As I explained in this blog a while ago, we were not happy with the way TradePub was offering our course books on their website. Fortunately their team responded very quickly to our demands and corrected the situation. Let me briefly explain here what has happened.
First of all, the FTA course books are published under copyleft free licenses, and any one is free to provide links, republish or even publish modified versions. TradePub makes money of this by requesting people to first enter their personal details before providing the link to the FTA website, and then selling that data to their partners. We are sorry for those who hand in their data instead of going to the FTA website directly. We are not especially fond of this business model, but it doesn’t violate any of the four freedoms that we so strongly support. The poblem was that TradePub was presenting this as if we had a special agreement about it and they did this on behalf of us. Let me reiterate it here: neither the FKI nor the FTA has ever seen a penny of the income generated by TradePub over the FTA books.
See below how TradePub requested visitor’s personal data for our FTA course books. After our request they updated this to a more neutral presentation, like this.
In the book description pages they added the license information and we wanted it to be clear that there is no relation between the FTA and TradePub, so they added for each book:
“This document is under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and there is no relation between FTA and TradePub.com. “
We would have preferred the inclusion of a direct link to the book page at the FTA website and avoid unaware visitors from handing over their personal details.
Instead of visting the FTA books section at TradePub, we’d sincerely hope people would go directly to the FTA books listing, but that remains up to the user, if he or she realises that books under such free licenses can usually be downloaded without paying with your personal data. After all, it is a search engine away…