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msilverstar

Plagiarism in fandom

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Mar. 16th, 2008 | 06:32 pm
mood: sad

I've read a hell of a lot of LOTR RPS, and I've never seen one which used the exact words of the original, without author credit

But the evidence of extensive copying and pasting of text from "Jane Eyre" into the published version of namarie120's story "A Hidden Passage" is compelling. I admire caras_galadhon for bringing out into the open.

My problem with this the situation is that the author accepted the praise, awards, and publication as though she deserved credit. If she'd said something about how great a writer Charlotte Brontë was, and explained that a huge part of the story was lifted from the original, that would have been appropriate attribution. Accepting those compliments was more than just a lie, and accepting the award it wronged the writers who wrote every word of their fic.

Here is the original fanfic disclaimer, which was pasted in a thread in telesilla's post.
Disclaimer: This is a work of total fiction, using characters based on the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I don’t pretend to represent the actors in any realistic way – I’m just dressing them up and playing with them."

(From Chapter 37 header of "A Hidden Passion" by namarie120.)
Here is the warning from the published book, as transcribed by rocketbalm, a friend of namarie120, posted this in a thread:
"In retelling the story, I have tried to remain as true to the tone and language of the original novel as possible. Some sentences (the opening lines of the first and last chapters in particular) are so iconic I have left them unchanged. While there are of course alterations and additions to the original plot, I hope the work as a whole will be seen as the homage I certainly intended."

Author's Note of A Hidden Passion, by Lucia Logan, August 2007
That note strongly implies that -- aside from the opening lines and last chapter -- the rest of the text was in fact changed. Perhaps by "changed" she meant, "rearranged and slightly reworded". That's certainly not what I expect from an experienced fanfic writer, and wish she'd been somewhat less "true to the tone and language".

an anon said: i was betrayed by someone i trusted. i was made to feel a fool for lavishing praise on someone who claimed someone else's work..

That makes me very sad. I don't want namarie120 to delete her journal and run away. What I'd like to have seen, and to see now, would be an acknowledgment that large parts of the story were not hers, an apology for misleading people, and for her to return the Slashy Oscar award so it can be given to the runner up.

What should we do next time, if we see something in a fic that's way too familiar? I don't really know, but in this case, emailing to her clearly did not work, because several people tried that. Perhaps friends in a group could approach the author and encourage her or him to come clean. And, as a final step, posting to a journal or to a community might be necessary. Because it's a moral and ethical error to plagiarize, and the faster we get it over with, the better. Anyone with other thoughts or useful experience, please tell me, I want to know!

More useful posts on this topic by caras_galadhon (the original post), slashfairy's meditation on it, telesilla's lively discussion, and jasmineskie's comment.

To end on an up note (via ruuger), a fabulous pastiche with a very distinctive and un-Brontë voice: JAYNE EYRE! (Link found in Fandom_Wank)

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Comments {19}

Jassy

(no subject)

from: jasmineskie
date: Mar. 17th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
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*hugs* Thanks for posting this. As an aside, the link for Slashfairy's meditation actually leads to my post in my journal. Since that's a locked post, not everyone on your flist is going to be able to follow the link.

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Mar. 17th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
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*hugs you too* I fixed the link, thanks much for telling me.

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Alassenya

(no subject)

from: alassenya
date: Mar. 17th, 2008 06:59 am (UTC)
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Thank you for all the links - and especially for "Jayne Eyre". Priceless!

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
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Isn't it great? Got a bunch of us giggling instead of stressing :-)

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(no subject)

from: ex_zarah5186
date: Mar. 17th, 2008 07:58 am (UTC)
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Hrm. I'll just... never get what compels people to plagiarize other people's stuff. I mean. I don't know. Sooner or later, they will be found out. It's inevitable.

I just don't get it.

But hey! Happy fandom bubble, happy fandom bubble!

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
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I know, it just seems like homage was taken too far, and I just wish she'd dealt with it instead of blowing it off, and/or hiding it. Sigh.

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et tu, froote?

(no subject)

from: berreh
date: Mar. 17th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
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When I see crap like this I alternate between angry and sad. Why bother to work hard for every sentence when you can just steal them and get the same reward? Oh well, Zarah's right. It always comes out in the end.

I thought publishing retooled fanfic as original fic was considered a no-no? Shows what I know!

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
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But most of us would not get the same reward, because we'd know we were lying.

And these days, publishing retooled fanfic seems the thing to do. I kinda like it, and those gay guys looking for porn are gonna be really surprised.

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et tu, froote?

(no subject)

from: berreh
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 11:48 am (UTC)
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Huh. Fancy that. When I finished Dilse someone told me I should shop it around, and all my friends were like "Noooooo that is a huge faux pas, you're still making money off fanfic." Made sense to me. I guess it depends on how much you retool it.

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(no subject)

from: pir8fancier
date: Mar. 17th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
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As usual, what floors me about the response to this business is the "get over it." "It's done. Why are you rehashing old news." This was similar to the Cassie Clare fans in HP who went bat-shit when their fandom icon was shown to have feet of plaguarized clay. It says to me that a huge hunk of fandom does not see any lines between using a concept and using actual material. Which, again, seems like an easy concept to grasp, but apparently not!

You boycotting Friday? I am.

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 06:21 am (UTC)
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The problem with saying that's it's all done and over with is that it wasn't really finished. Maybe all the in-crowd in VigOrli fandom knew about it, but that leaves a lot of other people out, including some people who now feel deceived by her response to their praise. And she didn't return the damn award.

Yes, boycotting Friday (1 pm GMT = 6 am PDT). I should write a post about that...

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tweedle_

(no subject)

from: tweedle_
date: Mar. 17th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for putting this post together. So far the only argument I can find defending AHP argues that plagarism in rl is not necessarily plagarism in fandom. To which I reply, 'Huh?' I really hope that namarie120 has a good long think and takes action, late though it is, to minimise the damage to not only fandom but to herself as well.

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC)
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I can see how this might have happened, homage slipping into plagiarism, but that doesn't excuse namarie from taking responsibility and apologizing to people she lied to. Sigh.

(I'm going to bed earlier tonight, so maybe see you on the other side)

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stormatdusk

(no subject)

from: stormatdusk
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 07:01 am (UTC)
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thanks for... well, just thanks.

*leans*

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
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*hugs you more*

This Too Shall Pass (My dad's philosophy)

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girl with curious hair

(no subject)

from: kiltsandlollies
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)
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The two things that rile me most about fanfiction are the selling of it and plagiarism. Selling it—retooled or not—divides people, but plagiarism should create no divide. Credit something if you're using it. It is not that difficult, and oh, look! You maintain your credibility, too. Everybody wins.

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Mar. 19th, 2008 06:53 am (UTC)
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namarie120 didn't exactly not credit, but the scope of her appropriation was really gigantic, and she never really acknowledged that. I don't know why, she made a bad situation a zillion times worse by not admitting it.

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Meltha

(no subject)

from: bookishwench
date: Mar. 18th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
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Hi. I'm Meltha, the writer of Jayne Eyre. I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for reccing the story and I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Mar. 19th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)
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It was mostly ruuger over in fandom_wank, but we all needed a good crack!fic so very very much! How I wish we were in the same fandoms. I'm pretty much a LOTR RPS fan, though I read a few Firefly, HP and LOST fics. Never got into Buffy, for reasons I cannot tell. Anyway, very nice to meet you!

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