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Cat Scratch
03-12-2007, 02:17 PM
Just wondering what others would have done in this situation. You win a writing contest. You attend a banquet to accept the prize. You meet and dine with the second and third place winners, as well as the judge. Second and third place winners do not seem to get along so swimmingly. Post-dinner, third-place winner confesses (only to you) to know second place winner, who was recently kicked out of a graduate writing program at the University for plagiarism. He was discovered to have stolen a number of stories turned in as classroom assignments, as well as a few items that were published in their literary magazine. There is no reason to assume it stopped there, and itís quite possible second-place winner won his prize (and cash) with an unoriginal story. However, there is also no definitive evidence that the story for this particular contest was copied, as publication was not part of the award, so nobody but the judge and the contestant read his story.

Would you have alerted the judge? You already beat this person for first prize, so it would not have been seen as sour grapes. But you learned this second-hand, and have no way of knowing if the third-place winner (who in all other ways seemed like a cool, stand-up guy) had his own sour-grapes agenda. Or, for that matter, if the second-place winner didnít win, for once, on his own merit.

alleycat
03-12-2007, 02:21 PM
Tough call, but if that's all I had to go on, I would just keep my mouth shut.

Of course, if you found out later that he did indeed steal his entry, then the contest people should be told.

Elodie-Caroline
03-12-2007, 02:26 PM
I'd look at it like this; that the third place winner was jealous that he came third place instead of second. If he believed his story, he would have told the judges himself, whereas, it seems to me that he was lining up the bullets and waiting for you to fire them.


Elodie

alleycat
03-12-2007, 02:32 PM
I'd look at it like this; that the third place winner was jealous that he came third place instead of second. If he believed his story, he would have told the judges himself, whereas, it seems to me that he was lining up the bullets and waiting for you to fire them.
Good point.

eldragon
03-12-2007, 02:42 PM
You can't tell something you don't know for sure, plus you have no stake in it. Even if you did have a stake in it, you'd look malicious ratting on the "writer,"

Unforunately, you might have to wait for karma to catch up to him, but in today's world where the worst examples of human character are rewarded with fame and fortune for misbehaving, and the noble ones are passed over, it might be a long time before fate gets him, if it ever does.

johnzakour
03-12-2007, 03:43 PM
I vote for being quiet and letting karma figure it out.

Shadow_Ferret
03-12-2007, 03:55 PM
Yeah, that's tough.

I think that's what anonymous notes were made for. ;)

Angelinity
03-12-2007, 03:56 PM
i wouldn't rat, and would not tell anyone else (except my closest freinds, maybe). but my personal curiosity would absolutely demand to be satisfied...

so i would shimmy up to the 'accused' and start a conversation about our stories (after congratulating him/her, of course) -- how they came about, where were the characters born, how long it took to write, etc... then watch the body language. i'm pretty sure that by the end of the conversation i would have an idea (for myself) whether or not he actually wrote the piece.

spike
03-12-2007, 04:03 PM
Quite honestly, why didn't the 3rd place writer report the second place writer? He/she seems to have intimate knowledge of it, whereas with you it would be gossip.

Sounds like a setup to me.

Bartholomew
03-12-2007, 04:11 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if the third-place person tells a similar story about the first-place person.

Marlys
03-12-2007, 04:25 PM
Well, whatever the motives of the third-place winner, my curiosity would be roused. I'd tell both the other winners that I'd love to swap stories with them so all three winners can read each other's. Then I would hit Google and see if anything comes up. But no, there's no reason to tell anyone unless you can build a case--I agree that it's just gossip at this point.

Pagey's_Girl
03-12-2007, 04:44 PM
It would pique my curiosity, but without some kind of proof, I don't think I'd say anything. Sooner or later, if the person is stealing other people's work, it's going to come back to bite them.

Even though I'd placed higher then the other person, I still think it might look dicey if I sad anything directly - so if I did find out something unpleasant, I would tip the appropriate people off anonymously.

Shadow_Ferret
03-12-2007, 05:13 PM
i wouldn't rat...

Personally, I think this is one of the problems with the world. Everyone turning their back on problems and not confronting them, thinking it either doesn't concern them or believing it's being a "squealer" or a "snitch" if you do tell the authorities.

I would hope that if it had been my stories that had been plagiarized in this manner that someone would have the courage to say something.

