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Topic: File Sharers at it again
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 2, 2010 12:14PM)
Hello All:

I've discovered today that ALL of my published work, ebook and hardcover, has been uploaded to a file sharing site by some misfit who lurks here on The Magic Café.

While checking the site (and another site) I found literally Hundreds of uploaded copyrighted ebooks and videos of other creators in mentalism and magic.

I'm doing what I can to have my materials removed and the sites taken down, but I'd urge other concnerned creators and individuals to contact me directly at: tom@thoughtcontrol.ca to learn the names of these sites and for more information as it comes available. I don't want to give these sites or individuals more publicity, as it seems that there are those here who do business with such sites.

Note that I WILL name names publicly if these individuals who do the uploading (or downloading!) are discovered.

Sad that there is such little respect for creators in our art, and such disregard for the law in general.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Paul.W (Oct 2, 2010 12:26PM)
PM'D You!

From Israel
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 2, 2010 12:35PM)
Please don't pm me. As I asked in my post, email me directly.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: LeViking (Oct 2, 2010 01:15PM)
That sucks !

I am a teacher and I am repeating over and over again to my students (16-17 years old) not to download music, movies, e-books from torrent site as they are "stealing" from the creator, that is a long road dear friends.
Message: Posted by: S.WARD (Oct 2, 2010 01:34PM)
It is appalling that this happens but the situation only seems to get worse. As someone who spends a great deal on products I am disgusted when I hear about this kind of thing. Good luck with getting the content taken down.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 2, 2010 02:52PM)
Information is beginning to trickle in.

Apart the the site I mentioned, I would like any information available on someone calling himself Guardician. Equally, information on anyone you know who frequents his file-sharing-for-magicians site would be useful

Another person of interest to me goes by the username of Tuonela on various sites. Anyone knowing who this person is, please contact me via email.

The identities of those who offer information will be kept confidential.

Many thanks,

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Ben Harris (Oct 2, 2010 03:39PM)
Hi Tom,

If you'd like the name of my DR X (who shoots these things down) just let me know. One needs to look at the policing of such matters on a long term basis. Often, as soon as the files are removed, they are then immediately uploaded. But, it CAN be controlled (to a great extent).

Message: Posted by: IAIN (Oct 2, 2010 03:49PM)

if its any use?
Message: Posted by: lunatik (Oct 2, 2010 04:04PM)
The server is in malaysia according to this site?
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 2, 2010 04:58PM)
Thanks guys.

The more info the better.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Sid Helkule (Oct 2, 2010 07:06PM)
Registration Service Provided By: Exa Bytes Network Sdn Bhd

Domain name: guardician.com

Administrative Contact:
Exa Bytes Network Sdn Bhd
Kee Siak Chan ()
Fax: +60.6308288
1-18-8 Suntech Penang Cybercity
Lintang Mayang Pasir 3
Bayan Baru, PENANG 11900

Technical Contact:
Exa Bytes Network Sdn Bhd
Kee Siak Chan ()
Fax: +60.6308288
1-18-8 Suntech Penang Cybercity
Lintang Mayang Pasir 3
Bayan Baru, PENANG 11900

Registrant Contact:
Exa Bytes Network Sdn Bhd
Kee Siak Chan ()

1-18-8 Suntech Penang Cybercity
Lintang Mayang Pasir 3
Bayan Baru, PENANG 11900

Status: Locked

Name Servers:

Creation date: 19 Apr 2009 09:51:59
Expiration date: 19 Apr 2011 09:51:59
Message: Posted by: RCP (Oct 2, 2010 08:52PM)
The good news Tom is that those that engage in this sort of thing are eventually infected by an evil curse.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 2, 2010 09:27PM)
I think that they must obviously be infected with a curse before they do these sorts of things. Very lame.

I just received a virus email from the fellow named Tuonela. My anti-virus caught it and sent it packing.

- T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Oct 3, 2010 12:16AM)
While there is no way to prevent theft, IMO the best protection is to publish only in traditional print format and NEVER in digital. While it is true that anything printed can be scanned and digitized, print media that consists of hundreds of pages poses a challenge that is apt to discourage anyone who does not have access to a high-speed automated system. It is nearly impossible to protect anything that is in digital form.
Message: Posted by: Yannou (Oct 3, 2010 03:50AM)
The attitude towards copyright these days is apalling. A musician I know had a phonecall from a 'fan' a few years ago. First, he congratulated him with his new album, then he complained that he could not download the album for free on Napster.
I like how Scott Wells put it on Banachek's 'Radio Magic' CDs: "By copying these CDs you will be violating Steve Shaw's copyright and his right to earn a living"
Message: Posted by: mindpunisher (Oct 3, 2010 04:39AM)
Tom's books are too good to be put into PDfs anyway. They should all be hard backs.
Message: Posted by: alpha alex (Oct 3, 2010 05:01AM)
On 2010-10-03 05:39, mindpunisher wrote:
Tom's books are too good to be put into PDfs anyway. They should all be hard backs.

I heard you...
I also think the only way to keep things ¨kind of¨ secret would be to do it hard backs
then again.. it is awfull what happened to his book (books?)

