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Why readers should not settle for plagiarism. Plagiarism is NOT a victimless crime

As an author on an online platform one aspect has always scared me. Plagiarism. The written word is so underrated and taken for granted that some people don’t think twice about stealing someone else’s work and passing it off as their own.

For any writer that is devastating. Not only is someone else getting credit and paid for your hard work, but it’s a violation. To steal something so precious is like stealing someone’s soul and that is unacceptable.

This last weekend one of my dearest friends was a victim of plagiarism. Her work, over 300,000 words, was stolen in its entirety and was placed and sold not on one other platform but on EIGHT other platforms. And she isn't the first one. Many authors have been a victim to this crime and it is taking its toll on them, their ability to earn and their willingness to share the wonderful creations they are making.

"To create quality and unique work is no easy task, this labour of love takes blood sweat and tears and in the blink of an eye someone has snatched it away and taken away the authors rights to her intellectual property.
Imagine creating something personal and precious to you. You put your soul and heart into this piece that represents a part of you. You bravely decide to share it hoping others would appreciate it too. Then someone sees this and decides to take it. They steal it and pass it off as their own. They have no connection to this piece. It isn’t something they poured their soul into. And yet they are taking credit for it. They even start charging for others to look at it.

This is plagiarism. It hurts. It’s demotivating. So much time and effort is put into these works. For someone to pluck it away as their own. You feel angry, cheated, helpless and sad".- JM SNAP, online platform author, victim of plagiarism.

So here is why readers shouldn’t settle for plagiarised copies.

1. You are supporting the theft of someone else’s work.

2. These sites are closed all the time. You might invest into a story, only for it to be pulled down. You lose money, the author loses money.

3. These sites never have the genuine articles. The work is usually unedited, out of date and at times incomplete. The copy is generally of a poor quality, because it's obtained through screenshots or mirroring apps.

4. It often costs more than the real version.

"You build up a world, fill it with characters, take them all on adventures, and create a space that’s completely your own. But then suddenly, someone comes along and defiles it. They take something sacred and special from you, leaving you to wonder, will your worlds ever be safe again or are they better off living in your head, safe but untold?" StephanieLight, Online Platform Author

However, when you buy from the proper owner and distributor you:

1. Support the correct person who completed the work

2. Will get to keep and reread the book as detailed when you purchase it.

3. You will have access to the genuine book, with all its updates and corrections. You almost always have access to the author who can address issues or answer questions for you.

One person justified plagiarism because "she didn't have enough money to buy the book". It s a selfish and weak justification for her actions.

This isn’t a victimless crime. The person you are hurting is the person who poured hundreds of hours into making a unique and authentic piece of writing.

Look for the genuine article and support an independent author. Report any sites that seem suspicious. Don’t support plagiarism. Don’t let the thieves win.

A few years ago, my elderly neighbour was robbed. Someone entered his house and ruined his belonging, stole things that were precious to him. He later told me that he never felt safe in his house again.
This is what it feels like to have pieces of your work stolen. That feeling of safety is gone. Forever. A lot of people brush it off, saying that authors knew what kind of business they were getting into. That they have to have tough skin etc. Or that this is the price for a book being popular. But these kinds of things should never be okay. You don’t tell a victim or a burglary that they should have tough skin or even be happy that their house was chosen. Stealing is stealing. No excuses. This is not a badge of honour. Every author is emotionally attached to the worlds and unique elements that they create. You give a piece of your soul every time you write a story. And to see that part of you being used like that after you shared it with the world is always heart-breaking.” Marion Artwood, Online Platform Author
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