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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tortious interference

Although the specific elements required to prove a claim of tortious interference vary from one jurisdiction to another, they typically include the following:
  1. The existence of a contractual relationship or beneficial business relationship between two parties.
  2. Knowledge of that relationship by a third party.
  3. Intent of the third party to induce a party to the relationship to breach the relationship.
  4. Lack of any privilege on the part of the third party to induce such a breach.
  5. The contractual relationship is breached.
  6. Damage to the party against whom the breach occurs.
Any of those elements missing?

UPDATE: Since some people seem to want to go on the warpath, let me be perfectly clear here: Amazon is not to blame. I even suspect that it is entirely possible that Tor Books is not to blame either, based on a) when the book was pulled and b) the fact that the book has shown as Live for nearly 24 hours but still does not have a page on any Amazon site. The most likely scenario, in my opinion, is a rogue low-level SJW employee, possibly two, in a specific department.

I have already spoken to the manager of one department and they have begun to investigate why Corrosion is Live but not available. They've done everything we asked and we have no problem with the way we have been treated.

Labels:

110 Comments:

Blogger Commenter March 21, 2017 9:27 PM  

I've been looking for Corrosion/Corroding Empire all day. Or are we talking about something else?

Anonymous Rollory March 21, 2017 9:29 PM  

I'm gonna need a bigger bowl of popcorn.

Blogger SirHamster March 21, 2017 9:29 PM  

What is Vox going to do with Scalzi's lawn?

Blogger SirHamster March 21, 2017 9:30 PM  

On a sidenote, I now see the bonus of pre-ordering the book. You actually get to read it when it's released.

Blogger Beau March 21, 2017 9:35 PM  

Any of those elements missing?

None whatsoever. Pursue with alacrity.

Blogger Raging Papist March 21, 2017 9:42 PM  

No, you have them listed. I think intent on the part of the defendant is the one most considered.

Blogger tweell March 21, 2017 9:46 PM  

All there, as far as I can see. Release the lawyers!

Amazon may not like the hit to their reputation. Tor is too desperate to care.

Blogger FSL March 21, 2017 9:47 PM  

It seems you might have trouble proving point 3 conclusively.

Blogger Orville March 21, 2017 9:53 PM  

If I recall correctly Vox has sources at TOR.

Blogger Orville March 21, 2017 9:54 PM  

What I want to know is if Scalzi will be a co-defendant.

Blogger VD March 21, 2017 9:54 PM  

It seems you might have trouble proving point 3 conclusively.

Not if Amazon cooperates. Assuming it was someone at Tor who talked to them, not merely some low-level SJW employee. We'll figure it out soon enough.

OpenID aew51183 March 21, 2017 9:55 PM  

If this is about scalzi, point 4 is likely to be the sticking point, as scalzi could argue he was making a good-faith trademark complaint.

Blogger VD March 21, 2017 9:56 PM  

What I want to know is if Scalzi will be a co-defendant.

It depends. IF he talked to Tor and asked them to do something about it, and IF Tor contacted Amazon and requested that they pull the book, then he'd be involved and responsible. If he didn't, then he won't be.

We'll find out.

Blogger VD March 21, 2017 9:57 PM  

If this is about scalzi, point 4 is likely to be the sticking point, as scalzi could argue he was making a good-faith trademark complaint.

No, he can't. You can't trademark names or titles. And the products are entirely different. Just compare the two books.

You've never noticed that generic brand cereals look like the cereals they replace?

Blogger anne March 21, 2017 10:02 PM  

You've never noticed that generic brand cereals look like the cereals they replace?

What was that about never going up against a game designer when death is on the line?

Bravo, Vox and the Castalia team. I never knew that a book release could be art.

Blogger White Knight Leo #0368 March 21, 2017 10:03 PM  

Considering the original cover literally identified the book as a parody of Scalzi's book....

Blogger Salt March 21, 2017 10:07 PM  

One way or another you appear to have the beginnings of a Tort action.

Blogger Robert Divinity March 21, 2017 10:08 PM  

How would damages be measured and proved? There may be an obvious way but I don't see it (loss of preorders would be an obvious example but only you and Amazon would be privy to that aspect). The other elements are there although, as pointed out above, copyright infringement would be used as a defense to the fourth element.

Blogger Robert Divinity March 21, 2017 10:14 PM  

To answer my own question, reprint costs. Once actual damages are shown with intentional tort you can move to punitives, which is where the real action is.