PeeDee
03-12-2007, 05:19 PM
I would kill them both, and then assume their identities on the weekends.

Cav Guy
03-12-2007, 05:19 PM
I find it interesting that writers seem unconcerned with plagiarism. I guess I fall into Shadow_Ferret's camp on this one. You personally may not have a stake in it now, but how would you feel if this person stole some of your work and then passed it off as theirs?

I'd look into it, and if proof could be obtained I'd make it known to the proper people.

PeeDee
03-12-2007, 05:25 PM
I find it interesting that writers seem unconcerned with plagiarism. I guess I fall into Shadow_Ferret's camp on this one. You personally may not have a stake in it now, but how would you feel if this person stole some of your work and then passed it off as theirs?

I'd look into it, and if proof could be obtained I'd make it known to the proper people.

We had another big ugly thread on the topic of whether or not writers are concerned about plagiarism.

With a case like this, my natural vim and vigor on the matter of plagiarism doesn't hold up. If it were a standard plagiarism thing, I'd fall on them like a ton of rectangular building things.

But this is coming down the grape vine. Third places thinks second place may possibly have cheated, so third place tells first place. You have no evidence, no proof. Nothing but the word of third place, and as has been pointed out above, if third place had evidence, third place would tell the judges himself.

The Lady
03-12-2007, 05:27 PM
You've only got say so to go on. You have no idea how much of the story is true. You should maybe encourage the third place guy to inform the prize givers of the second placed person's past history of plagerizism, but other than that, you're only running with tales.

If you are truly bothered, Google some of the relevant names and see what the Internet throws up.

And I wouldn't inform anonymously either. That's something horrible to do to a person, especially as you would only be acting on the say so of somebody you just met. I know, if I was a judge and I got an anonymous tip off, I'd throw it in the bin. (So maybe try signing it with a false name)

Though I liked the idea of trying to get your hands on that story.

Shadow_Ferret
03-12-2007, 05:46 PM
But this is coming down the grape vine. Third places thinks second place may possibly have cheated, so third place tells first place. You have no evidence, no proof. Nothing but the word of third place, and as has been pointed out above, if third place had evidence, third place would tell the judges himself.

Right, that's why I said drop an anonymous note, something like, "I heard so-and-so was kicked out of a graduate writing program at such-and-such university for plagiarism."

The judges aren't going to act on it unless they verify it, which strikes me as a simple phone call to the University. If it turned out to be a false claim, no harm no foul. If however, it's true... well, I think I'd sleep better at night knowing I did something.


We had another big ugly thread on the topic of whether or not writers are concerned about plagiarism.
We did? And I missed it? Darn. I love big ugly threads.

PeeDee
03-12-2007, 05:52 PM
Right, that's why I said drop an anonymous note, something like, "I heard so-and-so was kicked out of a graduate writing program at such-and-such university for plagiarism."

The judges aren't going to act on it unless they verify it, which strikes me as a simple phone call to the University. If it turned out to be a false claim, no harm no foul. If however, it's true... well, I think I'd sleep better at night knowing I did something.

We did? And I missed it? Darn. I love big ugly threads.

Phrased like that, I agree that an anonymous note wouldn't hurt, since it is just a call to the University. If there's a way to do something about it, then I'm all for going after plagarists. I've got no love for 'em.

Azure Skye
03-12-2007, 06:00 PM
Accusing someone based on hearsay could backfire on you. If the 3rd place winner was really that concerned then he could have gone to the judges himself or could have done it anonymously. I say keep quiet. It's not really your place or even his place to point these things out.

Rolling Thunder
03-12-2007, 06:05 PM
No, no note. Think about it. No solid proof, only hearsay. Gossip. Hyperbole. Everyone knows what it's like to be targeted by all of these. Perpetuating a rumor into action won't help the situation. Would you want someone to muddy your name for these reasons and then have to prove your innocence? All based on a whisper from a stranger?

If you dig and find solid proof, then have at it. Until then, I'd remain silent.

Shadow_Ferret
03-12-2007, 06:10 PM
No, no note. Think about it. No solid proof, only hearsay. Gossip. Hyperbole. Everyone knows what it's like to be targeted by all of these. Perpetuating a rumor into action won't help the situation. Would you want someone to muddy your name for these reasons and then have to prove your innocence? All based on a whisper from a stranger?

