Plagiarism

I bring to your attention this article from the New York Times:

The short version is that as kinky sex erotica starts becoming popular, some authors are accusing other authors of plagiarism, and are suing them and their publishers.

The implications for the GSS community is that someone could plagiarize a story and put it under their own name. Then the original author would be so incensed as to sue Sexdroi-013 and GSS. Or what if they published the plagiarized version on another site. What would, or could, or should happen?

(In fact, bringing a copyright suit in the U.S. costs at least $250,000 so only big publishers would do such a thing, and only if they were absolutely sure they would win.)

Of course all stories submitted are copyrighted, but if someone were to accuse another of ripping off a story, what might happen? I think it might be worth thinking this through should the day ever come where authors or Sexdroid (as owner of the site) are faced with this situation.

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I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that the copyrights here - and more importantly, the timestamp data that indicates when something is published and by who - act as strong protections if someone wholesale copy-pastes work in an instance of outright plagiarism.

The article, if I understand it correctly, is about an ongoing and somewhat confusing feud between some authors who seem to think they can copyright themes, general story architecture, and other basic principles of storytelling because of narrative similarities. Since most of us aren’t selling anything here, I don’t think the site is in any danger, and even if an author copied excerpts as their own stories the timestamps would make the case pretty clear cut in either direction.

It’s something to keep an eye on if things get weird, but my understanding is that at least for now, us hobby kinky authors aren’t directly affected as long as we stick to our own work and maybe get a little more creative with our werewolf erotica.

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Let’s just hope that we’re not sued. If challenged, I will take down any story immediately. I don’t have the money and the power to fight on an author’s behalf, sorry.

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I had to get a smidgen famaliar with “copyright law in general” after an original music band I was in, used some material from an old indie movie that has since become a cult classic and the producer of which is famously “sue, sue, sue”. We got a proper american copyright lawyer and paid him for advice and an official disclaimer under parody law, and what to legally write on our album sleeve.

There are various reasons why suing is not reasonable for most material on GSS.

First off, any one can sue anyone for anything; you can’t make yourself “un-sue-able” it’s just wither or not you have a case a judge won’t throw out.
Secondly, anyone can sue anyone for anything, but one free-literature author suing another free-literature porn author wouldn’t make sense for GSS.

Say I write a “rip off” one of Sexdroid’s old stories and I call it “my rubber fantasy”, I copy paste the entire text, change the names and publish it here.

First off I have plagiarized his work and that’s shitty of me, boooo, etc. I deserve to have my false work removed and my name discredited as a fraud and a charlatan.

But Suing? well that’s a different thing.

Are there damages to sue for?
The original story was given for free, so the original has zero market value. (it wasn’t made with the intention of directly having an intrinsic market value, it is a free story you can read for free) in other words Martin cannot really sue me for “money I made him lose by sharing his work thus, devaluing it” because his work is free anyways; you can consume it for free, he’s not earning revenue as a touring porn writer signing people’s laptops, etc, he has no income from his work that my plagiarism can effect.

Are their intellectual properly royalties to collect?
I also published my rip off of his story for free; meaning I didn’t make money either.
He would be holding out his hand out before a court saying “I believe I legally deserve the money you made from that story” and I would be saying “you are right, here is the money I made; 0.00cent,”

He released a story for free and I released a rip off of it for free. my actions, while immoral, didn’t generate any money worth suing for. His original story’s market value was zero before my plagiarism, and zero after, and I earned zero off of plagiarizing him. Thus, there is no reason to bring the matter to a court. You would simply contact the author who plagiarized you, tell him to desist and remove the material, or in the case of GSS, probably present you case to the admin and they would remove his work for you.

The only way GSS can be sued is if an author released a (free) story that contained plagiarized copyright material that the defender of that copyright can claim (and prove in a court of law) damaged the value of their intellectual property.
Say someone put up a “The Last of us 2; The Porno” which contained the leaked ending, or “Mickey Mouse has gay sex” and the story goes viral and forever besmirches the character’s reputation, thus costing Disney billions.

Then GSS could be sued for “damages” i.e., they have cost the copyright holder money and damaged the market value of their legally protected intellectual property. That would be a more legally legitimate reason for suing, but, I mean who sue anyone for obscure porn? if the Simpsons can’t keep “Simpsons porn” out of probably a quick google search, what chance is there that anyone, anywhere has the cash to throw at a legal team, to teach an obscure porn community a lesson about not using poor defenseless celebrities or copyrighted characters?

Very unlikely, to unlikelier still.

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That’s basically the reasoning why I removed the ban on copyrighted characters and real life persons.

They were up for two reasons originally: Hugh wanted to keep GSS out of Google hits for things like “Superman and Batman”, so innocent 16 year old boys (that’s an oxymoron!) don’t stumble upon GSS by ‘accident’.

The other was that I was afraid of getting sued by the owners of these characters.

Since the net is all but filled to the brink with smut stories about basically everything, these issues became moot.

So I agree with @thedirtyspiders

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That’s an interesting point about damages. I wonder can / do people just sue just to make a point? I mean if I sue you for a $1 and win - that still has the potential to cripple you with court costs / attorney fee.

Yes they can absolutely sue you to make a point, the issue is, it costs a LOT of money to sue people, so you’d wanna be stinking rich and kinda nuts.

I can’t imagine this site is at any risk of being sued. It would be ridiculous to do and cost a lot of money on top of that. I certainly hope that authors here are level-headed enough to simply report incidents of plagiarism instead of grabbing a legal team.