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Twilight Forums - Twilighted • View topic - Plagiarism




Plagiarism

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Plagiarism

Postby lizde on Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:43 pm

Okay, I've got a bit of an issue that I'm not sure how to approach anymore. I found a story (over at fanfiction.net) that seemed a little too familiar. So I started reading it and sure enough, the plot is exactly the same as one of my favorite Harlequin Romance books. The title is practially the same too. It's old, it was published in 1994. I stopped reading romances not long after that, but I kept a few around that I really liked and this was one of my favorites.

Anyhoo, I got the book out and the fic is basically an exact copy of the book. She changed the setting (the book takes place in California and Hawaii, she moved it to Washington state). She changed the names of the characters to those of the Twilight characters. She changed the exact wording of a lot of the sentences so that they say the same thing, just using slightly different wording. Basically she edited the book. In some places, especially with the dialog, the words are exactly the same. I went through the first two chapters sentence by sentence and they match up exactly. I skimmed through the third chapter and it looks like she continued copying the book. In later chapters (that I only briefly looked at) it seems like she veered off into different territory. So, either she started making up her own story or she's copying from some other book.

So far, I've reported it to fanfiction.net twice. They never responded to me and the story is still up. In fact she's added more chapters. I actually contacted the Harlequin legal department (I figured hey, this isn't my book, it belongs to them, maybe they should be the ones to deal with this if they want to). They agreed that the fic is clearly plagiarism. But after that I never heard anything from them, and like I said the story is still posted. I can see why they wouldn't want to waste time and money on someone who isn't making money off the fic. Technically, from what I've read, even though plagiarism isn't illegal, it does qualify as copyright infringement, which is illegal (at least in the US). Harlequin is a Canadian company and the girl who posted the fic is also Canadian. Maybe the rules are different there. But it seems to me, if they wanted to stop her they could.

I did post a review in which I said something to the effect of "gee this story is awfully similar to a book by ____." I was hoping she'd get the hint that somebody was on to what she'd done (and do what I think is the right thing) and pull the story. I was hoping that I'd given her a graceful way to bow out without a lot of drama. She could even make up a fake reason for pulling the story. Obviously she's okay with dishonesty so that shouldn't be too hard for her.

Anyway, the problem I'm having is that even though I really really don't like that this girl is getting away with plagiarism, I'm not into confrontation and I'm not sure how else to get this story taken down. I really feel it should be taken down. But maybe I'm wrong. I know the fan fic community is pretty militant about going after people who plagiarize other people's fan fic. But what about plagiarizing from published books? It seems to me that it's just as bad. But maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree. Is that tolerated? Am I getting upset over nothing?

Like I said, I'm not into confrontation. I haven't actually confronted the fic "writer" directly. I haven't posted a review in which I flat out said "this is plagiarism." The story actually has a message board on Twilighted even though the story itself is not posted there. I did post something there explaining that the story was plagiarized from the book. After two days there were no responses. I don't think anybody actually saw it. I ended up chickening out and I deleted it. Partly it's just that I'm busy and don't really want to kick up a bunch of unnecessary drama in my life. Reading fan fic is a hobby for me. I don't want it to take over my life. Partly it's just lack of support. I don't know may people in the fan fic community. I'm not sure what kind of reaction I'd get. So yeah, chickening out. But at the same time this is bothering me and I can't seem to just forget it and let it go.

And I'm sure you're thinking "okay, which story is it? Why are you holding back?" I've held off on IDing it because I just have this feeling that as soon as I do the shit's gonna hit the fan. If not for me then definitely for her. I'm not holding off for a big reveal. I'm just not sure that publicly shaming someone by announcing it in a message board post is the right way to deal with this. I don't think the story's so popular that a lot of people are gonna be mad that someone came along and ruined it for them. But the "writer's" probably gonna be pissed and that's probably the root of why I'm chickening out. Just not good with the confrontation thing.

Anyway, thanks for reading all this. Advice, opinions, a spare backbone, would all be welcome.
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Re: Plagiarism

Postby Totoro on Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:13 pm

You need to send a private message to this person. At least that's what I would do, confront her privately about it and say that you have contacted both fan fiction.net and the legal council for the author/publisher.

If she doesn't respond, I'm not sure what you''ll have to do at that point. It could be that ff.net is just really backed up or something, or it could be that the publishing company is trying to decide what to do.

Basically I think you've done everything you can from what it sounds like, unless you want to just come out and say, "Look, I know this is plagiarized" in a review.

Or, you could show someone else the book and the story and have them confront her if you don't want to.
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Re: Plagiarism

Postby lizde on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:45 pm

I sat myself down with a nice cup of hot chocolate and sent her a PM. We'll see what she does. I told her that if she doesn't pull the story herself I'll be telling everybody it's plagiarized.
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Re: Plagiarism

Postby sandstone on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:11 pm

That is probably the best decision. Politics, something I never expected when venturing into fanfiction for fun. Problems usually occur when authors vear from the set standard guildlines and rules. Plagiarism I don't believe is excepted in any circle of writing, so bringing it to her attention is just the result of reading a story that is re-written from another author. If you whant to be polite, you could wright a review stating that the story is to close to another to be considered fanfiction; If she whanted to use this story as inspiration she must give credit where credit is do.
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Re: Plagiarism

Postby Rachissy on Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:26 pm

I just don't understand the draw in plagiarism, especially in fanfic. I mean what are you gaining? It's not like we're being paid for this. Is it just to gain a ton of reviews? I just started sharing my writing and each review means so much to me because it means someone else is enjoying something that came from within me. I just think that joy would feel so hollow if I knew it wasn't my own. Even if I was the only one who knew it wasn't. Can you really enjoy a compliment when you know it's not really meant for you?
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Re: Plagiarism

Postby sandstone on Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:59 pm

I completely agree with you Rachissy.
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