If you dig and find solid proof, then have at it. Until then, I'd remain silent.
It's only hearsay until they make that phone call to the university. And no, I wouldn't want my name sullied like this, but I WOULD want my work protected like this if I was the one plagiarized.

spike
03-12-2007, 06:12 PM
Right, that's why I said drop an anonymous note, something like, "I heard so-and-so was kicked out of a graduate writing program at such-and-such university for plagiarism."

The judges aren't going to act on it unless they verify it, which strikes me as a simple phone call to the University. If it turned out to be a false claim, no harm no foul. If however, it's true... well, I think I'd sleep better at night knowing I did something.

We did? And I missed it? Darn. I love big ugly threads.

I still say that is gossip. Now if I knew this for a fact, my answer would be the opposite.

I would definitely ask 3rd place if he had proof. And if he had proof, why didn't he report it?

And what if the judges didn't call the University, but they believed and spread the rumor?

How would you feel if you were falsly accused. Maybe the person was put out of grad school for some other reason? Like owing a bunch of money, or something else not related to writing.

And the way people litigate, don't be surprised if the university gave a non-answer.

Gossip is an ugly thing. I try to make it die with me.

Shadow_Ferret
03-12-2007, 06:18 PM
And what if the judges didn't call the University, but they believed and spread the rumor?


Actually, you're right. I was assuming they had integrity. But they could just be petty little people like the 3rd place finisher.

This is one of those areas where I wouldn't feel good no matter what my decision was. Either I was letting a plagiarist get away with it or I was purpetuating gossip.

I'm never happy with the "do nothing" response.

Rolling Thunder
03-12-2007, 06:26 PM
There was a big stink in the news some time ago about a young lady having her book published until it was discovered she had plagiarized some of the passages she wrote. Once it's in print, it's hard to escape the truth.

Shadow_Ferret
03-12-2007, 06:38 PM
There was a big stink in the news some time ago about a young lady having her book published until it was discovered she had plagiarized some of the passages she wrote. Once it's in print, it's hard to escape the truth.

I disagree. He'd only be caught if the person he plagiarized happened to come across the story somewhere and went, "Hey! That's my story!" Which strikes me as unlikely. Someone could plagiarize my stuff and I'd never know it unless I stumbled across it by accident. No one else is going to recognize it as mine.

Rolling Thunder
03-12-2007, 06:47 PM
My point was if something of yours is published, or sent to be published, and is recognized as being in print or previously submitted by another, red flags are going to go up somewhere. Editors, agents, and publishers are going to take a hard look at facts from that point on. Everything goes on the table for review at that point. If you have a predating paper trail showing previous drafts, critiques, and rejected submissions of your work and it can be proven the other person gleaned, the truth will come out.

victoriastrauss
03-12-2007, 06:55 PM
There are two issues here. First, you only have the word of the #3 winner that the #2 winner is a plagiarist. It might be true--or it might be spite.

Second, even #3 didn't claim that #2's contest story was plagiarized. Even if #3's accusation is true, #2's winning story may be entirely original.

If #2 is a plagiarist, should his past count against him, even if his winning story was original? Absolutely. But suppose #3 is a liar? Imagine the impact on #2 of being the focus of such accusations. If #2 is innocent, embroiling yourself in this situation could be disastrous for you as well, because no one appreciates it when someone passes on damaging rumors without investigating whether or not they're credible.

If you had truly persuasive, indendent evidence that #3 was telling the truth, then perhaps you should consider saying something to the judges. Otherwise, stay out of it. If #2 is really a rat, his thieving habits will catch up to him. If #3 is a liar, he deserves to be ignored.

- Victoria

Shadow_Ferret
03-12-2007, 07:03 PM
My point was if something of yours is published, or sent to be published, and is recognized as being in print or previously submitted by another, red flags are going to go up somewhere. Editors, agents, and publishers are going to take a hard look at facts from that point on. Everything goes on the table for review at that point. If you have a predating paper trail showing previous drafts, critiques, and rejected submissions of your work and it can be proven the other person gleaned, the truth will come out.
My point was it has to be recognized to be considered plagiarism. If someone steals some paper of mine from a fiction workshop and publishes it as their own, unless I run across it, well, they've gotten away with it. There's plenty of stuff from my fiction workshop that I've never tried to get published. So there is no paper trail.

