Quoth the author: nevermore? Another plagiarism scandal.

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aruna

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I'll never understand why people plagiarize. Don't they understand that they will be caught!? If not in today, in the future, but eventually they will be caught and it will be very embarrassing. Let's face it, everyone loves a scandal and things like this get talked about for a very long time.

Plus, doesn't she feel guilty? Obviously not based on her weak defense.

That's what I don't get. How can you ever face your friends again? Your colleagues (in tis case, te RWA)? Just dreadful.
 

absitinvidia

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That's what I don't get. How can you ever face your friends again? Your colleagues (in tis case, te RWA)? Just dreadful.

I'm frankly surprised Kay Manning wasn't caught sooner. Her "Work in Progress" on Goodreads was a Lori Foster book.

This particular author's plagiarism bothers me more than many because it looks like she took care to give away some of her "rewrites" of major authors rather than selling them outright. To me, that shows a lot more effort than just the stealing of another person's intellectual property; it's like she thought that if she didn't make a profit, nobody would pursue legal action.
 

Amadan

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I don't understand the motive. Is it really easier to copy and stitch together someone else's words than to write your own? Do you really have so little faith in your own writing and so little enjoyment in the process? Then why are you a writer?
 

robjvargas

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Plagiarism is not a crime. It's morally bad and ethically wrong, and doing it can -- justifiably -- get someone thrown out of university. But it's not actually a criminal offence.

Copyright infringement, on the other hand, is a criminal offence.

For example, if I were to make a plagiarised copy of, say, Pride and Prejudice and sell it with my own name as the author, it would be reprehensible but no one could charge me with a crime.

If I were, however, to make a plagiarised copy of, say, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and sell it with my own name as the author, it would still be reprehensible, but also I would and should get totally nailed by JK Rowling's lawyers.

We're writers here, and we need to be careful about the language we use. Calling something a crime when it isn't actually a crime isn't helpful.

Exactly. And having said that, I think we're still off the mark. Copyright infringement is *not* a criminal offense. It's a civil matter. So far as I'm aware, there is no criminal prosecution in a state court. It's strictly between the two parties.

Likewise with plagiarism. It's not criminal fraud, but it *is* civil fraud. I think. I'm not a lawyer.
 

robjvargas

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I don't understand the motive. Is it really easier to copy and stitch together someone else's words than to write your own? Do you really have so little faith in your own writing and so little enjoyment in the process? Then why are you a writer?

"It's a living."

When creditors are calling and the family is hungry and the car needs work and you're trying to decide between what you want today and what you can afford until the next paycheck...

I couldn't do it, but I *can* understand the temptation.
 

mscelina

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Exactly. And having said that, I think we're still off the mark. Copyright infringement is *not* a criminal offense. It's a civil matter. So far as I'm aware, there is no criminal prosecution in a state court. It's strictly between the two parties.

Likewise with plagiarism. It's not criminal fraud, but it *is* civil fraud. I think. I'm not a lawyer.

Um...no.

Criminal Copyright Infringement: Copyright infringement is a felony punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine under 17 U.S.C. § 506(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319 where a defendant willfully reproduces or distributes at least 10 copies of one or more
copyrighted works with a total retail value of more than $2,500 within a 180_day period. The maximum penalty rises to 5 years imprisonment if defendant acted “for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.” Misdemeanor copyright infringement occurs where the
value exceeds $1,000.

http://www.cybercrime.gov/AppC-ReportingGuide.pdf

This will help to sum it up (from the same source)

In recognition of this trend, the Department of Justice is waging the most aggressive campaign against the theft and counterfeiting of intellectual property in its history. The priority of criminal intellectual property investigations and prosecutions nationwide has been increased,
and additional resources on both the prosecutive and investigative levels have been brought to bear on the growing problem of intellectual property theft.
 

PrincessofPersia

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Exactly. And having said that, I think we're still off the mark. Copyright infringement is *not* a criminal offense. It's a civil matter. So far as I'm aware, there is no criminal prosecution in a state court. It's strictly between the two parties.

