Plagiarism - A Piece Of My Mind
From the Webster Dictionary: pla·gia·rism ('plaj??riz?m) noun - the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.
synonyms: copying, infringement of copyright, piracy, theft, stealing; informalcribbing
Plagiarism has been around far longer than the Internet. In fact, I had a poem published in 'Seventeen' magazine when I was 15 years old. About a year later I was informed that there was a girl who used that same poem to win a statewide poetry competition in Alabama. It took months for people to put together that this had happened. ~ Megan McCafferty
Certainly the plagiarism, and dealing with the fallout of it, was the most difficult thing I've ever faced since I started writing. ~ Nora Roberts
When I was a kid, my father taught me an IMPORTANT lesson, which I have never forgotten “stealing is stealing. Being a thief is never something you want to have that title branded against you.”
When someone stupidly takes another's work, It reflects badly on all writers. I am bring up a current case and point. An author friend of mine, who is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY best selling author, had one of her romance novels copied by a self published author. My friends romance novel is a male/female romance novel. The woman who stole her text, almost word for word, played the characters she wrote as a male/male and added an erotic sex scene. We are not talking a few words...we are talking passages and passages of my friends book. The self published author used almost everything from the original novel. It is a pity this is happening.
I have read both books from both authors. My friend, who is the New York Times best Selling author was RIPPED OFF. There is no better words for it. STOLEN IS STOLEN. Infringement of copyright is infringement. I can understand similar plots, I can understand similar characters...however, this was a direct steal.
I can not tell you why this self published author lifted these words and plot. Nor have I asked her. The so called stolen book is a self published and erotic novel, not in the same circles as the NYT Bestseller. It is the idea of why do it? It makes me angry. This is intellectual property issue.
If you assume this happens very little, you might be surprised. I did a little research and found two best selling authors have borrowed text and when they were caught the authors/estates settled out of court.
Does everyone remember Alex Haley. You know the author of the best seller Roots? There were the plot, main character and scores of whole passages lifted from "The African," a 1967 novel by author Hal Courlander into the book Roots. The judge who presided over Haley's plagiarism case admitted that "I did not want to destroy him" and so allowed him to settle quietly - even though, he acknowledged, Haley had repeatedly perjured himself in court. This is from the article THE CELEBRATED 'ROOTS' OF A LIE...http://nypost.com/2002/01/16/the-celebrated-roots-of-a-lie/.
Historian Stephen Ambrose, who wrote the book Band of Brothers, was found plagiarizing in his book The Wild Blue. Many passage were taken from Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down over Germany in World War II, by Thomas Childers. Note since the author died just after the book was published in 2002, Childers did not seek civil damages again Ambrose's family or his publisher. Per the article: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/000/738lfddv.asp
So you can see this is not a new issue. However since this Laura Harner stuff has been brought to light...we may hear about more cases in the future. Lets be honest, stealing is a weak thing to do. It shows that the author is a thief, and there is NO better word. It also put this author under a microscope and she can no longer be trusted.
Until Next Time, Reach for the Stars
Columnist: Bennet Pomerantz has covered the Audio medium for the last 20 years. He has syndicated newspaper columns, AUDIOWORLD and "Movies of Your Mind", in Affaire De Coeur Magazine. In which he showcase his vast and diverse knowledge of the spoken word medium.
He is also known as a media review critic (books, music, graphic novels, DVDs, CDs) in his weekly syndicated newspaper column "A Piece of the Page". He also is a ranked media reviewer for Amazon.com. http://www.facebook.com/bennet.pomerantz1 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org