Saturday, April 4, 2015

Authors aren't the only ones being plagiarized

UPDATE: As of 04/06/2015 the blogger referred to in this post has had their blogger account deleted and all reviews taken down with it. Her response regarding her snatched reviews? Her 'cousin' apparently took over her account and forged everything. Ehm. Yeah. I guess once an idiot, always an idiot. Blame it on the poor cousin... 

My dearest Authors and Reviewers,
We, as authors, have a very close and very complicated relationship with reviewers. Reviewers enable our books to be discovered in the chaos of the vast Internet world. Those reviews can make an author giddy with joy (someone loves me!) or cry in pain (someone hates me!). Whatever your perspective on the relationship between authors and reviewers, there is one thing that binds us: our honesty about our love for books.

So what happens when that honesty is violated between reviewers? Allow me to vent and lay out what just happened and why it needs to be addressed.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a reviewer in Portugal requesting a copy of one of my books. Nothing unusual. It is always at the discretion of an author whether they want to trust/spend the money to do so. It could be a scam, but I am a firm believer that when a reviewer goes out of their way to contact an author, an author should make the time to honor that request. Because there is one universal truth about reviewers. They are doing it for the love of books and most do not get paid a single penny for their love. So it is my way of returning their passion for books by giving them a copy. It doesn't matter what the review outcome is. All that matters is that a reviewer took a chance on my book. It is their precious time. Much like my writing is to me, reading is to them.

So what happens when a reviewer decides to violate ANOTHER reviewer? *gape time* That's right. I'm not talking about author/reviewer relationships anymore or how some have spiraled out of control because neither side is willing to be gracious. I'm also not talking about the scam of taking a book and never reviewing it. I'm talking about a reviewer violating another reviewer by plagiarizing another reviewer's review. Are you still with me?!

These are the clues that started coming together as to what had actually happened:
-I was contacted by a reviewer from Portugal who had a blogger website listing beautifully well worded English reviews.
-The reviewer from Portugal who contacted me spoke very choppy English. Her emails were like reading Google Translate on crack. Hm.
-The reviewer from Portugal contacts me to say she received said book, still in choppy English. Okay.
-A week later, she sends me a link of a beautifully written review for Once Upon a Scandal. Double hm and something doesn't feel right.
-So I had a friend help me find a plagiarism checker online (Duplichecker) and it appears my review for Once Upon a Scandal was lifted word for word from ANOTHER reviewer's blog. And it wasn't just for my book. She was lifting reviews left and right for countless other books when further digging was done.

My jaw dropped and I started seething. Holy shit. Because we always talk about books being plagiarized, but we never talk about a reviewer's own words being plagiarized. Never mind that I got screwed out of money or getting a real review, what about the reviewer whose words were lifted word for word? The time she/he put in for the love of what they do. Their passion is being used for the gain of another who just wants to read a book but is too fucking lazy to even sit down and write the review. So she snatches it from others.

Some of the reviewers were already contacted about the plagiarism and it is my hope that her site gets shut down by blogger. Blogger is being contacted and they will hopefully address this.

Needless to say, I want reviewers to do the following things:
-Make sure on your site, you have a copyright statement.
-Make sure you have a contact on your site so when others find something to report to you, you can be contacted (it was difficult contacting some of you!).
-Do random checks of your reviews (especially older ones) by running through a plagiarism checker.
-If you feel your reviews are being lifted by another reviewer, contact blogger or wordpress and have that sucker taken down.

Bottom line, I'm being the bigger person and not posting this reviewer's blog BUT if her website isn't shut down by blogger in the next few weeks...her ass has been warned. It's WRONG.

*This shout out is for all reviewers who work so hard to share their love of books. We authors love you because you put your love into YOUR words. Not someone else's.

Yours Truly,
Delilah Marvelle


Landra said...

That's disheartening and big kudos to you for reaching out to the reviewers being pirated, where you could.

This brings me to- What the hell is wrong with people and why would you do that?

Delilah Marvelle said...

Landra, yeah, it is disheartening and comes down to people getting something for nothing. Literally. It cost me $30 and she couldn't even respect me or others enough to write a review of her own. It's pathetic.

Lindsey said...

Delilah, Thank you for bringing this to light. I have experienced a little with my own blog and now my reviews are very short and not as detailed as they once were. It's a shame that people can't use their own words to describe how a book made them feel. It's absolutely shameful.

Delilah Marvelle said...

I'm so sorry you dealt with something like this. It's the first I've ever heard of this. It just blew my mind. What's also awful is you saying you now keep your reviews short to prevent that from happening. That just pisses me off. Because it keeps you from saying everything you want to say. Thanks for posting your experience. I'm just still baffled by the whole thing.

Unknown said...

