Petition to Jeff Bezos
End Amazon KDP's "Strike First, Ask Later" Policy
This is an open letter to Jeff Bezos and the Amazon KDP team. Dear Mr. Bezos, The below signed Authors are grateful for the opportunities that have been afforded to them through the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Amazon paved the way for indies, and for that, we are eternally grateful. For many, being an Author is a labor of love. We pay thousands of dollars in cover designs, editing, formatting, and marketing—which, in many cases, is driven exclusively to Amazon.com. In exchange, we are paid a percentage of the sales. In some cases, Amazon keeps as much as 70% of the royalties on our books. In the early years, Authors really felt appreciated and supported by Amazon's efforts. For many, though, the good old days have passed, and the publishing climate with Amazon is becoming increasingly hostile. Treatment of Authors by Amazon's KDP team is on a decline, with more and more Authors experiencing bizarre, heavy-handed, unfounded actions against their careers. We want it to be clear that we do appreciate the work Amazon KDP does to weed out scammers and system gamers who seek to take advantage of the program at the detriment of Amazon and genuine Authors alike. However, some of the preventative measures being taken are hurting honest, hard-working Authors instead. Our proposed change is one where honesty and professionalism are rewarded and where dishonesty and scamming can still be abolished. We are simply asking that Amazon KDP abolish their "Strike First, Ask Later" Policies. In recent years, some of the following have repetitively occurred: Authors being banned due to having too many pages read. These Authors were told that Amazon had detected system generated accounts. While we understand these may exist, many Authors have later been exonerated when it turned out the system detecting this made a mistake. But instead of Amazon investigating first, they took action first, and even when those accounts were reinstated, those Authors' books had already taken irreparable damage to their ranking and visibility. In some cases, Authors have lost hundreds or thousands of marketing dollars and needed to spend similarly to recover from their accounts having been wrongfully terminated. Fixing the mistake after the fact is not the answer. Amazon needs to investigate properly and communicate with Authors BEFORE taking action against their accounts. Authors' preorders have been cancelled for a variety of reasons as well. One such example we have seen is that another Author files a false copyright report against the Author in question and Amazon un-publishes their book, cancelling thousands of preorders that were acquired through hundreds of marketing dollars and long hours. Later, when the claim is proven false, Amazon does nothing to regain those preorders for the Author. They simply allow them to republish and pick up the pieces of their crushed dreams on their own. Another such example would be 3rd party Authors falsely claiming that a wide novel contains content from a book enrolled in KDP. Amazon will then block that book. When that claim is proven false, the book is reinstated, but by then, the damage has already been done. Even pirated copies of books can result in action against an Author's books or account - making it easy for competing Authors to target one another and manipulate Amazon's system as well as the book community as a whole. The most recent issue we have seen is Amazon un-publishing and blocking books that have "USA Today Bestselling Author" or "New York Times Bestselling Author" on their book cover. The reason given by Amazon is that this is misleading to customers. IF it's not true. And we do understand how this could be misleading to customers IF the bestselling status was being falsely claimed. However, Amazon has been taking this action against authors who truly do hold a bestselling title. Moreover, this is something Amazon could easily verify BEFORE taking action. If they cannot find the verifying information they need, they could contact the Authors and ask for verifying documents to be supplied. It is apparent this is an action being taken ONLY against indie Authors, as there are thousands of traditionally published Authors who also list their bestselling status on their book covers, and their books are not being unpublished without question. Simply, we do not understand why verification can't be attempted FIRST, BEFORE un-publishing or blocking books or Authors who, in most cases, are not actually doing anything wrong and who are not misleading customers in any way. If any of these rules were confirmed to have been broken before Amazon took action, Authors would be accepting of these policies. Our issue is not with the policies themselves, but rather with how they are engaged. All we are asking is that Amazon stop un-publishing, banning, and blocking Authors and books without first confirming that rules have actually been broken. Authors would additionally appreciate the benefit of the doubt in cases where a mistake may be an innocent one incurred due to misunderstanding the (often unclear) Terms of Service. Instead of throwing the gauntlet at these Authors, we suggest a less heavy-handed approach that would involve contacting the Authors to make them aware of the situation and give them an opportunity to resolve the situation. In 