Monday, July 09, 2012


There was another big plagiarism brouhaha recently but it was all blog wise, so maybe some of you, the uninitiated, missed out on it. It was very blatant and the person tried to apologize in a bunch of euphemistic terms in such a way that she was not accepting blame.  Finally, weeks later I think it was, she threw in the towel and said, "Yeah.  I'm a thief."

I went through this when one of my grandaughters was in high school and she had to do a biographical poster for math class.  You didn't ask me, but it seems obvious we are in trouble here from the get go.  What kid that  can read doesn't do cut and paste for this type of project?  Well the teacher's biggest complaint was she did not source one of the photos which was scanned from a book.  I went to every body that had anything to do with it with the most amazing letter that I came across recently and still wonder at.  Its verbosity, its cunning use of language, its explicitness.  It left no room for argument, and it made such a huge impression on me that I never bothered to find out if he decided to cut Cas a little slack on the grade.  Similar incident when Fran was in high school, but different.  She got twenty percent for the research, twenty percent for the outline, twenty percent for the index cards, twenty percent for the rough draft and twenty percent for the final doc.  (Is that 100 yet?)  So she never handed in the final doc so the teacher gave her a zero.  It was agreed that the system of grading was indeed flawed but it was also agreed that Fran did indeed earn eighty percent of the grade.  That one I know was changed.  Didn't matter in the long run as is true of most of the causes around which I choose to rally.  She got a scholarship to Loyola based on her GED scores.

Anyway. . .

The thing is, and this is at least the third time this has happened,  I drop the husk on the floor when I leave which is all that is left of the seed of the idea that blossomed into some marvelous piece of editorial genius, and someone finds it and runs with it.  Only they don't even run in the right direction.  It isn't just stealing, well, let's be kind and let them call it inspiration, it is rubbing my nose in it.  Cuz I can say it better and it was my seed so get the hell off the farm. It's like that meme on Pinterest where they show you how to make the inside out cupcakes and then you post your photo of the outcome which is a hilarious mess and the caption reads, "Nailed it."  I swear, if I had any way of knowing if that person derived any satisfaction from finishing their pointless paragraphs, I would be even more pissed off.  Every time I see a movie or read a book and say, "Oh, I used that in my book"(months before) I want to weep except I am so far past being emotionally involved in this little hobby/career foible I call my writing.  And there is a screen play and some dick actress doing a shitty job of saying what my Jenny said or my Deanie said.  And they are sitting in the basement counting their nickles.  Oh irony of ironies.  

Well, I guess it is time for me to fall back on "I had my day in the sun" and just remove myself from the issues.  But no.  I am too nosy, too curious, too conceited to let it drop.  I shall drag it kicking and screaming with me to the grave.  Except, I forgot, I'm not going to do the grave thing.


  1. What plagarism scandal were you talking about--was it The Story Siren, or did something else happen that I missed?

    Anyhow, yeah, it can be frustrating when someone steals your ideas, but a general idea or concept can't be copyrighted, and anyway, we'd drown in all the litigation that would result. I mean, The Matrix and countless other works never would have neen made if the guy who wrote Neuromancer could sue for stealing ideas and concepts. Unless it's blatantly obvious--such as lifting whole passages--there's not that much that can be done, nor should there be IMHO.

    By the way, I had to laugh when you referred to me as a "famous blogger." That's like calling Carrot Top an A list celebrity.


  2. It was the story siren story. And a smallish kerfuffle on "I Fucking Love Science" but brought on by seeing a blog post that I thought was based on something I brought up. Which I think often since I think I am the commander of ideas.

    I will always praise you. You are talented and interesting and I admire your references to your family. Mine is an off kilter circus.

    1. Thank you ma'am, you're too kind. And my family (extended family, mostly) has its own problems. I just try to focus on the pleasant stuff with the wife and boy and forget about all the energy-sapping negatives.


  3. I have a similar blog article to this regarding 'The idea that got away.' Same idea I had (even had partially written) but abandoned showed up later on a popular television show. I related my article back more to confidence in writers. I should have had the confidence to proceed with the story when it occurred to me (some three years before I saw it on the telly) but didn't.

    But deliberate theft is horrendous. While it hasn't happened to me (outright plagiarism that is), it has happened to many writers I know. The tricky part is always unintentional plagiarism. Most everyone has done it at some point, and it was a harmless mistake (a source not being sited properly or an image borrowed without credit). But concept plagiarism isn't possible. Although I wouldn't mind sometimes if it got me away from all the vamp and werewolf inspired paranormals lately! lol

    BC Brown Books ~ Paranormal, Mystery, Romance, Fantasy
    "Because Weird is Good."


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