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Publishing House ‘Plush Books’ Accused of Stealing Dozens of Fanfiction Works

How many times are they going to try stealing from us before they learn their lesson?

frustrated woman

It’s been a rough time to be a fanfic author. The past few weeks have seen hundreds of authors setting their profiles to private with the news that AI writing like Lensa and OPenAI have been fed content from AO3. Even worse, a “publishing company” has been accused of publishing fanfiction without the writers’ knowledge or permission.

Plush Books suddenly debuted on the publishing scene in 2022, with 145 books published in a ridiculously short amount of time. They claim to “publish high quality works with years of creative output and research.” While a large number of their books are cookbooks, many of “their works” appear to be fanfiction taken directly from AO3 or FanFiction.net, unedited, unaltered, with no credit (or profit) being given to the original writers of the fanfic.

Quick note: I can’t be the only one finding this somewhat ironic, right? Back in the early days of fanfiction, people had to put disclaimers on their work to avoid getting sued for theft of intellectual property. Now we’re getting our work stolen by fake publishing houses and tech bros who think they can make a profit on our work?

@remembermenot

I’m still playing catch-up on the news about all this, but kudos to R/Ao3 and r/Fanfiction that initially brought it to my attention. #fanfiction #plagiarism #ao3 #fanficnet

♬ original sound – Remy

Thankfully, fanfiction communities have quickly caught on and are already mobilizing against this. According to this TikTok by @remembermenot, within hours of this being brought to authors/artists’ attentions, they had created a spreadsheet noting the original stories and the sites they were published on, the authors listed, and whether they had been contacted or not. They also had a form letter and a Reddit post detailing the process for reporting the books to Amazon and getting them taken down. Twitter user @KokomRoily has also created a thread showing which fanfiction had been stolen and plugging the original authors.

All of this shows the dedicated community of fanfiction and how far we are willing to go to protect ourselves and each other. As @remembermenot stated in the TikTok above, “That’s the whole point of fandom is to come together when there is a problem, not cutting one down, not just shoving it to the side, it’s to come together as a community… [these people are] the ones who exuded what true fandom is.”

In some ways, it sucks that we have to protect ourselves in this way, that fanfiction and online writing communities feel increasingly under attack from those who seek to steal our work. But at least we know we are not alone, that we have a community that will fight for us.

(featured image: Shutterstock)

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Kimberly Terasaki is a Creative Writing graduate, fanfiction author, and intersectional feminist. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan. She appreciates all constructive criticism and genuine discussion.