Plagiarism is the New Black
"Well, I guess I've finally made it. Now, I’m used to having my work plagiarized....but this is the first time someone has tried to make money off my stuff. I just found out, that several of my stories have been stolen by some supposed "author" named Elizabeth Summers, and are on sale on Amazon in Kindle form for 6.99 a pop.
So far, she has stolen my stories Weekend at Sonja's, Dirty Little Secret, Kiss My Ass, Anal at last, and The Dirtier, the Better. She also has numerous other stories for sale that are no doubt stolen as well from other authors. Here is link for one of my blatantly stolen stories [Click Here] The thief even used the exact tagline from the story posted on another site."
This is the message, DamonX, a well-known online writer, posted few weeks ago on a shared forum. This single post opened a watershed of scam, corruption, and boldfaced lies on the part of the supposed ‘author’ and Amazon. A crook going by the name ‘Elizabeth Summers’ has stolen over sixty-five stories written and posted by writers on free online forums and sites. To add insult to serious injury, she then went on to publish the pilfered work through Kindle Direct Publishing and sell it via Amazon Digital Services. That’s right, she’s hiding behind Amazon, which as most of you are aware, makes her virtually impervious.
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is taking the writings or literary ideas of another and selling and/or publishing them as one's own writing.
The sheer audacity of this woman knows no bounds. She not only lifted DamonX’s content, titles, and tags but she published it verbatim! Obviously we’re dealing with pure genius, folks. Well, in this case, our master thief's ignorance is her undoing, as DamonX has more than sufficient proof of rightful authorship. Still, this illegal re-branding of work doesn't rest entirely on ‘Elizabeth Summers’ shoulders. It is occurring in record numbers, more than I can stomach to mention. Below is another forum post which followed DamonX’s headline:
Writers, please be aware of some other erotica thieves selling stories on Amazon (I got this info off another message board). There is some speculation that they may all be the same person using different 'pen names' but you might want to check to see if you recognize any of your stories, or those of your friends. Apparently they occasionally use the tagline as the title, so just fyi. [Click Names Below]
Speculate no more, my friends. These are three more ‘authors’ who have stolen work from free sites and are selling on Amazon. Feel sick yet? There’s more. Amazon has washed their hands of the matter…aka, they can’t be held accountable nor are they obliged to remove the copyrighted material. Per Kindle Direct Publishing Terms and Conditions. Last Updated: April 21, 2011
6 Ownership and Control of Amazon Properties/ Feedback. Subject to the authorizations you grant to us under this Agreement, as between us and you, you retain all ownership rights in and to the copyrights and all other rights and interest in and to your Digital Books. We retain all ownership rights in and to the copyrights and all other rights and interests in and to the Program and the Amazon Properties.
5.8 Representations, Warranties and Indemnities. You represent and warrant that: (a) you have the full right, power and authority to enter into and fully perform this Agreement and will comply with the terms of this Agreement; (b) prior to you or your designee's delivery of any content, you will have obtained all rights that are necessary for the exercise the rights granted under this Agreement; (c) neither the exercise of the rights authorized under this Agreement nor any materials embodied in the content nor its sale or distribution as authorized in this Agreement will violate or infringe upon the intellectual property, proprietary or other rights of any person or entity, including, without limitation, contractual rights, copyrights, trademarks, common law rights, rights of publicity, or privacy, or moral rights….
5.7 Rights Clearances and Rights Dispute Resolution. You will obtain and pay for any and all necessary clearances and licenses for the Digital Books to permit our exercise of the rights granted under this Agreement without any further payment obligation by us, including, without limitation, all royalties and other income due to any copyright owner.
To put it succinctly, by separating themselves from the actual ownership rights and by retaining rights to Kindle Publishing and Amazon Properties, Amazon has laid the responsibility of infringement at the door of the ‘authors’. Therefore they assume all rights below to the ‘author’; they aren’t liable to defend the rightful owners interest (pull the material offline); nor, according to their confidentiality policy, in any way obliged to assist the aggrieved party in locating or contacting the thief by supplying them with any helpful information (email, addresses or other contact info).
To put it more succinctly, you’re fucked! The only way to get your hands on this information is through a court ordered subpoena. In the meantime, Amazon has a Copyright Agency however, per the policy*:
“Please note that this procedure is exclusively for notifying Amazon that your copyrighted material has been infringed.”
