, this just in, we’re not.

Here’s the 30-second background for anyone who missed it: in September, Paypal blocked the accounts for the Kopimist Church of Idaho over the Kopimists’ connection to TUEBL. Despite attempts to resolve things peaceably – starting with asking (in vain!) about exactly what triggered the block – PayPal has proved to be uninterested in finding a solution.

This is a problem.

Firsty, this is legal cowardice: PayPal is acting as judge, jury, and executioner over, not only a site, but an entire organization, because it is uncomfortable with a site’s content. Even if it were alright to cut off an entire organization for one outside site that it supports (hint: it’s not), there’s still the problem of that site itself not having done anything to get cut off in the first place. TUEBL is entirely DMCA compliant with a takedown process far more liberal than even Google or YouTube.

Secondly this is a denial of services based on ideological differences. Specifically, religious differences. And in case you were born yesterday or are from one of those (*shudder*) Not-America places, we take those differences kinda seriously around here. Had PayPal’s blockade held some legal water, it might be easier to overlook this particular problem. But with no valid legal concerns whatsoever, PayPal makes it clear their actions are completely ideological.

That’s not okay.

But, alright. We get it.

A lot of people can’t conceive of a religion that doesn’t involve dressing up in funny hats and weird robes. Or at least lighting some candles. A lot of people can’t conceive of a spiritual system where the sacred is not some external supernatural force, but rather something highly visible and relatable: the ubiquitous power of everyday people sharing information.

Yeah, it’s weird.

But Annie Edison was right: Everyone’s faith is weirdIs it really so much weirder to have seeds & peers instead of robes & candles? So, without weirdness as an appropriate measure of who gets to freedom of religion, what exactly is the extent of the First Amendment?

Of course, there is grey area. There are limitations on freedom. We recognize that the freedom of speech doesn’t extend to harassment. We recognize that freedom of the press doesn’t extend to libel. We recognize that freedom of assembly doesn’t extend to vandalism and mob violence. We recognize that freedom of religion doesn’t extend to human sacrifice. But the exceptions to the First Amendment all concern illegal actions, not individual’s ideologies. By and large, in the United States, individuals are free to believe what they want and practice those beliefs as they see fit.

So have we found the extent of the First Amendment?

Is it not just illegal actions that are excluded now, but disagreeable beliefs? And if that’s the case, then who gets to decide what is disagreeable? Do the entertainment industries get to decide what is and isn’t an appropriate belief system?

That seems to be exactly the authority that PayPal is deferring to in their decision to block the Kopimists. Without any illegal actions, they are drawing a purely belief-based line in the sand. And that line, in this case, is drawn by the copyright industry distaste for a perfectly legal site.

These industries are already fighting to put limits on our rights to privacy and communication. Are we really going to let them decide the limits on our beliefs too? Really?

PayPal seems to be okay with it.

Posted by & filed under Writing and Writers. one comment

This was a guest post I did, originally published November 9, 2011, for the now-defunct online literary magazine Fiction Brigade. It’s that time of year again, and since Fiction Brigade no longer exists, I’m reposting this here.

Some thoughts on NaNoWriMo:

That’s right.

Writing 50,000 words in a month may be a walk in the park for the romance writer who turns out four books a year or the daily columnist who can sleep-write 1500 words before an 8am deadline. For everyone else, there’s sleep loss, stress, hunger pains, burns from spilled tea, glares from neglected friends and family, headaches from staring at the screen all day, and that nagging feeling that there you are forgetting things that need to be done–if only you could remember… but Chapter 2 keeps getting in the way.

The whole month is a painful rush to the finish line to end the mental and physical fatigue and rejoin the rest of the world.

So why a person would choose to do this?

Simple: November is cold.

At least, for much of the world it is. It snows and it freezes and it gets dark way too early. Some days it’s not too bad and we get tricked into putting on our sneakers instead of our boots, or the light jacket instead of the big puffy one, or putting out hands in our pockets instead of in chunky mittens. Then when the first flakes start to fall and our feet and our arms and our hands start shivering, we remember that, yes, winter is coming. And somewhere between the snowing and the freezing and the darkening sky we’re supposed to go on with life as if it were sunny and warm and everyone were cheerful.

It’s miserable.

But when you’re bundled up with a cup of tea and an overheating laptop, things get a little warmer.

When your busty protag finally seduces your stoic hero and they fall into a torrid affair, things get hot.

When your villain gets the drop on your hero and things aren’t looking so good, things reach their boiling point.

And when the pep talks from writers all over the world start coming in and there’s a warm glow in your heart that’s hard to dim or frost over, things look brighter.

When it’s three weeks in and the last ten thousand or one thousand or one hundred words tumble out onto the screen, the finish line blazes in the distance.

When the last word trembles on the keys, the light at the end of the tunnel is blinding.

And when 11:59 on November 30th expires, the victory dances and commiseration parties keep warm and bright the way till the next race.

November is cold and dark; NaNoWriMo isn’t. Which month do you want to spend these 30 days in?

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized. 3 comments

It is October 16th! What does that mean? It is OFFICIALLY halfway through October (Ok, technically, that’s like noon today, and I’m a bit early. Whatever. I’m excited.) And what does that mean? It is OFFICIALLY (totally) NaNoWriMo Countdown season.


If you don’t know about NaNoWriMo (and WHY the f–ok never mind, I’ll give you a break in light of the government shutdown. It IS kinda distracting) then take a look here:  NaNo is National Novel Writing Month where you write a novel (50,000) words in a month, and it’s pretty much the best thing ever.

