What to do about #CopyPasteCris

Hi everyone,

I thought the list of authors plagiarized by Cristiane Serruya would be larger than just me, but it’s sadly turned out to be pretty massive. It’s gotten a little unwieldy at this point. Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Michelle Pillows, Tessa Dare, Loretta Chase, Michelle St. James, Victoria Alexander, Bella Andre, Lynne Graham… And the sad thing is that I know I’m missing people who have been uncovered already, and that we haven’t started to understand the full extent of this yet.

In lieu of contacting people individually with instructions, here’s a massive blogpost for what I suggest authors plagiarized should do:

  1. File an ethics claim with RWA. The procedure for how to do this is here. A basic email saying “Member Cristiane Serruya copied portions of my book without permission or attribution. My book is ___. Her book is ___. Here are screenshots showing the word-for-word plagiarism in her work.” Sign this. Send it to RWA staff. (Those who are vigilant about reading RWA’s minutes will realize that I am–very unfortunately for the current matter–RWA’s Ethics committee chair. I informed the President as soon as I realized this was an issue, and have recused myself entirely, and RWA staff are setting up a separate forum to discuss this without my presence.)
  2. File takedown notifications with vendors.
    1. For Amazon, go to the book in question, scroll down to the end, and look for this link. Click, and report.Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 1.57.53 PM
    2. For Apple, fill out this form.
    3. Barnes and Noble provides this specific procedure, which requires you to send them an email.
    4. More to come; if someone has the procedures easily to hand, please add them in comments, and thank you!
  3. I have sent an email to the RWA president asking them, upon review of the ethics complaints, to consider advocating with all vendors to disable Cristiane Serruya’s accounts in their entirety. This is required for repeat copyright offenders, and given the blatant plagiarism over quite a few books, her account should be disabled.
  4. We need to discuss taking further action. At this point, the people are too numerous for me to email individually, so I have started a Yahoo Group. If you want to join, visit https://groups.yahoo.com/copypastecris. I am limiting membership to this group to authors she has plagiarized (provide proof) and with very few exceptions to people I trust who have helped reveal the sources of her plagiarism. For obvious reasons, since we’ll be discussing strategy, we don’t want to broadcast our intentions to the internet.

13 thoughts on “What to do about #CopyPasteCris

  1. @Bronwen Evans:
    You can also try googling passages from your work. CRAZY cumbersome but you don’t have to buy her trash. Last when I googled one of Tessa’s quotes, the CS plagiarism came up as the first result :/

  2. I noticed this evening that Cristiane Serruya’s entire list is still for sale at Kobo Canada. I tried to file a customer complaint with Kobo about the situation and they essentially told me that the complaint needs to come from the infringed author/copyright holder via their publisher or aggregator. As a reader, I wish there was more I could do.

  3. @Bronwen Evans: I’m thinking that would be about the only way unless a reader alerts you. In this instance a really fast skim, some screenshots and a return would be in order! The mere thought of giving this fraud money sickens me. I’m of two minds about checking. Looking at the authors she’s stolen from, I don’t think I’m quite in that league!
    Courtney, many, many thanks for the work you have done in these blog posts to make it easier for everyone else.

  4. @Bronwen Evans: I have the same question. I’d like to check to see if she (or others) have plagiarized my books, but the investment of time to do so would be prohibitive (to say nothing of the fact that I’d never purchase a book by her or any other plagiarist). Does anyone know of some utility online that parses and compares books side-by-side? Google/Alphabet could do this easily, I should think, since Google/books has scanned a ton of books. Seems it would be useful to have such a utility, since this ain’t plagiarism’s first rodeo. It crops up regularly amongst genre fiction. Alas.

  5. I’m amazed that Amazon doesn’t run what would be a very simple plagiarism check itself, given it has access to the full text of every book ever uploaded to them. Amazon already fully scans every new book uploaded (to highlight potential errors for one thing).

    I know Amazon blocks books for plagiarism, because I know people wrongly affected by this, due to publishing excerpts on their own website (the length of which don’t even breach Amazon’s TOS). Usually it eventually gets cleared up, but the algorithm is very trigger-happy.

    So why did they fail to detect this internally? It seems like a real lapse.

  6. Removing content from Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/contentpolicy

    “Copyright: We shall respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement provided by a User in accordance with Our copyright infringement procedures. If the User believes his/her copyright has been infringed on the Kobo Service, s/he may file a notice of infringement through the Kobo web site via the Kobo Help Portal contact page https://www.kobo.com/help , or contact us directly at kobo-IP@mail.rakuten.com. All reported content alleged to be the subject of infringement shall be screened in a timely manner by Us and removed, if deemed necessary in Our sole discretion.”

  7. Also, if you have published via Smashwords, here is their policy and what to do:

    Copyright violations: We take copyright seriously. If you believe a Smashwords author or publisher is violating your copyright, please contact us immediately via the “?” question mark icon at the top of the page.

  8. ProWritingAid has a Plagiarism function that you pay extra for. https://prowritingaid.com/en/App/PlagiarismChecker

    “ProWritingAid Plagiarism Checks”
    Check your work against over a billion web-pages, published works, and academic papers to be sure of its originality. Run the plagiarism report through the online editing tool, or through our Microsoft Word Add-In. Beware of free plagiarism checking services. Always read the fine print, as they may resell your text to others. ProWritingAid never stores, shares or resells your text.
    Did you know: Premium Plus includes all the same features as ProWritingAid Premium and includes 50 plagiarism checks per year.”

  9. It looks like you might have to request removal from audible separate from amazon? The books are gone from amazon but you can still buy the audio version (not that I would). Unfortunately I don’t know how. Sorry.

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