John David's Blog: Life--Observed and Reported

January 15, 2014

There is a difference between "stealing" and "sharing."

If I loan someone a copy of my book, and they read it, have they now "stolen" the content?

What if I was given that particular book by someone else. Are we all therefore, "thieves?"

Or are we only questioning the rights to "electronic" versions of our work. Why?

Should books have a coin slot on them, requiring a payment each time the cover is cracked, by whomever?

These types of debates, over music, video, and now over electronic "books" have been hashed and rehashed so many times that the hash is now mush.

Better still is what I have long advocated, that is, the provision of a site or sites that allow an individual to ANONYMOUSLY contribute a payment to an artist, publisher, or distributor, for the "use" of their work.

Welcome to the Artists, Authors, and Others royalty share site!

Enter the name of the work, artist, or individual to which you would like to contribute:


"Amanda King Rowling"

Several works are attributed to that author. Please select one.

"The Zombie's Guide to Erotic Cooking for Vampires" (copyright 2012 John David, BTW, don't "steal").

Thank you! The suggested share contribution for that title is $1.20 US, although you may contribute more or less. Enter share amount.

$1.20

Thank you! $1.20 has been credited to the account of Amanda King Rowling.

Of course, income from the site can then be TAXED by the appropriate authorities, and SHARED with contributors to the particular work, according to the specific rights agreements that are relevant to it.

Everybody wins!

I believe that most people will, if given the opportunity . . .

Do the right thing.

EDITED: 03/10/13

Since the original publication date of this post, my book Ten Questions was pirated and an unauthorized ebook version was offered for distribution. Despite this, I still stand by my original thesis, that is, there does need to be a mechanism to allow consumers of artistic work to voluntarily contribute to the creator of the work, regardless of the manner by which they acquired it. With a pirated work, there is no attribution to the artist, but mere banditry, as one person takes credit for (and profits from) the work of another. I am vehemently opposed to this type of "sharing."

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Published on January 15, 2014 00:21 • 128 views • Tags: copyright, electronic-books, fair-use, infringement, john-david, piracy, rights, royalty, sharing

September 7, 2013

I cannot count the number of times that I have heard the title of this post when I asked someone "What was the last book/article/magazine that you read?"

Ask the unemployed guy next door, who apparently doesn't have time to mow his lawn either, get that reply.

Ask a "retired" person, the kind that never drives over 40 mph anywhere, anytime, and why? Because they are not in a hurry, all they have is time, just not for reading. Until they don't, of course.

Ask the young person, who spends three or more hours each day watching TV or gaming online, (and would spend much more, if you let them) and you will get the same answer:

"No time to read."

Seriously folks? You don't have five or ten minutes a day, or a WEEK to exercise your mind with the printed or digital word?

Or is it really something different? Another, more personal reason? Is it that you already know all that there is to know, or all that you care to know?

Is it the natural, "mental" extension of the physical sloth that infects much of the nation? That we are simply too lazy to read?

I for one would much rather hear the "truth" the next time I ask someone that question. I can handle it. How refreshing it would actually be!

"I'm too lazy."

"I already know everything."

"I'd rather 'waste' my time elsewhere."

But please not:

"I don't have time."

Unless you are the President . . .

you DO have the time.

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Published on September 07, 2013 13:02 • 149 views • Tags: john-david, no-time, reading, sloth, truth

July 4, 2013

I'm going to tell you a little story.

It's about a boy who had run away from home, after getting in some trouble at school.

After a while, he knew he had to go home, because at age ten, seriously, he didn't have many other options.

On the way home, just around the corner from his house, he decided to call ahead to give his parents a little notice of his arrival.

The boy went up a neighbor's walkway towards the front door, thinking to knock on the door and ask to use the phone.

The garage door of the house was open, and on the way past it, the boy looked into the garage and stared at the wonderful toys inside, several motorcycles, a classic car, and more.

