By Debbie Burke
This is a particularly weird case that mystifies me. I’m eager to hear what TKZers think about it.
Recently, in an author blog, there was a link to “ANTIBOOKCLUB.COM.” Clicking on it brought up the following letter:
Welcome to Submission Free Download Project
Dear Critic / Prospective Reader,
You do not know me.
Soon you may.
The attached file is yours to keep and read.
I will now explain why.
I took other people’s books and did not provide them with proper compensation in return. I have been instructed to write that sentence as part of my sentence. The punishment does not require me to write it five hundred times on a blackboard like a student in violation of classroom codes of conduct. I only need write it once. But I have to do more than write it. Since I took other people’s books, I must give my own.
When I wrote Submission, my chronicle of how various books written by others came to be in my possession, I did not intend for it to be published. It was a private diary. Circumstances beyond my control put it in the hands of others. I was told that it would be published and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. “Oh, well,” I said, shrugging. Maybe I’d see a few euros—a few bucks—from the deal. I was still thinking primarily of myself. Then came the judge’s intervention, and a set of orders. The most important one is the one that is guiding this message, and the attached file: it obligated me to send my manuscript out to others for free. The file is a “PDF,” which stands for “Portable Document Format,” but might as well stand for “Pages Delivered Freely,” because that it what is happening.
And so I reprint the other sentence that I have been compelled to write: Please enjoy this book, Submission, free of charge.
At the end of his letter, there was a form to click to download the .pdf and add it to a shopping cart, price $0.
I didn’t click on the link because I’m cautious about unknown links. I do not know what this one leads to.
He also included an email address “for press inquiries.”
Is this a marketing gimmick? Is he hoping the NY Times will review it? Does he think Hollywood will call about film rights?
Was there an actual legal case about stealing authors’ books? Had a judge really issued an order that compelled him to give his book away for free?
Curiosity piqued, I consulted Mr. Google. The only other mention of this particular book entitled Submission was on GoodReads with a three-star rating but no reviews. No Amazon listing. No information about Filippo Gannatore. No court case I could find.
TKZers, please chime in.
Do you believe a crime—presumably the theft of intellectual properties—was committed?
If a judge ordered him to give away his book for free, why?
Is this supposed to be restitution to authors whose works were taken without proper compensation? If so, how do the aggrieved authors receive any benefit?
If this is a marketing gimmick, what do you think of it?