Plagiarism: is the practice of claiming, or implying, original authorship of (or incorporating material from) someone else's written or creative work, in whole or in part, into one's own without adequate acknowledgement. -Online Dictionary
Fair Use: The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.” -US Copyright Office
Okay, here's the story: this past weekend the Bitches at Smart Bitches discovered incriminating evidence of plagiarism from romance writer Cassie Edwards. Whole passages from non-fiction works like Indian Boyhood were pasted into several of her novels. The offending texts were easily found because of a jarring change of voice. Characters with names like Running Fox suddenly sounded like Mr Peabody. I've never read Edwards work but it doesn't sound like compelling reading to me. However, Edwards has written 100s of books and has a boatload of fangirls frothing at the mouth over what they see as a hate-on by the Bitches.
Now Nora Roberts has gone on the record that this is plagiarism plain and simple. Signet offered a statement citing fair use (see above). They claim Edwards has done nothing wrong. From the definition above, it sure looks like plagiarism. Whether or not it's actionable (the works may be out of copyright) it's not ethical. If you have hours of time (and a big bottle of Excedrin), you can read all the posts and comments on Smart Bitches/Trashy Novels. For me, the comments left me feeling Dazed and Confused.
I have a few predictions though:
- Edwards fans will keep on loving her
- The people that hate her will keep on hating her
- Some people who said, "Who the hell is Cassie Edwards?" will buy her books out of curiosity and then promptly forget who she is. (Hello, James Frey)
- The sun's going to rise tomorrow.
*In other plagiarism news, Avril Lavigne settled her dispute with the other mental giants who composed the haunting lyrics, "Hey you, I want to be your girlfriend" into song. There's not enough bleach...
*Let's cleanse the palate, shall we? Some big names in Canadian literature are part of this literary collection of love letters: Four Letter Word. Sounds really interesting.
*English hard. We need brains. Brains!
*Or perhaps this. I feel like a slow mother too sometimes. Maybe I should go.
*For Kookiejar or any rocker wanna-bes.
*Steinbeck vs Hemingway. Hemingway, blech, blech.
*Estella's Revenge starts off the new year. Oh the possibilities.
Have a great weekend. Don't do anything I wouldn't do, you know, like copyright infringement. Just saying.