I Copied
All Your Hard Work
And Will Trade It
For Personal Gain
[name removed]

(also called "You Are A Looser By Your Own Doing")

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For obvious reasons, we deliberately removed as much identifying information as we could.

Please note in all this that I have repeatedly said I don't care about private copies on CD-ROM or even small-scale distribution, particularly in countries where online time is cost-prohibitive. What I do care about is mirroring my work elsewhere on the Web. I do not want my work posted in any commercial setting (no advertising whatsoever). I also fear that mirrored copies could easily outrank my originals on any number of search engines (as happened in the dreaming.org incident). In this latter case, the entire reason for my doing this at all has been defeated: I spend thousands of hours working to make this web site uniquely useful and attractive for the purpose of bringing visitors to this web site. But what happens? The work that I do ends up drawing people to web sites other than this one! web sites which are not there for the art or the activism but are someone's way of making money. I sacrifice time I could have spent making money for myself so that others may free up time to make money plus make money off of my work directly? That's not right at all!

Nevertheless, this fellow talks of openly trading my work. Also, he grabbed and converted my work without first checking with me to see what I think about it. Finally, as you'll see during the course of this dialogue, he lies to me about his intentions, first saying one thing and later denying it.

 

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Note to Our Readers and Supporters:

This is as close as I get to hanging this whole project up and finding something else to do.

This is the only reason I've ever wanted to quit doing this, and I came close to doing just that several times last year alone.

PLEASE -- if you see anybody trading ANY e-texts of ANY Joseph Lewis books or W. E. H. Lecky or the Bruno book or the corrected Emma Goldman material or especially Gora's material or Remsberg's "The Christ," please go along with it for long enough to find out as much as you can about that individual, particularly the whereabouts, and provide me with this information so I can try to put a stop to what you just read -- to stop him from rendering my pride and joy to a drop in his vast bucket.

This will help me protect my main reason for even doing this work at all.

I have watermarked all my e-text conversions so that it would be impossible for someone to remove these watermarks short of doing their own conversion work.

Hey!
Doing your own work!
What a concept!

I do this work for the purpose of providing a unique experience on the Internet. Being disabled and having virtually no social outlet, THIS PROJECT IS ALL I HAVE! PERIOD! I have done this work at GREAT SACRIFICE, slaving over this project when others were out dancing, slaving over this project while others were out making a few extra bucks.

Now, someone comes along, mouse in hand, and grabs months and months and months worth of work -- upwards of ten thousand hours in all, by my calculation -- and then trades my pride and joy on the open market for personal gain. Now, perhaps he can have a few more Saturday nights free to go out on the town, perhaps he can free up some time to earn some extra money.

Or, perhaps he can trade what he stole from me to somebody who stole somebody else's work.

Then this stuff will be posted not exclusively where it belongs -- right here, because that's why I converted it -- but any number of places on the Internet.

Then, you won't need me!

Won't someone please explain to me:
Why should I go on?
Why should I even continue to do this?

-- Cliff Walker
Send E-Mail To Cliff Walker

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "[culprit's name removed]"
Subject: Re: E-Texts???????????
Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2002 05:33:54-0000

I convert my e-texts exclusively for this project. I also watermark my work with very subtle changes so that if someone wanted to use my e-texts to, say, reprint the Joseph Lewis stuff (e.g. Prometheus Books), they'd have to do their own conversion work. I did this because I don't like the Bank of Wisdom stuff: too poorly done.

The works you're looking for may be on Bank of Wisdom. That stuff used to be free to post but no longer (or so I've heard; I don't pay attention). Perhaps someone had it up and someone else said to take it down.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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CDs Aren't the Problem: Mirroring Is!

Please note in all this that I have repeatedly said I don't care about private copies on CD-ROM or even small-scale distribution, particularly in countries where online time is cost-prohibitive. What I do care about is mirroring my work elsewhere on the Web. I do not want my work posted in any commercial setting (no advertising whatsoever). I also fear that mirrored copies could easily outrank my originals on any number of search engines (as has happened in the dreaming.org incident). In this latter case, the entire reason for my doing this at all has been defeated: I spend thousands of hours to bring visitors to this web site and the work draws people to other web sites!.

