So, it was brought to my attention by Brian G Ross that Wattpad has a problem with plagiarism. Not that people are stealing works off of it, though I think that can happen. It’s that a few people are taking full, published works and putting them on Wattpad. Some of them do it exactly while others change the title and names. I wandered a few forums and even found one case where a person posted Percy Jackson and Hunger Games in their entirety. The person did it to have the luxury of reading it on her phone, but ignored the fact that it meant everyone could get these books for free.
One thing I could not find in my travels was anything being done about this. Given that it’s for free books and it’s so simple to use, I don’t know if the rulers of Wattpad will do anything. I did find some mentions of them having quick responses to plagiarism, but they don’t have anything to stop a person from doing it in the first place. There is an ‘Advanced’ menu when you set up that asks you to list the level of rights that you have to the piece of work. My three-year-old son could lie on that thing, so it’s not a level of security.
The thing here is that it isn’t an author signing on and posting their book that puts it in danger. It’s simply having the book out there even in paper form because there could be a kid crazy enough to type it all up to put on there. Personally, I hope Wattpad figures something out because it would be a great vehicle for aspiring authors to post book excerpts to entice readers. I’m thinking of keeping Beginning of a Hero on there just to see what happens. Mostly because the threat is that people will post your book onto Wattpad and take credit. I’m wondering if already being on there may minimize the damage and not having the full book on there might help too.
I guess these people do it for attention or think they can get away with publishing a pre-made book before getting caught. They always seem to be teenagers, which is an age group that is infamous for not thinking of consequences. We’ve all been there. One strange thing is that every incident seemed to have a teenage girl stealing the published works and posting them up. That caught my attention because I remember more guys doing this kind of stuff in my school days.
So, I guess Wattpad has great potential and would be amazing if they could find a way to rights check the postings. Even do what Wikipedia does and have routine checks of new entries to see if the title/author matches with any other ones.