Anonymous Darth Dharmakīrti March 21, 2017 10:15 PM  

The problem is going to be point 6. What were the actual damages here? What did this incident cost Castalia House, concretely? For example, how many lost sales do you think you can prove this cost you? (Note that "concrete" here can also mean things like e.g. loss of brand value, but again, the question remains: how did this hurt Castalia's brand?)

I agree that this is almost certainly actionable. Tortious interference may well be the right way to go. I hope you take them to the cleaners. But I'd watch out for point 6.

Blogger dh March 21, 2017 10:16 PM  

I would be worried about 5. Amazon, if they don't co-operate, will claim they are no obligation to perform any services, that the services are no contractual in nature.

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) March 21, 2017 10:17 PM  

16. White Knight Leo #0368 March 21, 2017 10:03 PM
Considering the original cover literally identified the book as a parody of Scalzi's book....


and parody is Constitutionally protected speech.

Anonymous Darth Dharmakīrti March 21, 2017 10:17 PM  

@Robert Divinity

I see we're on the same page.

I don't think reprint costs apply because, unless I am mistaken, it was ebook only.

Blogger pdwalker March 21, 2017 10:20 PM  

My wild ass guess is that things will be held up long enough to ensure a "successful launch" of TORs offering (offaling?) and then Corrosion will be quietly released.

Anonymous 0018 March 21, 2017 10:20 PM  

dh wrote:I would be worried about 5. Amazon, if they don't co-operate, will claim they are no obligation to perform any services, that the services are no contractual in nature.

In other words, they don't have to bake that cake if they don't want to?

Blogger SirHamster March 21, 2017 10:22 PM  

Robert Divinity wrote:How would damages be measured and proved? There may be an obvious way but I don't see it (loss of preorders would be an obvious example but only you and Amazon would be privy to that aspect). The other elements are there although, as pointed out above, copyright infringement would be used as a defense to the fourth element.

IG article says this about damages:

Typical legal damages for tortious interference include economic losses, if they can be proven with certainty, and mental distress. Additionally punitive damages may be awarded if malice on the part of the wrongdoer can be established.

Equitable remedies may include injunctive relief in the form of a negative injunction that would be used to prevent the wrongdoer from benefiting from any contractual relationship that may arise out of the interference, i.e., the performance of a singer who was originally contracted with the plaintiff to perform at the same time.



Material damages would be the mobilization of the Castalia House team to address the issue, the cost of new cover art and the delay in sales ...

Punitive would make the punishment about hurting Tor, not just making CH whole.

The fact that VD had an alternate cover immediately ready might work against claimed damages, but it would be quite hilarious if Scalzi's book gets de-listed from Amazon as a way to prevent Scalzi from benefiting from Corrosion's de-listing and delayed availability.

Blogger Jon March 21, 2017 10:23 PM  

The beauty of it all is you don't need to have definitive proof, just enough to convince a judge you might have a case. Then the lawyers get to do discovery. And that's always a place where they can find stuff.

Blogger Robert Divinity March 21, 2017 10:28 PM  

@26:

Actual damages, no matter how small, have to be proved to receive punitive damages. The injunctive relief, if it is available, can be obtained at the outset so that would be a humorous possibility.

Blogger Beau March 21, 2017 10:28 PM  

It seems you might have trouble proving point 3 conclusively.

Not on discovery.

Blogger Dave March 21, 2017 10:29 PM  

Commenter wrote:I've been looking for Corrosion/Corroding Empire all day. Or are we talking about something else?

http://www.castaliahouse.com/downloads/the-corroding-empire/

Blogger Philip Gose March 21, 2017 10:31 PM  

I don't see how this helps Tor. David vs. Goliath. Big publisher pushing around a small publisher. Optics don't look good. Almost free publicity for Castalia with a good chance of success. Surely Tor's legal department is not aware of this yet.

Blogger Basil Makedon March 21, 2017 10:34 PM  

There are no issues that I can see:

1. Not even a glimmer of a dispute here.

2. VD's promotion at this site and the Amazon page of the book is conclusive proof. TOR can't claim ignorance of how publishing and promotion with Amazon works.

