If you get PublishersLunch, you might’ve seen the post on Thursday about “Plagiarized Titles Plague Kindle Stores”. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me considering I have to Google myself regularly to find pirating ebook sites giving away free downloads of my ebooks.What’s the next logical step? Unethical people steal this material, re-title, slap a new book cover, add their name as the author and self-publish it on Amazon and on other ebook stores.
Erotica titles have been hard hit with this type of plagiarizing on Kindle.
FastCompany is investigating hundreds of plagiarized titles from Literotica, a free erotic fiction site. They found one author (thief) Maria Cruz had over 40 plagiarized titles, another Robin Scott had 31 books. Even after Amazon removed all 51 of Cruz’s titles, after all of the complaints, she posted new material days later.
Why? How? Why hasn’t Amazon and the other ebook stores banned her forever? And I do hope the money made off of those books will eventually be distributed to the rightful authors. Oh, and she is being sued right? At the very least. I have images of breaking fingers and smashing computers, and I’m not a violent person. I’m an ethical author. And any ethical author understands the hard work and time it takes to write a book.It takes three seconds to steal one from the comfort of your laptop.
I don’t know if SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is the answer. There’s good and bad about that. But there has to be stronger enforcement.
Fast Company suggested a simple solution. Amazon would require an author to submit a valid credit card before self-publishing on Kindle. If later they’re found to have plagiarized, then $2,000 would be deducted from their CC. I don’t see that working either. For one thing, people can get debit cards with limited withdrawal amounts. And these “authors” are making a ton of money on these stolen ebooks, $2,000 is nothing. Not a deterrent. Ban them? Yes. Run content through plagiarism detectors like Turnitin or iThenticate? Yes, if they’re accurate. And legal action for theft.
I don’t mind competition with talented and honest authors, but it makes me ill to think thieves are on the Best Seller’s List with work they didn’t produce.