I am not going rehash the entire Laura Harner plagiarism thing again, but I wanted to add some light to the issues that are going on with plagiarism in the industry. If you want to see exactly what happened with the author that plagiarized another author (Laura Harner), you should just check out Jenny Trout at Trout Nation, because frankly she is a much better journalist then I could ever be and has laid out a great side-by-side comparison of the books (yes, BOOKS) in question. Go check it out and make up your own mind about it.
Plagiarism: the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.
-from Merriam-Webster dictionary (see what I did here)
I don’t even know why this needs to be said, but apparently it does. DON’T STEAL OTHER PEOPLE’S SHIT. In any way or in any form. This goes for reviewers, authors and all humans. At the last few conventions I attended with other bloggers, it became apparent we all have one thing in common. We each know of at least one instance where one of our reviews had been plagiarized. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US. This is astounding, right? I mean…why would someone copy a review? Although, honestly the WHY doesn’t even matter. It is WRONG.
My story: I started this review blog in January of 2012. During the start of my journey there was a TON of blogger drama going on. I don’t remember exactly what it was about, but it was pretty crazy and I wanted to no part of it. I just kept to myself and made very few friends that were bloggers. I was a total newbie and certainly feeling my way around. In July I received an ARC (pre-release) from an author. An author I still have a professional relationship with to this day. I posted the review about 1 week prior to the release. I was the first to review on Goodreads. (I am sure I felt super cool, because NEWBIE) About a week after the release the author posted a blog link to a review for this book to her Facebook profile and I decided I would see what others thought about it. As I am reading it, my face began to boil. It was my review with a few words changed. I called the BFF in a rant and freak out about what to do. She was a well-established blogger in the industry and it was clear the author was very pleased with the review and exposure on this other blog. I made a decision to do nothing. I didn’t want to be cause drama and I certainly didn’t want to stir the shit with someone who knew everyone, when I knew no one. Would this happen today? Hell, no. Mostly because I really don’t give a shit anymore. This blog is my place. It is my “home”. You don’t get to steal from me and have me remain silent. I have preached this to the other bloggers that have had similar stories. In case you are wondering, the blog that did this is no longer active.
I don’t hold a grudge or have any “poor me” moments. At least it helped the author and I didn’t really lose anything, other than a ton of respect for the other blogger. It also made me more cautious about trusting other bloggers in the beginning.
I am not alone and I know this. Silence is not helping ANYONE. If you are a reviewer or author that has been plagiarized, please stand up and let everyone know. It doesn’t matter if you are new or seasoned. I truly believe this is a much bigger problem than anyone realizes and it is not going to stop unless the issue is confronted. Maybe a smidgen of good can come out of this terrible crime that has been committed. At the very least, I hope everyone in the community stands together and make it clear that PLAGIARISM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
I know what it felt like to have ONE (that I know of) measly review claimed as someone else’s, I cannot imagine how it must feel to have an entire book stolen. Let that sink in. ENTIRE BOOK. Not even just the idea for the book….the entire book. We should all take an interest in supporting the author who’s work was stolen (or authors…) because it effects everyone. We should all be willing to help in anyway we can to make sure things like this are not allowed or tolerated both legally and socially. Imagine if it was you, what would you want others to do for you?
Bloggers – it is important to have a Republication Policy. If you go to my Policies/Republication Policy, you can see mine. And you can see that I used another bloggers Republication Policy, upon her approval and GAVE HER CREDIT. That is how this is supposed to work. Check it out, do some research and get a republication policy STAT.
Here are a few resources regarding ethical writing (click on title to be taken to the site):
The Office of Research Integrity
Find your area’s Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts