Sunday, 25 October 2015

Plagiarism is More Than Stealing a Book

I don't bring anything new to the latest plagiarism case, except a profound sense of WTF!  I haven't been in touch with Laura Harner for several years and I haven't read her books. I don't know why she did it, and I have no fresh gossip here.

What does strike me as I watch the latest drama unfold is the number of communities that are betrayed by an author's actions. 

  1. The authors, Becky McGraw, who broke the initial allegation that one of her books had been stolen and now Opal Carew, who have had their works lifted from M/F and turned into M/M. Jenny Trout has the details here and here.  These authors have had their hard work, their ideas and creations stolen. That's fucking outrageous! Writing is more than words on paper. It's blood, sweat and tears to get a book to publication. To see your hard work repackaged under someone else's name is soul-destroying.
  2. Readers - bloody hell, you're betraying your readers' trust by offering them stolen goods. Readers spend their money on more than just a book or a file. It's a promise that what you're offering them is your work. New, fresh and not someone else's stolen work. I've seen the amount of comments from readers who are angry at this betrayal. They invest in you, the author. You let them down.
  3. Friends - they are gutted that someone they thought they knew, even a few days before at our major conference, is now suddenly stranger to them. I hate the sense of bewilderment that is unfolding from people who thought they knew her.
  4. Co-Authors - suddenly the taint of plagiarism is on them as well. I have a personal interest in this one as my bestie, Lisa Worrall, co-wrote a book with Laura. She has been forced to make a public post to declare she is not a plagiarist. What the hell! I remember her writing that book - read her post. They need support now, not accusations. 
  5. The genre - every new drama that unfolds is so bloody unprofessional. I said a couple of days ago that we end up having to make mission statements to declare we are not a plagiarist or whatever the drama is rocking our genre at the moment. It's tiring and it sends unease through our little world. We're supposed to be professionals.
  6. Fanfiction is not plagiarism. Get over it.
  7. LGBT - you disrespect the men you supposedly write about. This one really annoys the fuck out of me. Taking an M/F book and slapping in male pronouns and shoving in a dick or two (pun intended) does not  make a book about gay romance. We do not write about a man and a woman together. That is done very well by people like Becky McGraw. M/M Romance writers have a responsibility to the community and people they write about. I'm sorry if you disagree, but we do, and this action is so disrespectful. 
Anyway, I've had my say. You are welcome to add your piece, just keep it respectful. 

31 comments:

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    1. Oh, it just occurred to me that I would have added that as a result of some people pointing out that the number of works 'Laura' managed to produce should have send up a red flag, suddenly throw suspicions of genuinely prolific writers such as Lori Witt. The damage really does spread far and wide.

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    2. Agreed. There are many REAL authors who put out books at a steady rate. Now they're feeling the need to make statements. This whole thing hurts my heart. Too many of my favorite people are being hurt.

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    3. Yep. some people can write full time and write fast. Like 10,000 words a day fast. But more importantly maybe, have the judgement and sense to not over-promise and not sign contracts they might not be able to deliver on. And if they do and up in a situation where they can't actually deliver because of life tripping them up, they make mature choices. They delay a release, they get an extension on their deadline. They slow down until they can get back to normal later, because they're decent people, not thieves. It's like the difference between people who have debts to pay, so get a second job, as opposed to those who start pilfering from their employer.

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    4. I think I'll tackle the prolific writer part elsewhere. I admit I forgot about that,

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  2. Well said, Sue. I love Lisa. Her writing is amazing and I was saddened to see her have to post about this. I don't write, but I'm a huge fan of this genre and a voracious reader. I deleted Laura's books from my Kindle and will be buying as many of the REAL books as I can,

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    1. *hugs* I hate seeing my friend thrown under the bus for no reason. And thank you, for being part of this genre. It means a lot to all of us.

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  3. {{{HUGS}}} This is word for word exactly what I want to post... all of it...

    *copy pastes* (not)...

    It's been a funny old week. :(

    Me x

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    1. It's been bizarre. Again. I'd like boring for a while.

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  4. Well said. I also like Lisa's books and have no doubt she wrote them. And L. A. Witt is one of my favorite authors; no doubt there, either.

    I had a few Laura Harner titles, and am so disappointed at her lack of ethics and her thievery. I refuse, however, to paint her coauthors and former colleagues with the same brush. I do not believe in guilt by association.

    I am a voracious reader in our genre and intend to continue right on reading all the wonderful authors who put their blood, sweat, and tears into their work.

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    1. Both those authors have such a distinctive voice. Thank you for being part of the genre.

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  5. Well said. I also like Lisa's books and have no doubt she wrote them. And L. A. Witt is one of my favorite authors; no doubt there, either.

    I had a few Laura Harner titles, and am so disappointed at her lack of ethics and her thievery. I refuse, however, to paint her coauthors and former colleagues with the same brush. I do not believe in guilt by association.

    I am a voracious reader in our genre and intend to continue right on reading all the wonderful authors who put their blood, sweat, and tears into their work.

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  6. Exactly. Thanks for the post. Very well said

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  7. Thank you Sue. When I fell out with Laura I kept my mouth shut, I didn't go on social media and slag her off - but I couldn't possibly keep quiet this time. And still can't believe she did it.

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    1. I hesitated about doing this, because you know, history, but fuck it.

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  8. Well said, Sue. I am with you all the way and I agree with every word.

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  9. You hit this one right on the head. Thank you for the post. As a reader, I am horrified that I have unwittingly supported a thief. I am also saddened that one person's actions are hurting others who are innocent. I hope this will not dishearten all the wonderful authors who write (not copy!) m/m romance. My life would be emptier without their work.

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    1. I do agree with you. I hope our writers keep producing their wonderful books. This is a set-back and is sad, but we have so much distinctive talent in our world.

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  10. Princess SO -
    #7 WORD! Agreed with all th above but really this.

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  11. Very informative and well thought out post. I don't know what would cause someone to resort to plagiarism, just know it's wrong. Also prolific writing shouldn't be a red flag alone. Look at Nora Roberts, one of the most prolific writers out there, and she's never stolen someone else's work. She has had her writing plagiarized though. :)

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