I don't know him nor have I ever met him but sure he seems like an intelligent guy so I would guess his material is reallly really awesome
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Oct 3, 2010 08:47AM)
On 2010-10-03 01:16, Dick Christian wrote:
While there is no way to prevent theft, IMO the best protection is to publish only in traditional print format and NEVER in digital. While it is true that anything printed can be scanned and digitized, print media that consists of hundreds of pages poses a challenge that is apt to discourage anyone who does not have access to a high-speed automated system. It is nearly impossible to protect anything that is in digital form.

There are so many scans of hardback books out there. It's hardly a deterrent.

Some of these guys don't care how long it takes to scan because they use it as currency to trade for other files. Some books aren't scanned. A digital camera is used to take a photo of the page.

I've seen Harry Lorayne's books out there, Alex Elmsley, Derek Dingle, Ortiz, Berglas, Koran, just about everything from Vernon, Banachek, Switch - the $100 bill switch book, Ammar's big book and so on.

But you're correct Dick, there is no way to prevent theft. And basically there is no way to stop them. All of these guys post under screen names and even if you could connect them to someone here on The Café, you know it's a screen name here as well. If they get banned, they just come back under another name.

Most creators don't have the financial resources to go after them legally and even if you did, are you going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to go after one person who has a few of your files, worth maybe a couple of hundred dollars? And even if you won, what are the chances of collecting?
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 3, 2010 08:50AM)
More information is surfacing, and I'm taking steps to correct things.

MANY thanks to all who offered their assistance.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: DekEl (Oct 3, 2010 08:56AM)
The main question is why would someone you know --assuming you gave it out to someone you know-- do it. Even someone who just purchased it wouldn't have a major incentive to do so, and you probably didn't send out a book to someone in Malaysia.

Possibly they are merely getting Trojans, or already have Trojan horse/back door viruses on various magicians/mentalist's computers and are merely retrieving data that way; as you yourself said, someone possibly connected with the guardian sent you a virus.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 3, 2010 09:05AM)
It's Guardician. But no, the virus email was sent this time from Tuonela.

I've sent books all around the world, so who knows who might be doing such a lame thing as scanning them and putting them on these sharing sites.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Magiguy (Oct 3, 2010 12:19PM)
I recently purchased Mark Tams' 3T book. He seems to have come up with a very clever way to discourage scanning and sharing. In addition to personalizing each page of the book with the buyer's name, he has also altered formatting on some of the pages to make each copy truly unique. Should anyone decide to scan and share the contents it would be easy for Mark to identify the culprit.
Message: Posted by: Jerry (Oct 3, 2010 12:24PM)
I believe the best way to stop this is don't release your material to the public!

Do your performances and just keep it to yourself. It adds value to your act because you are the only mentalist or magician that can produce your unique results.

It's a business decision. If you can not make a profit on your efforts you are basically working for free. I would really like to see most if not all performers take this position.

Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 3, 2010 12:41PM)

An interesting notion.

In my case, much in the books I write concerns setting the history of mentalism straight in the literature, and correcting mistakes in other written histories. I think this is a service to the mentalism community, and people seem to respond favorably to what I've written in this area. I like to be paid for the work that I do, so I sell my books rather than give them away, and I think that keeping my research in these areas to myself would be bad for mentalism.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Devin Knight (Oct 3, 2010 12:49PM)
That is why I never release PDF files. My books have been scanned and I have found them on several file sharing places. Unfortunately people still scan my directions as long as they may be and post the secrets on the file places.

Devin Knight
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Oct 3, 2010 03:04PM)
Hope this doesn't deter Entity from future works.. it's too good to lose.

Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 3, 2010 03:18PM)
No, it won't.

But I will in the near future release a list of names of those who have approached file sharing sites to share files illegally. I've managed to compile quite a list of actual names and email addresses of such people. I think that making such a list known to magic forums, organizations and most of all to creators who are selling their works would be a useful thing.

Perhaps an ongoing list like that would deter some folks from illegally sharing their files or downloading files from such sites.

Don't know whether I'll publish the list here. I may.

Oddly enough, when I look some of these people up on Facebook, etc., they list as "friends" some of the very people whose ebooks and videos they've been copying and sharing. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: danroberts (Oct 3, 2010 03:27PM)
Its sick and ugly that a community that was built with secret and trust, has been betrayed by a rat who thinks he/she is magician/mentalist etc.

its today world has corrupted some people with file sharing, I don't about everyone else but I love to own the dvd, book, cd etc, it gives me a sense of pride that I still support the music, movie, magic communities.

But what can we do, there will always be someone out there that does this type of thing

Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 3, 2010 04:04PM)
Perhaps. But we'll soon see if the same people will behave in the same way when the spotlight is on them.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Ben Harris (Oct 3, 2010 04:10PM)
Yes, it does seem that "kleptomania is a defining human attribute". Which is really sad. But, of course it extends to everything, not just magic. If it is not bolted down some *** will steal it.

There are ways to control the problem regarding magic books and pdfs. But there are no simple one-off fixes. It requires dedication in [b]continually[/b] pulling the stolen files down.

We employ "DR X" to look after these things for us. He'll pull down a stolen file only to find it re-posted within hours. What do you do? You pull it down again, and again, and again and again and again and again and again (yes, over and over and over) until the ****ers get bored and move onto something else. It is very easy to [b]give up![/b] But you can't!