3. Intent is obvious: demanding that the book be pulled leading to the book being pulled.

4. I do not think that a viable trademark claim can be made. First, you cannot TM a mere book title. The best you can do is TM a series. TOR ought to know that as well. See, e.g. "The Wheel of Time." Looking at Scalzi's author page gives me no confidence that there is a viable trademark in a series. Second, even if there was a TM the Corroding Empire book was a fair parody. Third, while not even relevant, any evidence of "actual confusion" can be re characterized as mockery and trolling in furtherance of the parody.

5. No dispute -- the book was pulled. It seems that the recovered book was also pulled (I can't really tell). If true, that fact goes to also to the intent of TOR -- to punish their highly successful, upstart competitor.

6. As for damages, the parody book was more highly rated on Amazon's metrics than Scalzi's opus. Given the sales price and ranking, I would expect Amazon's discovery in the lawsuit to give any economic expert excellently correlated statistics leading to a very tight economic damage range. While true that you cannot collect on "speculative" damages, there should be no issue here. Even if the Amazon numbers do not bear fruit, CH can still claim damages based on the editing time, promotional costs, etc.

Now, because CH is a successful (increasingly so) upstart competitor to TOR there could be -- depending on the state where the case is brought -- other types of unfair competition. Mass. has a vicious unfair competition law, as I understand. Punitive (or Exemplary) damages are also often available.

For such a gross and egregious violation of the Publishers' sacred trust and the utmost fidelity that the First Amendment of the US Constitution deserves, TOR ought to be punished to set a stern example.

Thus ends the lesson. I have set up a True Genius style popcorn stash ready for when TOR is lased from orbit. Proceed and godspeed.

Blogger Alexandros March 21, 2017 10:36 PM  

This makes me happy; I hope this rectifies the injustice.

Blogger tuberman March 21, 2017 10:37 PM  

Excellent!

Blogger SirHamster March 21, 2017 10:39 PM  

Basil Makedon wrote:5. No dispute -- the book was pulled. It seems that the recovered book was also pulled (I can't really tell). If true, that fact goes to also to the intent of TOR -- to punish their highly successful, upstart competitor.

As far as I can tell as a spectator, the re-covered book was never listed and made available.

Blogger Knight Of the Realm March 21, 2017 10:40 PM  

Looks like all the elements are there; since even Corrison isn't listed on Amazon yet.

Blogger Koanic March 21, 2017 10:41 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Koanic March 21, 2017 10:41 PM  

Frankly, I'm impressed by the speed with which you've attached yourself to Tor's jugular,

although one must give some credit to Tor for apparently misinterpreting the meaning "throat punch".

Blogger Kentucky Packrat March 21, 2017 10:43 PM  

The fact that VD had an alternate cover immediately ready might work against claimed damages

No idea if this is the way it's happened, but I can imagine that there's a pay or play contract here: a one-time charge to create the image and get a time-limited option on the picture, and then a per-book and/or larger one-time fee to use the second image. Damages are the second set of charges.

During the damages stages, the defendants can argue that costs are unreasonably high, but that doesn't happen until very late in the process.

Blogger Mountain Man March 21, 2017 10:49 PM  

This is how you win. Using the law ( or just the threat of it ) to smash an out of line prick - be they an individual, company or public employee - has served me well over the 15 years Ive been in business.
Practicing peace with all ..until stepped on.
Two keys to success for any aspiring businessmen is a good lawyer and accountant.

Anonymous VFM 9054 March 21, 2017 10:50 PM  

You also need to prove a causal relationship between the contractual breach and the legal injury sustained. Call it number 6, and the current number 6 "damage to the party against whom the breach occurs" number 7.

Blogger phunktor March 21, 2017 10:50 PM  

"We'll find out"...
In discovery! (Licks chops)

Blogger Dave March 21, 2017 10:51 PM  

SirHamster wrote:Basil Makedon wrote:5. No dispute -- the book was pulled. It seems that the recovered book was also pulled (I can't really tell). If true, that fact goes to also to the intent of TOR -- to punish their highly successful, upstart competitor.

As far as I can tell as a spectator, the re-covered book was never listed and made available.


Markku wrote:The email said that it can take up to 24h for the book to be visible, so no reason to panic yet.

Blogger Beau March 21, 2017 10:53 PM  

mental distress

Besides the author and CH staff, everyone who pre-ordered the book might have suffered anxiety, feelings of helpless anger, or other debilitating emotion due to Tor's shocking disruption of our contractual agreement to purchase a book online. A well-crafted questionnaire sent to pre-order purchasers might very well reveal widespread mental distress.

