Dangerous, that thinking thing.
A number of author's were angered--incensed--that stories were stolen from free-to-read websites and sold for profit on Amazon. Yes, it stinks. But it won't go away. Not ever.
Plagiarism has a long and healthy history in the world of content creation. In Shakespeare's time, an actor was only given his lines on tiny slips of paper which contained his lines and cues for fear the plays would be stolen. Modern technology has only made the process easier.
It's a digital gold rush.
Thank goodness Wikipedia is back today, because I'm quoting directly:
"A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold."
I'm speaking of content gold, here. Follow my logic:
- Many authors post on Kindle Boards about how lucritive erotica can be.
- Plagiarizer goes to the web and trawls for free stories (and there are a ridiculous number of them out there--in any genre).
- Ctrl+C then Ctrl+V and a few formatting moments and voila, a book.
Some of the sites (Literotica in particular) don't appear to be publications in the traditional sense (meaning they don't reject most of their submissions and just about anyone can post). Countless similar sites exist in other genres, from fan fiction to poetry. While this isn't a case of people stealing stories from Newsweek or Fantasy and Science Fiction, it is still theft.
I'm not a fan of plagiarism and piracy; no author should be. (I've been a target of plagiarism in the past, remember?) But I'm not stupid, either. You put your content out there in today's wide-open wild west, and poachers are probably going to strip the juiciest bits like digital vultures on a rotting digital 'possum. Are we ever going to stop them? No. Not ever.
What can an author do?
Know the risks of posting online and take those you feel comfortable with. Most of all, get paid for your writing. If the Literotica scandal has shown these erotica writers anything, it's that there's a market for their words.
Publish them yourself and get paid. It's not a dirty thing to accept compensation for your work. If you don't, somebody else might.