Nevertheless, this fellow talks of openly trading my work. Also, he grabbed and converted my work without first checking with me to see what I think about it. Finally, as you'll see during the course of this dialogue, he lies to me about his intentions, first saying one thing and later denying it.

 

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We Freely Share this Information!

Please note that I likewise believe in sharing this information freely. That's why I spent thousands of hours converting to e-text material that wasn't already on the web. That's why I pay top dollar for a server directly on the big fiber optic hub in Texas.

You don't need to post this material elsewhere on the web, because it's already posted right here. (Private CDs are a different matter.)

You don't need to convert it to other formats, because I've taken the care to encode my HTML so that it should display properly on all systems.

-- Cliff Walker

 

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "[culprit's name removed]"
Subject: Re: E-Texts???????????
Date: January 05, 2002 11:39 AM

I don't know what you mean.

First, I have not heard of any of the writers you mentioned.

Secondly, since you said you grabbed my e-text conversions and rendered them into a different e-format, I can only hope that this is for personal, private use, and that you do not intend to display or distribute them in any manner. I'd really hate for us to become adversaries over something like that.

If you wish to distribute or post e-text conversions of this material, you are welcome to do the work of converting it to e-text. However, I do not want my e-text conversions posted anywhere other than on the postitiveatheism.org domain, and I do not want them distributed. I do not own the copyright to the original work, but I do own the copyright to the watermarking that I put into my e-text conversions, and I am very jealous over it. The watermarking is the only way for me to protect my work converting the books to e-text.

If I find that someone has posted my e-text conversions and they refuse my request to remove them, I will remove mine and will tell all my readers why I did this. If I sound bitter it's because I am: almost everything I've done to try to make this web site unique has been posted on someone else's web site at one point or another.

I slaved for hundreds of hours over these things, getting them just right. I put much of this stuff up before I had enough money to buy a scanner and OCR software, so I typed it by hand. When I do a book such as Lecky, that costs me about three months out of my life. Being disabled, I cannot work nearly as quickly as normal people. I am very proud of my work and do not want it used for any purpose other than the reason I did the work: to draw attention to this web site. Most of those who have stolen my work from me already have a lot going for them: I have only this going for me.

This is the only thing that I've been able to build that's mine.

And people keep stealing it and posting it on their web sites so that they can free-up some time to go out to a show or make some money or whatever -- anything except set aside the time to do the work themselves.

I have had many, many problems with people taking my hard work on the Quotes section and posting it on their own web sites. Here I slave for hundreds of hours, mining books that I hobbled my broken body down to the Library to check out, and hand typed a lot of these (because the excerpts are too small to justify scanning). Then I do the research to write the comments. Then, after that, I (hopefully) have something unique to offer readers and (hopefully) they will visit me and write me letters and (hopefully) contribute toward keeping this web site up and running -- if not some help in doing the work then perhaps some help in paying the bills.

Since I earn a disability pension, I do not do this for the money. I do it because I feel a need to stop from happening what has happened to me for being an atheist. And this is all I have.

But then, along comes somebody who, with two or three keystrokes, copies my work and pastes it into their own web site. The time I spent doing the work comes to naught, because now I no longer have a unique quotes page, the work I did to make it unique now lives on someone else's page as well. Then, with the time they saved by stealing my work, they can go earn a little money (when I went ahead and ate bland food and took a bus rather than drove a car). Then, with the time they saved by stealing my work, they can go out and have a good time on a Saturday night (when I cannot tell you how many hundreds of Saturday nights I spent slaving over this computer terminal, lovingly building a web site that's different from all the others.

Now it's no longer different, but is the resource where many of the newer atheist web sites grab their material. Instead of doing their own work and building a better Internet, they grab my work and make the Internet one big broken record.

It is for this reason and no other that I have been tempted to stop doing this work. If I sound bitter it's because I am. The conversions I've done are hand-picked. The quotes I've posted are hand-picked, and most of them come from my own reading, my own journey. The rest come from the reading and journeys of those close friends who have met me through my web site -- that I built.

Those who stole my quotes and posted them cannot tell you the stories behind any of those quotes: I can tell you all the stories and I can pull them out and use them in an article or a Letter response and can weave them into poetry for you.

