Sunday, February 12, 2012

Seriously, Amazon?

My book, Someone To Cherish, has been stolen. The whole thing was copied and pasted and republished as Bad Luck Love's [sic] Me.

This isn't the first time I've heard about plagiarized material showing up for sale on Amazon. The last time I saw it, though, the books had been taken from Literotica. This time the books are taken directly from Amazon. So why didn't the stolen manuscript trigger some kind of alert before it got published?

Lori Devoti spent a while this afternoon tracking down and finding the other authors who had books stolen by the people who took my book. Not hard--she found a few in less than an hour. So why the hell didn't Amazon? I contacted them hours ago. Why haven't they done anything yet--like maybe, answer my emails? Lots of people have pointed out that that "author" has stolen a bunch of books. Why hasn't Amazon taken down the books' buy buttons?

I suppose making people push that little button that says "this is my material and I hold the copyright" before they publish might save Amazon from legal responsibility. But shouldn't they do more than just provide a platform? They have plenty of cash to invest in systems that make sure they aren't housing thieves. Just a simple google-type search on their own site might do the trick and they'd catch plagiarists before they publish.
They ought to care enough about their reputation to take the same kind of time on each of these cases that Lori did.

UPDATE: Okay, the buy option is gone. Yay! (Now I expect a note saying "whoops, sorry" from Amazon any minute. Heh. Right.)

ANOTHER UPDATE:  here's an article Karin Kallmaker put up on Facebook about the topic. The line that caught me: "But while it appears that Amazon could easily employ a filter to protect its authors’ works, it may be under no legal duty to do so." 

 Yeah, I figured legally they're fine. I'm hoping for an eventual PR nightmare--or at least a PR nuisance. That might make them do something. This isn't like most annoying pirate sites where they post our books free. It's worse than usual. Why?

1. these pirates are making money.
2. amazon could easily stop it if they gave a damn about the people who provide their LEGAL content. 


  1. Kate, they simply blocked the account, you need to call Amazon's legal department tomorrow and continued your claim.

    Best of luck with everything.

  2. Kate, this is terribly disturbing news. I hope you can get to the bottom of it and catch the sorry *ss who did this dastardly deed. I agree that Amazon certainly should have something in place to catch this sort of piracy.

  3. How did you know someone had stolen your book? How would I even figure that kind of thing out...

  4. Jane from Dearauthor told me. A reader contacted her (I guess she recognized the book)

  5. Yanno ... this frightens me even more than file sharing sites. I wonder how much this has happened with no one finding out about it. Are MY books out there under a different name?

    Seriously demoralizing...

  6. We can't even express how disturbing this is. You were lucky to catch it. Bet there are a bunch out there that haven't been caught yet! It sends a chill up the back. The piracy sites ARE bad, but this is much much worse.

  7. I certainly do not condone pirating, but I do agree this kind of plagiarizing is worse. At least with the pirating the legitimate author is still getting credit for the work, even if they aren't being paid (which totally sucks). One can hope that maybe, just maybe, that pirated copy might somehow lead to a sale of another book by that author by more honest readers. But plagiarizing the work... The author receives no money, no credit, nothing. Were these self-published books or were they professionally published? One would hope that the publishing process might turn up such blatant copying.

  8. BTW, when I asked if they were self-published, I meant were the plagiarist's copies self-published?

  9. Speechless and horrified by this - who is next and indeed, how do we know our work is okay?
    Jactherat - aka Kat Quickly

  10. Of course Amazon isn't going to do anything about it. Honeybadger don't give a shit.

  11. Even pawnbrokers, who have a pretty shoddy reputation, have to be responsible about the origin of their wares, but Amazon can't be arsed.

    Lori did a bunch of work on this, and found that most of the books she traced were free at some point--so the lazy scumbuckets don't even bother buying their first copy. They post the stolen goods free, then jack up the price like us regular writers tend to do.

    (And I love the shit-free honeybadger. Don't be insulting his attitude by calling him Amazon.)

  12. And Jennifer, I do think most (if not all) the books were self-pubbed or really small press books.