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Being stolen

Second thing in the morning, I usually head over to my computer. This is how most mornings during the week go, because I only get 20-30 minutes of Internet time before packing up for work. I used to write during that time, but lately I found that I pretty much only write Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning. So, I stopped for a while and just use the time to check on comments, browse the Internet, and do the little maintenance things such as updating websites or writing small programs.

And that is when I found out someone had taken my serial, changed some names, and put it out as their own.

This is less than optimal.

The Discovery

This morning, I had a cryptic comment on the serial. Just a link to another website. The website is one I know, so I followed it. You probably know where it is going, but it took me almost thirty seconds to recognize my writing. Yeah, the names had changed and a couple of the descriptions, but it's my serial. Well, the first eleven chapters, but they've only been posting for three days, so it is probably just a matter of time before the remaining 50+ chapters were posted.

Initial Response

Once I figured out it was mine, I looked at the "likes" and comments for the individual chapters. 16k views per chapters. Nice. 10-20 likes. Even better. 0 comments, oh well.

They had a report button, so I reported it along with links to the forums I've been posting for over a year, my own site, and cached likes to archive.org and Google. I never know what to tell them besides "Excuse me, that's my writing with some names changed, please set the poster on fire." (Though, I'm usually very polite and don't do the pretend legal-speak.)

I don't get feedback from that process either, so I'll just check the link over a couple days to see if it disappears. If it does, great, just one more thing and moving on.

Once they do, I might start posting the serial over there because there are obviously readers and I don't get paid for this, so those "likes" are the little nuggets of currency that I get paid for.

Five Stages of Grief: Acceptance

There was only one stage here. This will have made the fifth time I've found one of my stories online, with names changed and posted under someone else's name. There really isn't much I can do about it. I post in a place where people read and it's in a form that is easily copyable. Actually, the serial is on the in convenient forms including PDF, HTML, EPUB, and Mobi (because I wrote a program to make those). I also refuse to use DRM and this is what will happen when you don't use it.

There is nothing I can do about people stealing my work, so there is no reason to get upset. Actually, I view it as a measuring stick for my skill as a writer and/or popularity. The more people steal, the more they think it is good enough to pass as their own. I've only found my book once on a torrent, I had it removed but it still says at least someone thought I was interesting enough to pass on.

Why Community Matters

I don't browse the web for my writing, except for the occasional search for a review (I don't get them, so I still think they are precious little things). However, I apparently have a fan-base who does and one of them, anonymously, brought this to my attention so I could do something.

I think that says a lot about treating your fans well. I don't know anyone who is rude to their fans, but it is nice to see it in action. And if you create something that people enjoy, they'll look out for you.

Moving Forward

I'm going to keep posting the serial. I don't see a reason to stop writing because of one person. I may start mirroring it over on the website in question, to troll for those "likes", but otherwise I'm not going to let it happen any longer than it takes to post this.

Edit (2012-10-26)

The site in question has taken down the serial and removed it from the author's list of postings, but did not remove the author. I suspect they won't, but at least my work was taken down.

They did manage to post another seven chapters before that happened.