Monday, September 2, 2013

Goodreads: Class Action Pending?

I read on the website STGRB recently that there is a massive class action lawsuit pending which is aimed towards Amazon/Goodreads. Rumor has it, it's really big. Also included in this announcement by STGRB is potentially criminal complaints filed against Amazon / Goodreads. What could be the purpose for all of this? Well, let's take a look, shall we?

It is believed that in the class action lawsuit that there are hundreds of authors involved. The issues stem from years of abuse that authors have received at the hands of bullies that roam on the Amazon Forum Boards and on Goodreads. Vicious attacks that are aimed to ruining authors reputations and book sales. This coupled with the fact that Goodreads staff fails to enforce their ToS fairly or evenly.

In their ToS they firmly acknowledge that they forbid any comments aimed directly at specific individuals that would cause them "emotional distress". They also claim that stalking and harassment is forbidden yet, evidence shows that there are a band of people going around and violating these rules of the ToS and Goodreads doing nothing to stop it. For some strange reason, they won't delete the libelous, hurtful or despicable comments aimed at authors nor will they punish (ban) those who make them. However, if an author tries to defend themselves from such attacks, those authors get banned.

There is also the issue of copyright violations. Much of what I have learned is that Goodreads allows book covers and other copyright material on their website and are using it for monetary gain without the permission of those who hold the copyrights to said material. Despite multiple demands by the copyright holders, and multiple DMCA take down notices, Goodreads continues to refuse to remove copyright material in which they are not legally allowed to use on their website.

Another concern is that of "Author Profile Pages". It would appear that many authors do not wish to have these profile pages of them posted on the Goodreads website. Goodreads allows these profile pages to exist against many authors wishes. Since Goodreads is capitalizing financially from using these copyrighted materials and profile pages, many authors have now finally banned together to fight this civil infringement against them. Or so, STGRB has alluded to.

Many authors feel this way because of the illegal activities taking place on Goodreads where sexual role play between adults and minors are concerned. It would seem that many authors do not want their names associated with this sort of criminal activity. Nor do they wish to be involved with a website that condones, endorses or partakes in cyber criminal activities such as stalking, harassment, bullying and libel/defamation.

However, with all of this going on, the question remains, is what STGRB reported really true? Is there an ongoing effort taking place where in due time, Goodreads and or Amazon will be hit with a massive class action lawsuit? And if so, when filed, what will happen to Goodreads?

Obviously, if such a thing were to occur, there would be a huge amount of legal fees that Goodreads/Amazon would have to contend with. Not to mention, the public relations hit that a class action lawsuit would garner. And as for criminal charges being filed against Goodreads/Amazon? Well, we would have to wait and see what exactly the allegations are before we could discuss that. But, any criminal charges filed along with a class action civil suit would not help their public image any, now would it?

I suppose it remains to be seen if Goodreads would remain accessible to its members during any criminal or civil actions. And of course, their continued operation would hinder on the results of those actions filed against them. I imagine it would be difficult for them to remain active if after such actions they were found to be guilty of the civil and criminal implications currently being considered against them. I imagine it would come down to how much they lost in legal fees combined with court costs and any judgements levied against them. I mean, would the alleged lawsuit ask for millions of dollars, or billions? And where the criminal charges would be concerned, what exactly will those charges be? If any criminal charges filed against Goodreads have anything to do with the sexual role plays and or child pornography then one would imagine the website could be shut down immediately.

So the rumors continue to swirl. Is Amazon / Goodreads on the verge of a massive class action coupled with criminal charges? And if so, what happens to Goodreads when it all hits the fan? More importantly, what happens to you when it all hits the fan? Where will you go to discover great new books and authors?

And ultimately, if such a thing becomes reality, who will be to blame for it all? The bullies? Goodreads? Amazon? Their managers and staff members for not enforcing the rules for every member?

I guess it's true. When you pile up enough bodies (victims) then sooner or later, someone is going to do something about the stink. Maybe that something is indeed coming in the near future. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

3 comments:

  1. there is under development a website to replace goodreads with objective, unbiased book reviews for the first time on the planet. It's called Double Blind Book Reviews. This site will have PROFESSIONAL book reviews and an ebook store. The only direct member input will be requests for reviews. There will be forums to discuss books but these will be modded and no trolls will be tolerated.

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    1. I'm confused. I was talking about the lawsuit, Rick was commenting about "Double Blind Books". Obviously, I am not Rick. But anyhow, that lawsuit was first mentioned to me by Athena over at STGRB, but that was a lie. No class action was ever being assembled. I was misled. Just another ruse by Athena Parker / Melissa Douthit.

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