Blogger SirHamster March 21, 2017 10:53 PM  

@41

It's not just creating the cover, but that he didn't flail around for a week waiting for a new cover to get done quickly.

I could imagine a big publishing house taking that long because no one saw a need to prepare for this contingency. (though they would generally have the lawyers and clout to deter this kind of interference)

Whereas CH is a lean, mean, and nimble competitor ready to eat Tor's lunch.

This is well worth the pre-order money, and the bonus entertainment makes me eager to keep supporting CH.

Blogger Ty March 21, 2017 10:54 PM  

Discovery will be the real prize here, I suspect. Emails between Tor employees and Amazon employees should prove very enlightening. I'd also name the individuals involved as defendants (once you find out who they are).

Blogger Robert Divinity March 21, 2017 10:56 PM  

The bottom line is you can withstand a summary judgment motion for the defense on all six elements. That's really all that matters now.

Blogger praetorian March 21, 2017 10:56 PM  

STOP

Blogger Beau March 21, 2017 10:59 PM  

Emails between Tor employees and Amazon employees should prove very enlightening.

I can't imagine top management at Amazon being pleased with the public perception that TOR can push them around. It might give others ideas to try bullying Amazon too.

Blogger Robert Divinity March 21, 2017 11:01 PM  

I can't imagine top management at Amazon being pleased with the public perception that TOR can push them around. It might give others ideas to try bullying Amazon too.

Agreed. Another possibility is that it didn't take all that much pushing around. This would work against a tortious interference claim but open up several other cans of worms.

Blogger JaimeInTexas March 21, 2017 11:01 PM  

Is there a contract with Amazon?

Those tortious interference elements reminded me of alienation of affection.

Blogger VD March 21, 2017 11:02 PM  

Is there a contract with Amazon?

Yes.

Blogger Silly But True March 21, 2017 11:09 PM  

Tortious interference? Theft is more like it.

VD @ March 4, 2005:
"Yes, I'm thinking of taking some Women's Studies classes to correct the situation. If only my Ann Coulter doll would stop telling me that Math is Hard, I'd be able to write about strong, beautiful, independent, but lonely women in space and the rugged men who respect them for themselves."

Looks like for Collapsing Empire, he copied your plan verbatim.

Blogger Elocutioner March 21, 2017 11:10 PM  

It took time and effort to replace the book cover. Also, Corroding was pulled the day after launch for the full day and all searches for it are being redirected to Scalzi's book, so maybe Castalia has a claim on some of those sales as well. Consider that Corroding was ranked much higher than Collapsing in numerous categories pre-launch.

Anonymous krymneth March 21, 2017 11:16 PM  

Since I'm a bit amused to have a collector's eBook now, I took it upon myself to download what I have from Amazon. (Plus I was reading it on my phone, and I needed the last chapter somewhere where I can copy and paste things, for Reasons.)

The metadata on Amazon is a mess. The Kindle download page claims it is Corrosion by Harry Seldon, but the file I actually got from Amazon still has the original cover and name. And of course it isn't available through the search, but it still autocompletes in the main Amazon search, with the departments coming up in a way that shows the search system at least knows it's a book.

If this does go to a true legal battle, I'd point out that if you go through with the search for "corroding empire" in books, you get Collapsing Empire as the first hit. It is, no sarcasm, possible the Amazon search algorithm did indeed decide that was the best hit, in the absence of a 100% match, as the Amazon search algorithm does go deliberately fuzzy to ensure that you pretty much always find something. But it is also possible someone's deliberately aliased that search, in which case that would probably provide evidence of some sort of intent.

(Also I find it ironic, immediately after finishing reading The Corroding Empire, that I must check the "Please prove you're not a robot" here....)

Blogger Commenter March 21, 2017 11:20 PM  

30. Dave, Sorry, I meant I was looking for the amazon listing for popcorn purposes. I preordered and received the automatic download of C/CE, albeit with a strange mixing of authors and cover art. I enjoyed reading it too!

Blogger JaimeInTexas March 21, 2017 11:20 PM  

Read the update. An agent acting on behalf of Amazon is Amazon acting. At least, a manager is taking a look. Lets see what happens next.
Maybe it is just a screw up. Maybe it just causes an SJW's job. That will bring some tears ... of quiet enjoyment.
All this, though, causes me distress - how can I trust Amazon not to be an honest broker in their business with me?