He didn't stop moving, enter the garage, or touch anything on his way to the front door. On the porch, he was about to knock, when he heard the sounds of a loud argument from within.

A man and a woman were shouting at each other, with loud, angry voices, and the boy thought that now wasn't a good time to ask to use the phone.

He left the property, walking quickly away, not stopping or touching anything. About 75 feet down the street, he heard the sound of someone running, turned, and saw a very large, angry man chasing him, yelling "Hey you! Hey!"

He ran up the road a ways, and into a nursery, the man only steps behind. The boy ran around and around the small office on the property, yelling to the people there "Help, Help! Call the police!"

Nobody did.

The large, angry man caught the boy, jerked his arm behind his back, and put him in a choke hold. He was yelling "I got you! I got you!"

The boy was very scared, hurt, and confused, both at the man's actions, and the inaction of the people at the nursery. Why was this happening? Why didn't anyone help him?

The police arrived, and took the boy into custody on suspicion of "trespassing." The boy thanked God that they did, because he felt much safer in handcuffs in back of a patrol car, than he did with the angry man choking him and twisting his arm.

A couple of years ago, a boy with a very similar story was chased down and KILLED by a large, angry man for the crime of walking through a neighborhood not his own. His name was Trayvon Martin, and if you haven't heard his story, maybe you should read about it.

Trayvon hadn't gone up any walkways, past any open garages filled with wonderful things--but he was killed anyway.

The boy who did remembers that day, and is thankful that he is alive today, unlike Trayvon. Besides race, the difference is that the large, angry man in one boy's story had a gun, plus the desire to use it, and the other one didn't.

Life and death, decided in an instant.

One boy is alive, and is telling you his story today.

One boy is dead, and will never be able to tell you his.
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Published on July 04, 2013 05:20 • 151 views • Tags: castle-doctrine, george-zimmerman, stand-your-ground, state-v-zimmerman, trayvon-martin

July 3, 2013

I have been following this heartbreaking story from very early on, and I was one of the first people to sign the petition to even have this case brought to the light of day.

A question that has come to mind of late:

Why is this case so polarizing, for so many?

The numbers seem to break almost exactly down the middle, with both sides completely convinced that they are absolutely right, and the other is dead wrong.

There is little or no "gray area," of opinion.

There are a very few who have said, and rightfully so, "Let us wait for the outcome of the trial, the facts will come out."

Is it simply a matter of determining the "facts?" Of finding "justice?"

Or of something else altogether?

I wonder how many of Zimmerman's outspoken supporters would be so vocal about his "right" to "defend" himself if Trayvon had not been a "person of color?"

And how many of Trayvon's supporters would be crying for blood if Zimmerman was a "black" man?

Would the "facts" of this case be any different if both parties were of the same "race?"

Would the "investigation" have been any different?

What about the "presumption" of guilt or innocence?

If so, then we really are talking about a racial issue, a racial divide, and not about a factual one. It is inescapable to see this any other way, apparently.

We all can, for the most part, agree that it is not a "crime" to be one race or the other.

We can also agree that it is possible for both to be in the "wrong" place at the wrong time.

Apparently the glasses through which we all view the world are still very much "colored."

Perhaps there is hope that our children will learn to see their world "clearly."

For we most certainly do not.
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Published on July 03, 2013 06:01 • 101 views • Tags: castle-doctrine, george-zimmerman, justice, racial-divide, stand-your-ground, trayvon-martin

April 24, 2013

The Old Man and the SeaThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


What can I say, it's Hemingway.

I am ashamed to admit, the first of his works that I have read. Was it world shattering?

Earth quaking?

No.

Pulitzer prize winning? Apparently so. By today's standards, I would be hard-pressed to answer the "why" behind that award, because, as you can see by my 4 star rating, I did not find it "outstanding."

Truly, I am a harsh critic, of my own work most of all.

