Imagine my surprise when I found the following auctions up on Ebay (they’ll disappear soon, like all truly fly-by-night operations and deals):
Old School BBS Files Volume 2 (25,000 files)
Essentially, they’re selling a copy of textfiles.com for somewhere between $5-$8 bucks (including the forced shipping price). The first two CD-ROMs are the collection split into halves, and the third is both halves sold together as one large one.
There’s really no question this is my website; the layout of the directories is the same, the descriptions are the same… it’s definitely textfiles.com in a box, ready to drop off to you if you click their buy it now button.
Once one gets over the surprise, it’s kind of hard to feel miffed or wronged by this action. After all, I go on and on in all of my website about how I was trying to save these files, to put them together in one collection, and I’ve used bittorrent and zip files to throw complete copies of the website into the world. How big a jump is it that someone would then go on and try to make a few bucks?
The reasons I don’t sell copies of textfiles.com are because of concerns of liability (I might find down the road that something was copyrighted, and I can’t just “remove” it from a sold product) and because, well, it makes me feel icky. I like making the knowledge available for the same price I got it: free.
On the other hand, I could see where people would prefer to drop $5 and get a copy of the site in the mail. It would be more convenient than days of downloads, and it would put it in a backed-up form they could refer to whenever they wanted to.
The only thing that kind of galls me is that the little tyke has rebranded the whole thing, calling it “The Ultimate Nostalgic Electroniuc Library Collection Volume 1 Thru 2”. This sounds NOTHING like textfiles.com. So he uses a lot of my effort but acts like he did all the work of classifying them and collecting them. That’s relatively on the lame side, and makes me wonder if all the rest of the CDs he’s selling (he’s selling dozens of them), aren’t also exacting rips of other websites that he’s acting like he put together?
But, as I said, I should take the high road, and appreciate the service being done. When the textfiles.com torrents re-arrive, I hope people will use them as well.
(By the way, his site sucks.)
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