Today I started to file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice against netlux.org, the site that is hosting VX Heaven, which has posted my story "Computer Virus" in its entirety without my permission. A little research convinced me that this action would be futile.
Netlux, the ISP, is based in Ukraine; much of its website is in Russian. Only a small percentage of its users, according to whois.domaintools.com (thank you, Mary Kowal) are based in either the USA or the European Union. VX Heaven exists as a site specifically for "virus creators." These guys are just going to thumb their noses at protests from me, including any legal action. They are probably laughing at the somewhat lofty tone of my last email.
The site also has stolen stories from Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, and Greg Benford. I'll email all of them, but, frankly, I don't think there's too much that can be done here.
Then I received the following email, below with my reply. I'm almost getting fond of this character -- at the very least, his sheer gall is arresting.
In a message dated 4/15/2009 8:51:23 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Dear Nancy Kress
I will start from the end. No, I am not counting on what you wouldn't use the copyright law to solve this problem, but rather the knowledge (based on experience) that you can hardly achieve any results by moving in that direction. Being the part of so called"underground" I do receive much more serious menaces (from time to time) and I don't threaten easily. Yes, you're right, the posting of your story turned me into the thief and exploiter in your eyes, but we have completely different mindsets: the thing that frightens you - the absence of control is my value. I don't want to waste your precious time by explaining my position. The reality shows that there were no control, that you cannot lose what you don't have and you already lost it when you decided to publish your story. After all, one could walk to the library and read the book there for free. It is simply terrible! Usually, I'm receiving the requests for removing some materials from author's agent or publisher's representatives. Their reasons are obvious. The mail from the author surprised me a bit and my first intention was to take your story offline and I had a feeling that I ought to have begged your pardon, but curiosity won and I asked about your reasons. I changed my mind. Let your readers decide. Would them respect your position? Anyone who will try to open the text of the story will get the following warning:
Nancy Kress (Nankress@aol.com) the author of this text does not want to see it freely available. Probably she would call anyone who will infringe her copyright an exploiter or a thief. You have to choose:
[ I agree with administration, show me the full-text! ]
[ I respect the author's position, take me back to the index! ]
P.S. *) I'm not trying to shuffle off the blame on to another people. *) I can rewrite the text of the warning if you wish. *) I added "no index" tag to the text. It should disappear from the search results soon.
P.P.S. I am sorry for causing you to be offended in any way.-- http://vx.org.ua/herm1t/
You are right -- there is not much I can do about this situation. (If you're interested, you might check out how I discuss it on my blog, at Blogspot.) However, I in no way believe you are sorry that you offended me. You are relishing all this.
Thank you for at least giving your readers a choice.