As I say, it [b]can[/b] be controlled but it takes dedication and is an ongoing battle. You'll find dozens of links to stolen files for my products, but if [b]try[/b] you to download one you'll find the file does not exist at the end location (hopefully). If it does, please contact me and we can have it "killed."

However, the [b]problem[/b] itself will never go away so long as greed rules the world. And I can't see that [b]ever[/b] changing. "Take, take, take" seems to be the human way. Whatever happened to dignity and integrity?

Sorry for the rant, but this is personal!!

Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 3, 2010 05:01PM)
What Benny said.


T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: John C (Oct 3, 2010 07:29PM)
So ... where can I get all of LOTH's stuff?

Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Oct 3, 2010 07:51PM)
John probably from the same site that has most of my stuff and not to mention your stuff too. :rotf: :nana:

entity I hate these guys as much as you do my friend. I have even had a couple of limited printed works ripped of by someone. So even printing wont stop this madness it just slows it down a bit.
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Oct 3, 2010 07:52PM)
Benny, that was such a great rant, thanks
Message: Posted by: WDavis (Oct 3, 2010 08:30PM)
On 2010-10-03 17:10, Ben Harris wrote:

"Take, take, take" seems to be the human way. Whatever happened to dignity and integrity?

Sorry for the rant, but this is personal!!


don't apologize you and others have the right to be upset, as you said it is personal.

also, the take take take mentality seems to me to be more of "collect, collect, collect" just look at facebook people collect friends as a commodity, they don't care about the information/person just the quantity of.

it is as if they use the quantity as a sad attempt to feed one's internal void and using external to fill an internal void, be it food drink friends or information, will never work and this lack of self worth is why we don't see dignity and integrity any more!
Message: Posted by: Ben Harris (Oct 3, 2010 08:59PM)
Hi Isid0re,

The Facebook analogy is a fascinating one. I had not thought about if from THAT angle. Thanks, man.

Message: Posted by: Rocketeer (Oct 3, 2010 09:15PM)
In the olden days we bought music on vinyl and cassettes. The music, which was really what we wanted and what we paid for, was ineluctably tied to the physical medium on which it was recorded. We also got an unlimited, non-exclusive license to play the music for private use [i]as long as the recording medium lasted[/i]. If your records warped in the hot trunk of your car or your lover smashed all of your albums in a fit of rage you were SOL. Likewise if a defective tape deck ate your tape.

Nowadays, children believe that buying a recording, especially if they buy it as an MP3 (assuming they buy music at all) gives them a [i]perpetual[/i] and freely assignable right to copy, distribute, use and re-use their music on any and all playback devices that now exist or will ever be invented.

Their baby boomer parents (my generation) cannot muster the moral authority to insist that this is wrong and will not be tolerated.

This simple fact and the exposure explosion on YouTube and other sites means producers of magic and mentalism intellectual property have to think about radically and permanently changing their distribution methods.

Perhaps we have to think of building some kind of web of trusted buyers.

Caveat Venditor.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Oct 3, 2010 10:38PM)
Mr. Rocketeer is absolutely correct. I'll be honest, I never realized such sites existed and I'm, maybe naively, shocked.
Message: Posted by: Jerry (Oct 3, 2010 11:18PM)
Rockteer, good suggestion. Lets notch it up a little by embedding a customer code into the product itself.

Members of the actors academy (Oscars) were so bad at giving movies away, that they started encoding the DVD's with an ID. So they would know who gave away the movies.

May be something similar can be done with the printed and DVD products.

BTW, Entity because you got a virus email attempt means you are hitting the target and getting close to a kill shot. Keep it up.

Message: Posted by: seadog93 (Oct 3, 2010 11:37PM)
I don't know how hard it is to do, but mevproshop has you wait 24 hours (usually less, but up to) to e-mail you an e-book and at that point each page has your name on it. That way uploading it would just be telling everyone who did it.

Like I said, I don't know how easy that is to do, but I've always thought it was a good idea.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 4, 2010 12:26AM)
As I said a few posts back, I already imprint the buyer's name on every page of the ebooks that I sell.

I also code the text to each individual buyer, which is why I have some of the information that I now have and can begin to take steps to clean this nonsense up.

- T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mindbender (Oct 4, 2010 12:54AM)
On 2010-10-04 00:18, Jerry wrote:
Members of the actors academy (Oscars) were so bad at giving movies away, that they started encoding the DVD's with an ID. So they would know who gave away the movies.


Jerry, you bring up an interesting fact -- and it's not just the actors, it's been members of the Writers Guild and the Directors Guild.

You would think that people within the industry, people who are the ones to create the material that is eventually being pirated, would have enough respect for the material to not be part of the problem -- yet they pirate like everyone else -- that's unreal to me.

I always used the argument that "If you ever created something yourself, you wouldn't be so quick to steal someone else's material", but I guess I have to rethink that idea.
Message: Posted by: Ben Harris (Oct 4, 2010 02:52AM)
Mr. Mindbender

That has always astounded me, too.