2014, the US ebook market consisted of roughly 514 million ebook units purchased and just under $3 billion in consumer spending. Amazon accounted for nearly 75% of that consumer spending. And nearly half of that money came from Indie Authors, Small/Medium Publishers, and Single-Author Publishers. (Source) Those numbers continue to grow, in no small part due to indie Authors. As we see it, indie Authors contribute enough money (nearly a billion in 2014 alone) to Amazon for Authors to be worth being treated fairly. Authors don't deserve to be punished for rules they did not actually break, and Amazon can afford to Ask First, Strike Later. In fact, this would probably create LESS work for the KDP team (saving Amazon money), as KDP would no longer have to field complaint letters in addition to asking for the qualifying information they need. They could simply cut that process out altogether and go straight to asking the questions and giving Authors the opportunity to answer and/or resolve these situations. Further, we would like to point out the disadvantage to consumers when Amazon takes a Strike First, Ask Later policy. Books by their favorite authors are disappearing before they have the chance to buy them. Consumers deserve a better browsing experience on Amazon, and to better be able to find the books they are looking for without becoming unknowing victims in Amazon's policies (as they are currently being executed). Truly, these policies hurt more than just Authors. When action is taken against Authors who have done nothing wrong, the result is a loss in income that hurts FAMILIES. Remember that many Authors spend some of the money they make through publishing on sites such as Amazon as well. In it's own small way (that probably adds up over time), every time Amazon hurts an Author's income, they hurt themselves AND they hurt the economy, on several levels: the money an Author has available to spend and the products available for a consumer to buy. It's simply bad business to wrongfully remove titles from Amazon without first verifying that any rules have actually been broken. The below signed Authors strongly feel that changing these policies would benefit Consumers, Amazon, and Authors alike. Moreover, it's simply the right thing to do. Mr. Bezos, please show that you value the Authors that make your company nearly a billion dollars a year or more. Please show us that you value us as consumers who also shop on your site. Please show that you also value the consumers who buy our books. Please show us that you believe in fair treatment of human beings simply trying to support themselves and their families while doing something they love. Please, Mr. Bezos, revisit your policies and find a way for your team to investigate first before taking damaging actions against Authors who, in many cases, have done nothing wrong. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Petition to Journalists , DAVID CHAVERN, NAMI , Reno Gazette Journal, Gannett, Dallas News, AJC , UBC , Sacramento Bee, Tennessean , The Fresno Bee, Fresnobee News, Sacbee Opinion, Fresnobee Journalist, Valley Public Radio, Denver Post, Star Tribune, McClatchy , Pioneer News Group, Disney , Sarasota Herald, Sentinel , Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NWHerald , ABC , ABC Entertainment, KFSN , ABC Nightline, 20/20 , Nightline , Denver Post News, Mother Jones, HarperCollins , Harper Collins, Hello HarperCollins, HarperCollins Person, HarperCollins Contact, HARPERCOLLINS.com , Harper Collins Email, More Harper Collins, Harper Collins Book, HuffPost , The Mighty, Today Show, NBC , Simons Foundation, Spectrum News, Kirkus Reviews, Ron Suskind, Book Browse, FYI , autism speaks, Target , Target - Gregg Steinhafel, Target Asst., Target Customer Support
Journalists Include Autistics In Your Interviews | We are a Misrepresented People
Autistics are being denied their voice in news publications, online media and all other journalistic mediums. Autistics are a people with our own identity, history, culture and community. We use identity-first language. Autistics are an ethnic group and a neurominority. We ask that you include us in all matters that involve Autistics, and help bring public enlightenment by reporting on pressing Autistic Community issues: Suicide (#1 cause of death) Caregiver Abuse & Murder Poverty Homelessness Incarceration Autistic Conversion Therapy Zero services and supports for Autistic Adults -- including psychiatric crisis care. (Yes our #1 cause of death is suicide, and yet we are sent home to die by psych wards because they don't know how to treat us.) We ask that you report on the very real prejudices Autistics face daily, our civil rights movement, and community perspectives. We are proud of our birthright and Autistic heritage. Also, please be sensitive to Autistic Erasure. Autistic women and Autistic mother identities have been co-opted by neurotypical moms of Autistics. The only Autism Mom is an Autistic Mom -- all others are Neurotypical/Non-Autistic Moms of Autistic kids. (FYI: It's a cruelty to be an Autistic woman/mom and be invisible and have even makeup marketed to Autism Moms, and not acknowledging actual Autistic women in marketing.) We ask that you reference #TheAutisticUnion Points & our Autistic Charter of Rights (included below) and keep it in consideration when reporting. If you find these points of humanity not being respected