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[–] EricHunting 0 points 20 points (+20|-0) ago 

Thank you for the concern. It's a business problem. I run a one-man business as a book scout, buying after-market college textbooks for the handful of textbook wholesalers. Since last year I've been harassed by a litigation mill working for several textbook publishers who have been farming an exploit in copyright law they call 'indirect infringement' to shake-down anyone who they suspect of ever coming into contact with a counterfeit book. Doesn't matter if it was accidental, doesn't matter where or how you got the book, doesn't matter whether or not you knew it was fake, doesn't matter if you sold it on to anyone else. If you in any way came in contact with it, they claim, you are liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. And they don't seem to have to prove anything. Just make the accusation. Not only is everyone in the book industry being threatened by this, so is every student who ever tries to save a little money buying a book on Amazon or the like. There is no practical way to know the whole provenance of any product you buy anywhere, let alone on-line. It's just a matter of time before they start getting attacked too--especially the kids who have been involved in the book price protest movement. The news isn't reporting it, but the whole textbook industry is in turmoil right now because of these people and no one is doing anything about it. They file dozens of suits a month, the publishers out to cause as much destruction as they can. So now they are actually filing suit against me even though they know they can't make any money given how small my business and savings are. I can't fight back because I have no money for an attorney and can't pay any amount in settlement. I'm probably going to lose my home and livelihood and, being disabled, my odds of finding anything else I can do to earn a living are limited.

That's why I've been working on projects like this documentary. The handwriting has been on the wall for the textbook industry for a long time and I've long sought to move on to something new. I have been in the Maker movement from its inception and have extensive knowledge of the new fabrication technology, design/developer community, and subculture. But it may just be too late. Not much that can be done but ride it out.

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[–] Malek 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I think there are attorney fees awarded to lawyers who fight and win against copyright trolls. I would go see a local copyright attorney and get a free consultation. You don't have to do this alone.

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[–] EricHunting 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

I have contacted a small business law attorney who I briefly hired a while ago to try and communicate with these people when they first sent me threats and refused to talk to me in a civil manner. (turned out to be futile because all they did was mock and insult him too...) He offered to search for someone local who might take this case pro bono, but I haven't yet heard if anything came of that. Just keeping my fingers crossed... They've made sure everything has short deadlines to maximize the pressure and minimize people's options.

I've also contacted my local representatives, not so much for my sake but because it seems very likely these people will soon start going after college students, if they haven't already. There's a growing student movement protesting escalating book prices and advocating buying books on-line or buying international editions to save money--and that's what the publishers are trying to exploit copyright and this counterfeit book scare to criminalize. Any kids active in that protest movement could become targets of these people as retaliation. They can be made an example of. It's frightening. This is what happens when you allow such high-stakes commercialization in education. Drug company style business models and drug cartel style tactics.

Recently I had a funny experience when a pull-top soup can in my kitchen exploded making a sound just like a gun. (high altitude and summer heat...) My instinct was to look over my body to see if I'd been shot because my first thought was; "They've finally done it. Those publishers finally decided it was cheaper to just hire a hit-man like the mob." I don't know. Maybe that's what comes of growing up in New Jersey... At least I got some free soup coupons for the trouble.

I've wanted out of this business for a long time. Everything involving higher education in the US has become so filthy with corruption and runaway greed. I'd so much rather make things. Relief shelter design. Furnitecture. Alternative and sustainable tech. That's my real passion.

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[–] laancelot [S] 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I wish you all the good things. Books should be something you cannot be punished to own or acquire (except rare old book, which are worthy not in their content but in their form). Those people are doing something despicable, even though I can see why they're doing it, they clearly have found a hole in the system and are exploiting it. Good luck in making things right.

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[–] ImJustAGuy 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

You need a gofundme or something to earn community support. Solicit a probono lawyer maybe.... something. How can others help you?