Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Dark Side of the Internet

I read an article this morning about the plagiarism problem Amazon is having. (article: Amazon's Plagiarism Problem) This isn't the first time I've read about people (I refuse to call them authors. They're not authors, they're thieves) blatantly stealing other people's work. And I'm not talking about the pirates who offer your ebook for free download. I'm talking about people who copy your work, slap a new title on it and "self-publish" it as their own book.
As an author, this scares the bejesus out of me. Its one thing to be vigilant to make sure your book isn't being offered for free download (luckily this hasn't happened to me yet). That's a challenge, but not impossible. You know what is next to impossible? Finding your book if its been put out somewhere under another person's name and a different title.
There was a case last year of some silly person trying to pass off a JD Robb book as their own, on Smashwords I think it was. Now that's ambitious, and downright stupid.
I'd like to say I don't understand why people would do this, but I do know... it all comes down to money.
Anyway, back to my point about finding your own book with a different cover. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. My mind straight away made up a scenario where one of my books makes it into the Amazon top ten, with all those royalties going to some scumbag, and then having to prove the work was originally mine. Don't think I'm being dramatic. There are countless stories of authors having to jump through hoops just to prove what they say is true, being treated as if they are the criminals. There really is something wrong with the system when the thief is getting off scott-free, while the author is the one being vilified.
I just hope Amazon and similar organizations can come up with a way to start fixing this issue.

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