by Autism advocates/organizations -- they are not representatives of Autistic People. Rather, most likely, these are parent-led organization without Autistic voice and leadership - they ought to be noted in stories as such. There is an incredible and unfair spread of misinformation about Autistics, and a backlash every time we have positive focus in media. We ask that standard journalistic ethics apply to the Autistic People too. We have a right to life, and deserve to be treated with fairness, justice and integrity. Sincerely, Eve Reiland | Autistic Ambassador & Founder of AmericanBadassActivists.org. Proud Autistic Union Member. We are worthy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. _______________________________________________________ #TheAutisticUnion THE 10 POINTS OF Âû (The Autistic Union) I am Autistic. [or] I support those who are Autistic. I embrace my Autism as a very significant part of my identity. I embrace those who would sacrifice to protect all Autistic life. I embrace the belief that Autism does not need any “curing”. I embrace the self-advocacy goal of “Everything about us, with us”. I embrace the definition of Autism as a neuro-social difference. I embrace measures directed at protecting Autistics from attack. I embrace a person-centred approach to all Autism issues. I embrace rigorous scientific approaches to co-occurring conditions. I embrace Autistics leading their own welfare organisations. _______________________________________________________ International Charter of Autists Rights 1. THE RIGHT TO LIFE We will prevent eugenic elimination of autistic people by opposing pre-natal testing for autism. With the right support services in place, all autistic people are capable of living meaningful and fulfilling lives. However, negative media coverage and deliberate pity campaigning have created the public opinion that autism is a “tragedy”, and that people with autism have no hope of achieving anything. As such, the availability of a pre-natal test would cause the majority of autistic people to be aborted. A recent study has shown that 91-93% of foetuses that test positive for Down Syndrome are aborted. As autism is genetic, if these figures were similar for a pre-natal test for autism, the autistic population would be decimated, and autistic culture would be destroyed. Also, the majority of worldwide autism fundraising currently supports genetic research. If this money were to be channelled into support services, autistic people would have a much greater chance of living productive lives. 2. THE RIGHT TO HUMANITY We will oppose physically or mentally harmful “treatments” targeting autistic people. Due to the public perception of autism, a large number of unethical treatments have become quite common. These include physically harmful treatments (such as aversive behavioural therapies or restraints), mentally harmful treatments (such as 20-40 hr/week ABA, restriction of non-harmful stimming and other autistic coping mechanisms), dangerous non-medically approved therapies based on discredited theories or religious beliefs (such as chelation or exorcism), and therapies that would be called “torture” if they were used on nonautistic children (such as the electroshock “behavioural” devices). 3. THE RIGHT TO PARITY We will emphasise the “spectrum” view of autism, and de-emphasise the differences between the various autism spectrum labels. There are several different labels used for people throughout the autistic spectrum. These include “High Functioning” autism, “Low Functioning” autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD-NOS. The differences between these labels are often quite blurry, and are often based around childhood development, which has little bearing on the nature of an autistic adult. One of the largest barriers to accessing support service is the use of sub-groupings to assign support, rather than assessing the needs of the individual. This means that, for example, someone with “high functioning” autism may be denied needed housing support due to the label, whereas someone with “low functioning” autism may be deemed unfit for activities of which they are entirely capable. The autistic spectrum covers a very wide range of people, and these people do not always fit neatly into the available groupings. Often these groupings are barriers to understanding, rather than tools for understanding. Essentially, the people in all the above groups are all a part of the autistic spectrum, and generalisation of the specific groups within the spectrum is counterproductive. The personality and needs assessment of a person on the spectrum should be looked at on an individual basis, rather than on the basis of a label. 4. THE RIGHT TO IDENTITY We will oppose the idea of an autism “cure”. Part of the problem with the “autism as tragedy” point of view is that it carries with it the idea that a person is somehow separable from autism, and that there is a “normal” person trapped “behind” the autism. Being autistic is something that influences every single element of who a person is – from the interests we have, the ethical systems we use, the way we view the world, and the way we live our lives. As such, autism is a part of who we are. To “cure” someone of autism would be to take away the person they are, and replace them with someone else. Also, funding for “cure” research is unlikely to ever produce a result. In the meantime, support services for autistic people are under-funded. This money would be far better used to help existing autistic people. The “cure” mentality also influences cultural treatment of autistic people. Many parents focus on the idea of finding a cure for their child, and may neglect actual help and support in the process. Also, teaching children that they are “broken” and need to be “fixed” has long-term consequences for their mental health. 