When working on a book database web site of mine which cross-references books with the same author name I noticed that:
[li]with nonfiction/scientific books there are a lot of author names with books on wildly disparate fields; I assume these mostly are by different authors of the same name (especially if the first and last names are reasonably common)[/li][li]with fiction authors, however, it seems that duplication is avoided, even with common names.[/li]
Is there some sort of industry rule analogous to actors? (I understand there is an union rule in the US film industry to the effect that a name cannot be used once it’s ‘taken’ as someone else’s actor name, even if it happens to be your actual name).
Or is there legal precedent to the effect that re-using an author name constitutes fraud, or a civil tort against the other publisher?
IOW, what keeps unscrupulous publishers from seeking out literary nonentities named e.g. Stephen King and publishing books under their name?