Kindle Spam Is A Filter Issue, Not A Spam Issue

from the filter-away dept

Via Slashdot, we learn that spammers have discovered the ability to publish cheap "ebooks":
Thousands of digital books, called ebooks, are being published through Amazon’s self-publishing system each month. Many are not written in the traditional sense.

Instead, they are built using something known as Private Label Rights, or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book.

These ebooks are listed for sale – often at 99 cents – alongside more traditional books on Amazon’s website, forcing readers to plow through many more titles to find what they want.
The article makes it sound like this is a big problem, calling it "the dark side" of self-publishing, but I don't get it. Assuming no one wants this crap, then it seems likely that Amazon will start to filter it out of any search results or top lists.

There is some slightly more legitimate concern about outright plagiarism, where some of these "spammers" are merely copying other books and then re-branding them and selling them as ebooks. But, once again, this seems like a filter problem more than anything else. In fact, I'm a bit surprised that Amazon doesn't do a basic check to make sure the content of an ebook hasn't already been offered by someone else, and do a further investigation if that's the case. Others have suggested that Amazon charge a small fee to upload a book, as that might prevent spammers from going crazy with such copies, and that could make sense as well. I just have trouble believing that this is such a serious "problem" that it can't easily be stopped.

Filed Under: ebooks, kindle, spam
Companies: amazon


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2011 @ 6:04am

    Re:

    Unsurprisingly, you seem to miss the point entirely.

    Implementing a filter to help better improve search results for ease-of-access to customers is a business decision. It's not about copyright - just profits. I find it hard to believe Mike seriously thinks Amazon should do any sort of policing over the content itself, only that they should verify whether the content in question is indeed what it's labeled as. If for no other reason to avoid false advertising repercussions.

    If you're trying to find an e-book and you get 40 false results for every positive it's going to be pretty annoying pretty quick to look for what you want. Find a different vendor who has only positive results and you'll probably just shop from there instead and give them any future business.

    The biggest question is: how much money is Amazon making off the sale of all the spam? I would have to guess not very much, but if it's somehow generating revenue for them then no point shutting it down.

    Asking third-party aggregate sites such as youtube or torrents to police and enforce copyright law is first and foremost granting them too much authority to declare what is or is not infringing. Second, the cost of implementing any form of workforce to go over the amount of data being uploaded to these sites would make it impossible for any sustainable service of the sort.

    You cannot reasonably scrutinize thousands of terabytes of data without creating digitized signatures of the files that are being uploaded. If the file has a copyright on it then you are thereby violating that copyright by using an unauthorized copy of the work in your filtering software without express written permission by the content holder.

    Either way - it's all a matter of profits. Do whatever makes you the most.

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