Message: Posted by: Jon_Thompson (Oct 4, 2010 07:48AM)
On 2010-10-03 01:16, Dick Christian wrote:
While there is no way to prevent theft, IMO the best protection is to publish only in traditional print format and NEVER in digital. While it is true that anything printed can be scanned and digitized, print media that consists of hundreds of pages poses a challenge that is apt to discourage anyone who does not have access to a high-speed automated system. It is nearly impossible to protect anything that is in digital form.
Last year, someone who had spent the best part of $50 on Naked Mentalism took the book apart and scanned it page-by-page, then assembled it into a PDF document and uploaded it to Scribd. It must have taken him hours. A quick DMCA Takedown Notice later and all his misguided hard work was gone within 12 hours.
Message: Posted by: DekEl (Oct 4, 2010 07:48AM)
I've always wondered if stolen material actually works. In other words, because there was no sacrifice to get a hold of the material, often times I wouldn't be surprised if those who downloaded off file sharing websites simply don't put the effort into making the effect work, they get the secret, but I don't think they would put the effort into getting it to work --not even counting the fact that most of them wouldn't have the skill or guts to pull it off.

Just an interesting thought I had while I was pondering how children given all they want rarely enjoy any of it, but those who receive gifts only occasionally, or buy the toy with their own money have more fun with it because they feel obligated to use it.
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Oct 4, 2010 09:03AM)
While nothing is 100% foolproof, I try to follow two simple rules whenever possible. #1 know who you're buyin from (and try to make it the original creator or source if possible) and #2 know who you're selling to (especially if it is something that you intend to have limited distribution).

I'm fortunate in that I no longer buy a lot and the only stuff I create and sell is intended for a very limited market. I earn my living as a performer, not as a creator/seller to the mass market. The only exception will be the reference work on forcing books and book tests that I'm writing and even that is intended for a very small "niche" market (magic historians, scholars, researchers and book test aficionados) and it will be both a very large book (estimate 750-1,000 pages) and very costly to boot (several hundred $$ a copy) that is not being written as a money-maker -- if I can come close to recouping the cost of publishing it I'll consider myself fortunate -- but as my way of giving something back to magic.
Message: Posted by: BarryTX (Oct 4, 2010 09:29AM)
I am new to the Magic Café, but as this topic hits a hot button of mine I hope you don't mind my chiming in. I think there are several aspects to the problem - first, as Rocketeer says, kids today think nothing of 'sharing' their files, probably because there is no physical product to hold. We as parents are responsible for implanting some ethical foundation and understanding into them. When my oldest kids were in high school one asked me to burn a new CD I had for her boyfriend's uncle - what they got instead was my long and drawn out dissertation on theft and a detailed suggestion that Uncle Buck could afford the $16 CD himself. I believe that was the last time the idea of copying a CD for someone floated itself in my house.

A second problem, though, is the anonymity of the internet and ease of transferring files. I think this eases whatever small conscience is present in these thieves. In addition, it encourages those to whom the whole file sharing concept is somehow equated with taking a 'rebel stand against the establishment'. Some of these idiots end up collecting thousands of files, of which they use none other than making them available to other pirates. They don't go out into the real world and accomplish anything but instead rack up enough stolen files to become a hero to other pirate losers that spend night and day online hacking other people's work.

I think Entity is absolutely on track in putting the name of each purchaser in the file. People are less likely to share a file with their name attached to it, in part because everyone does understand how shared files get replicated so quickly and easily.

Lastly, I think each of us needs to be proactive when we run across pirated stuff. I recently purchased an older version of a software program at a discount from the current version. Before I bought I asked if it was a legitimate copy and was registrable with the developer, and was told yes to both. Upon receiving it I went ahead and checked with the developer and found out, based on the registration code, it was not legitimate. I removed the program, contacted the web site where it was sold and got a refund, and reported the seller to the developer so they could pursue. Lesson learned, even though I tried to make sure it was an honest deal, dishonest sellers will lie to you about that also.

Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 4, 2010 09:43AM)
While I make my main living as a performer, Dick, I'm fortunate in that I like to write and I like to explore topics in mentalism and magic that I think are worthy of sharing with others. I also like to be paid for my work.

When selling to several hundred people, or if your work is published by a publishing house rather than just a print-on-demand or vanity press, it is impossible to know who is buying the books. The Nail Writer Anthology is available in magic shops around the world.

RE: File sharing -- I've received quite a few emails from people with varying perspectives on the issue. Let me make it clear that I'm targeting the torrent/sharing sites specifically. In order to do that I am putting a number of strategies into motion. One of those strategies is to compile a list of members who frequent such sites and use the sites to share files illegally. As I'm going to make that list available to concerned parties, I thought that I should make that clear.

If you've traded a video or an ebook with a friend once or twice, your name won't be on the list, and I'm not interested in hearing stories in that regard. It's the file sharing sites that exploit creators on a massive scale that concern me.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Mentalist Sam (Oct 4, 2010 09:48AM)
Security on PDF files is a joke that can be cracked with free software. So putting the name or email address of the purchaser isn't going to stop most of these guys because it's easy enough to remove.

It's an unfortunate situation magic creators find themselves in with this stuff, but it's not going to change, especially with young people. Not all young people listen to mainstream music, so that means they're listening to indy bands who encourage you to share their music with anyone as a way of promoting their music. Also there are some known bands who also encourage you to share their music. One band even release some blank CDs, with artwork printed on one side so you can burn your own album of their music. There are a lot of mixed messages these folks are getting.