The Old Man and the Sea is a good read, of a certainty. Your time will not be wasted by reading it. Perhaps I lack that certain "I don't know what" that would be required to truly appreciate it.

Or my "tastes" are not refined enough.

I read it over the course of a couple of lunch breaks, and for that purpose, I highly recommend it. It does not end as I expected it to.

Like many (all?) good short stories, it ends well before the reader believes that it should.

If you are a writer, or a student of literature who has not experienced the work of this literary giant, I urge you to remedy that condition as quickly as possible, and give Hemingway an hour or so of your time.

R.I.P. Ernest Hemingway
-July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961



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Published on April 24, 2013 15:33 • 46 views • Tags: classics, hemingway, literary-giants, pulitzer-prize-winner

April 4, 2013

Writing Between the SexesWriting Between the Sexes by Leigh Michaels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


First of all, the mandatory disclosure:

I am the narrator of the audiobook version of this work. I took on the project because, as a writer, it was intriguing, and as a reader, I knew instinctively that much of what Leigh Michaels had to say was spot-on.

Back in ye olde college days, I did a small research project on gender differences, and it has always been a subject of interest to me.

Plus I just plain love women, and have been on a never-ending quest to understand and communicate with them. Hopeless, I know, but still . . . one must try.

With all that said, Writing Between the Sexes is a short, very easy to read, understand, and use resource for anyone and everyone who reads or writes for a living, either directly or indirectly.

Much of the material and the examples given (by necessity) involve very wide generalizations, but this is to be expected when tackling a topic as broad as gender differences in language.

Of her many real-world examples, two stood out for me recently. The first involved a crime drama show that I was watching the other day, where the malefactor was publicly detailing his contrition for his wrongdoing.

Like a politician, he went on and on, blah blah, "If anyone was hurt, certainly that was no one's intention, blah blah." Then he finished his statement by saying, "I apologize." At that moment, I was applauding the writing, because as Leigh demonstrates in her book, men are much more likely to use the phrase "I apologize" than they are to say "I'm sorry," and the character's use of the gender "correct" phrase made the whole scene ring true. As a viewer, my emotions were played just so, (and just as the writer intended) as I was left thinking "That scumbag wasn't 'sorry' for anything, except perhaps getting caught."

Another example I found in reading an excerpt that was recommended to me by an author, it was a space-opera featuring a female protagonist/heroine. As I read the excerpt, supposedly in the first-person voice of our heroine, of course she was in the shower, and as she left and toweled off, she just had to mentally summarize her stunning good lucks and taut body for us, the reader.

How many guesses do you need to determine the gender of the author? Keep in mind, this was before I had read Writing Between the Sexes, but I was immediately "turned-off" by this obviously gender-irrelevant prose, and I could not bring myself to read further.

Of course some female writers are guilty of the same offenses when describing actions by their male characters. They use dialogue and situations that are simply "incredible" and unrealistic to most male readers.

After reading this book, I revisited my own WIP, (my first attempt at fiction, BTW) and wrote a scene where my female character looked at herself in the mirror:

As Stephanie drove home, she thought about what Rob had said. She checked her face in the mirror, and wondered how she could look five years older now than she did only a few hours ago. Between the stress lines, worry lines, crow’s feet, and just plain wrinkles, there was hardly any face left.

My God, I’m a hundred years old. I don’t know what Rob sees in me. We couldn’t be more different. He sees life in ways I can’t imagine, and he’s clueless about what’s really real. When I try to help him understand his feelings, to get him to talk about them, I only end up hurting him more. Doesn’t he know that keeping things buried inside will only make them worse?

Men.

What do you think? Does it "sound" like something a young woman would say and think?

If so, then I have Leigh Michaels to thank, because the first paragraph of my example is a lesson I learned from her book, that is, MOST women DON'T look in the mirror and think "Damn, I'm fine!"

In summary, I enjoyed narrating the book, and although I had hoped that I would learn something from it, I was pleasantly surprised by how much knowledge I did gain, especially with regard to writing gender-realistic dialogue.

