Is Nothing Sacred? Self-Published Erotica Section of Amazon Rife with Plagiarism
Via: Fast Company
It’s gotten to be that an honest, hard-working smut-peddler can’t make a decent living anymore. In recent months, Amazon.com, which boasts a staggering number self-published titles, has received a number of complaints from erotica authors that their work has been re-published by different users under alternate titles (see also: our article on the wild west world of eBook erotica).
A great deal of these stories are ripped word for word from the amateur erotica site LitErotica.com, which boasts an estimated 4.5 million visitors per month. A number of the top-selling independent publishers on Amazon (operating under names like Maria Cruz, Luke Ethan) have stolen nearly their entire oeuvre word for word from other sources, and they don’t always stay within the niche market of online erotica. Emerging online porn author Sharazade did some checking on the titles available from Maria Cruz’s author page and found that all 11 works had been plagiarized, including a horror story that contained copied and pasted text from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Thief extraordinaire Manuel Ortiz Braschi had the balls to claim works in the public domain as his own, including Alice in Wonderland, and several how-to-books on seeking health insurance have been sold under slightly different names by different authors.
Amazon’s official stance is to remove content identified by users as plagiarism, and for the most part, it’s made good on that threat: porn-bandits Elizabeth Summers, Robin Scott, and the aforementioned Maria Cruz all had most, if not all of their stolen work deleted from the online outlet. However, the sheer number of titles published each day (Amazon published over 130,000 of these DIY eBooks last year, a jump from 51,000 in 2006) makes it nearly impossible for even a company as big as Amazon to thoroughly check every submission for plagiarism, and most of these eInk paper mills get back to pumping out the ripped off material days later, under the same name.
Supporters of the controversial SOPA bill, which was recently struck down by congress, often cite problems like this as evidence of a need for net regulation. However, Adam L. Penenberg, a Professor of journalism at NYU and a contributor to Fast Company had a better idea:
Why not require an author to submit a valid credit card before she can self-publish her works on the Kindle? If an author, who could still publish under a pen name, were found to have violated someone else's copyright Amazon could charge that card $2,000 and ban her from selling again. Amazon could also run content through one of the many plagiarism detectors that are available--such as Turnitinor iThenticate--before an eBook is put on sale.
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