Another factor is PayPal. Most magic creators accept PayPal. It's easy to switch PayPal accounts. So if one person was suspected and called out for uploading material and the creator refused to sell to them again, they could easily switch to another PayPal account, with a different name and buy it anyway.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 4, 2010 09:55AM)
It's up to those selling their e-books directly to customers to, whenever possible, verify the identity of someone who orders but is not known to the seller. If I can't do that, I don't sell to them. It's time consuming, but the internet is a great tool in that regard.

Unfortunately, some of the people we "know" are the ones who frequent the file-sharing sites, I'm finding out.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: mindpunisher (Oct 4, 2010 10:25AM)
<<<<Security on PDF files is a joke that can be cracked with free software<<<

I never knew that! But now I do and 30 sec search on google showed up a page full of software..

Posting this on an open forum isn't helping.
Message: Posted by: Steven Keyl (Oct 4, 2010 12:41PM)
As a professional software developer I can more than sympathize with your situation. I have had all of my software at one point in time available to torrent/software crack sites and it can be extremely disheartening. The time and energy expended investing in your work is trivialized by the fact that somebody is able to make it available for free through these piracy sites.

All software companies, even big ones like Apple and Microsoft, have spent billions of dollars to curb the tide of piracy but have largely been ineffective. Authors too, both e-book and traditional print, suffer from these issues globally; it isn't confined to the magic/mentalism community.

Given all of this, my best advice is to do what you do and try not to obsess about it. As a software developer I've seen some of my close friends go to extraordinary lengths to curb this kind of behavior and they only end up hurting themselves. Their current and future projects end up suffering because of a complete preoccupation with something that is ultimately beyond their control.

The two biggest reasons for your completely justified anger are that you're losing money in sales and that your content is freely available to anyone that can download it.

To that I can only say:
[*] The people that are illegally downloading your material aren't people that would have bought it anyway. So you're actually losing less money than you might imagine. Of course there are some that would have bought it but for the fact they can cheat you and download it for free, but those people are by far in the minority.
[*] As far as your work getting disseminated, most of the illegal downloaders are hoarders that would never actually take the time to read any of the stuff they are stealing. Even those that take the time wouldn't really understand it and even if they did, any half-way decent presentation would fly right by these people that are supposedly "in the know."

To be clear, I'm not trying to dissuade you from doing anything that you feel is necessary to protect your intellectual property. Rather, this is just a reminder that one can become so side-tracked by this issue that you lose sight of what it is that you actually do.

I purchased your Open Prediction e-book and just recently your Nailwriter Anthology (which I've only started reading) and have been extremely pleased with both purchases. Keep doing what you do!
Message: Posted by: DekEl (Oct 4, 2010 12:43PM)
I highly agree with you Sam. In addition, names and email addresses can be fabricated in minutes --or worse-- replaced with names of real individuals --not the thieves-- so if anyone gets in trouble, it wouldn't be them.

That said, anyone who would want to steal your work probably wouldn't buy it in the first place even if it wasn't available for free.

All that said, if I ever decided to release something I would undoubtedly release it free of charge and receive funds from any individual who felt that my work was worthy of paying money for. I'm quite certain that there would be enough moral individuals on the Café to make it worth my while --not that I plan to release something, just as a hypothetical situation and possibility.
Message: Posted by: bevbevvybev (Oct 4, 2010 01:01PM)
Steven Keyl - spot on - totally agree

I will add that the software industry continuously releasing updates and support for their own products is also another good way to ensure that people do ultimately buy the products they like for the updates and stuff not breaking, and new features.

That's one of the reasons I keep updating my books (apart from thinking of new stuff to put in them that is!). People like to have the latest version. Even people who've previously 'obtained' my ebooks sometimes turn into customers after having enjoyed their 'obtained' version, but wanting the updates for life and finally hitting that Paypal button.

Think out of the box. And don't shave years off your life getting too hot and bothered. A certain amount of feather and tarring is of course required. But don't perspire early for a cause that was lost well over a decade ago. It's just not worth it.

Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Oct 4, 2010 01:28PM)
Things are so bad right now...

I co-authored an academic book that will enjoy very small readership. About a week BEFORE the book was published it showed up on a pirate site in India. If large publishing houses are losing the battle, I don't know what we little guys can do.

Yours in despair,

Message: Posted by: baggins321 (Oct 4, 2010 01:46PM)
This thread should be moved to 'Right or Wrong'. There are already several postings about this, including a twelve page thread by Richard Osterlind.

IMHO, file sharing within this community is a vicious circle. People can't afford it, so they download effects illegally. In response to this creators make limited printings and increase their prices (thus causing even more people to download their material).
Message: Posted by: DekEl (Oct 4, 2010 02:02PM)
Another thing to be aware of is that torrent and filesharing websites often autogenerate false information depending on a users search, or if a large volume of search on their website (or even not so large) is directed to search of one product, chances are it will be listed there even if it is in actuality not really available unless the user signs up to something --so in other words many times torrent seekers themselves are tricked.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 4, 2010 02:25PM)
I've discovered a few things that can be done, and I'm not gnashing my teeth about it. I'm just doing those things and seeing what effect they might have.

I've already eliminated some people from my "trusted customers" list because of my findings, and have warned other creators about those individuals. In turn, creators are approaching me with their own discoveries in this regard, sharing their information. The list is growing.