Those who steal from me can hit the Control key and the "C" key at the same time, but I cannot tell you anything more that they are able to do.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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Added: January 5, 2002

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 "Abo-o-o-u-u-ut FACE!   Hut! Hut! Hut!   At ease!" 

Ah, now that I confront him, he wants ME to relax! Didn't we hear that from the fellow on dreaming.org, Diman, who likewise accused me of being unwilling to share (read: unwilling to allow him to mirror my work so he could get a higher ranking on the search engines, etc.).

And get this: he says I'm not being positive! A dollar for every conniving wannabe evangelist who laid that one on me over the years would cover the cost of printing and mailing this month's print edition.

-- Cliff Walker

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "[name removed]"
Subject: Re: E-Texts???????????
Date: January 05, 2002 8:44 PM

You specifically made a big point about trading these things and even offered to trade with me. Now it's just a private thing and you don't offer copies of what someone wants for copies of something you want!

Which is it?

In whose hands will my conversions eventually end up? And what are the chances that whoever gets this or that copy will not know that I don't want copies elsewhere on the Web and that the very reason I even bothered to create them was to post them here?

So you burned them onto a CD and then someone has something you want so you make them a copy of the CD, having long forgotten that my (basically) life's work is a drop in the bucket on this vast collection of e-texts. (Even the links back to my web site don't go back there any more because they are relative, not absolute.) Ah, but someone else might have a higher ranking on the search engine, and so when a person searches for the information, the go to the bootleg copy rather than the real copy.

It's one thing for you to trade in material that is gone and long forgotten: this material is alive and well and constitutes a major portion of this particular effort: approximately one-fifth of the entire web site.

You just burned one-fifth of my assets onto your CD and, according to a natural reading of your first letter, these belongings of mine are now part of a collection that is freely available in trade on the open market.

It is for this reason that I watermarked my work, and it is for this reason that I have already posted a warning, asking our readers to help us put a stop to people who are trading what I so laboriously and lovingly created specifically for Positive Atheism Magazine -- what I sacrificed a relationship with Internet Infidels over because I wouldn't let them mirror my work.

And you think I'm going to sit still for this? You think I should?

When I die, my will states what is to happen to everything I own, including the web site and down to where the e-texts will go. While I am alive (even if I take them down), if somebody uses them in a way that I don't like, I'll pursue the matter.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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Added: January 9, 2002

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "[removed]"
Subject: Re: E-Texts???????????
Date: January 06, 2002 4:14 AM

Still, your first message to me was an offer to trade things for e-texts from gaud nose ware. I need reassurance. Can you assure me that none of the material that I created for PAM will enter into any trading of any kind?

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "[removed]"
Subject: Re: E-Texts???????????
Date: January 07, 2002 6:20 AM

The first thing you said to me is "Want to trade?" This clearly indicates that you're in the business of dealing in bootleg manuscripts and e-texts.

This is precisely why I asked that question: had you been honest, you would have humbly answered it. Since you blow up and accuse ME of being in the wrong (like all the other thieves I've encountered do, thieves who have stolen e-texts from me and used them for personal gain). I have no choice but to finger you as a thief. The only reason you'd respond this way when I ask you to promise me to be on the up-and-square is because you're lying to me. I can tell you had no intention of honoring that agreement in the first place; it shows in the way you responded to that one question. However, nobody who is reformed (like me) would ever offer to trade anything to anyone at any time. Thus, your initial offer shows that you still do not care one whit about intellectual properties. Your subsequent about-face suggests that you'd stoop a bit if doing so would increase your count by a few more items (such as the dozen or so that constitute my life's work thus far -- drop in your bucket, for sure).

I ought to know, I've dealt in bootleg recordings off and on since I was a kid (but only ever in stuff that's way out of print: no one I ever knew ever grabbed stuff that the owner was still using -- like you appear to be doing). On top of that, I did time as a coyote in the early 1980s. If it takes one to know one, there you have my credentials. No wonder your first e-mail seemed weird before I even opened it: I even recognized your family name and wondered, at first, if there was a connection.

Therefore, I have blocked your e-mail address and will be on the lookout for my work being used in illegal and illicit manners. When I find them, I will go after whoever's box the stuff lives on unless they're willing to finger you and help me put an end to your game.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.