This is so awful! I've heard of a pirate site that were copying reviews from GoodReads! I find it disgusting! Thank you for these infos.

bevieann 61 said...

Well said! I read every book I review! I just do it cause I love books and I want the author to know how much I appreciate and lobe their work! I'm knew to blogging and I have reblogged an article or review I found interesting but it shows the person who wrote it and where I got it from I just think if it interested me it might interest whoever is looking at my blog but I would never take someone else's work and I would be very upset if they took credit for mine!! I'm glad you brought this to our attention I would never have dreamed someone as low as that. When I used to buy paperback in used stores I wouldn't buy the ones without the front cover because I heard if the front covers were torn off the author was not getting paid for that book! I don't know how true that was but that's what I thought so I wouldn't buy it!

bevieann 61 said...

Love and new noticed my mistakes after I hit publish! I can't stand misspelled words!

RFTC Blog said...

Thanks for bringing this to light. I've actually had this happen to me and one of my reviewers and it sucks.

Unknown said...

Count me in as another author who adores my reviewers--whether they adore my books or not.

Thank your for bringing this out into the open for us all.

Martijn said...

It is a shame someone would do that. We as reviewers put hard work and time in these things and it is very bad for someone too just take it and claim it as their own.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention I will make sure my review blog is under scrutiny

Anonymous said...

"Because there is one universal truth about reviewers. They are doing it for the love of books and most do not get paid a single penny for their love. "

Uh, no. That's not a "universal truth." We'd like to believe that, but the truth is there are dozens of scammers who ask for books "for review" and then turn around and post them on pirate sites, and they DO make money off those because they sell advertising and memberships to other thieves. As for review plagiarism... hon, there are people who will steal the fillings out of your teeth. Attention whores crave attention - crave used in its pathological sense - and stealing someone else's review gives them what they want without having to earn it.

If you want to be helpful, you might name the blog where the plagiarism was posted, so other writers and reviewers know to avoid it. You're probably not the only one who's been ripped off.

Lee Rowan (posting anonymous because Blogger doesn't like my computer..)

Grace Fonseca said...

This is something that we book bloggers have been dealing with for a while. Sometimes I like to handle things privately. I find that taking someone else's work and making it your own is like a slap in that person's face. I hope this ends, but it's horrible that this keeps on happening.

Delilah Marvelle said...

Thank you, Nicole, Bevieann, Patricia, Danielle and Martijinn for posting! The only way to battle this is to make people aware of it. Which is why I blogged about it.

Delilah Marvelle said...

Hi Lee,
Thanks for posting. I guess what disappoints me most in all of this is a lot of reviewers DON'T know about it and as long as I've been part of this industry (almost 20 years), this is the first I've heard of it. Which means the reviewers that DO know about it and have been dealing with it and taking care of it in private is clearly helping no one. The purpose of this post was not to create a witch hunt by posting names, but to help reviewers better protect themselves with a list of things they can do. Because THAT we can control. You can't control assholes (or the countless ones that will follow once this one blog is shut down) but you can do things to better protect yourself. Am I wrong in that? So please don't take the 'oh, honey, you're so naive' tone. It's rude and this post is meant to help people, not take them down. As for naming the blog, all the affected people have been notified and if the blog isn't shut down by the end of the week, the name WILL be posted. Ultimately, this isn't a roast. This is about educating fellow reviewers about scams and I hope you share my opinion that fellow reviewers should be educated, not chastised for being 'uneducated'.

Delilah Marvelle said...

Hi Grace!
I really wish more reviewers would speak up about being ripped off instead of taking care of it privately. But yes, I totally agree, it is a slap to the face when your work is stolen. It is my hope wonderful reviewers like yourself will be vocal when things like this happen. Because this affects us all. Not just bloggers but authors. Thank you for posting!

Candice Royer said...

There's something else here that can easily be overlooked and how in the world could or would anyone check for it? What if a blogger is stealing reviews not just from other bloggers and GoodReads, but from Amazon reviews as well? I've read some extensive, detailed reviews - good and bad - on Amazon that very easily could be robbed by a blogger. The person who wrote the review could have received an ARC or could have purchased the book for pleasure, but would they ever suspect, or even care, that their review was swiped verbatim for a public blog? How would a reader subscribed to said blog know (or care?)?
These people are possibly giving honest bloggers a questionable reputation, and that breaks my heart. I have many friends that I met through Facebook who are bloggers, having been so before I met them or became one afterwards. They would be heartbroken if someone stole their work. However, I also have many friends who just write lengthy, in-depth reviews on Amazon - especially if they know the author. They, too, would be upset if someone stole their words. I'm just not sure if everyone would be like my friends. I also just don't know how one would ever see it unless they stumbled across the blog with their stolen review.
What do you think? It makes me question my recent decision to start writing lengthier reviews.
Thanks for this! I'll pass the info on to my blogger friends.