PeeDee
03-12-2007, 07:23 PM
I think Victoria's post pretty well illustrates why I'd stay out of it, since it sounds like a soap opera. The problem is, it's nothing but hearsay. There's nothing to back it.

I'd just let it be. But I'm optimistic enough to think that the guy will, if he's plagiarizing, get his come-uppance sooner or later anyway.

Celia Cyanide
03-12-2007, 08:20 PM
Accusing someone based on hearsay could backfire on you. If the 3rd place winner was really that concerned then he could have gone to the judges himself or could have done it anonymously. I say keep quiet. It's not really your place or even his place to point these things out.

I agree. If I found evidence myself that proved that the second place winner was guilty of plagiarism in this contest, (because I don't believe he should be punished for the same crime forever) then I would report it. But I don't trust Mr. Third Place. If he knows this for sure, why didn't he tell the judges himself? It could be seen as sour grapes, but if it is plagiarism, it wouldn't matter. Maybe it is sour grapes, and maybe it isn't, but that does not effect the writer's alleged guilt. And why doesn't number three do it anonymously?

I do think plagerism is a very serious matter, and I would not want someone plagerising my work. However, I feel the same way about malicious gossip, and if I were number 2, I wouldn't want someone throwing out false accusations and trying to smear my reputation. I think that is just as serious.

Cat Scratch
03-12-2007, 10:47 PM
Interesting and varied responses. I tend to agree with S_F, because as a writer I am infuriated at the thought of someone getting ahead by stealing another writer's work. But at the same time, with no evidence whatsoever, I didn't feel it was my place to say anything. The only information I had at the time was the information I stated in the OP.

However, this took place over two years ago. I have since become excellent friends with the third-place winner. Rides-to-the-airport, helping-to-move-heavy-furniture close. I now know that he is a completely honest, forthright, and trustworthy guy. I also know a deeper version of the story. (He worked alongside Mr. Second Place in grad school and on the literary magazine for over a year, and was questioned when Mr. Second Place's integrity was called into question, and then informed by the staff personally why Mr. Second Place was dismissed from the University.) Other writers I have since met have corroborated this story.

My friend ultimately chose not to say anything to the judges of this contest because though Mr. Second Place had been caught plagairizing, there was no difinitive evidence that he had done so for this contest. (I think chances are still high that he cheated, considering that his University dismissal had occurred only weeks before and the contest entries were collected around the same time as his stolen lit. magazine submissions. Unlikely that he was writing his own stuff for certain submissions, yet stealing material for others.) I felt like it was my friend's (Mr. Third Place's) place to speak up to the judges, as he was the one with the information. He chose not to because the contest was not a huge deal, and didn't mean a lot to him. The only reason he mentioned it to me that night was because we'd been getting along so well, and were well on our way to BFF, so he dropped it almost as an aside.

I really know him well enough to know he had no malicious intent in telling me that. Just a little bit of from-one-writer-to-another gossip.

But it still bothers me from time to time, because of how strongly I feel about plagairism. Not only that, but I've also become close friends with the judge--we are in the same writer's group and socialize on occasion. I've been tempted many times to say "Hey, by the way, that second place winner..." But I haven't.

Does this change anyone's answer? Obviously I didn't have this information about everyone's character at the time, so I did what I did, which was nothing. Two years have passed, it's not a big contest, so I'm thinking of letting sleeping dogs lie and letting Mr. Second Place's karma get him. (Incidentally, our writing community is relatively small, and neither my friend, nor I, nor the judge have seen nor heard from Mr. Two since that night. I think he figured the jig was up and moved on where no one knows him.)

Elodie-Caroline
03-12-2007, 11:00 PM
For me personally, Cat-scratch, considering we only got told half of the story in the initial posting, then I feel that we've been reeled in for nothing. Of course you believe your friend and will take his side, but if it all happened two years ago, what's the use in worrying about it now? Something should have been said at the time.

Elodie

Celia Cyanide
03-12-2007, 11:00 PM
I'm even more sure now that I wouldn't report it, because if the one with the information didn't feel it was his place to say something, then I don't think it's my place, either. He knows more about it than I do. The only thing I would add is that I would encourage him to speak up. If not for himself, then for the writer who came in 4th, and might have won something otherwise.