I highly recommend Writing Between the Sexes, because it is an interesting, engaging, and just plain fun resource for everyone who writes for a living, or who wants to "get inside the heads" of the other side.

http://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B00AFJ...




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Published on April 04, 2013 03:36 • 63 views • Tags: audiobook, fiction-writing, gender-differences, leigh-michaels, reference, study-guide

January 10, 2013

EDITED: 03/10/13

The things we learn about copyright infringement, and I honestly did NOT know this before now. You MUST register your work with the copyright office prior to initiating legal action against infringers. Probably a "duh-duh" for many of you--please forgive my naivete. If you have not already done so, I urge everyone to spend the $35 to electronically register your work ASAP, because failing to do so in a timely fashion may cost you the right to recover some forms of damages, and attorneys may be less willing to represent you if you have not done so.

Edited 9/1/13

Shortly after taking the infringing video down, YouTube reinstated it, due to my failure to provide proof that I had initiated a lawsuit against the offender. This was despite my provision of screen caps and other evidence detailing the infringement. As a poor "self-publisher," I did not have the means to retain an attorney and pursue the pirate for damages, and due to my failure to register the copyright, none would take the case on a contingency basis, since "statutory" damages were not available. This policy by YouTube is basically a "license to steal" from anyone you believe cannot afford to sue . . .

"Ten Questions is good enough to pirate! John David's work is definitely worth stealing."

-Anonymous
YouTube Bandit and Online ebook Pirate

They say that you have "arrived" as an author or artist when your work is pirated.

It still feels kind of "rapey," though.

Like a physical rape, the violation of your artistic property and your psyche does not end when the act does. To the contrary, that is only the beginning. Now you must learn to cope with the aftermath.

I couldn't sleep at all the night I discovered that Ten Questions - The Insider's Guide to Saving Money on Auto Insurance: Hidden Discounts Revealed had been pirated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS37T9...

I had been uploading the revised version of my own YouTube promotional video for the work, when a title appeared in the "recommended" list. Out of curiosity, I clicked the link and from the opening "disclaimer," I knew that I was listening to my own work.

I spent the better part of two years creating the 78 page book that is Ten Questions. It took a great deal of effort to make it that short. I even directed the production of an audiobook version. I did all the editing and proofreading myself, and yes I had to revise it several times before it was "perfect" in my eyes.

So you could say that I am intimately familiar with every one of the 22,560 words in my book. When I heard the voice of the professional narrator begin to read "his" disclaimer, (which was basically a combination of my disclosure and disclaimer) my stomach got queasy, and my blood pressure rose.

The video was five minutes long, and was little more than a line-by-line, bad plagiarism of my work. The video included a link to a FREE ebook, with all the "Quick Insider Tips." Whoever produced this spent both time and money to do so. I have produced and narrated audiobooks and promotional videos, and even a five-minute long version takes about an entire day.

Pirating and producing the "free" ebook ("All Rights Reserved")(!) took some time as well, plus the narrator did not work for free, I'm sure. So this was an elaborate and expensive piracy, not just a quick upload of the PDF version of my book to a torrent site.

The video had just under 6400 views when I discovered it, and had been up since August of 2012. I have absolutely no doubt that the stolen work cost me sales of my book, in all formats. This is a shame, mostly because the "bullet points" of a non-fiction book are pretty much useless out of context, and that is all the "free" ebook contained. So the real "harm" was to those who thought they were getting the Twinkie, when all they really got was just a stale "cream-filled sponge cake."

I had taken all the usual recommended precautions to protect my work and copyright, including setting up "Google Alerts" to warn me of any search hits for similar content or excerpts from my work. My sophisticated pirate buddy knew better than to upload the "free" ebook as anything searchable by Google spiders, which is why the ebook appeared as IMAGES of the text, and not something in PDF or DOC format.

