Monday, February 25, 2019

A message to people who steal books

This past week Romancelandia was once again at the forefront when it comes to drama. Plagiarism from one “author” was so rampant, the news leaked through Twitter into other realms like YA Twitter, Fantasy Twitter, etc.

We discovered not only that the lady in question had stolen from renowned authors, but also she stole from Wikipedia, and cooking websites. But before that was a known fact, and the list of authors affected grew to more than twenty-five and the books copied into three of her own books went as high as thirtysomething, this lady packed it in.

At first, she said to have no knowledge of anything, ghostwriters did it. She promised to investigate, and then to make it right with the authors in question. But that too was a lie. She deleted her Twitter and Facebook accounts, and later her YouTube one. The appropriate thing would have been to talk to the authors, all of them, admit her wrongdoings and then return the money that readers paid for her books, before compensating the authors.

Book plagiarism and book pirating seem to have become the norm ever since … well ever. It seems that it was harder to keep track of these things unless a reader brought it up with the author directly or their publishing house.

Nowadays, us writers still depend on readers pointing out when they think our books are being copied or uploaded illegally to a website.

So, this past week, as I was completely immersed reading the whole mess that has become this latest crisis, adeptly deemed #CopyPasteCris on Twitter, I too was contacted by a reader. I wasn’t given a lot of information. This person mainly pointed out that she’d seen my Spanish book in a sharing site.
I had to Google Corazón, Muleta y Estoque in order to see which site the person was referring to. In doing so I quickly found a book sharing site that not only has essays, articles, and books uploaded by people but also charges a membership so people can read and borrow from their list.

As I’m the publisher of this book, I quickly sent a notice asking them to remove the book. Once the correct form for verification was submitted, the website removed the book. However, they didn’t provide any information about who uploaded the book, or how many times this book was shared.
I asked them about the user, only because this is the only book that I’ve published that has been uploaded to multiple free websites, all of them Spanish websites.

The girl who uploaded it previously did so to two different sites. One in Spain, one in Mexico. I asked the identity of the user, just like I had done previously, only because I wanted to know if it was the same person.

I don’t know what prompts people to do things like this. This is not different than you walking in a store, taking something off the shelf, and then walking out of it without paying. It’s still stealing.
Just because I buy a book from Bethany Lopez, Anne Rice, Stephen King, it doesn’t give me the right to upload said book online and make it available for others to read. The author is the only person who can decide whether or not to do such a thing because the author is the only OWNER of the book. Just because one pays for a copy of said book, doesn’t give one the right to do with that copy as one pleases.

Dear Readers, please continue to approach authors when you find their work being plagiarized or uploaded to sites where you know the Author wouldn’t upload. You are our first line of defense in order to protect our books. And I’m sure that I and all authors thank you for being our eyes and ears in the book world.

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