Elodie-Caroline
03-12-2007, 11:02 PM
Maybe the person who came second is now a famous writer. ;)

Cat Scratch
03-12-2007, 11:02 PM
I wasn't intending to trick anyone, Elodie. I left out the current information because what has been bothering me was my choice to not do anything at the time. At the time, I didn't have the information. Of course hindsight is coloring my choices (and guilt), so I was seeking confirmation, basically, that I did the best I could with the info I had (or didn't have). My follow-up question two posts ago was merely out of curiosity.

Elodie-Caroline
03-12-2007, 11:07 PM
Cat-Scratch, you have nothing whatsoever to feel guilty about. If your friend had these suspicions, then he should have spoken up at the time and not laid it upon your shoulders. Don't feel guilty, if the guy cheated, that's down to his own conscience, not yours.

Shadow_Ferret
03-12-2007, 11:09 PM
Maybe the person who came second is now a famous writer. ;)
I doubt it. People with talent don't plagiarize to get through college.

Elodie-Caroline
03-12-2007, 11:13 PM
Oh, I don't know, Dan Brown went pretty far with his plagiarism of The holy blood and the holy grail's main story. :tongue


I doubt it. People with talent don't plagiarize to get through college.

Cat Scratch
03-12-2007, 11:14 PM
Thanks, Elodie.

Incidentally, I have equal guilt for turning in a classmate in high school whom I knew for a fact had plagairized. Again, she'd come in second place, again I'd won first and wasn't swayed by sour grapes. My teacher allowed me to read the other entries because she knew I liked fiction, and I had the plagairized original story at my home at the time, which I brought in for the teacher to see. Ms. Second Place was busted, and though she cheated I STILL feel bad for being a snitch.

I was raised Catholic. Guilt is in my DNA.

Shadow_Ferret
03-12-2007, 11:25 PM
Oh, I don't know, Dan Brown went pretty far with his plagiarism of The holy blood and the holy grail's main story. :tongue
He plagiarized another work of fiction? I find that hard to believe.

rugcat
03-12-2007, 11:51 PM
The only information I had at the time was the information I stated in the OP.And you can only make a judgment based on the information you have at the time. Otherwise, it's like the scenario of a cop who shoots someone who is pointing a gun at him. If it later turns out that the gun was a realistic toy, would you then ask, "would that knowledge have changed your actions?" Well, duh, but it's not a relevant question.

To me, the crux of the matter is, should you have voiced your concerns when all you had was suspicion, and second hand suspicion at that? Absolutely not. Not only is it inappropriate, but in real life terms, the harm it might have done to this person's reputation, if the suspicions proved unfounded, outweighs the possible good of exposing a plagiarist.

And to those who suggested an appropriate action would be an anonymous note based on hearsay...

Claudia Gray
03-13-2007, 12:37 AM
Dan Brown didn't plagiarize. He took what the authors of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail wrote as nonfiction and used it (among other sources) to build a fictional story. You can use nonfiction sources to build your fiction; otherwise, the rest of us would be screwed re: research. Do a lot of people argue that the information in The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail ISN'T fact? Absolutely. But the authors of the book claimed their book was fact, which means that when they sued Dan Brown for relying on those facts, they lost, just as they deserved to.

Given the circumstances as described in the individual hypothetical, no, I wouldn't say anything. It's unsubstantiated gossip, pure and simple. I understand the reactions of those who say they would want people to protect their work -- but I suspect you would all also want people to protect your reputation. I wouldn't slander somebody without proof any more than I would copy somebody else's work.

Shadow_Ferret
03-13-2007, 12:48 AM
Dan Brown didn't plagiarize. He took what the authors of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail wrote as nonfiction and used it (among other sources) to build a fictional story.

I call that research.

Braydie
03-13-2007, 01:49 AM
Plagiarism is serious business, but so is defamation of character.

If Third Place told me that story, I'd sweetly smile and say something like: "I can't possibly imagine why you would chose to give me such important information. If you know this charge to be true, perhaps you should discuss it directly with Second Place and explain your concern. Gauge his reaction to your knowledge of his plagiarism and suggest that, for his own peace of mind, he should reveal his indiscretion to the judges - whether or not he plagiarized his prize-winning entry - because confessing and showing remorse might have a definite impact on how others assess his integrity in case the information is ever leaked. You might even be kind enough to go with him. If he denies the claim or refuses to address it with the judges, that's your opportunity - if you believe strongly enough that it should be done - to tell Second Place you plan to inform the judges. And, do it. If you do it, then keep the closed-door information to yourself. If you aren't willing to do that, you should absolutely keep this item of information to yourself, or your own integrity might be jeopardized."

