And then, there came the time for "non-original" reviews

GoodReads News.


About an hour after mark's reviews removals were known, I made 3 reviews where I re-posted most of his former content, under Hydra protest mark. If you're not familiar with it, check it out:

It amounts to a Reblog permission, in BookLikes parlance: at the Hydra mark, GR users are called out for help, and the author of the Hydra-ed review gives permission explicitly to re-post their content.


Note that I did not post all 5 mark's reviews that were removed. I don't want to post content like his text about Tove Jansson, from my account, and I will not.

The 3 reviews I've reposted were for All Flesh is Grass, The 5th Wave, and An Uncommon Whore. Their text was targeted at GoodReads and Amazon only, and they were using the title of the book to make a point about GR/Amazon changing the site to something else.


Example re-post:




This review is a copy of removed content.

Author: mark monday

Original source: no longer online. [or link to missing review]


All Flesh is Grass, by Clifford D. Simak

All Flesh is Grass, and so are all websites consumed by greed. I mean srsly, did you check out that twitter post from that one goodreads author showing how much this website is invested in making this an author-centric website? and how little it cares about the folks who actually produce content for this website? Simak would not approve!



My re-posted reviews were removed within the hour.


Emailed reason:

Please note that any reviews you post must contain your own original content (see our review guidelines). Given this, they have been removed. We have attached copies for your personal records.


That was because the GR review guidelines have another corporate stupidity lurking:

Reviews must be your own original content. Reviews that plagiarize from another source or use copyrighted material without permission will be deleted.


These reviews did NOT plagiarize. It goes without saying, since plagiarized text is by definition silent about its source.
These reviews were NOT posted without permission. They were posted with the permission of copyright holders. The review on The Hydra was even posted at the express invitation of the copyright holder, as answer to his call to do so.


They're equivalent to what is known here, on BookLikes, as re-blogging. In BookLikes ToS, there is explicit permission for re-blogging, for all users of the site. In GR ToS, of course that doesn't exist, but Manny, Ceridwen and mark have given EXPLICIT permission to re-post their content.


My answer to GR:

The following is from my email answer to GR.


The rule as listed in Reviews Guidelines is typical of corporate assumptions. No offense intended (or not to GR employees), almost any corporation I've dealt with makes this mistake. Here's why: the phrasing assumes without good reason, that only the author (at most the publisher) has the right by copyright law to share content. This assumption is false. It's the habit, in corporate environments, and they feed it to their users, but it's false.

Counter examples:

1) Licenses of free culture GIVE PERMISSION to anyone to share freely the copyrighted content, without any tie to the author/publisher. They're licenses based on copyright law, legal, and recognized internationally.
Please see Creative Commons,

2) Explicit permission from the author is enough to share their work, given that it's clear enough and with no reasonable possibility to misunderstand it. Explicit permission is equivalent to a license (more or less definite). Legally, as far as I know, it creates at least an expectation of the author waiving their privilege to sue someone who relies on their words.
Manny, in his Hydra review and comments, has explicitly given permission to share the content for GR users.

3) Quotes, sometimes large quotes, are excepted from copyright law as fair use. I consider my reviews shared under 2), but they can be considered quotes (since this is what they are), given in particular that they only consist in maximum few paragraphs.
See for example, the quotes here are quite lengthy. I am certain that if we look for more examples, we can find better ones, too.
4) Public domain works are not under scope of copyright. I think this doesn't require further explanation.
In other words, the negation of "original content" is not "there is no permission to share copyrighted content". There are at least 4 avenues to receive permission or even not need it.

Thank you for your time, and for your care to inform me, it is appreciated, though I strongly disagree with GR position.



My copy of Hydra review was also removed.


Preliminary conclusions


I think the only option long time, for readers and writers, is to fight directly the monopoly of sites owned by an Amazon, GoodReads, whichever. We have to build the software, freely licensed, and with a networked architecture.

I will continue to use GoodReads (unless something else happens), and whatever other solution in the meantime. But in the long run, users will never be free unless they choose freedom from the bottom up. Corporations don't know freedom, it's in their nature. They live and breath on controlling the users freedom.