Blogger Dave March 21, 2017 11:23 PM  

This is amusing: I bookmarked the reviews of The Corroding Empire yesterday morning. The page is still available but it now states the book is Corrosion by Harry Seldon but the cover is the original by Kalsi. Clicking on the book title jumps to the page where as Brian Niemeier said "a dog tells you Amazon couldn't find the page" and clicking on the author's name Harry Seldon jumps to a search page that returns a couple of vocal jazz items, Asimov's book and some other unrelated items with ties to either Harry or Seldon.

https://www.amazon.com/Corroding-Empire-Johan-Kalsi-ebook/product-reviews/B06XFQ24QC/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_ttl?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&sortBy=recent#RZ0GPP2RXKZDX

Blogger Nate March 21, 2017 11:23 PM  

it reminds me of the trouble a certain parody publisher had when attempting to publish a GRRM parody.

The title would be sumitted over and over again... and it would just sit pending. It would never be approved. or it would be approved then never go live.

This went on and on and on.

Blogger beerme March 21, 2017 11:24 PM  

I'm going to laugh if some Scalzied manboob at Amazon just helped Vox write yet another chapter for Always Double Down.

Anonymous Eduardo March 21, 2017 11:25 PM  

Well looks like there are some corrosion going on with Amazon.

Funny if it truly is an inside job, will Scalzi own these insidejobbers a blowjob? In another note, sooomebody is gonna lose their jobs. There are obvious ways to change Amazon's coding, they will soon find out what is going on and through that discover the possible suspects, either they give in or they will all get the Pink.

Chance! There will be jobs in Amazon. Snidely... Looking at you bro.

Blogger bornagainpenguin March 21, 2017 11:27 PM  

Possible Black Knight action?

Would there be any benefit to someone searching for Corroding Empire, purchasing the book offered in the top result, then returning it as not being what the purchaser was seeking? Asking for ummm....a friend...

Blogger Dave March 21, 2017 11:29 PM  

krymneth wrote:The metadata on Amazon is a mess. The Kindle download page claims it is Corrosion by Harry Seldon, but the file I actually got from Amazon still has the original cover and name. And of course it isn't available through the search, but it still autocompletes in the main Amazon search, with the departments coming up in a way that shows the search system at least knows it's a book.

Exactly what's apparent on the bookmarked review page, see @58

Blogger Robert Divinity March 21, 2017 11:34 PM  

Chance! There will be jobs in Amazon. Snidely... Looking at you bro.

I'm looking for case law that would support third party claims of negligent infliction of emotional distress from a tortious interference with contract. So far there is nothing, but if found Snidely and others here may not have to worry about employment.

Blogger Dave March 21, 2017 11:41 PM  

The most likely scenario, in my opinion, is a rogue low-level SJW employee, possibly two, in a specific department.

If that is the case, does Amazon still object to the original cover and author?

Anonymous Man of the Atom March 21, 2017 11:41 PM  

Picked up "The Corroding Empire" from Castalia House, and will buy "Corrosion" once Amazon gets sorted. Both covers will be mine, and the author(s) get some profits from the LOLs. Now, all that is missing is more popcorn.

Blogger justaguy March 21, 2017 11:42 PM  

Does CH have the funding to survive a scorched earth legal campaign by the big publishing house? Once CH files against the Big Publisher then one strategy is to try to make small CH burn through all available funds. Lots of motions and answers and once discovery is granted, then huge discovery requests of CH by Big Publisher to make CH burn funds. Over a long litigation and many many millions of dollars. Mistakes in delays or answers become penalties and assumed facts... lots of minefields for any inexperienced or under-funded and under-manned legal teams.

Blogger Silly But True March 21, 2017 11:57 PM  

In a universe where their algorithms must be right for their universe to survive... And yet here it is: a glitch.

We have a book with a mismatched title? Is it Corrosion? Is it Corroding Empire? Can I get reviews for Corrosion? When I click on the book description, a different book entirely shows up.

Is it a harbinger of more corrosion to come?

Where will this error take them in 100 years?

