Saturday, December 28, 2013

Big Brother Get Off My Ass – Identity Does Matter

Hello, I'm D T Pollard and I am having an almost out of body experience after being accused by an agency of the United States federal government of claiming copyright and saying that I published one of their publications.  I am a self-published author and use the name Book Express when I publish my fiction and nonfiction books, written by me, as the publisher. Book Express is a DBA name that I registered with the county clerk’s office and use for eBooks and use under a LLC for my printed paper books.

I received a threatening legal letter from the senior attorney for the Center for Disease Control out of Atlanta, Georgia accusing me of claiming ownership of their publication, that I never heard of before this letter, “Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), and selling it on my website, on and at the African Centre for Integrated Laboratory Training held in South Africa in July of 2013, I’ve never been to South Africa, by the way. Supposedly the version of the publication I was offering cites Books Express Publishing as both the publisher and copyright holder of the publication as of 2010. Hold on a minute, do you see a problem here, Book Express that I use for my books that I write is not quite the same as Books Express Publishing, there’s that pesky letter s on the end of the word book and the pesky word Publishing that I don’t have on the name I use to publish my books under. I was threatened with notification of the Justice Department, US Inspector General and civil monetary penalties for violation of some code I never heard of before. This is the result of a government agency legal department being sloppy and saying close is good enough.

I actually found their book with Books Express Publishing as the publisher and copyright holder on the UK site here  . I have my books on the UK site also, for example,  and the US site D T Pollard Author's Page and they all list Book Express not Books Express Publishing as the publisher. Getting the identity right before you go after someone does matter because this is probably some overseas book pirate and they have their name as publisher on several US government publications as a quick advanced search on Amazon's UK site using Books Express Publishing as the publisher will show, but that still is not me.

I was also informed that the CDC publication was found for sale on my website . I challenged that assertion and was then told it was found through my website which is possible because like millions of websites I have an search box on my site, so if someone types in the name of any product Amazon sells, like flat screen television, guess what, it comes up in the search results and can be purchased on and I get a few pennies for the referral, it’s an affiliate program. After trying repeatedly to explain to this attorney and her superiors that they made a mistake in identity, she requested that I remove my search box from my website because the CDC publication could be found through my site. I refused to remove my search box and told her if I wasn’t Books Express Publishing and had nothing to do with pirating the CDC book, she had no right to tell me to make any changes to my website. The attorney said she was simply asking me to remove my link (Amazon Search Box) from my site. This is where this is out of bounds because now a federal government official is asking a private citizen to pay a price for something because they made a mistake in identity. This official ignores the fact that the name of the entity she’s after and the name I use are not the same and she would have never been on my website searching for their book by title if she had not confused the two names. For the attorney to use the word simply means the concept of protection from unreasonable searches and seizures guaranteed by the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution is being missed. Maybe the law is lagging behind technology, but searching my website, my LLC status and requesting that I remove something from my website because she thought that I was someone else seems to be a seizure of sorts if someone can be told do this or I may drop the hammer on you when you clearly are not who they are after.

This is one of the most bizarre episodes I’ve ever been involved in, but be careful all of you one letter separated individuals. Jon Jones you could be blamed for what John Jones did. Elle Campbell you might take the heat for what Ellen Campbell did and McDonald Family Restaurant might get hit for what McDonald’s® does, it seems in the opinion of some of our highly paid government legal minds, close is good enough.  The CDC has a twitter account @CDCgov let them know how you feel about a department run amok, aren't they supposed to be protecting us from diseases instead of harassing citizens?       

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