Unofficial biographies from industrial bands? Meet the scam book factoryPosted on 26/07/11
A few days ago Yves Shelpe from Belgium's electronic act Psy'Aviah contacted us regarding something he had noticed and which he found kind of odd: a biography of his own band Psy'Aviah being sold on Barnes & Noble for 45 US dollar. We asked Yves to dig up some details and report back as soon as he had everything checked out. Here is his report.
Some weeks ago I got a link sent by fan which pointed to an online bookshop, "Barnes & Noble". The link portrays a book, about my band Psy'Aviah, edited by Lambert M. Surhone, Mariam T. Tennoe and Susan F. Henssonow and published by Betascript. The fan wanted to know whether this was legit, if it was made with our consent and basically if we or our label knew about this? I'll tell you straight away that the answer to all those questions was no! Further more, the guy with the headphones on the cover was certainly not me (Yves), Kristof nor was it our lead vocalist Emélie Nicolaï... This was getting suspicious. Why would anyone write a book / paperback about us and without informing us? So my investigation started.
We wanted to contact the publishing company, but had a hard time finding out who or what to contact. Basically it all revolves around "VDM Publishing" (see vdm-publishing.com) lead by a certain dr Wolfgang Philip Müller. The company has it's base in Germany. So far so good, but VMD Publishing itself has subdivisions such as Alphascript, Betascript, Books LLC, and Bucher Gruppe... Yet those subdivisions are "based" in Mauritius, well, so they say.
The most interesting, but actually most disturbing fact is that the content of this "Psy'Aviah" book is copied from the english wikipedia entry for "Psy'Aviah". Legally this is allowed, as long as all the authors are mentioned. But it is of course far from ethical to just copy and paste an entire wikipedia article and sell it to the masses. More so, it undermines the whole concept of wikipedia itself, which is founded to give free information that changes throughout time. Clearly such a copy and paste book has no value other than thickening bank accounts in Mauritius... or... Germany?
Finding out this, I dug more and to my surprise the company with its subdivisions have already published over 850.000 titles! They work cleverly though. By providing an on-demand service, they only need to deliver once a copy is ordered. So they're never printed beforehand, and the company only delivers to online stores and by catalogs. To "promote" their business they simply flood the catalog systems every month with 50.000 titles, under their different brands.
The "editors", such as in our "Psy'Aviah" book (Lamber M. Surhone, etc..) are in fact about 45 people from Moldavia, Mauritius, Argentina and Germany who pick out interesting subjects and wiki-articles, and then compile those books with the help of a computer program.
Who would fall for such a scam? Well, to my surprise... I checked out some local libraries in both The Netherlands and my home country Belgium, and sadly, I found hits... Public libraries are buying these books at ridiculous high prizes with our tax money and putting them in their collection. I immediately contacted the authorities to inform them about this situation, of which they didn't know anything yet. Fortunately they did take it seriously and are now investigating this issue to stop the pollution and waste of our tax money. I'd advise any of you to do the same in your country, region or local library.
Legally I can't call this a scam, but if you think about it... It's not because something is legal that it isn't a scam or pure unethical business!? Yves Schelpe
Update 1: Side-Line confronted the publisher with this article, we are awaiting their reaction.
Update 2: Other artists which have been scammed include Apoptygma Berzerk, Front 242, VNV Nation etc.
Posted by B. Van Isacker
More related news :
Ayria and Front 242 singers featured on new 'Eclectric' album Psy'Aviah - out now
Beautifully animated video for Psy'Aviah's 'On My Own'
Chaos All Stars feat. Mona Roukachi deliver smashing reprise of Psy'Aviah song
Exclusive Psy'Aviah EP 'Contraspection' available now via iTunes and Amazon MP3
Exclusive: Reduction vouchers for every BIMfest festival goer
Former Hooverphonic singer joins up with Psy'Aviah for 'Our Common Future' EP / video
Hard style duo Clockartz steals Psy'Aviah track 'Virtual Gods' for 'Vile Nature' track
I voted for the new Psy'Aviah CD as best album of 2011 - vote here to make Psy'Aviah win!
I voted for the new Psy'Aviah single as best single of 2011 - vote here to make Psy'Aviah win!
Microsoft lets you download a free Psy'Aviah MP3
Today Alfa Matrix has released the massive Metroland 3CD album box (no 'normal' edition will be released) 'Triadic ballet'. (...)
Out by end of May is the debut album 'Halfway to Nowhere' by Destin Fragile, a side-project by the Spetsnaz members Pontus Stålberg and Stefan Nilsson plus Daniel Malmlöf. (...)
To be released officially worldwide on the date of the UK General Election, May 7th 2015, and available on Bandcamp as 'Name your price' until that date is the brand new single from Engram (Martin Bowes & John Costello). (...)
Mid-May will see the release of the long awaited new album by the dark rock band Last Dance. The 13-track album also includes a bonus track. (...)
In June you can expect the release of the Juno Reactor album 'The Golden Sun… Remixed', which is a companion album to its most recent opus, 'The Golden Sun Of The Great East'. (...)
After having been active with various side-projects (Totem Obscura, Aengeldust, ...) for some time, dark elektro musician Pedro Engel announced his comeback with the recently released controversial download EP 'Zigeunerjunge' EP. (...)
Out now, brand new Essence Of Minds album 'The break up!' with exclusive CD extras (not available on the download)
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY NEWSLETTER