Blogger Eric Slate March 22, 2017 12:01 AM  

Remember, vfm, sjw strategy is always to provoke you to doing more work than you have to while fighting them. Conserve effort to use at the schwerpunkt. They are bigger than us with heavier cannons and supply lines.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy March 22, 2017 12:16 AM  

I don't think they've tried to delete the book from my Amazon account or from my devices (yet), but it's not back on sale on Amazon under the new title yet. There's your actual damages.

I do expect the reason it's not back on sale is that Amazon's system for updating published books is an incompetent shit-show and their system can't update anyone's book reliably, even for customers who buy the book after the update should be live, even when the original book is completely FUBARed. (One of the Mad Genius Club members had that happen.) But that doesn't let the party which had the parody cover and metadata taken down in the first place off the hook.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 22, 2017 12:18 AM  

Eduardo wrote:Chance! There will be jobs in Amazon. Snidely... Looking at you bro.
Well, since the job description seems to be "Subvert the interests of your employer to score points against an enemy", I fear I am utterly unqualified.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor March 22, 2017 12:22 AM  

If anyone has a chance to have a look at The Collapsing Empire without buying it, I really encourage you to do so. The excerpts Vox provided are truly awful, but the effect is amplified bigly when you find yourself reading page after page of that crap. It really is amazing that anyone expected this to be the bestseller that would save Tor.

Anonymous Tanjil Bren March 22, 2017 12:36 AM  

"I never knew that a book release could be art."

I know, right!

"Surely Tor's legal department is not aware of this yet."

Do we care? In my humble experience, publishing house legal departments don't tend to occupy the best and brightest.

Blogger Stan_qaz March 22, 2017 12:37 AM  

I pre-ordered and started reading the original Corroding Empire but overnight the listing shown by the Amazon "Manage content and devices" page switched to showing Corrosion. I wasn't expecting that.

Trying to view the book's page linked to from Amazon's manage page I got an Amazon 404 page.

More interesting is the line that pops up when you select the book on the manage page:

------------------
Corrosion
Harry Seldon
Purchased: March 19, 2017
Price: $5.38
Order Details
Deliver to Default Device (or) Others
Delete
Download & transfer via USB
Clear furthest page read
Read Now
Return for Refund
Add to collections
Remove from collections
------------------------

Seriously? Return for Refund - I don't believe I have seen that on any other book. I did spot-check a couple dozen in my collection without being offered a refund on any of them.

Blogger Michael Maier March 22, 2017 12:49 AM  

Beau wrote:mental distress

Besides the author and CH staff, everyone who pre-ordered the book might have suffered anxiety, feelings of helpless anger, or other debilitating emotion due to Tor's shocking disruption of our contractual agreement to purchase a book online. A well-crafted questionnaire sent to pre-order purchasers might very well reveal widespread mental distress.


Well... this IS the Ilk we're talking about here... consider whence we started...

Blogger Matthew March 22, 2017 12:55 AM  

I'm still reeling from the implication that our chaplain is also a lawyer.

Blogger Subversive Saint March 22, 2017 12:59 AM  

I have experienced mental distress due to the unavailability of the book. I have experienced a marked increase in beer consumption since the book was pulled. I attribute this to my need to self medicate the pain away.

Anonymous jOHN MOSBY March 22, 2017 1:01 AM  

76. Matthew
Who would know the law better ?
God bless him. He is the man I hope to be someday, and I am an olden farte.

Anonymous VFM #6306 March 22, 2017 1:02 AM  

I am right there with you, Matthew. The Ilk conspiracy has become like The Man Who Was Thursday ...but in unsettling reverse.

Doggone if ain't quite the ride. Thank God I'm just tall enough for it.

Blogger Matthew March 22, 2017 1:19 AM  

Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy March 22, 2017 1:20 AM  

krymneth wrote:If this does go to a true legal battle, I'd point out that if you go through with the search for "corroding empire" in books, you get Collapsing Empire as the first hit. It is, no sarcasm, possible the Amazon search algorithm did indeed decide that was the best hit, in the absence of a 100% match, as the Amazon search algorithm does go deliberately fuzzy to ensure that you pretty much always find something. But it is also possible someone's deliberately aliased that search, in which case that would probably provide evidence of some sort of intent.
We may have contributed to that part, because so many of the people who went to buy Corroding also visited the Collapsing page to gawk at the trainwreck. (More precisely, that is the sort of feature that a product search system at Amazon's scale and with the data that Amazon collects should have. Who knows whether those clowns actually managed to implement it.)