It was a slideshow of screen caps, 12 pages worth, and was downloadable. I have yet to get this material taken down, because it is not available as a Google doc (as I had originally thought) but is instead in HTML format, saved on the offender's website.

My first immediate response was to post two comments on the offending video, the first stating that it is based on my work, (listing the complete title) and stating my desire that the content be removed immediately in accordance with the DMCA. (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).

The second comment I posted listed the chapters that were plagiarized, and referred viewers to my actual video and website for more information. I did this to 1)assert my copyright and 2) make sure that people could get the real information. I also knew that it would be days before I could get the content removed.

One note here for you:

If your work is pirated like mine was, make sure that you document every aspect of the piracy and your response, as completely as possible. I did this by taking as many screenshots as I could, of all the offending materials and my responses to it. You will need these to file your complaint and lawsuit anyway, and they will be difficult or impossible to get once the content has been removed.

I also saved the entire original video, before it was removed. I put all of the screen caps and evidence into one folder, and then submitted my material to YouTube. After they replied with a request for "specific" examples of the "alleged" infringements, I replied with side-by-side screen caps of the offending video and my work, with the "real" material highlighted in yellow. I also sent YouTube a PDF of my entire work, because they have a "plagiarism detector" tool, much as Amazon does, to use in cases like this.

This is one of the things that Amazon (and presumably other platforms as well) do when you upload your work initially. They "vet" your work against the existing works in their database, and if more than a small percentage is similar or identical to another work, they will not publish "your" work.

This is why the pirated version of my book was not on any platform, and was not for "sale" anywhere.

Once I supplied the evidence, YouTube immediately took the video down, but the offender has 10 days to protest the withdrawal, and if he does, I will have to sue him to protect my copyright. Part of me hopes that he does reply, because then I will be able to find out his "real" name, and perhaps even obtain damages for the harm he has caused me.

The other part of me wishes that he had credited me as the creator of the work, and just talked "about" my book, maybe even linked to my website or to a sales platform. Then he could have gotten "affiliate" payments on each sale, referral fees, and so on. Instead he chose to steal. Now we have both "lost."

Here is the link to start the removal process of content that infringes your copyright.

http://support.google.com/bin/static....

Make sure that you carefully select the proper buttons, or they will reject the form. YouTube has its own form and process, and I submitted through them first, because the offending video had links to the "free" ebook, and you can use the evidence that you give YouTube to prove your claim of infringement to other parties, anyway.

Here is the link to YouTube's form:

http://support.google.com/youtube/bin...

Anyone who has experienced this type of infringement, please comment on this post, and tell us about your experience.

If anyone wants more specific information from me about dealing with YouTube and Google, post here, or message me privately, and while I am not an attorney, (and therefore do NOT give legal advice) I will be happy to share as much as I know with all who ask.
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Published on January 10, 2013 06:25 • 67 views • Tags: copyright, dmca, google, pirated, removal, takedown, youtube, youtube-infringement

December 1, 2012

I Wish You Were Never BornI Wish You Were Never Born by James Gregory Marlow

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


First of all, a disclosure:

I am the narrator of the audiobook version of this book. I took on the project because it was interesting, and because I believe everyone has a story to tell, and the right to tell it. Also, this post contains spoilers.

With that said:

Mr. Marlow's story is fascinating, if only because he is a man convicted of serial murder. A man who admits to being a serial murderer.

As an author confined to a luxury apartment on Death Row at San Quentin prison, Mr. Marlow's access to the "tools" of the writing trade is somewhat limited, and it shows.

His story is there, but you must chip away at the stone to get to it. The editing is rough, even disjointed. If he had access to an editor, perhaps even some face time, his story would have been much more coherent and easy to read.

Keep in mind that he most likely never actually spoke with his editor, and probably had no access to email, either. Any editing was probably done via letters that were exchanged weeks or even months apart.