This is a good thing. Unlike the software business, the magic publishing business is rather small, with a limited number of players and buyers. Weeding out the bad apples and sharing their names publicly will put a dent in the file sharing sites, I think.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Davidicus (Oct 4, 2010 02:44PM)
Great, yet another blow to consumer privacy. Guess people should revamp their "we value your privacy" statement.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 4, 2010 02:52PM)
That's like saying that we should look the other way if we see a robbery taking place. Or not cooperate with police if we know who is behind a crime.

- entity
Message: Posted by: DekEl (Oct 4, 2010 02:53PM)
On 2010-10-04 15:44, EventEntertainer wrote:
Great, yet another blow to consumer privacy. Guess people should revamp their "we value your privacy" statement.

True. Regardless of the legality of what they do, a certain level of privacy should hold.

That said, I think you'd better keep the list among friends Tom, because if someone knows their name is on the list, they'll just know they need to change their ID, do so, and still buttonhole the sellers, if you perceive my logic. By keeping it secret, they won't know, and continue to try and buy/get by with their existing names, emails, and PayPal accounts, enabling your inner circle to successfully prevent the spread of information.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 4, 2010 02:56PM)
Consumer privacy?

File-sharing thieves aren't legitimate consumers. They're thieves.

DekEl: There's more to the story than what I'm sharing here. Stay tuned.

- T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: Davidicus (Oct 4, 2010 02:59PM)
OK maybe I read too much into your statement. If I buy XXX from you, I would expect you would not share your customer list with anyone without consent or notification. This is, and remains my view. "Buy" is the key word here.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 4, 2010 03:04PM)
Thanks, Event Entertainer.

I'm not talking about sharing a list of customers. The list I'm sharing is comprised only of those proven to frequent illegal file sharing sites.

If people don't want to be on the list, they shouldn't join or remain members of file sharing sites. File sharing sites that offer copyrighted works are involved in an illegal activity.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: lunatik (Oct 4, 2010 03:05PM)
Non-Paying consumers shouldn't have any privacy. Just because you consume, doesn't mean you did so with integrity
Message: Posted by: entermagic (Oct 4, 2010 03:10PM)
I believe the thieves are the customer who starts the sharing.
These persons must be punished. I suggest a method in order to reduce the file-sharing:
Put the consumers info crypted inside the pdf without inform them.
If someone will share the pdf you need just to download it and to read the crypted info, then start a legal action with this person.

Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 4, 2010 03:28PM)
To take legal action in a variety of countries would be costly and time-consuming. Many of the people doing the sharing are kids or teenagers who don't own any money to speak of. If you went through the time and effort and cost to sue them or lay charges, you might win, but how would you collect? The courts and law enforcement agencies are already over-burdened with much more serious crimes than copyright theft, so such a case is not a priority for them.

The file-sharing thieves know this, and so they think that they operate with impunity. It's up to us to come up with methods and tactics to fight back ourselves, and to let file sharers know that they will no longer be anonymous or be able to steal without consequence.

- T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: BarryTX (Oct 4, 2010 03:30PM)
Good thought entermagic, and I agree completely. Another thought - even just telling the purchaser that his copy has been encoded with their registration information will likely cause the average Joe to stop before giving that file out, even if it doesn't bother the large-scale pirates.
Message: Posted by: Ben Harris (Oct 4, 2010 03:32PM)
I am all for the public shaming of these thieves. It's quite shocking to see who is involved, who is hiding behind the clever little names and "handles." People who you've assumed were your FRIENDS through a shared love of magic. (Excuse the pun.)

Message: Posted by: entermagic (Oct 4, 2010 03:45PM)
I repeat again... In my opinion who must be punished is who tries to share.
If nobody share anything the file-sharing disappears. If you intimidate the customer
90% of sharing disappears.

Another strategy to avoid file sharing is to sell everything with an huge price:
If you pay something like 1000$ I don't believe you will share it, only a stupid will put away 1000$.

Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 4, 2010 03:53PM)
I don't want to intimidate my customers. Most of them are wonderful, law-abiding people who respect my work.

I'm only interested in going after file-sharing thieves. So that's what I'll be doing.

Selling things for $1,000. doesn't work either. Not only won't you sell many copies, but it'll end up on the file-stealing sites as well.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: entermagic (Oct 4, 2010 04:07PM)
Entity, apart to inform the customer to avoid to share your ebook you cannot do anything. :-(
Anyway the biggest shame for the magic community is another site: It is not rapishare, torrent, emule but something different and I cannot write here ( entity I sent you a PM)

Message: Posted by: danroberts (Oct 4, 2010 04:12PM)
Internet Piracy is a hard thing to stop, it can be controlled, I would have thought that such a community like magic and mentalism with the basic rule never to reveal the secret to your tricks or like Christian Bale says in the film The Prestige "The method doesn't impress anyone" LOL I like that film LOL

But like entity says putting a bigger price on your product wouldn't solve the problem but I am sure there is a way to encrypt the ebooks and videos for each customer so you know who has betrayed you.

Message: Posted by: IAIN (Oct 4, 2010 04:14PM)
I wish more people would put viruses in some ebooks and put them up on those torrent sites...
Message: Posted by: danroberts (Oct 4, 2010 04:18PM)
Sure torrent site are filled with virus or they are just ways for hackers to get into your pc, one of friends show me a site years ago and you should have seen me after the amount of worms and virus that infected my pc, I was soo p*** off.