Again, nothing HAS to be done. They’re not obligated to remove the material—which they don’t! You see, this is about money. These scam artists are publishing through Amazon, which places Amazon at odds with their own interest if they remove the work. BUT by clearly stating in their terms and conditions that they aren’t responsible for gross violations of copyright laws, their hands are clean. In short, the books keep selling and your infringement claims go nowhere.
How can Amazon and the ‘authors’ get away with this?
Simple: No one has called them to the carpet. No one has stood up to them and/or demanded change. No one has openly discussed the situation and rallied public support. I find it both fascinating and disturbing that since undertaking this project countless writers (published and unpublished) have stepped forward with legitimate cases. Which begs the questions, why isn’t anyone speaking out? Where do the publishers stand on this matter? Has Amazon become a haven for legalized theft?
Writing is a passion, but like most passions, it’s very hard work. We spend great swaths of time in studious contemplation, whittling our thoughts into coherent prose. We pour our hearts and souls into our words. Our work is just that; our work. For us, each finished piece equates to tearing open our chests and offering our throbbing hearts for public criticism. Plagiarism is the unbridled rape and pillage of our very being.
And as for the reader purchasing said property: You’re being sold a bill of goods! You’re being swindled out of your hard earned cash and being insulted in the process. I imagine ‘Elizabeth Summers’ kicking back with your money thinking, “If those idiots would’ve surfed the net, they could’ve had these stories for free. The fools!!” *Cue evil laughter*
Make no mistake about it, by lifting freely given intellectual property from unpublished writers for the sole purpose of remuneration, ‘Elizabeth Summers’ and her gaggle of fuckwits have proven themselves to be parasitic vultures of the lowest order and enemies of anyone who has ever picked up a pen. This must be stopped!
Since this story broke there has been an enormous outpouring of support and generosity from the literary community. But there is still much more to be done. We’re calling on you (readers, bloggers, authors, and publishers) to bring attention to this issue. Let’s bring Amazon out from behind closed doors. I urge you to repost this article to your blogs, sites, forums, newsletters, and book clubs. Please disseminate this article to any and everyone who will listen. Go to Amazon and call bullshit like others have done. It’s high time this miscarriage of justice was given a voice.
For your review and to those who would doubt the validity of DamonX’s claim, below you will find the links to his work and those corresponding with those ‘Elizabath Summers’ has published through Amazon under identical titles. Given the fact that she’s a prolific thief, we’re certain there are other stories published under re-branded titles. I've included the entire URL threads because readers in Asia had trouble using hyperlinks.
Dirty Little Secret by DamonX
Elizabeth Summers stolen work: http://www.amazon.com/Adult-Erotic-fantasies-Little-ebook/dp/B003VD1GHE/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1303590332&sr=1-33
The Dirtier the Better by DamonX
Elizabeth Summers stolen work: http://www.amazon.com/Adult-Erotic-fantasies-Dirtier-ebook/dp/B003VD21C8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1303590160&sr=1-1
Anal at Last by DamonX
Elizabeth Summers stolen work: http://www.amazon.com/Adult-Erotic-fantasies-Anal-ebook/dp/B003VD1IZ4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1303590107&sr=1-1
Party at Sonya's by DamonX
Elizabeth Summers stolen work: http://www.amazon.com/Adult-Erotic-fantasies-Weekend-ebook/dp/B003VD1GF6/ref=sr_1_52?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1303590419&sr=1-52
Click for the complete author profile for DamonX
DamonX's stories are published on Erotic Stories, Literotica, Lush, and other online venues.
For published authors tempted to say, "Gosh, that's terrible" and thank your lucky stars it isn't you strung over the barrel, remember this: Today may not be your day, but tomorrow may very well be. Now ask yourself, who will rally under your banner?
Thank you...please feel free to repost.
Protect your work from plagiarism:
How To Protect Your Website's Copyright When Someone Steals Your Content
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.
*Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement (From Amazon)
If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please provide Amazon.com's copyright agent the written information specified below. Please note that this procedure is exclusively for notifying Amazon that your copyrighted material has been infringed.
1. An electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest;
2. A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed upon;
3. A description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on the site, including the auction ID number, if applicable;
4. Your address, telephone number, and e-mail address;
5. A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
6. A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf.
Amazon.com's Copyright Agent for notice of claims of copyright infringement on its site can be reached as follows:
Amazon.com Legal Department
P.O. Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108
phone: (206) 266-4064
fax: (206) 266-7010
**UPDATE MAY 17th**
Great news, Damon's material has been removed from Amazon. The other work has NOT. Click for details and to read Amazon's reply to Damon.