Issue 19: Strung Out The
latest issue of firstwriter.magazine has also just
been released, featuring quality fiction and poetry
submitted from around the world, plus your first chance to
see not just the winning poems from our Ninth
International Poetry Competition, but also all ten
Special Commendations. To view the magazine click
here. To enter your work in our Eighth
International Poetry Competitionclick
All those whose work has
been included in issue 19 have now been notified, so if
you submitted work for issue 19 and have not received
notification of inclusion then, regrettably, on this
occasion your submission was not successful. Please do
feel free to try again, however, through www.firstwriter.com/Magazine.
We have now begun accepting submissions for Issue 21.
to writers: Words Undone accused of illegal activities
issuing a warning to writers about Words Undone, a website
supposedly intended to provide support and assistance to
writers, but which has been accused of deception and
A lengthy debate about Words Undone's practices can be found at
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208672, and while
firstwriter.com cannot comment on the accuracy of these allegations, what we have been able to confirm is that Words Undone has been engaged in copyright piracy: systematically and illegally redistributing
firstwriter.com copyright material, and charging its users to access it.
Users need to be aware of the dangers of accessing such material. Recent cases have highlighted the fact that it is not just the pirates who can find themselves in court,
but also those who consume the pirated material (the copyright equivalent of “receiving stolen goods”). In April, a law-suit was launched against 25,000 BitTorrent users who had used the service to access illegally distributed movies
details). It’s also possible to face criminal prosecution for illegal downloading, with the threat of
fines or a prison sentence: a grandmother in Scotland was recently sentenced to three years' probation for illegal music downloading (for more information,
The same laws protect the written word, and if you click a link to access a page then you are in fact downloading the words written on that page, and could, without even
knowing it, be illegally downloading pirated material.
It’s therefore vital that you avoid sites like Words Undone. This particular site rapidly disappeared after we contacted them about the copyright violation, but
the thread referred to above suggests that this is not the first time it has been taken down, and
that the owner has a history of setting up writing sites and then suddenly shutting them down without notice. What has happened to the annual fees paid by members, and whether these have been
refunded or not, we don’t know, but members concerned about their money
will find that they are unable to contact Words Undone via their email address at
as this was shut down on June 28. Instead, they might like
to try the customer service phone number on their PayPal account: +44 (0) 7526 481969.
To try and help you spot any future enterprise from the same
source, here are the relevant names associated with the site:
David W. Cornish: This name doesn’t seem to appear much “front of house”, but is all over the financials at the back. When you sign up to
Words Undone, this is the name on the PayPal account that receives the payment. It’s also the name on the
firstwriter.com account used to steal our material. When you send money to this PayPal account, it shows up as going to a business called
Leicester" (operating in Tenerife as "Active Mobility
Tenerife"). The email addresses for this operation include
and email@example.com, and the websites give the following phone
numbers in addition to the one already given above: 0844 598 3313 (UK Low Rate) and 0034 922 789 707 (Spain).
The trading address given on the website is: Beaumont Enterprise Centre, Unit 8, 72 Boston Road, Leicester, LE4 1HB.
Watch out for these details cropping up in future.
Debra/Debbie/Debs Spiller/Cornish: This is the name used heavily to post on the forums, including posting the stolen material sent to the account under David’s name.
Debra Spiller is the name to which the wordsundone.co.uk domain name is registered.
firstwriter.com accounts under Debra Spiller and Debra Cornish have shared the same email addresses, postal addresses, and even passwords as those under David Cornish’s
name, and have been paid for through his PayPal account. Strangely, the electoral roll states that David lives with Iris and William Cornish. It doesn’t mention anyone else.
Lorraine Cornish: More
firstwriter.com material was posted by a supposed guest on the forum called “Lorraine”. This is the name registered as the owner of the domain name wordsundone.com.
The registration gives a postal address for Lorraine Cornish that matches the postal address on a
firstwriter.com account for Debra Spiller, and it’s worth pointing out that
the details of a bankruptcy filing for Debra Spiller in
2006 (available here)
gives her full name as Debra Lorraine Spiller (also known
as Debra Lorraine Basford and Debra Lorraine Solsberg).
When we emailed David Cornish at the email address on his
firstwriter.com and PayPal accounts we got a reply signed manually "D
Cornish". Whether this was intended to stand for
Debra or David is probably deliberately unclear, but at the very bottom of the email, going apparently unnoticed, was an automatic signature that read "Lorraine".
We’d recommend avoiding any enterprise connected with these names. Other business and domain names suspected to be connected include:
A reminder about copyright
This episode acts as a timely reminder of the importance
of copyright. Though it’s often forgotten, stealing someone’s intellectual property (something they’ve written, for instance) is no different to stealing someone’s physical property.
Electronic communication has made it easier to copy and share information, but that doesn’t make it any more legitimate. As writers, the protection of intellectual property rights should be
important to you. These laws are there to protect people like
Don’t assume it’s okay to forward things like
firstwriter.com listings to friends – it isn’t. And if you do, don’t assume that the copyright owner won’t be able to find out and trace the breach back to you. There are lots of
tricks these days to allow website owners to track where their content is
going, whether it's being sent to other email addresses or
posted online. As and when they identify you as the source of the breach you could be held liable to pay subscription payments for all the people you’ve made the information available to –
either directly, by sending it to them, or indirectly, by the person you sent it to sending it to more people and/or placing it on a website, etc.
Only recently we discovered a user was forwarding our InstantAlert emails to a friend, and he had to pay another subscription fee as a result. Whether he was
able to recover that from the person he was sending the alerts to or not, we don’t know.
So if you know of someone you think would like to see
firstwriter.com information, direct them to www.firstwriter.com/subscribe, where they can
make the same payment that everyone else has to make, and
enjoy access to the information legitimately. Don’t risk winding up in court in order to give
others for free what you have to pay for!
2011 Caketrain Chapbook Competition opens
The 2011 Caketrain Chapbook Competition is open now until October 1, 2011. The genre is poetry and the final judge is Rosmarie Waldrop. Full guidelines are posted at
This month has seen the launch of the Firebird Poetry website, described by the makers as an innovative poetry website where poets of all ages can upload their
poetry for free. Their work will then be available to be read and appreciated by people all over the world.
Annual awards will be made for both adult and children's poetry, with a distinguished panel of judges making the awards and young poets encouraged to take part through their schools.
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