Wow, we had no idea this problem was getting so, so so terrible. And we had no idea that successful authors are hiring companies to track down pirated copies of their novels online...
But you'll note below that ultimately it was a reader who brought the problem to Jasinda Wilder's attention.
A zero-tolerance policy on Wattpad, the social media site that claims 35 million readers and writers worldwide, has not done away with the problem of digital piracy on the site. Earlier this month over 41,000 readers downloaded free copies of a novel by New York Times bestselling author Jasinda Wilder, which had been pirated. The incident, Wilder estimated, cost her roughly $168,000 in royalties.
“Most of us indie authors know plagiarism is out there,” says Wilder, whose novel Alpha was posted by a Wattpadder earlier this month, under a different author and title. “Some of us ignore it, and others hire companies to do take down.”
Even though Wilder pays two companies to search for illegal postings—one found close to 32,000 of them—it’s unlikely that any company could have found Wilder's pirated work on Wattpad. The plagiarizer gave the book a new name, My Dominant Alpha, along with new cover art. The title was also posted by a different user: Amyleigh153. Because Wattpad pirates are now changing basic, but key, elements of the original work, they have become an even more worrisome issue for authors on the website.
It was a reader who ultimately brought Amyleigh153's work to Wilder’s attention. It took another 18 hours, from when Wilder initially contacted Wattpad, for the site to remove the work.
We personally believe more instances of this kind of piracy are on the rise -- where not only are the pirates changing the cover and the name, but also slightly modifying many of words within the text to avoid an exact copyright infringement claim:
You can see an example of this here -- it's both extremely unsettling:
Unfortunately, we just checked in on the above example, and although Amazon took down the book in-question, the plagiarist's KDP account is still active and there are still other books "published" by this "author".