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This question already has an answer here:

Shortly after I published my first book, under my own name, somebody released a bunch of erotic fiction using my real name as their pseudonym.

It is difficult for me to point people at my books on Amazon as they will search and find these embarrassing erotic books in the same list. Is there anything I can do (legally) to get this person to change their pseudonym?

I am not sure it if is relevant, and coincidences to happen of course, but the timing, only 2 months after I published my first book, may be significant and seems at best mischievous...

Any advice much appreciated!

marked as duplicate by Zeiss Ikon, Galastel supports GoFundMonica, JP Chapleau, Thomo, Sweet_Cherry Nov 1 '18 at 23:35

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    This seems more like you're asking for legal advice than writing/marketing advice. This may not be the correct Stack site. – Zeiss Ikon Nov 1 '18 at 18:46
  • Related: My legal name is being used as a pen name... – Alexander Nov 1 '18 at 20:16
  • How can you be certain that it isn't their legal name too? Many people share the same name . . . – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Nov 2 '18 at 1:27
  • Thanks for the comments. Several reasons. My name is relatively unusual, and the pornography books are written for a foreign market in a foreign language, where the name is vanishingly unusual... – writer9000 Nov 6 '18 at 8:23
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Yikes! Does Amazon allow you to change your name after you've put up a book? You may want to add a middle initial or middle name.

People who choose pseudonyms have an ethical responsibility to make sure that name isn't already taken. Especially if they're going to write something that is controversial. But getting them to do it is hard. It's also possible they've been using that pen name for years but you wouldn't have had any reason to know that until you published your own book and then they released some work on the same platform.

Edited to add:

Question: Is the "ethical responsibility piece" common knowledge? Or codified?

I would call it common sense. People do have a legal responsibility to research other business names before naming their own (and part of that involves businesses registering their fictitious business names too, something that is only required in some places, or if you want to accept checks made out to that business name).

And I looked it up...turns out a pen name is a fictitious business name. It kind of has to be, since that's how you're paid. But you register locally. In my case (for my non-writing business), I registered with my county. In some places it's with the state. I don't know the laws for the (unnamed) foreign country the person you're talking about.

So, I'd say, yes, there is a responsibility to check for the name before taking it as a pen name, but the fact that this is happening over two countries and two languages makes unlikely to happen and near impossible to enforce. Unless you can prove they did it on purpose to sully your name as a public figure.

  • Hi Thanks for the answer. The "ethical responsibility piece" is that common knowledge? or written down in any TOCs as far as you know? As far as using that name for a long time, I don't think so. Their first book was published 3 months after my first book, and then a whole bunch of books were published in quick succession. – writer9000 Nov 6 '18 at 8:21
  • I started to answer your question but it got too long. I am going to put it in as an edit to my original answer. Please read it there. – Cyn says make Monica whole Nov 6 '18 at 15:12

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