Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rationalizing Plagiarism?

So I read the following article -

Salon, Plagiarism the Next Generation

In which a 17 year old author of a book published in Germany tries to excuse the fact that she ripped off another published book, including lifting entire pages.

She says: "I myself don't feel it is stealing, because I put all the material into a completely different and unique context and from the outset consistently promoted the fact that none of that is actually by me."

As somebody who would never dream of consciously copying another author's work, I was appalled at the idea that this author had, that it was an art form and should be an accepted style of writing.

Yes, I know that this generation has the example of Seth Grahame-Smith and his highly successful Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I expect that the young author looked at what Seth did to P&P and decided she could do it too. I'm not sure if the book she ripped off is in the public domain or not, but regardless, she went about it the wrong way. From the sounds of it, she did not fess up until she got caught.

She was trying to pass it all off as her own invention.


This is part of the reason why authors are so protective of their work and hesitant to submit to critique groups. And it's also why they even are nervous about posting plots, ideas, snippets online for the world to see.

It isn't always about them being too shy and defensive of their brain-offspring.

It's because there are other authors out there who would do stuff like this.

No - there is nothing wrong with getting plot ideas from other people's work, providing you do something completely original with them and make them your own.

-> Points at all the literal offspring of Tolkien who borrowed ideas from him and thankfully did something else (and better) with them.

But it is another thing if you read somebody's story or idea somewhere and write the exact same novel.

Besides it's lazy.

Don't do it.


  1. I wouldn't feel the same pride in my work, the feeling that "I wrote this!"

    I'm appalled as well.

  2. Agree -

    The other thing is if this author had written an original piece of work, she would be feeling just as appalled as the rest of us if somebody took her work and passed off as their own.


My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Label Cloud