Friday, October 30, 2015

When Piracy Turns Personal: Plagiarism.

Add caption
I'm so mad, I don't even know where to start. I wasn't sure which was worse--Piracy or Plagiarism. I'm going with plagiarism. It's one thing to steal someone's work and profit from it, but it's another thing to steal someone's work for profit AND pass their hard work, sweat, aggravation, and joy off as your own.  Every author knows exactly how difficult it is to write, edit, publish and promote a novel. Why would you steal from a fellow author? Isn't it hard enough to be a writer without turning on each other? Why the hell would you WANT to put your name to something you can't be proud of, because you didn't do it? I can't wrap my head around it.

I've seen two articles about plagiarism this week alone. Here's a link to one of them:

Worse yet, this is not the only incident I've found recently. I'm currently supporting Rachel Nunes'  GoFundMe for taking her plagiarist to court. Standing Against Plagiarism I wish I could help Ms. Nunes more. Wish I could afford to max out my Visa for her. If this happened to me, I'd sue too.

Notice she still doesn't have all the funding she needs? Notice the harassing posts she got from her antagonist? Where's her backup? As many writers as there are in the world, and we're not rallying to her rescue?

People are looking away. Too busy, financially strapped, can't be bothered...What if it happens to you? We need to start doing something, or it's going to happen more.

Collins English Dictionary defines the word 'plagiarize' as--"to appropriate (ideas, passages, etc.) from (another work or author)" Even the dictionary takes a bland attitude toward this.

When I was in elementary school, a teacher spelled it out for us. It started as a warning against cheating, but ended as a threat against plagiarism. She told us if we were ever caught doing it as an adult, the consequences would follow us for life. If you did it in college or university, you would be thrown out, and no other institute would take you. And good luck getting a job. If you did it at work, you would most certainly be fired, and would probably need a lawyer. Again, good luck getting another job. I was horrified at the thought of how that kind of thing could ruin my future, but at the same time, I had to ask, "Why would anyone do that anyway? What's the point of just copying someone else?"

I'm finding, especially lately, that originality in writing is hard to come by. I struggle to find new things to say all the time, but NOTHING could make me pass off someone else's stuff as my own. I cherish my individuality, and feel the same way about my work. I need it to be mine. I'm sure most writer's feel the same way.

Don't these people know that this is the age of the internet? The things you say and do are here FOREVER, for the world to see. Wouldn't you want your legacy to be the very best things your mind could produce? But no...Their legacy will be that of a thief. They could have written the most poignant tome of love, peace and racial harmony but no one's going to remember, because they'll be known for stealing. Yet, somehow these people don't seem to care much. Nobody seems to care that much. What's wrong with this planet? Is it just me?