Its doesn't appeal to me that piracy thing, I like my cds, dvds and books.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 4, 2010 09:46PM)
I am with you, Dan... always someone in the gutter waiting to steal your balls...
Message: Posted by: lisheng (Oct 5, 2010 04:53AM)
Tom, while I applaud your efforts in trying to curb piracy this way, I'm pretty sure that it will solve perhaps 0.1% of the problem.

First, take a look at how people obtain their original material -
1. Through a retailer
2. Through a convention
3. Through independent sales
Perhaps you can target the 3rd group of people (the minority), but you definitely can't stop the other 2. You're pretty much just cutting off your own customers because if they don't share your material, they'll share others. Due to the insanely large amount of files available, your material can become totally negligible. No offense intended.

Next, trying to take files down from torrents / direct download sites - it's just not going to be a long-term solution. Having a decade of experience in the security industry, I know - I've had my share of research dealing with that kind of piracy. Let me explain why...

User finds a sharing site -> User tries to prove his worth to enter the site -> User is accepted and put on probation -> User shares constantly and is accepted in the community

That's what's happening right now, because most of the "big" sharing sites have been built up. I did some research and now realized that there are more than 10 "big" magic sharing sites now. Guardician is just one of the more exposed ones - and it's small compared to some of the rest.

The files will always exist on local hard drives. Deleting them on remote drives like direct download sites (RS/MU/HF/FS/etc) will just prompt more people to upload "mirrors" to gain their reputation on those sites. So imagine, you delete 1 link, 2 pop out. 2 are deleted, 4 pop out. 4 are deleted, and then you have 16 different links on 16 different file hosts, most of which can't be bothered with your complaints because they don't want to bother their customers (who have paid them good money to use the file sharing service). Which is another point which you need to realize - many people do not need to buy from anyone anywhere to scan and share - they can just download from one source and upload to another. Seedboxes, dedicated servers - these people have invested heavily in equipment that would make your home PCs added together look pale in comparison. Uploads can be done within minutes, especially copies of books.

It's hard for you to take any legal action because of international laws. DMCA only applies to non off-shore countries. Malaysia is an off-short country and many hosts there will not even bat an eyelid when they see any DMCA notice. Sending DMCA notices to file hosts won't do you any good as well, because all the big companies in the world (not just magic) have already tried (Hollywood, Microsoft, Google) and they're not getting anything except trouble and money losses out of it. The file sharing sites provide a service for files to be shared - the users are responsible for what they upload and download.

Sites / forums that host links to downloads can't be taken down as well because they're technically not hosting illegal downloads, just providing links to them.

Yes, file sharers is one problem - but copying of products is another. And you can't stop it from happening as well. I helped Yigal Mesika deal with the piracy of his Tarantula and advised him that trying to find and sue a company in China is like searching for a needle in a haystack, and trying to sue a cow for eating grass (or something to that effect). They will never listen to you because corruption is so bad there that you can be dealt a death sentence and you can pay your way out of it. If you're a westerner trying to sue a Chinese in China, there's a 99.9% chance that you'll lose, even if you've paid them well. That other 0.1% that you succeed - little or not punishment will be dealt anyway. If you can't even stop physical products from being replicated, you definitely can't even grasp how anonymous and wide the web is.

According to many people who are in these sharing sites, the reason for piracy is this - too many products and videos are being launched / published lately. After buying many of them, you realize that it's crap (again, no offense to anyone) or it's overhyped / overrated. You realize that it's impractical, the trailer is filled with stooges, camera footage is edited / misfilmed, or maybe the advertisement for it is misleading etc. They don't want to be victims of this anymore. But also, apparently, the biggest sharers are also the biggest buyers of magic and they don't share the good stuff. At least that's what I've heard and been told.

So, maybe you can find some people who share on the sites and ban them from buying from you / a few other people.. Or many other people... But I think that this solution isn't going to work out.

I hope no one gets offended. Just my opinions and research findings.
Message: Posted by: AttnPls (Oct 5, 2010 07:03AM)
I program e-commerce software and have often considered opening an online storefront that would automatically encode the purchaser information in the e-books sold. This could be done both overtly and covertly and I believe this is one of the best ways to dissuade people from publicly sharing these files.

If there is enough interest in this service, I would be happy to set it up. Just send me a PM.
Message: Posted by: lisheng (Oct 5, 2010 07:09AM)
IMHO, that wouldn't help much either. Aside from the fact that there are sharers who just openly scan the books with their names and whatever on it, this method also makes sabotaging someone else easier. New accounts can be also created to make themselves equally anonymous (together with new paypal addresses, mailing addresses, etc). Furthermore, if there's a way to put something like that in, there's a way to take it out. Trust me, there is no short of people with talent to do so in their community, as there is no short of people to do the encoding in ours. In fact, I have already made such a plug-in for osCommerce and OpenCart since years ago.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 5, 2010 03:37PM)
The Best thing that can be done is for creators to talk to each other and share their information. I don't expect that my list will stop piracy, as there will always be people who want something for nothing and are willing to even betray their "friends" to get what they want.

