This post was prompted by the discovery of a Kindle e-book that lifted its content from a popular vegan blog. The offending book can be found here, and an astute reader will immediately see that not only did the plagiarist dupe the content from Susan Voisin’s FatFreeVegan website, but also swiped Joel Fuhrman’s title. Here is the content of the review I posted on Amazon, which I assure you, I have the rights to publish here:
Very clearly, this compiler of stolen content needs to learn that lifting material off websites and putting her name on it is just as much stealing as pirating a DVD or swiping someone’s credit card number. There are stiff penalties for this as there is for any other kind of larceny.
However, I think this shines a light on an unfortunate trend that has been brought on by the availability of online publishing. Any online bookseller can now set itself up as a publisher–to publish: to make a body of content public. However, retailers know not where they tread when they do this.
A qualified publisher understands copyright law, and is careful to vett and enforce via contract an author’s warranty of originality, or official documents granting permission for use. An author worthy of the name knows how much work and sweat and tears it takes to create a book. For these reasons, I advise Amazon and other online entrepreneurs to find a way to police those who apply to be “published” by them, and ensure title the way an experienced publisher would. In cases such as this blatant theft, the plagiarist may stand liable, but the “publisher”–the online retailer–even moreso. I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg.UPDATE: It appears that Amazon has removed the offending title from their site thanks, no doubt, to the many comments that were posted about it.