Incorrect. Copyright infringement is also a criminal offense that can carry criminal penalties if an action is initiated. Probably the most relevant example is the Meguvideo guy who is being charged with multiple counts of criminal copyright infringement and faces up to 40 years in prison for those charges alone, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and the millions he's likely being sued for in civil court.

Likewise with plagiarism. It's not criminal fraud, but it *is* civil fraud. I think. I'm not a lawyer.

You generally cannot sue for plagiarism unless copyright infringement goes along with it. You can take a work in the public domain and pass it off for your own with no legal or civil consequences. That said, you'd look like a tremendous assclown.

The US Copyright Office has a wealth of information on copyright law. Check it out if you're interested.

ETA: Didn't see your post, mscelina.
 

robjvargas

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RIAA, MPAA, SOPA.

I should have known better. Sorry, folks.

I stand by what I said about plagiarism. In itself, you're right. But if you misrepresent the work as your own, I still think you're open to a civil lawsuit for that misrepresentation.
 

Becky Black

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"It's a living."

When creditors are calling and the family is hungry and the car needs work and you're trying to decide between what you want today and what you can afford until the next paycheck...

I couldn't do it, but I *can* understand the temptation.

See I could understand if it was done only for monetary gain. That's an understandable motive and some people might consider it lucrative enough to risk being caught. But plagiarism goes on even when there's no monetary gain to be had. Cases of plagiarism pop up in fan fiction often enough to show there are other reasons to do it besides money. But what the heck they are I can't understand. What satisfaction do glowing reviews for a story give you if you didn't write it?
 

firedrake

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See I could understand if it was done only for monetary gain. That's an understandable motive and some people might consider it lucrative enough to risk being caught. But plagiarism goes on even when there's no monetary gain to be had. Cases of plagiarism pop up in fan fiction often enough to show there are other reasons to do it besides money. But what the heck they are I can't understand. What satisfaction do glowing reviews give you if you didn't write it?

The TJK case really bugs me because the m/m genre isn't exactly a haven of peace and tranquility these days. There always seems to be some scandal or other. That book received so many awards, accolades, glowing reviews last year. I wouldn't be able to live with myself knowing that it wasn't my story at all. :(
 

James D. Macdonald

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You must be young. I was already able to read in 1956, and could even write fairly well. It wasn't that long ago.

Anything written after 1923 is still under copyright protection.

Maybe.

Depending on exactly when it was first published, whether the copyright was registered, whether the copyright was renewed. We know that anything written before 1923 is public domain. For things written afterward, each one would have to be researched.

See this table for more details.
 

jjdebenedictis

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See I could understand if it was done only for monetary gain. ... Cases of plagiarism pop up in fan fiction often enough to show there are other reasons to do it besides money. ... What satisfaction do glowing reviews for a story give you if you didn't write it?
To someone sufficiently insecure, getting attention becomes addictive.

And they will behave like an addict to get it.
 

Becky Black

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The TJK case really bugs me because the m/m genre isn't exactly a haven of peace and tranquility these days. There always seems to be some scandal or other. That book received so many awards, accolades, glowing reviews last year. I wouldn't be able to live with myself knowing that it wasn't my story at all. :(

It would leave you in a constant state of paranoia too, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Not a nice position to put yourself in.
 

firedrake

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It would leave you in a constant state of paranoia too, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Not a nice position to put yourself in.

I'm surprised that this hasn't hit the usual m/m genre gossip places. There's a strange silence. I'm curious as to why.
 

