Don't be a copycat!


#1

So there is some major drama going on in the romance world. An author has stolen most (possibly all) her books.

Seems that she hired a ghostwriter from Fiverr and didn’t bother to check and make sure those books weren’t stolen. Turns out they were, and from some major romance writers.

I would encourage all Wattpad writers to take the time every month or two and make sure other people haven’t stolen your work.

If you’re interested in finding out more, the hashtag on Twitter is #copypastecris.

Did I mention the author whole stole the content (and she stole it even if a ghostwriter produced it) is a lawyer!

I guess not all lawyers are smart.


Ghost Writing, the new Plagiarism and Us
#2

I would suggest you fact check before you make false accusations about Courtney Milan, who has a law degree. She did NOTHING wrong. You might want to read Courtney’s blog post about it. The person who is accused of plagiarism is NOT a lawyer.


#3

I believe the OP is refering to Christiane Serruya (the plagerist) who does claim to be a lawyer in their twitter bio and not to Courtnay Milan. They even made a tweet that has since been deleted about how their being a lawyer means they’d never dare steal from somone.


#4

I followed your link.
The OP isn’t talking about Courtney Milan. She’s not the thief, she’s the one who was stolen from.


#5

Hi! This is indeed a reality. I’ve heard stories like that since indie authors started self-publishing about 13 years ago…

But my question is: How would we check and make sure our books are not stolen? I mean it here on Wattpad and when publishing or self-publishing?


#6

As disappointing as it is, the fact is you can’t stop criminals from committing crimes. You can only catch them and punish them after the deed is done.


#7

People who want to be authors, but don’t want any of the hard work. :rage:


#8

This is something that worries me and I get what you mean… Especially here on wattpad.I’ve seen stories that are so similar that I’m afraid they might be copied. Sometimes they are not copied per se, so there’s nothing much you can do about it but it stills feels wrong for me.


#9

Theres no way to stop it from happening unfortunately. If you put your work out there, it is at risk of being stolen. I was stolen from when my book was on fictionpress and someone posted it on Wattapd, it’s actually why i joined wattpad in the first place,so I could get it removed.

You can essentially search for yourself and thats how you can find it if it happens, but you can’t stop it unlesss you just don’t put it anywhere.

In the case of these aurhors theyre big enough names that they have the money to fight it in court if they so choose. And theres enough of them I can almost bet they’ll ban together financially if need be. The plagerists career is toast even if she didn’t steal all her books and some were genuinely hers. The excuse of “my ghostwriter did it” isn’t going to fly.


#10

That’s horrible! How did you find out it was stolen and what did you do about it?


#11

People on FP were talking about moving over to Wattpad because (at the time) it was so easy to steal from FP. It was literally you could cut and paste the work. So for grins and giggles I searched a couple sections of my book here, thinking no way I’d find them, and found the person stole the entire first book of my series and two shorts that would become the basis of the sequels. They even had all my author notes.

Plagerists aren’t very bright. They honestly think they won’t get caught, you can look at this situation as a prime example since she stole from some really big romance authors.

One problem currently on wattpad is people “converting” books to fanfic. They take someone elses work and change the character name to some celebrity and call it fanfiction. I’ve had several of them removed. Some I can’t do anything about because the books aren’t published so only the original copyright holder can report those. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to track down the original owners to get them to report it.

But in spite of it happening so often you really can’t live in fear of it. Stopping your work from being stolen means never writing it in the first place. Your laptop can be stolen and someone publishes it from there, it can be stolen from Wattpad, Radish, and other similar sites, it can be stolen from book shelves and someone takes the time to retype it, and it can be stolen from Amazon. If it exists, it can be stolen.


#12

Sorry, I didn’t see any mention of Christiane being a lawyer but Courtney is well known for her legal background and thought the OP had the people involved confused.


#13

I kinda figured thats what you thought, which is why I wanted to clear it up. I only knew because I spent my lunch break at work reading up on the whole thing so it was fresh on my mind. :rofl:


#14

I was referring to the plagarist (she claims to be a lawyer). Not Courtney Milan. Who I have a LOT of respect for.

This is from Surreya’s Twitter profile: USAToday bestselling author, woman, reader, mother, lawyer, wife…not necessary in this order!


#15

Instead of writing, I’ve spent part of the day following this story. She’s apparently stolen from Nora Roberts too! (and it doesn’t matter that her ghostwriter produced the stolen work because Surreya published it and she’s responsible for it) I am gobsmacked! I just don’t understand why Surreya didn’t check out these books from her ghostwriter before hitting publish.

And to make matters worse for herself, she entered one of her stolen books for a RITA award AND submitted DMCA’s for books she stole herself.

And I don’t want to paint all ghostwriters with the same brush. There are many great ghostwriters, but when you hire someone on Fiverr that you know nothing about, you risk it blowing up in your face.


#16

Thanks @Prisim! You are right! It’s frustrating but It can’t stop us from writing. :slight_smile:


#17

Ffs. I hate plagiarism so freaking much. I’m actually rewriting one of my stories becasue someone a few years back stole the original draft. They actually set up an account on another social media site and pretending to be me. It was really weird and creepy and infuriating and I’m just thankful they ended up deleting all their crap. Thankfully what they stole was a rough draft from a NaNoWriMo Novel I wrote when I was in high school and I had wanted to change a lot anyways, but it’s always freaking gross.

It’s a big reason I moved to Wattpad since you can’t copy paste from here. I’m still on Ao3 but I wonder whether I should take down the story in question. But on both places I state that I use the same username and pen name everywhere and I only post my writing to those two sites. So if it pops up anywhere else, or under a different name, it’s not me.

The crappiest part is that small hobbiest writers have almost no recourse against thieves and so many sites just don’t care (for example so many writers and artists get stolen from on sites like Tumblr and there is really nothing they can do). The potential exposure from sites like that just isn’t worth the risk in my book (lol…book…).


#18

Now some of the past Ghostwriters are coming forward. Some claim she didn’t pay them and that she gave them big blocks of text for them to clean up and make coherent. So yeah, shes screwed.


#19

All this drama would make for a great book.


#20

I’ll get right on that, as soon as I’ve hired someone to write it.