Tuesday, January 11, 2011

PLAGIARISM UPDATE! Amazon Responds To My Criticism!

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Amazon.com Copyright Agent Garth Skovgard in response to My criticizing them it their seemingly sluggish response to remove the works of someone with now multiple plagiarism complaints and DMCA notices against them.  The contents are as follows:

Dear Mr. Laney:

Thank you for this additional information.  We take the intellectual property rights of others very seriously, and are currently investigating this matter.  For privacy reasons, the results of our investigations cannot be disclosed, but be assured we will take any disciplinary actions we find appropriate.


Garth Skovgard

Copyright/Trademark Agent

---- Original message: ----

Dear Amazon Copyright Agent Garth Skovgard,

Thank you for your reply.  It is great to see that you are intending to remove
this work from your site, but what ot the remainder of this "author's"
catalogue.  I am not sure what your policy is, but on the sites I submit stories
to anyone caught plagerizing another person's work, whether in part or in whole
has all their submissions removed and they are banned from that site, and not
just the user name, but their IP address as well. (Simple as that, no questions
asked, whether they had 1000 original submissions and 1 single instance of
plagerism or not).  I can assure you that I, and several other of the victims
this person has used to build "her" short story collections from, will not be
truly satisfied until we can be assured that Amazon.com has no intention of
knowingly doing business with this person again.  So if you would be so kind,
just what is your policy for dealing with a member caught plagerizing the work
of another?  One assumes there must be some consequence as both the "author" and
Amazon profit from the sale of these works while the author gets an e-mail that
basically says, "Oh, sorry about that", or more like "Oppsie, our bad" because
this notice does not even say anything close to that.

Michael C. Laney


Well one can certainly respect the fact that Amazon would want to do a full investigation into the claims of plagiarism, however the fact that they would choose not to disclose the results would seem to be an indication they are afraid to let John Q. Public know that there is a problem.  Who's privacy?  Is the privacy of the plagiarizer more important than that of the people they steal from, and if so why? 

So in the meantime writers are submitting their stories to story sites unaware that people are coming along to swipe them and post them elsewhere for profit.  Once posted I am sure they were as complacent as I was and never bothered to check to see if their work was showing up somewhere other than where they intended.

As far as an answer to the question of consequences for being caught selling plagiarized works there was no real answer.  I don't know about you but I get the impression that this does not mean that a plagiarizer would necessarily be banned from Amazon.  Again I would think they would want to spell it out, but after researching publishing through Kindle for the past few days it seems that the rules governing Amazon's member services are likewise vague to begin with.

My impression it that this is yet another brush off letter.  It seems that, at least the Amazon Copyright section, feels itself beyond reproach although they claim to "...take the intellectual property rights of others very seriously..."

That's how this letter makes Me feel.  What do you think?

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