Captcha

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The TJK case really bugs me because the m/m genre isn't exactly a haven of peace and tranquility these days. There always seems to be some scandal or other. That book received so many awards, accolades, glowing reviews last year. I wouldn't be able to live with myself knowing that it wasn't my story at all. :(

I haven't read the book in question, although I've seen the movie. But I'm not sure about 'plagiarizing' when it comes to two works in totally different mediums. Plot similarities aren't plagiarism, right? I guess if the author copied dialogue word for word, that'd be problematic, but I haven't heard anyone say that he did (although I haven't been following this one too closely). Or maybe if he lifted the scene structure verbatim? If it's just a similar set-up, it's hard to see plagiarism, for me.

I don't know.

Is anyone else aware of cases where someone has been accused of plagiarizing based on a book being too similar to a movie?
 

firedrake

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I haven't read the book in question, although I've seen the movie. But I'm not sure about 'plagiarizing' when it comes to two works in totally different mediums. Plot similarities aren't plagiarism, right? I guess if the author copied dialogue word for word, that'd be problematic, but I haven't heard anyone say that he did (although I haven't been following this one too closely). Or maybe if he lifted the scene structure verbatim? If it's just a similar set-up, it's hard to see plagiarism, for me.

I don't know.

Is anyone else aware of cases where someone has been accused of plagiarizing based on a book being too similar to a movie?

I don't know, is the short answer.

I suppose the fact that the shit hasn't hit the proverbial means that perhaps it's a storm in a teacup. I hope so because the m/m genre has had more than it's fair share of crap in the last year or so.
 

Stacia Kane

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To someone sufficiently insecure, getting attention becomes addictive.

And they will behave like an addict to get it.


This. I believe this is why they do it, at least in part. For those who make money on their theft, yes, the money is part of it, but it's also the "high" of calling oneself An Author, of having readers who contact you to say they love "your" work, of getting whatever respect it is they think authors get, of getting the attention and name recognition.

I can see someone who wants so badly to call themselves "published author" but isn't getting anywhere finally resorting to something like this. It's disgusting and vile, but... We've all seen writers so desperate to put "published" under their name that they'll submit to any fly-by-night who'll have them. Heck, we've all seen women and/or men so desperate to be married they'll marry someone they don't love or even really like.

People with dreams they obsess over aren't always rational, and some of them will step on anyone and everyone to make that dream real, even if they know in their hearts it's a lie.
 

Scribe4264

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I'm sorry, but no. You don't even 'try to make the graphs smaller or larger or change up the dialogue a little more'. Plagiarism is wrong, no matter how much you try to change things around. Also? Making changes like that is not only still plagiarism, it's also still lazy.

I'm pretty sure you were being sarcastic, Scribe4264, but it's not clear from your post. New writers who don't know the ropes yet could take what you just said as actual advice.

I was being a tad sarcastic. People who do that kind of crap should be drawn and quartered as far as I am concerned.

My point was more along the lines of if you are going to do it, by not changing anything but the characters' names you are just begging to get caught.

Being a stupid plagiarist is even worse than your run of the mill, Joe Biden-type plagiarist.
 

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I stand by what I said about plagiarism. In itself, you're right. But if you misrepresent the work as your own, I still think you're open to a civil lawsuit for that misrepresentation.

Should be that way, but it's not.
 

firedrake

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It's brewing. A lot of people are getting their hands on the movie so they can compare it themselves before they comment.

Time to don the flak jacket and make popcorn...again.
 

aruna

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She has resigned from her post as treasurer of RWA's Kiss of Death. See the bottom of this post on smartbitchestrashybooks, which recaps the whole situation.

Kiss of Death is dedicated to promoting and supporting the mystery/suspense genre with romantic elements through the championship of good writing through our educational and awards programs. As such, I have accepted the resignation of our treasurer, per her request, and in the best interest of the organization.
AJ Brower, President
Kiss of Death
 

ChaosTitan

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It's brewing. A lot of people are getting their hands on the movie so they can compare it themselves before they comment.

Good. Shelter is a fabulous film, and while it absolutely doesn't deserve being plagiarized, it definitely deserves the extra viewers this mess brings it.

I swear I remember reading a review of the story in question and in it the reviewer made a comparison to Shelter...
 
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