Hate pirates? There is one thing worse.

Plagiarizers. Plagiarism even has its own site at Plagiarism.org. “In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward.”

Yeah, pirates share/steal your books. But this person takes your work, puts their name on it and claims it and profits from YOUR work as their own. Now before you start rumbling about pirates, let’s make this clear. IF you talk to them 99.98% of them will tell you that the people who steal your book and resell it are a bunch of bottom sucking slime. We will not split the hairs on sharing vs selling loss of profits because we can argue this to doomsday and this isn’t the post. If a pirate argument shows up in the comments I will delete it and lock down these comments.

Back to our focus. Plagiarism. The topic is relevant because of Lynn Hagan’s theft of a book by Raythe Reign. And Siren’s blind eye toward that. “I received an email from Siren Publishing with a rather absurd idea that they can keep the money they made off the admittedly plagiarized work and that somehow the author will pay the publisher’s share, too. ”

You remember back when I was talking about authors who are in it for the money and publishers who are so greedy, they will take anything they throw at them with little oversight? Yeah, you got it in one. Siren is one of the publishers I was talking about. Poorly edited books, crappy Photoshopped covers with faces of one model shoved on another model, bad proportions and frankly some really ugly ass men. As a gay man, I’m offended if you think I would ever sleep with that. Oh, that’s right, we weren’t talking about covers. Actually, I’m offended if you think being gay is anything like they write.

Once in a long while, an author gets it right. I’m addicted to Lisa Oliver’s books. She got it right and she’s not Siren. Yes, there are a few Siren authors that can write their butts off. Note the word few. Most go for those 80 book contract things and Siren, good old money hungry, let’s ride this wave as far as it takes us, Siren who provides nothing from what I can see except a website known for erotic M/M and M/F and M/M/M and M/F/M and hell, if they could make money with Donkey porn, it would be M/D/F/D.

All this leads to one point. Siren is NOT a publisher. No more than Amazon and actually less than Amazon and Create Space. Amazon wouldn’t be stupid enough to say to a possible case of Fraud, we want to keep the money. Hell, even the pirate sites are taking down the damn book. That says something about who honors writers more. Pirates have more honor than Siren. You sign with them, you get what you get.

Yeah, I know Hagan used the excuse she had a contract and was on a deadline and RL became crazy. So if I’m on a deadline and RL is crazy, I can rob a bank? Steal a little old lady’s bank account? Good to know.

I think the M/M genre is why there isn’t such a stink. It’s a very small subgroup of erotica. And while the writer churns out books like a Hershey’s plant churns out chocolate bars, she isn’t significant in the overall writing world.

Why this is interesting for the rest of the world is this:

Legal Punishments:

Most cases of plagiarism are considered misdemeanors, punishable by fines of anywhere between $100 and $50,000 — and up to one year in jail.

Plagiarism can also be considered a felony under certain state and federal laws. For example, if a plagiarist copies and earns more than $2,500 from copyrighted material, he or she may face up to $250,000 in fines and up to ten years in jail.

Miss Hagen, if her devoted fans paid more than 2,500, may be looking at that example. And if she is found to have copied anything else in her books, you can be sure they will slap her with something like that. She thought RL was bad? It’s about to get worse. And considering it is a crime? She and ‘her publisher who doesn’t seem to care’ better wake up. She plagiarized. And her publisher who has final control, condoned it and wants to keep the money. Guess who is going to be sharing jail time and their own set of fines. I understand Siren is a profit oriented lets play this out until the well runs dry publisher. Those publishers seem to be getting themselves in more and more trouble lately because they don’t understand the business and legal ramifications.

Yeah, we are used to get kicked out of school because of…. Failed the class because of…. Got fired because of…. But when you play in the real world and contrary to popular belief, writing is the real world, you pay when you play. I would suggest panic mode for the offending parties. And for the person they ripped off, maybe a call to a lawyer and the cops like oh.. say… the FBI to see if they violated federal law?

This is part of why we need two different terms. One for hobbyists and one for professional writers. You don’t expect a shade tree mechanic to be a tech certified NASCAR mechanic. Writers come in different veins also. A hobbyist who wanders into the professional field may make this mistake. A professional writer won’t. His/Her future depends on it.

NOW do you see why copyrights are important. It’s is fairly moot in this case because both offending parties just admitted to it. However, if they weren’t inept criminals, you would need that copyright.

I have told you repeatedly, you need to be educated as writers. IF you are a hobbyist, no you don’t need this and I’m not sure why you are reading this, but if you enjoy it, go for it as long as you do not publish your work in public. EG: Blog.

If you are professional, you damn well need to learn about your career. Professional is anyone who gets paid to write in any manner. It’s a PIA but you must learn or get chopped up for lunch. If you are a hobbyist and sell anything, I hate to break it to you, but you MUST learn if you wish to continue. There are no Artsy Fartsy writers left who has a whole band of people to support them by editing, reviewing, printing, marketing, giving you M&M before your speaking engagement that you arrived to in a horse drawn Rolls Royce. IF your name is Stephen King, James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsey or a few, very few, others then yes. You do. But if you are reading this? We ain’t them.

There is nothing wrong with writing in the subgenres. There is nothing wrong with taking money for that. Or in being a hobbyist. Where you run into problems is when you do something damn dumb and plagiarizing is damn dumb. Read the site I linked to before you do anything else. Not because I think you would do it, but because you need to know what to do IF it happens to you. This is a business. It is not an honor when some lazy schlep takes your work and claims it as their own and proceeds to make money off of it. It is a CRIME when money is involved. You don’t even have to do the fighting with them. The cops will do it for you.

And if you ever thought about cheating and plagiarizing? You are not a writer. You are the lazy schlep.

One more time. It is a job. You get paid for it. Do your damn job and learn about your craft. If Hemingway, King, Sparks, Cook, Heaberlin and the rest who are pros have to worry about it? You are not exempt. And it will save you heartbreak and frustration.

Ain’t it a bitch? You worry about plot, structure, form, development, arcs, publishing contracts, self publishing and so much more and then after all this, you have to worry about lazy schleps.

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5 thoughts on “Hate pirates? There is one thing worse.

    1. You’re only saying that because I turned you on to Joe Pike and Elvis Cole…

      I’ve been watching this and frankly, I was surprised when I discovered that you can face jail time for doing it. But if you think about it, if I am paying good money for something an author ripped off from another author, I guess it would be fraud as well as theft. We just never hear about that side of it.

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