April 18, 2013

Plagiarism... your questions, my answers.

The response to my blog post earlier this week about my experience with plagiarism kind of blew up and I've had some really wonderful responses and comments of support from all over the interweb - but many of you have some questions too.
So rather than reply to every individual tweet, message, email and blog comment; I thought I'd answer the most popular questions here, in the hope that the majority of the people inquiring will most likely see my answers.

So, lots of you wanted to know Why not name and shame the plagiarising blog?
In all honestly, I don't want to be a complete and utter unforgiving bitch about the whole debacle. What use would it serve except for her to possibly get a few angry emails, comments etc thrown her way. Which leads me to my fear; I really would hate for well meaning folk to strike up some kind of 'hate on the this blogger/blog/facebook page' thing and for it to grow into some kind of online bullying fiasco with the risk of it getting out of control and - god forbid - cause someone to self harm or worse (may sound stupid but it does and has happened to someone I know) Some people tend to get very heated and worked up from the relative safety of being behind their computer screens. I just feel better keeping their identity out of it.

The above answer poses the next question How do I know if the Romanian blog doing my review is really 'doing their own review'?
ANY blog, Romanian or otherwise can fake a review. Whether it's by plagiarising someone else's work using the copy and paste keys or simply copying out lines from numerous sources or just plan fudging a middle of the road, generic could-be-about-any-book review. Sadly this isn't the first, nor will it be the last time this type of thing happens. Maybe you could get some blog recommendations from fellow authors, friends who read reviews, or just ask around; there are plenty of honest reviewers and bloggers out there. But really, an author just has to trust that he/she has chosen a reliable blog.

Lots of you wanted to know Does the author know about this happening with his/her book?
Yes. I have spoken to the author about it. While they are shocked, dismayed and a little hurt by it, there's not a lot they can do. With the recent controversy surrounding some authors choosing to get involved in online arguemnts with bloggers and reviewers, the author of the book concerned felt that it wasn't her place to get involved. So out of respect for her, I felt it appropriate to keep both her name and her book out of it.

Is there a way to protect your work?
Well, we all know that just being honest and going through the correct and appropriate channels of using copyright works really well, right - that's why books don't get pirated!!
Look, dishonest people come in all shapes and forms, and for many different reasons. It's not a problem that's going to get solved anytime soon - sadly.
For me, I've disabled the copy and paste function on my blog, added a few copyright notices to discourage thieves, and I'm still undecided about whether I'll continue to post my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads etc because you are easily able to copy and paste all content from those sites. But again, I think it all comes down to trust - am I willing or able to trust that this wont happen again.

Why are you doing this, why have a giveaway?
Because even though I'm rising above it, I did take it a little personally and I do - in some strange way - feel guilty for this happening to an author I admire; and even though I haven't done anything wrong, I still feel bad about it! I'm all-for supporting authors, and this is just a small way in which I can do so and it makes me feel better about the whole thing. Plus, if I can get even one person to become a fan of this author... warm fuzzies all round!

So those were the most popular questions you all had, but there are a few other things I'd like to add.

Yes, this really did happen!

Yes, I AM paying for this giveaway out of my own pocket! (although I will add that when the author found out about my blog post she offered to pay for some herself - an offer that I was more than happy to TURN DOWN)  

No question, there are going to be some similarities in reviews.
Its going to happen. You're going to read many reviews from people who LOVE a book, and they'll probably LOVE the same things, the same characters, scenarios, the same twists and turns that you did! You only need worry about the reviews that use your exact thoughts!

And lastly, THANK YOU!
Thank you for the many, many kind words that I have received from all manner of readers, authors, bloggers, reviewers, tweeters, and facebookers - your support has been nothing short of amazing!!

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