5. THE RIGHT TO SAFETY We will seek evaluation of alleged treatments for ethical approaches. One of the problems with the current state of autism treatments is that there is little in the way of quality control, and often a suggested treatment is commenced without thought for the ethics involved. Some examples of unethical practices include the use of aversives (e.g. “behavioural” physical harm, denial of food, deliberate triggering of sensory overloads), unreasonably long hours (e.g. many people advocate 40hrs/week of ABA), potentially dangerous treatments (e.g. Chelation), and focusing on “normalisation” rather than help (e.g. restricting non-damaging autistic behaviours, such as stims). 6. THE RIGHT TO SUPPORT We will seek increased funding for, and access to, autistic support services and ethical forms of treatment. Many forms of treatment are highly beneficial to many autistic people – for example, speech therapy, sensory integration therapy, and general counselling. Also, ongoing support services can help people live more productive lives – for example, emergency housing, specialised medical services, and employment support services. 7. THE RIGHT TO REPUTATION We will oppose negative publicity campaigns against autistic people as a group. The majority of autism fundraising is currently generated using “pity” campaigning, suggesting that autism is tragedy, disease, or epidemic that needs to be stopped. Unfortunately, this point of view has propagated itself through to talk shows, news stories, and other forms of media coverage. The usual technique is to show nothing but footage of (presumably) autistic children having tantrums, and then footage of parents complaining about their lives. It is very rare to see footage of an autistic child engaged in ordinary activities and even rarer to see footage of an autistic adult. This “tragedy” view of autism is extremely damaging to autistic people, far beyond the scope that any funds generated could justify. It causes employment discrimination, it worsens social isolation, and it leads some parents to give up on helping their children, in favour of holding onto a false hope of a cure. Some organisations take this even further, using phrases such as “soulless”, “worse than cancer”, or “incapable of love”. One of the biggest anti-autistic organisations, Autism Speaks, even went so far as to create a propaganda film in which a woman talks about wanting to drive herself and her autistic child off a bridge. This statement was made while her autistic child was in the same room. These campaigns are based on stereotypes, prejudice, and deliberate misrepresentation, and they need to be stopped. 8. THE RIGHT TO ACCURACY We will help promote an accurate yet positive image of autism. One of the aims of our organisation is to help create a more positive view of autistic people, by showing the things we actually do, and emphasising positive stories about autistic groups and people. Autistics are a very diverse group, and our differences are a very valuable part of human diversity. The reason for including the word “accurate” is that, although autistic people have achieved great things in art, science, mathematics, writing, and other creative endeavours, it is often the case that this is exaggerated to say that all autistics are geniuses – which has the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that an autistic person needs to be a genius to be considered a worthwhile human being. Another extreme is the desire of some groups to ascribe mystical qualities to autistic people, which has the side effect of dehumanising autistic people. Autistic people are everywhere. There is a good chance that you work with or know an autistic person without realising it. Autism is not a tragedy, or a side effect of genius – it is a difference to be valued. 9. THE RIGHT TO EQUALITY To oppose all forms of prejudice and bigotry. Many problems associated with autism are caused, or worsened, by prejudice. The root of this is prejudice itself – if we deal with only the forms of prejudice that currently relate to autism, another form of prejudice will rise up to replace them. Because of this, we choose to oppose all forms of prejudice and bigotry. This includes forms of bigotry related to autistic culture, such as: The idea that being neurotypical (i.e. not autistic, or another psychological neurotype) is “better” than being autistic. (Note: this does not relate to talking about specific abilities, just to the idea of general “betterness”). The idea that being autistic is “better” than being neurotypical. (Note: again, this does not relate to talking about specific abilities, just to the idea of general “betterness”). The idea that some labels on the autistic spectrum are acceptable, but others are tragedies.The idea that Asperger’s Syndrome or PDD-NOS should not be part of the autistic spectrum. The idea that people have no right to self-identify as autistic.