The story he tells is incomplete. The parts that you want to know more about, like his childhood and his relationship with his mother, are very light and topical. These will perhaps be covered in more detail in another book?

He does a good job of putting the reader at the scene of his crimes, without doing so in a graphic or disrespectful way. Fanboys (and girls) of "torture porn" type stories will be disappointed, because Mr. Marlow does not go into great detail about the murders, perhaps thankfully so, from the reader's perspective.

For me, the most moving detail regarding the crimes, (and I don't know if Marlow even noticed it as he wrote it) is how one of his victims was more concerned about her car, (that her dad had given her) than she was about herself.

As a father, this detail resonated strongly for me, and I just wanted to weep for the poor child, who thought her dad would care more about the condition of some lifeless machine than is own daughter.

His Letter of Apology to the Victim's Families is perhaps the most powerful and moving rhetoric in the entire book. Mr. Marlow has the soul of a poet, and I did my best to capture the emotion of that letter in my read.

You will not find gore in this book. You will find a great deal of insight into the mind and the crimes of a man who was tortured and abused as a child. You will not be surprised that he became a torturer and abuser himself.

As ye soweth, also shall ye reap.



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Published on December 01, 2012 06:28 • 118 views • Tags: death-row, folsom-wolf, james-gregory-marlow, serial-killer

November 28, 2012

Must everything we create be a series, a collection, merely a part of a body of work?

Can nothing simply stand proudly on its own?

A single, epic, awesome work, with a beginning, a middle, and most importantly, an END?

I definitely understand the need that the starving artist/author has to develop an audience, a body of believers, thirsty for every word they produce, like pilgrims three days lost in the desert.

But must this awful perspective corrupt and infect everything we do?

Believe me, I too have been both a victim and a perpetrator of this mindset, as I was sold on this idea as a methodology of achieving "success" as a writer.

But at what price?

No longer can we as artists simply do art, we must now build a legacy, constructing a house of cards with every work, offering our readers that first taste, but at the price of infecting them with the virus of repeatability.

There is no "formula" for art.

No "prescription" for success as a writer.

If you have talent, desire, skill, and a grand idea, you still will most likely fail to develop a great audience, at least while you yet live. History is littered with the bones of those "failed" writers who achieved "success" only years or decades after their "physical" death.

But this is the peculiar "gift" of our brand of art. It lives on, purposefully so, ages after we ourselves are not even memories.

So, I urge each and every one of you, readers and writers alike, to help us break these rusty chains that bind us to the "next" work in a series, the one that may never even be.

To focus only on that single work which is at hand, to craft it, carve it, even to bludgeon it into perfect existence if we must.

But please, please do not tell me that your work is "Book One" or "Part One" or any other fragment of a greater work. Make it the solo masterpiece that it deserves to be, that you are capable of, in and of itself, nothing more.

I and your audience will love you for it.

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Published on November 28, 2012 15:30 • 50 views • Tags: art, audience, epic, masterpiece, publishing, sequels, writing

November 9, 2012

There is so much anger in our great Nation over the so-called "leaders" who infest our government.

Everyone complains, but no one ACTS. The solution is SIMPLE.

Are we afraid?

Too lazy?

Or do we simply like to complain more than we like to do anything?

Read these two SHORT essays on your lunch break TODAY.

They are free for the Kindle and all ereader devices at the links below:

www.amazon.com/Essays-99%25-Auction-C...

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Essays...

http://www.lulu.com/shop/john-david/e...

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/essa...

Post your opinion here, about my work and about our "leaders."

If you are not willing to ACT, then please, stop complaining about something that is, after all, YOUR fault.

Are you mad at me now? Good.

The failure to act is at least as heinous of a crime as wrong action itself. There is no more time for inaction.

-John David
Essays for the 99%
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Published on November 09, 2012 14:43 • 107 views

Life--Observed and Reported

John  David
Read at your own risk.

Your opinion may vary.

Comments are welcome.
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