Mil Folhas said...

do you mind if I share this on my facebook page? A few weaks a go, I shared something just like this. I'm a pourtuguese blogger, and I also came across the situation you refered !

Adeselna Davies said...

As a Portuguese blogger, I am embarassed. As a blogger who buys most books and ebooks and spend time reading them and thinking about the best way to write a review (I can spend months rewriting a review), I feel bad that there are people out there who lack such respect of other people's intelectual property. If you can't write reviews, don't have a blog!! Use Goodreads first and then create a blog. Never do it for the free stuff. The other day I read a private message on a blog where write some reviews and this woman asked us how did we get so many books for free and she didn't have a job and she loved to read so she wanted to know how to also get the books for free... Seriously when I started blogging it never crossed my mind to ask for books. I read what was available on my faculty library. I told the woman she needed a blog first and then after months of writing good reviews maybe the publishers would send her some copies... Obviously that was too much work, as usually people only want free stuff =( I am very sorry for what happened to you and hopefully things will change.

Delilah Marvelle said...

Hi Candice!
Good point and that can be easily checked against the internet with programs like Duplichecker. We can only do so much, but it's good to check in on protecting your reviews maybe once every two months. That said, I would cry if you limited your reviews merely because you were worried about having your review stolen. In some way, these bastards win. I am all about being vigilant but not to the point of restricting yourself. Write the sort of reviews that best reflect you as a blogger and reviewer. Thank you for posting and thank you for being a reviewer!

Delilah Marvelle said...

Hi Mil and Adeselna!
I am so thrilled you both posted! Especially knowing you are Portuguese. Because I don't want American authors now being overly wary of every foreign reviewer that tries to contact them. Yes, please do share this post with as many people as possible! I personally am in awe of you both for being reviewers knowing that you are able to not only speak and read in your own language but also English. Being bilingual myself (Polish and English), I understand just how important words are, no matter which language you're trying to articulate in. So thank you for posting and sharing your love of books. Thank you for being reviewers!

Vera N. (Sinfonia dos Livros) said...

I'm a Portuguese Reviewer and I'm honestly ashamed by this so call "reviewer" and more ashamed for her to be Portuguese.

Thank you for the warning!
If you want to know my space it's

Kisses and once more, thank you!

Vera Carregueira said...

This is embarassing for the portuguese blogger comunity, I am ashame for what this person did. I have a pretty good idea of who she is, so I have to say that the a blog was deleted but another one was created... you should say the her's and the old blog names.

Best wishes from Portugal
Vera Carregueira

Verovsky said...

I am absolutely shocked with this (sad)situation! This "blogger" should honour her contact with international authors because this is a way of knowing non published authors here in Portugal. Many of us don´t have this privileged with authors.

This is a warning for us bloggers too. I have experienced a situation quite similar to this two years ago and I don´t know why. A blog had literaly coppied a review of mine. I wondered: Is that so difficult to express our own standpoints about one book? I love reading and write about my readings so this is unimaginable!

However, despite of this situation, please don´t judge the whole blogger community :(

Yes, I am a portuguese blogger too and ashame with this.

Keep up the good work Delilah!

Best wishes,
Vera Brandão

Adeselna Davies said...

Well we just found out that she also copied other bloggers opinions namely in Portuguese and that some Portuguese publishers noticed the plagiarism and warned the bloggers who texts were copied :( This is just so sad. She already deleted the blog and the photo of the books you sent her.

Martijn said...

I am an avid reader of M-M Romance and I review all that I read, but I have never ever copied anything from anyone else without permission. That is just sick.

So far I have never received anything for free, but that was never my intention when I got into reviewing. I simply want to share my love and opinion of these books nothing more.

People like this are a shame to the whole blogger community and I do hope these people will be found out and put to shame.

Anonymous said...

This is a really sad situation for us portuguese bloggers, I'm new on book blogger stuff and when I started my blog I had this fear of beeing plagiarized.
I hope that this situation serves as a lesson for everyone. I'm really sorry that you faced this situation.
Best wishes

azteclady said...

@Lee Rowan: I beg to disagree with you.

Reviewers--the people who actually write reviews--do it for the love of reading.

Pirates who pose as reviewers are a different breed altogether, and it does a pretty big disservice to readers to lump these two vastly different groups of people into the reviewers label.

As far as how to fight copyright violations (not all plagiarism is a copyright violation), this site has a pretty comprehensive guide: Stop Internet Plagiarism

Femme Trivial said...

As a portuguese blogger i´m ashamed with this :(

Delilah Marvelle said...

To my dearest Portuguese bloggers, you may email me in person at if you have any concerns. It is my hope she will have learned a valuable lesson in this and that others will realize people are smart enough to figure things out... Thank you!