If Third Place expresses to me that he's unwilling to do that, then I'd look him straight in the eye and say: "If you aren't willing to go directly to Second Place, discuss this and offer your assistance, then I'm afraid I'm inclined to consider this tidbit of information to be of no use to me, therefore minimizing it to idle gossip. If you know me well enough to tell me something of this caliber, then you know what I think of gossip and those who spread it."

engmajor2005
03-13-2007, 02:41 AM
There should be special place in Hell for plagiarists, and human rights should not apply to them. I'm only half-joking when I say terrorists and rapists should be shown more mercy than plagiarists.

With that being said, I also truly believe in innocent until proven guilty and staying the Hell out of other people's business. I would encourage this person to approach the proper authorities if they have a grievance, and then wash my hands of it.

blacbird
03-13-2007, 04:04 AM
I would run away quietly from this situation, fast. What you describe is the purest hearsay, unless you have other corroborating evidence. And the source of your hearsay is hardly an unbiased one, even if correct. This falls firmly in the "Ain't my business" category to me.

caw

Elodie-Caroline
03-13-2007, 04:46 AM
Let's, well, me, put it this way then... The only good parts in Dan Brown's 'story' were the bits he researched from THBATHG. I listened to the audio book and the only interesting parts were the Michael Baigent and Henry Lincoln bits, the rest of it was so predictable and it was too neatly tied up in the end for my liking. The only reason I actually saw the film was because Jean Reno was in it. :)


Dan Brown didn't plagiarize. He took what the authors of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail wrote as nonfiction and used it (among other sources) to build a fictional story.

Shadow_Ferret
03-13-2007, 07:07 AM
Just because you don't like an author or his work doesn't make him a plagiarist.

Elodie-Caroline
03-13-2007, 02:30 PM
You may not consider him a plagiarist, but I do and I won't change my opinion.

Shadow_Ferret
03-13-2007, 05:03 PM
You may not consider him a plagiarist, but I do and I won't change my opinion.

Then I guess I'm a plagiarist since I use information from non-fiction books as a basis for my fiction. You probably regard a lot of writers as plagiarists if that is your criteria.

Elodie-Caroline
03-13-2007, 08:34 PM
Information is information, we all need information for various things sometimes. But you, or anyone else finding and using tid-bits of information isn't the same as writing something which bases the whole story of someone else's work running through it. For instance, my favourite place at night time is Canary Wharf in the city of London, I take hundreds of photos of it when I'm up there. I belong to a tourism internet site, so if I want to write some details about Canary Wharf, but I don't know them off my head, then I find out what I need to know and write about it from my own point of view. But to me, that is a minor detail of it, it's not using another's whole storyline and all of the background bits to further my own work. the whole of the historical stuff, like Mary Magdalene and Jesus having a baby was from THBATHG. Without THBATHG, Dan Brown wouldn't have had a story at all.

PeeDee
03-13-2007, 10:03 PM
I don't know, he might have. That Holy Blood, Holy Grail book wasn't the first time someone came up with those goofy ideas. Growing up in the Catholic church, I heard about 'em from some crackpot every couple of years.

(not necessarily crackpot for having that idea, but they were generally not within shouting distance of sane regardless....)

Elodie-Caroline
03-13-2007, 10:31 PM
The Holy Blood & Holy Grail is my most favourite book of all time, I first read that way back in 1980, so I defend it to the hilt I'm afraid, but there again I'm not very religious anyway :)

Sofie
03-13-2007, 11:11 PM
I once won a short story competition but was disqualified for plagiarism. Of course, I hadn't plagiarized anybody - my story was completely original - but because a friend of one of the judges said that I had (he had read the story before because it had won a different national competition previously - THIS competition however was a local one for under 19s, and he did not believe an under 19 could've written a story that won a national prize), I was disqualified anyway.

I later got an apology and my story was published, but I didn't get the cash prize which is really what I was interested in.. :) ..and it did upset me a lot, so based on my own experiences, I would NOT say anything. If it isn't true, then chances are you will cause the accused a lot of harm. If it is true.. well.. I reckon that if he's such a serial plagiarist, he will be caught sooner or later anyway.