But sharing this every-growing list with creators who market their wares directly will allow us to know a group of people that we should NOT sell to. Even if we only bypass a small percentage of the thieves, it's better than doing nothing.

The creators I've contacted are behind this, and we are already comparing notes.

- entity
Message: Posted by: edh (Oct 5, 2010 05:27PM)
What if the original owner of a file decides to sell it. Now the buyer decides to upload to a file sharing site. Who would get penalized for the upload? The seller of the orignal that has done nothing wrong?

How would you distinguish between the seller of the file, who did nothing wrong, and buyer who uploaded the file?
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 5, 2010 08:22PM)
I'm personally only targeting members of file sharing sites, although as I'm finding out, some of these same individuals are involved in assorted other scams involving creators.

The whole story is just now starting to come out. Might make an interesting ebook!

- entity
Message: Posted by: lisheng (Oct 6, 2010 03:48AM)
Agree with edh. You have no real way to check if the book was pirated by the original owner, or a borrower or buyer or a thief.

By the way using the IP addresses to check is waaaaaaaaaay wrong. I hope you're not using that method to "identify" people. And I'm pretty sure most people don't use the same email on those sites. Would be interesting to know how you "identify" those people accurately...
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 6, 2010 07:22AM)
Interesting that you would think that I use IP addresses to track members of file sharing sites. What gave you that idea?

- entity
Message: Posted by: lisheng (Oct 6, 2010 07:49AM)
Your post above wrote - "Interesting that you would think that I use IP addresses to track members of file sharing sites. What gave you that idea?"

Do you want me to list out all the possible ways of tracking someone through torrents? Or maybe you want me to provide you a Google link for that? The most dummy method is to use the IP address. DUH? I've used that method 8 years ago. It's not as effective now.
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 6, 2010 08:02AM)
I didn't post in the Osterlind thread. In this thread I have never said that I use IP addresses to track members of file sharing sites.

No, Li sheng. I don't think I want your help with this, but thanks for the information.

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: lisheng (Oct 6, 2010 08:28AM)
Using IP addresses to trace is flawed because -
1. Home and work connections are usually placed behind routers nowadays, unlike half a decade ago. Tracing to the IP address may lead you to a residential gateway, which is in no way specific of an individual. Multiple people behind the residential gateway may be accessing the forum under different IDs.

2. IP addresses are dynamic in the homes of many countries. They stay leased to a certain ethernet adapter for a certain period of time, usually 24 - 48 hours. The IP addresses are then rotated amongst different households under the same ISP. Tracing an IP to wrong individuals is highly likely.

3. The only ways to find IP addresses in a torrent are either to access the tracker or to be a leech / seed / peer. While doing that, you're essentially sharing as well. If it's another person's file, you're equally morally wrong, no matter how you debate about ethics. If it's your own file, you can't complain that more people will have it in future because you played a part in sharing it anyway.
Message: Posted by: entermagic (Oct 6, 2010 08:50AM)
Just my 2 cents about the IP address.
There are many tricks that you can use in order to change it on the fly.
You can appear with an London IP adress and few seconds after with Sidney IP adress,
so you cannot proof anything with the IP adress.
As I already said in some post ago, the only method to reduce the file sharing is to intimidate the customers saying that inside the pdf there are the info that you need to identify them. This method is already used by: http://www.magicshop.co.uk.
With this method, if someone share your pdf, you have just to download it and see who started to share it, so you can start a legal action.

Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 6, 2010 08:52AM)

...and if the original purchaser of your coded ebook has given the ebook away or sold it to someone else, how do you determine who placed it on the file sharing (stealing) site?

T. Baxter
Message: Posted by: entermagic (Oct 6, 2010 08:57AM)
On 2010-10-06 09:52, entity wrote:

...and if the original purchaser of your coded ebook has given the ebook away or sold it to someone else, how do you determine who placed it on the file sharing (stealing) site?

T. Baxter

I identify the orginal purchaser... You warn the original one to avoid to share or to give it away. The original one has made a mistake to share your pdf.

However this is a lost war from the outset. You cannot stop the hacker and filesharing there is always someone will hack any protection system. :-(

Just my opinion.

Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 6, 2010 09:02AM)
For the record, I would not rely on ip addresses to track membership in file-sharing/torrent sites. While it might be an indicator, there are other, more sure-fire ways to determine the information.

- entity
Message: Posted by: entity (Oct 6, 2010 09:13AM)
On 2010-10-06 09:57, entermagic wrote:
On 2010-10-06 09:52, entity wrote:

...and if the original purchaser of your coded ebook has given the ebook away or sold it to someone else, how do you determine who placed it on the file sharing (stealing) site?

T. Baxter

I identify the orginal purchaser... You warn the original one to avoid to share or to give it away. The original one has made a mistake to share your pdf.

However this is a lost war from the outset. You cannot stop the hacker and filesharing there is always someone will hack any protection system. :-(

Just my opinion.


You see that it's impossible to stop people from lending or selling ebooks or hard cover books, or to keep them off the sharing sites. I agree.

So my answer is to find out definitively who the members of sharing sites are and to be careful about selling to those people; and to warn other creators about those who are members of file-sharing sites so that they can decide for themselves what to do.

Seems pretty straightforward to me. Surprised that some people find a problem with that.

T. Baxter