Stan_qaz wrote:Seriously? Return for Refund - I don't believe I have seen that on any other book. I did spot-check a couple dozen in my collection without being offered a refund on any of them.
That's only available for a limited time after you buy a book.

Anonymous Minion 0132 March 22, 2017 1:44 AM  

Amazon is not allowing reviewers of The Collapsing Empire to quote the infamous beginning of Chapter Two, supposedly because of a prohibition on obscene words. Blanking out Scalzi's favorite potty words still keeps your review from being posted.

Also, Chapter Two has been removed from the "Look Inside!" excerpts.

Tor must have some powerful moles at Amazon.

Anonymous An Extremely Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than A Basket Of Twenty Deplorable Cents March 22, 2017 1:48 AM  

It is like the ancient view of the world.
Tortious. Under that? Tortious. Under that? Tortious.

It is tortious all the way down.

Blogger Resident Moron™ March 22, 2017 2:02 AM  

Not only have I experienced deep pains in my sides, but my family and friends have become deeply distressed at my frequent bouts of manic unprovoked laughter.

The Malady is spreading, eating away at the very fabric of our existence.

Anonymous Jack Amok March 22, 2017 2:03 AM  

I envision a new book, The Toad and the Tort, Book 1 of The Converged Empire.

Blogger kh123 March 22, 2017 2:39 AM  

Am sure there's an entire school on this, but pet theory has been that most folks lean heavily on context in order to read and process info at a high rate without going over every word in detail.

Case in point, I read the above @84 as: "M'lady is spreading, eating away at the very fabric of our existence."

Given the context has been gammatude, Tor, and a certain limpwrist supplicating on a certain lawn to a certain... large creature (and more than just one example from a certain publishing house)... Well, can you blame the Freudian slip in association?

Blogger kh123 March 22, 2017 2:43 AM  

Hello, Johnny.

Anonymous User March 22, 2017 2:57 AM  

I tried to buy The Corroding Empire and for some reason I'm unable to do so. Why can't I buy this book I want from Amazon?

Blogger Shimshon March 22, 2017 3:46 AM  

Given Scalzi's tweet hinting at what was to come, I would not be surprised if the Secret King himself expressed some sort of request to Tor to do something. After all, it worked for John Scalzi is a Rapist book, and Secret Kings are not subject to consequences like proles (so they think). Vox, perhaps you will have the opportunity to add a certain large Ohio lawn to your vast landholdings.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 22, 2017 4:13 AM  

The redirect to Scalzi's book is the real tell.

And that was deliberate, the day before a search for Corroding Empire got you redirected to some old collection of Wonder Woman comics.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 22, 2017 4:20 AM  

A search for the name "Harry Seldon" now gets you directed to the aforementioned Wonder Woman collection.

Anonymous JAG March 22, 2017 4:36 AM  

Jack Amok wrote:I envision a new book, The Toad and the Tort, Book 1 of The Converged Empire.

LOL, I'd have to read that. Nice.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy March 22, 2017 4:43 AM  

Cataline Sergius wrote:The redirect to Scalzi's book is the real tell.

And that was deliberate, the day before a search for Corroding Empire got you redirected to some old collection of Wonder Woman comics.

Okay, that's not an automated system. I don't see any user-visible list of keywords on Collapsing's page either; it doesn't look like the publisher gets to specify search keywords to be associated with a book. Interesting.

Blogger kh123 March 22, 2017 4:47 AM  

Suppose the precursor to all of this was a certain Irishman smoking out fellow travelers in the State Department.

I mean, mountain or moll hill regardless, the parallels are all there; the vilification, the spinning of facts into narrative, the media collusion, the breadth and depth of infiltration even into the most mundane of corners. And entire empires falling towards collectivized mediocrity as a result.

Of course, as the Left always enjoys saying - and is increasingly becoming an actual truth - this time, things really will be different. Jeremiads from Johnny are just round the corner me thinks, lads.

Anonymous Be Deplorable, Not Afraid March 22, 2017 6:05 AM  

Dark Lord, for those of us who can't buy the book from Amazon, would you prefer for us to wait and see if this gets ironed out, or should we buy from CH directly?

Blogger pdwalker March 22, 2017 6:14 AM  

@95

I'd say wait so it counts in the Amazon rankings.

Blogger VD March 22, 2017 6:47 AM  

Wait, if you can. This should get resolved today.