Petition to Jerry Brown, Atascadero City Council, San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors
RESTORE the Atascadero Printery
The Atascadero Printery Foundation formed as a 501(c)3 in 2015 with a mission to reclaim, restore, and repurpose the Atascadero Printery as a multipurpose, community-use facility. The property is burdened by hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes, and was placed for auction in the May 2017 SLO County tax sale. WE WON! The brick and mortar is a historic monument to the founding of Atascadero, and a big part of why Atascadero exists in San Luis Obispo County. Help us RESTORE it for the community. The finished product will be a monument to community support and we want to work with community input in designing a multipurpose, community-use facility that makes the highest use of a building nestled downtown Atascadero between the Atascadero Middle School and Atascadero Fine Arts Academy. We have talked loosely about performing arts, high-tech creative media production, Makerspace, and more. Help us REPURPOSE it for the community. Sign this petition to show support for our efforts to bring back the Printery for the community of Atascadero.
Petition to Inside Time, Noel Smith, John Roberts, Louise Shorter
Stop censoring our grass-roots prisoner union
Inside Time, the most-read newspaper for prisoners, is refusing to publish articles or advertisements about a grass-roots prisoner union, which is fighting to improve prisoners’ lives. The Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee (IWOC) is a part of the Industrial Workers of the World, an international union founded in 1905. We are made up of ex-prisoners, family members of prisoners and supportive union members. We started to try to give prisoners and those that have been affected by the criminal justice system a voice in the UK and to support them to organise inside and outside of prison. As prisons are notorious for breaching human rights and for increasingly exploiting prisoner labour, we feel it is a necessary step that prisoners are supported to organise and access solidarity from people on the outside when trying to challenge their conditions. Membership is free for prisoners. For people leaving prison, union membership allows them to meet people in their local areas, access support for grievances in their workplaces when needed, access free training and education, and more. For those inside, they can access support, pen-pals and receive and contribute to literature produced by the Union worldwide. Despite the clear benefits to prisoners and those affected by the system, Inside Time, the national newspaper circulated in prisons has rejected our attempts to pay for advertising in its paper. Over 60,000 copies of each issue of Inside Time are distributed to all prisons and special hospitals plus many secure units and hostels throughout the UK. Historically it has published a wide range of articles, including those critical of the prison system. Inside times may allow prisoners to complain and voice the things that are done to them in prison, such as abuse and neglect, but they seem quite uninterested in giving space to groups and projects that attempt to create or organise for solutions to these problems. We cannot see why Inside Time would reject IWOC, a project initiated by ex-prisoners, and censor its outreach to prisoners. We believe the benefits to prisoners are clear and that they should be allowed to make their own minds up as to whether to apply for membership following reading about us in the newspaper. We are calling on the Management Board of Inside Time to re-consider their discriminatory position and allow us to advertise in its publication.
Petition to HarperCollins Publishers
Make HarperCollins Publish My Yaoi Fanfiction
As a natural-born citizen of the United States, I have a right to freedom of thought and speech as guaranteed by the first amendment of our Constitution. Following Simon & Schuster's cancellation of Milo Yiannopolous' book Dangerous, I realized that I, too, have been denied my human rights by a publishing company. From 2006-2008, I was a prolific contributor to Fanfiction.net, writing mostly shounen-ai and yaoi scenes featuring Eiji and Oishi from the Prince of Tennis anime and manga. Over ten years later, HarperCollins has still failed to reach out to me and offer me a book deal for the fanfiction I wrote in high school. If white supremacists, transphobic bigots, proponents of child rape, and other flavors of professional trolls are owed a financially lucrative platform to share their ideas, certainly my homoerotic fantasies deserve the same.It is unacceptable and a violation of my rights as a US citizen for HarperCollins to silence my voice in this manner. I am saddened and appalled by this lack of respect for my rights. I call on HarperCollins to right this wrong and immediately offer me a publishing deal for my work, including a hefty advance. Please sign this petition and show your support for freedom of speech.