TWH – In the beginning of August, Mat Auryn tweeted that he had found large portions of his book, Psychic Witch in an independently published book on Amazon titled, Awakening Your Witchy Intuition & Psychic Abilities by an author named, “Glinda Porter.”
I discovered that this book has completely plagiarized Psychic Witch in almost its entirety. The first pic is the book with color highlights, the other images are Psychic Witch with color highlights of the plagiarism. I will be notifying Llewellyn’s legal department. pic.twitter.com/lBY2WlBMLC
— BaphoMat Auryn (@MatAuryn) August 4, 2022
A few hours later he had noticed the text in another book published under the same penname seemed familiar and after conducting a Google search found that the text in question had been copied verbatim from an article written by Christopher Orapello and Tara-Love Maguire.
Decided to look at another one of “Glinda’s” books and was reading something that made me think “this sounds like @chrisorapello and @thejunipertree.” A little google searching and found it was indeed an article they wrote years ago: https://t.co/FHLUs0IiZd https://t.co/ob5SYQVi8J pic.twitter.com/GMOdpB1lC1
— BaphoMat Auryn (@MatAuryn) August 4, 2022
A google search yielded not a single social media page for author “Glinda Porter,” using a variety of search combinations. It is extremely unusual for a Pagan author to not utilize at least one social platform to promote their work.
The book in question was published by Magickal Witches, LLC which is registered in the state of Florida as a Limited Liability Company, and lists the registered agent as Megan Ferry of Clearwater.
TWH reached out to Ferry for comment but received no response.
Six of swords [The Illustrated Key to the Tarot (1918): Public Domain]
Mat Auryn told TWH how he discovered his book had been plagiarized, “Someone posted a picture of the book on Instagram and I decided to check it out on Amazon since it combined Magick and Psychic Development. The description felt super similar to my own book and I noticed that it used the phrase ‘managing magickal impact’ in the description, which is odd because I discuss that in my book. The phrasing struck me because ‘magickal impact’ is a term that you don’t see often, and I believe it was coined by author Josephine McCarthy. So I became suspicious.”
He continued, “I decided to grab the book and look through it and found that a large chunk of the book was plagiarized from my book Psychic Witch almost word-for-word, changing the smallest word here or there.”
After that discovery, Auryn began looking at another by the same author. He said, “I decided to look at another one of her books and immediately recognized what sounded like Chris Orapello and Tara Love Maguire’s book Besom, Stang & Sword, and it turned out to be the same thing, where she copied and pasted direct chunks from their books and changed words here and there. I notified them and they notified Weiser, just as I notified Llewellyn.”
Christopher Orapello podcaster, artist, and co-author of Besom, Stang, & Sword told TWH, “Anytime you share something online, you’re at risk of it being stolen or used in some way you never intended. The internet is like a living organism in that way, devouring anything and everything. That’s just the unfortunate reality of it.”
Orapello went on to say, “But within this reality, plagiarism is unique because it deals with erasing someone’s ownership of their work while enabling someone else to take credit for it and any money it might produce. It’s not only the blatant theft of one’s personhood and property, but it’s a double whammy on the author and distinct proof the thief is incapable of doing what they’ve attempted to claim as their own. And as a victim of plagiarism, the reality of it is both enraging and sad all at the same time.”
While Llewellyn Publishing does not comment on specific cases of plagiarism, Heather Greene, acquisitions editor at Llewellyn responded to questions.
TWH asked Greene what, if any, action Llewellyn might possibly seek to take with cases of cases of plagiarism.
Greene said, “Generally speaking, Llewellyn has a partner company, Linkbusters, that identifies illegitimate copies of books and attempts a take-down. It has been highly effective in finding and stopping a significant amount of plagiarized and counterfeit editions. Authors and readers can report piracy to us through our website form.”
She continued, “With that said, each and every situation is reviewed independently, and we determine what route to take. Our actions depend on what has been done and where it is coming from.”
When it comes to the problem of plagiarism in publishing, and how widespread it is, Greene told TWH, “Piracy has increased significantly since the coming of digital media due to the ease of copying and selling. This unfortunate reality affects all forms of media from books to music. There are no checks and once these things are out there, it is incredibly difficult to get them removed.”
As for the impact on occult publishing, Greene said, “It is hard to say if it is any worse for the occult publishing industry.”
She went on to say, “However, we do know that the appearance of counterfeit tarot decks has increased dramatically just in the last few years, corresponding no doubt to the increasing popularity of tarot. We discover new counterfeit tarot decks every day.”
According to Greene the challenges of being a smaller publishing house really do not affect Llewellyn’s ability to respond to and deal with plagiarized books.
“It really doesn’t. We deal with the problems as swiftly as we can.”
Greene said one thing she thinks readers need to understand is the difficulties issues like plagiarism create not just for publishers and authors, but also for the many other people involved in bringing a book into print.
Green said, ”Many people put time and energy into making a book come to life, from the editors and publicists to the designers and artists. When a book is plagiarized, the work of many people has been co-opted and dismissed. It harms the company as a whole, which in turn harms every employee, including those that don’t directly work on any one book project.”
Greene continued, “But even more than that, it harms the author. Plagiarized, counterfeit, or even free downloadable copies of a work is stealing from the author – the origin of the ideas and the writing. Authors work extremely hard to put words on paper for readers to enjoy. In doing so, they give a piece of themselves. And, when the book is published, they receive a royalty on the sales of their finished book. Plagiarized, counterfeit or free downloads are lost sales, which means the theft of royalty.”