Elodie-Caroline
03-13-2007, 11:16 PM
That's awful for you, Sofie, how despicable can some people get. Good luck in the future anyway! :)


Elodie

Cat Scratch
03-14-2007, 02:57 AM
Sofie, why on earth didn't the judges in that contest ask for substantiated evidence of your supposed plagairism? It's one thing to alert the powers-that-be that they should look into the problem, another thing entirely to dismiss someone on rumor. Even my high school teacher in my second scenario asked to see the original story before she approached the cheater from my class.

If I were you, I would have caused a huge stink, demanding that they show you evidence of the stolen story before they dismiss you. That's your writing repuation on the line--you deserved that.

Momento Mori
03-15-2007, 07:33 PM
Elodie-Caroline:
But to me, that is a minor detail of it, it's not using another's whole storyline and all of the background bits to further my own work. the whole of the historical stuff, like Mary Magdalene and Jesus having a baby was from THBATHG. Without THBATHG, Dan Brown wouldn't have had a story at all.

The English courts ruled that what Dan Brown did was not copyright infringement and the reason why the judge made that ruling is because the authors of THBATHG claimed that it was historical theory based on historical facts. The THBATHG authors were trying to establish their claim on the basis that Dan Brown had taken the "architecture" of their idea - had they succeeded in this claim then you wouldn't be seeing books like Tracy Chevalier's forthcoming work on William Blake entering the market because anyone who has ever written a piece of research that subsequently forms the basis for a work of fiction could be argued to be guilty of copyright infringement.

It's a fundamental principle of copyright law in England (and pretty much around the world) that there is no copyright in an idea. By writing a book about a supposed bloodline of Christ via a relationship with Mary Magdalene, the authors of THBATHG put an idea into the public domain - it was therefore perfectly okay for Dan Brown to write his crappy, dull bestseller that revolved around that central premise. It's precisely because the authors of HB&HG couldn't establish that he'd taken chunks of their text that you can't call Dan Brown a plagiariser - crappy, sucky writer, yes - plagiariser, unfortunately not.

MM

Elodie-Caroline
03-15-2007, 08:10 PM
MM, yes, I'm perfectly aware of what the court said, and I think that each person perceives it as they wish. I did say earlier that, if it wasn't for THB&THG, that Dan Brown wouldn't have had a basis for his book, so without M.Baigent and H.Lincoln etc, for him to use as the back story, he would have had no story to fall back on.
I didn't actually read the book myself, but did listen to the audio book, and as I said earlier too, it was too predictable and tied up too neatly at the end, and the only parts I did like, were the parts that he had taken from THB&THG. I did actually like the film though, but that's only because Jean Reno was in it; even an advert would be good with him in it to me. I didn't go to the cinema to see it though, I got the DVD lol :)

Shadow_Ferret
03-15-2007, 08:39 PM
MM, yes, I'm perfectly aware of what the court said, and I think that each person perceives it as they wish. Perceive what as they wish? Their own legal definition of plagiarism?


I did say earlier that, if it wasn't for THB&THG, that Dan Brown wouldn't have had a basis for his book, so without M.Baigent and H.Lincoln etc, for him to use as the back story, he would have had no story to fall back on.
So what? Again, that's what research and using non-fiction books for your fiction is all about. Had I not found the non-fiction books I used as a basis for my story there would have been no story either.

Elodie-Caroline
03-15-2007, 09:14 PM
I didn't mean the legal people, SF, I meant the likes of us. You don't see it as plagiarism, but I personally do and I always will, ok. I stated to you about The holy blood and the holy grail being my my favourite book of all time, so that says it all about how I think and feel. Now to me, that's the end of this subject as far as I'm concerned.

Shadow_Ferret
03-15-2007, 11:06 PM
Now to me, that's the end of this subject as far as I'm concerned.

So if I stick my tongue out and call you a poo-poo head, you aren't going to respond?



:tongue poo-poo head.

Elodie-Caroline
03-16-2007, 02:41 AM
I'm telling my mum when I go to see her next week, so there! :D

Crusty knickers :tongue


So if I stick my tongue out and call you a poo-poo head, you aren't going to respond?



:tongue poo-poo head.