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Dubious Online Publishers Committing Copy-Right Fraud ?

Co-author / Publishers ?
By Korifaeus

When looking for books, nowadays, one checks on Amazon ( most often) because its easy, delivered quickly and they have just about every book available. When repeatedly seeing books apparently co-authored by the same person, it gets one’s attention when looking through the book sections of international language books. And one particular co-author was named alongside the author of quite a lot of books in the German language sections. Karin Pfolz.

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When clicking on the books to learn more about them, it quickly reveals that Karin Pfolz is not listed as author, or co-author, rather editor, or publisher. Not the Publishing company’s name, however, is listed next to the author’s name, rather the name of the Publisher, Karin Pfolz, who turns out to be the head of a small Austrian Publishing company, called ” Karina Verlag”. http://www.karinaverlag.at

What i found really odd was that she lists herself as editor alongside the author of the book, and other times as the publisher, even though the books she apparently edited, were also published by her company. Thus sometimes she notes herself as the publisher, even though the name of the publishing company, Karina Verlag, is printed on the book cover, as well as listed as publisher – other times she credits herself as editor.

Another example; here is a screenshot of a book Karina Verlag just published. Note the “credit” space for authors, in which Ms. Pfolz placed her name next to the author. She notes herself as ” Publisher” ( Herausgeber) which is flawed, since not she, Karin Pfolz, rather the Company Karina Verlag, is the publisher.

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The publisher is ( if mentioned) mentioned next to the title, as well as on the cover and inside the book, where the editor is also mentioned.

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The impression one gets is that Karin Pfolz is the co-author of an array of books her company publishes. Checking with the German Bookstore registry ( VLB.de ) she actually registered herself as co-author of books she published, alongside the actual authors of the books.

If this publishing company is a legally registered publisher of literature can also be put into question, because it appears that it’s actually a business venue of a Club existing for a good cause, which may or may not be a registered NPO ( Non-profit organization).

I’ve contacted several authors to inquire if perhaps it’s in their contracts to allow the publisher to list herself as co-author, or if in fact she co-authored their books. The authors were very helpful, not only sharing with me that though she indeed has co-authored several books, as well as authored some herself – she did not co-author their books.

Asking if the company was possibly a Pseudo-publisher, by which the authors have to pay for the publishing, i was told, ” no “, but….. as i was told and later saw myself reading some of the contracts the authors signed,….. every Author signing with Karina Verlag has to first become a member of the Club and pay 40 Euro as the annual membership fee, if they want Karina Verlag to publish their books.

The Club’s founder so happens to be Ms. Karin Pfolz, as well; thus, according to their own website she’s the President of the Club and head of the Publishing company. Aside from that she seems to also be the editor, since no other name outside of her name is mentioned as ‘editor’ next to the authors. That in itself is odd enough, to credit oneself as editor next to the author’s name, when being the publisher of the company.

I’m not familiar with Austrian law, but it would seem improper, if not to say illegal, for a publishing company, that doesn’t appear to be an independent and possibly not legally registered company – to sign contracts with the authors directly. It would seem that a contract could only be made out by the Club( of which the company is a part. Especially since the authors have to first become members of the Club to have their books published.

According to their website the company represents 700 authors world wide. Each author having to pay 40 Euro annually for the membership of the Club, adds up to 28,000 Euro annually for the Club. Surely it will only be used for the cause, for which the Club was created, the Club called ” Respekt für Dich – Autoren gegen Gewalt – “http://www.respekt-fuer-dich.org – ( Respekt for you – Authors against violence) – Specially to help abused women.

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If the club, as well as the Publishing company, was indeed only created to help victims of domestic violence, with the proceeds from publishing used exclusively for the cause, tip of the hat to them, they’d deserve everyone’s respect and admiration. But what makes me personally question the “idealistic” part of the publishing venue is the way Ms. Karin Pfolz responds to inquiries and criticism = short tempered and not providing an answer. That aside from registering her own name as co-author, along with the actual author’s books.

Since she apparently functions also as editor of her company, one need first and foremost question her knowledge of the German language, specifically after reading the contracts she sends out to authors, some of which i’ve gotten a hold of. The vocabulary and grammar is appalling, which should immediately raise red flags to any author when reading through a contract. It’s not improbable that she herself writes the contract, thus let’s have look.

Here are two screenshots excerpts i made of a contract from the Karina Verlag publishing company. If you’re familiar with the German language, you’ll immediately notice what exactly i tried pointing out by red-underlining the word.

For everyone else, in paragraph 3 is a Z missing in the word. In paragraph 12 an incorrect word was used, which could be transliterated as so : ” This contract is ” enclosed” for an unlimited period of time.” As opposed to ” closing” a contract, the company “encloses” contracts ?

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I would think that prior to editing books, a publishing company should first and foremost proof-read and edit their contracts before sending them out to authors.

Note: Read/see what happened after publishing this article about the publishing company/publisher. Ms. Karin Pfolz responds

With so many manuscripts sent to publishers over the years, i sometimes wonder what happened to all the rejected manuscripts ending up in the archives. Perhaps an idea for a new book about an editor finding a manuscript in the archive, then publishing it under his/her own name, using a new title, which turns into a mega bestseller. Until one day an authentic carbon copy ( the days of type writing) of the book is found, revealing the actual author. But that’s another story ……. 🙂

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2 comments on “Dubious Online Publishers Committing Copy-Right Fraud ?

  1. Korifaeus
    March 15, 2015

    Thanks Mr. Fiju, for posting the follow-up Article 😀

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