PaidContent has an update on the status of “For Dummies” publisher John Wiley’s court cases against individuals accused of illicitly sharing various “For Dummies” books via BitTorrent. The company was able to unmask 46 “John Doe” defendants, 40 of whom were dropped from the case after apparently settling for an undisclosed amount. The publisher is going to go forward with suing the remaining, now-identified six.

It’s not clear whether any settlements Wiley gets out of this case will cover even a fraction of the costs of bringing it, or whether it will act as a deterrent or just make the publisher unpopular.


  1. It always amazes me that anyone would buy a book which assumes (and publicly states) that you are stupid.

    I’ve written a lot of learning materials and howtos, most of them starting from a very basic level, and I would never insult my students or readers in that way.

    By my definition, anyone who is willing to learn is demonstrably NOT a “dummy”.

    • Then you’re not their target market. I work tech support, and you’d be amazed how many people outright tell me, “Now I’m a total idiot when it comes to these gadgets…” The target market of the “for Dummies” books are people who are willing to admit how little they know about something, and who want a book that is written to explain it to them from the ground up instead of assuming they already have some level of knowledge. And that’s why it’s titled “for Dummies”, because it’s for those people willing to admit they lack any knowledge about the subject whatsoever.

      I can’t say I agree with their tactics, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the title.