I’m particularly ecstatic about this year, because it will be the first time in a LOOOONG time that I am actually, genuinely participating. Over the past few years, what with my own publishing and writing schedule, I sort of half-heartedly did NaNo.Yes,  I was a NaNo Rebel! Last year and the year before, I worked on my own projects that I started before November, and the year before that, I worked on a collection of short stories – breaking the cardinal rule of NaNoWriMo.  I still aimed for 50,000 words, but pretty much broke all the rules in the process! Plus, two out of the last three, I didn’t even get close to my goal.

But not this year.

NaNo Rebels, it’s been fantastic. But now, I’m off to join the rest of the NaNos.

This year, I’m starting anew with a true NaNoWriMo project and a true desire to follow all the rules!

This blog is home to a TON of NaNo posts (well, it happens every year…) and links to November-related guest posts elsewhere. And so because:

1) there are all the new people here (Hey TUEBLovers!), and

2) I’m going to busy writing my ass off,

I’ll be mixing in some links and addendums to my old NaNo ramblings, along with new NaNoWriMo commentary when I have the time!

So anyone joining me?

Posted by & filed under Publishing and Publishers, TUEBL. no comments yet :(

Hey world! Today after almost a year of work – on top of work on Skyland Book II, general blog transformations, and numerous other projects – today, I am FINALLY launching the new Extended Edition of Skyland I: Abominations

Extended edition? Extended edition?  Who does an extended edition of a novel?

I hear you.

This took nearly a year to put together because it isn’t just a few 15 second scene extensions here and there and it isn’t just a re-addition of the rambling pages that got cut in final edits. Over the last year, as I worked on Book II, I read, reread, reread, and reread again Book I, making notes and continuing storylines and growing the world that appeared in the published pages. This is world building. There’s more than what appears on the page, and I needed to make sure I knew every single corner of this world. If I was to continue their journeys, I needed to know every single corner of my character’s minds and every single dark and dusty corner on their path. I took notes. I rewrote them. I rewrote them again. And again. Then again. I worked on the off-the-page story and commentary until it was full, until it was a world, until I knew every step of the story I was writing – even the ones that didn’t make it to the page.

And I want to share this

This edition of SKyland has ~70 pages of this off-the-page world. It has the rest of Harper and Zara and the Sky worshippers and the Union. And it has snapshots of the thought and rational that grew them and their world.

Skyland is, and always will be, free for download on TUEBL (or anywhere else anyone wants to put it.) But I hope you will consider taking a peek behind these pages and deeper in to the world of Skyland. And I hope you will consider supporting a copyright-free indie author in the process. And for you, the Extended Edition is here.

Oh, and did I mention? When you get the code to download this edition, you don’t just get a few 1s and 0s – you getting a real, ink-on-tree-pages paperback of Skyland Book I. And it’s signedGo on, take a look. You are most welcome in my world.



:-( I am so sad right now….

Who would’ve thought that the day that I finally finish nearly a YEAR’S worth of work would be the day that my computer would decide to go on strike? Today of all days I seem to be stuck between a computer and an internet connection that together only have occasional functionality and are seriously putting a stake into my plans for a smooth book launch. So if you’ve come here because something I said caught your interest, or because you wanted to support indie authors, or maybe because you just like books please SHARE this far and wide because I can’t.


THANKS to everybody who’s helped to get the word out! 😀 <3

Posted by & filed under Pirates & Politics, TUEBL. no comments yet :(


Hey TUEBLovers 😀

Wrote this for you!

New article on Medium:


Your Words Are Bad and You Should Feel Bad

Director Simon Klose has won his copyright battle. For now.

In case you haven’t been paying attention to this year’s drama in the pirate world, here’s the 5 minute summary: Simon Klose is not your usual Hollywood crusader fighting those damn kids pirating his movies. In fact, this year, he was fighting to defend his own film – the documentary on the Pirate Bay trial, TPB AFK – from overzealous DMCA takedowns. The takedown notices weren’t directed at the content – which he himself uploaded to YouTube and the Pirate Bay –they were rather attacks on Google for even linking to the content…………


Posted by & filed under Uncategorized. no comments yet :(

Recommend a tear jerker


This is one of the most difficult challenges yet. I really don’t cry over books. Or movies. Or TV. Or news. I guess that as with the book-throwing challenge, though, we could assume that tear jerker may be not literal in this challenge, and just assume it means a sad book. But it would be impossible to even begin to recommend a single book out of the many that are just sad! I mean, I don’t exactly read rainbows-and-unicorn happy tales.

So, taken literally, there is one book and one book alone that has ever gotten to tear-jerker status with me: Harry Potter 6.

Yeah, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which in case you’ve forgotten is the one where SOMEBODY kills SOMEBODY ELSE, which is the shocking part, and then there is a funeral, which is the sad part.

Yeah, Harry Potter made me cry.

Shut up. All of you.

~This confession brought to you by the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge :-)


Posted by & filed under Reading and Reviewing, Writing and Writers. no comments yet :(

Confession #3:

Sometimes I like books because I like the authors.

This is the less mean corollary to Confession #2.

I’m not saying I like The Sandman or The Graveyard Book or Neverwhere  *  because Neil Gaiman has an enlightened view of copyright or because he is a shockingly (because he’s English…) ardent defender of the First Amendment. Despite the grudges I hold against books for their author’s foibles, I DO recognize that a work can very well be exceptional regardless of the person behind the words. Moreover, as someone with a pretty shitty personality who hopes to write less-than-shitty books, I REALLY hope that most people are wiser than I am and can separate the story from the storyteller.

So no. I’m not saying that I like books only when I like the authors.

I’m just saying.


~This confession brought to you by the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge :-)



*Yeah, I don’t like American Gods. So shoot me already.