Anonymous VFM 6459 March 22, 2017 6:47 AM  

Couldn't the cover image on hand have been intended for a sequel, thus being forced to use it deprived CH of an existing asset, and forcing the acquisition of it's replacement? Muddling through a business law class right now, so my understanding is entirely based on academics

Blogger Shimshon March 22, 2017 7:35 AM  

@97 Vox, since there's no real problem with the original title, author name, or (perhaps) cover art (according to what I'm reading in the comments) will those be restored?

Will heads roll over this action?

Blogger VD March 22, 2017 8:01 AM  

Vox, since there's no real problem with the original title, author name, or (perhaps) cover art (according to what I'm reading in the comments) will those be restored?

Quite possibly.

Will heads roll over this action?

Most likely.

Blogger seeingsights March 22, 2017 8:21 AM  

'The most likely scenario, in my opinion, is a rogue low-level SJW employee, possibly two, in a specific department.'

I'm inclined to think that too. One time, it took a little extra effort to find the negative Amazon reviews for the anti-gun rights and pseudo-scholarly _Arming America._
The Amazon reviews of that book can now be readily seen just like the reviews of any other book.

Low level employees at Amazon do stuff like that.

Blogger B.J. March 22, 2017 10:54 AM  

Wow, seriously Scalzi? What a turd nugget.

If he had any kind of class, he would personally intervene to make this right. Instead he passive-aggressively preens on twitter. Disgusting.

Anonymous james March 22, 2017 12:30 PM  

I am absolutely amazed that even after all these years you still hold an effective grudge -- its like a life's work ..its is bordering on psychotic but its a good look for you.. fits the crazed dark lord meme.

Remind me never to get on your bad side.

To be fair -- Tor and Scalzi could make a case here too under the same case law -- discovery would require VD to travel to the US -- how about a book signing when that happens ? as long as its not winter I would stand in line. Believe it or not but much of the law under this class has in recent years is due to Weird Al.. and Weird Al now always gets permission... so there are limits to parody.

Summa Elvetica, the last Witch King etc (books which I have enjoyed)-- if you are going to write in this style there is always an aspect of being derivative -- sorry, simply do to the greats who came before and wide areas they covered. But that's fine with me .. its enjoyable to read it... and I am always glad when a classical style is reproduced.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable March 22, 2017 12:39 PM  

if you are going to write in this style there is always an aspect of being derivative

There is nothing new under the sun, but some derivatives are better than others.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 22, 2017 12:48 PM  

james wrote:Believe it or not but much of the law under this class has in recent years is due to Weird Al.. and Weird Al now always gets permission... so there are limits to parody.
Weird Al always gets permission because he's polite. It has nothing to do with law. So far as I can find, he's never been sued for copyright or trademark infringement. He was sued by Kanye West for failing to parodize a Kanye song, but that's either grandstanding or retardation, it's hard to tell with Kanye.

Blogger James Dixon March 22, 2017 1:04 PM  

> I am absolutely amazed that even after all these years you still hold an effective grudge...

Scalzi didn't just insult Vox. He insulted everyone who reads and posts here. Vox doesn't like that.

> Weird Al always gets permission because he's polite. It has nothing to do with law.

Exactly.

Anonymous Longtime Lurker March 22, 2017 1:50 PM  

@102: "If he had any kind of class, he would personally intervene to make this right. Instead he passive-aggressively preens on twitter. Disgusting."

A couple of Scalzi's tweets elliptically refer to recent events in play, which suggests he is behind the difficulties or at least knows who is.

More to the point: That Scalzi is tweeting sly references indicates both fear of getting caught and excitement at "getting away with it."

Scalzi really is playing it too close to the edge this time.

Blogger seeingsights March 22, 2017 2:55 PM  

If Scalzi is acting like that on Twitter, that shows that he has no integrity. A typical trait of a gamma male. Sort of like when Hillary was offered debate questions in advance. If she was honorable, she would have refused. A trait of an alpha person is that they do not seize unfair advantages to themselves.

Anonymous james March 22, 2017 6:59 PM  

so no book signing ? the question with wierd Al is who gets the royalties?

Blogger Zeke OF Confettii March 23, 2017 12:06 AM  

It's all about ME! I preordered, I have the book on my Kindle-AP, I am happy. I also have yet to experience fatigue as a consequence of WINNING.

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