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"Publisher" stealing fan fiction: Plush Books


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I came across this tidbit whilst surfing:  https://www.themarysue.com/publishing-house-plush-books-accused-of-stealing-dozens-of-fanfiction-works/

It looks like the alleged publisher is scraping stories from FFN and AO3, but since many of our authors also publish on those sites, I thought it might be worth posting this. It’s astonishing how low some folks will go. :pissed:

Edited by BronxWench
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  • BronxWench changed the title to "Publisher" stealing fan fiction: Plush Books

This is beyond horrible that this “publishing house” got away with as much as they did.

In a fanfic or “derived work,” there are two entities who deserve credit and payment for the work; the author of the “original” work or universe, and the author of the derived/fanfiction work.  Full stop.  With original fiction, the sole entity entitled to credit and payment is the author of the work.

Doing what “Plush House” did is theft, pure and simple.  They should be criminally charged for it, and if convicted at trial should have everything taken from them.  There is certainly some legal doubt on who should be paid for fanfiction written without a license issued in advance by the original content creator.  However, there is no doubt that whomever should get the money, “Plush House” is not and never was it. 

For the original works, there’s no doubt at all whatsoever.  Many people here have either received stacks of form-rejection letters personally, at least looked into vanity publishing, or both; and the rest of us have read of your travails in these forum posts.  Plush House have stolen.  They are thieves.

If they had stuck to cook books, then perhaps they could have made money quietly from the “Internet semi-lazy.”  Just get someone with a spatula and a word processor for editing and pizazz, and have at it.  Hell, I could have worked for them doing that, at least with some cuisine types.  If you publish it on the Internet, it isn’t really a “secret recipe” any more.  And, a talented cook and writer can change it up just enough to call it their own.  If you know how to cook, I’ve already posted a “secret recipe” in passing, and it’s just waiting to be made in your kitchen.

But, being the lazy over-achievers they allegedly are, they didn’t even bother to get releases or even offer token payment.  A plague upon their [publishing] house!

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I did take the time to look over the spreadsheet prepared by some intrepid folks, and the bulk of the works were scraped from FFN and AO3. There was nothing that was linked directly to AFF, which just goes to show that writing smut pays off in peculiar ways.

My biggest concern is that many of our members cross-post stories here and on other sites, so it’s likely that someone from AFF is going to have a fic stolen. @GeorgeGlass is dealing with someone reposting his work and that of other AFF authors on a site where it looks like the poster might actually get paid for those bits of theft. What’s worse with this Plush Books situation is that fan fiction exists in a gray area of copyright law that allows the use of copyrighted material for certain purposes as long as the user doesn’t make any money from the work. The only one entitled to make any money is the owner of the copyrighted material, period. Plush Books is stealing from the copyright owner, and putting the very existence of fan fiction at risk.

The oddest thing of all is that I first heard about this from the blog of a published author, Martha Wells, who writes the insanely good Murderbot novels. She mentioned it on her blog, and when I saw the article from The Mary Sue, I was appalled. But I was also kind of glad to see a NYTimes bestselling author standing up for fan fiction writers.

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“Money attracts lawyers” is a useful adage.  So even if a person finds a magical trick to legally make money out of fanfiction, its unlikely to break even with all the legal fees as they get sued by those corporate lawyers.  And there’s always the risk that court cases might generally outlaw fanfiction too (unless the original author explicitly gives permission).  Because fanfiction is in that gray zone, it’s better for EVERYBODY to charge nothing, and keep it free – don’t be the jerk that ruins it for all.

However, it’s worse with plush books, as it appears they’re STEALING the stories too, simple theft, and rebranding it as their own.  Though I wonder if we should all respond by making sure that every fanfic out there is at least 5 million words...kill ‘em with printing fees.

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