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False Rumor: Former College Roomate Claims Plagiarism by Stephenie Meyer

UPDATE:   Most people think this is a hoax/rumor. And at the Twilight Lexicon, they have a statement from Summit Entertainment:   ““This rumor is certainly NOT true. Please let your readers know."

Heidi Stanton, a former college roommate of Stephenie Meyer, claims that Twilight and its progeny may be plagiarised from a short story that Stanton wrote in college.   The claim has enough heft to bring the New Moon production to a halt.   Perhaps Stanton’s support from Bringham Young professors is what is lending credence to the IP dispute.

Mrs. Stanton’s claims have some credence to them as she has documented proof that a short story with very similar idea was written by her in 1993 while she was a sophomore at BYU. English department chairperson Dr. Peter Benton was at the time a second year professor of writing and distinctly remembers Ms. Stanton’s prolific writing style and the vampire story in particular.

“The story stood out in my mind, at the time, because it was more advanced than most sophomore students usually presented, also the vampire story stood out because I had recently taught a series of lectures on Brahm Stoker’s Dracula.” claims Dr. Benton. “I felt at the time that Heidi had brought a very current and up to date look at a classic subject.”

See more at IMNOTOBSESSED.COM Thanks Marie for the link.

UPDATED:   Apparently Stanton filed suit in Utah and this article calls that basis of the suit “idea infringement”. There is no such thing so I’m not sure if the writer just got the gist of the suit wrong or whether Utah   has special copyright laws.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

31 Comments

  1. Nonny
    Apr 19, 2009 @ 14:36:12

    As I understand… unless passages have been lifted, there would have to be a LOT of similarity between the two works for Stanton to prove copyright infringement. Ideas in and of themselves aren’t copyrightable, and the “vampire falls in love with teenage human girl” was done repeatedly well before Meyer’s novels were published.

    It seems to me there would be a lot of difficulty proving that four novels were stolen from a short story. I can’t believe I’m defending Meyer, but there aren’t enough words in a short story (particularly one for a college course, where they are usually required to be very short) to manage the sort of backstory and depth she has in her characters and world.

    I’ll point out also that there is at least one published author that has borrowed heavily from two other established and popular authors in regards to character names, descriptions, theme statements, worldbuilding, and so forth. It reads like a mashed fanfiction with some originality thrown in. There have been no legal actions against her, and one of the authors she’s “borrowed” from is a NYT bestseller.

  2. Venus Vaughn
    Apr 19, 2009 @ 14:41:09

    It’s not true.

    I posted about it last night, did more research, then removed my post because I didn’t want the rumor to spread. Then re-posted because I wanted the NOT TRUE part on the web somewhere.

    I want a link to the original AP article before I’ll believe it.

  3. Julia
    Apr 19, 2009 @ 14:50:20

    I’m pretty sure this is a hoax. The original report I saw couldn’t spell plagiarism correctly, and claimed that production of the next movie had been shut down in Studio City, but they aren’t filming in Studio City and it hasn’t been shut down.

  4. katiebabs
    Apr 19, 2009 @ 14:51:47

    I wonder if Meyer’s roommate’s vampires sparkled in her short story?

  5. Cleo
    Apr 19, 2009 @ 14:54:16

    As a heads up, later in the thread at the original source, the original poster admits that it’s a hoax.

  6. Shreela
    Apr 19, 2009 @ 20:13:33

    Brigham, not Bringham (I read some LDS blogs). But really, how does someone “steal” a very common theme from a short-story, then stretch it out over four books? Plus, I read on some of the linked links that this supposed Dr. isn’t listed on staff at BYU, but is a character from the TV show, ER (I didn’t fact-check this, so grain of salt 8^)

  7. Julia
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 08:05:42

    Dr. Peter Benton is definitely a character from ER. Whether that means there definitely is no such professor at BYU, I don’t know, but this is definitely false either way.

  8. Twilight & New Moon: Plagarized?! - Gossip Rocks Forum
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 13:59:27

    [...] another book. Ideas or even characters names can be used. Also it looks like this story is a hoax. False Rumor: Former College Roomate Claims Plagiarism by Stephenie Meyer | Dear Author: Romance Nove… There was this author called Sunny who actually copied off Laurell K Hamilton and Anne Bishop by [...]

  9. rustee
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 19:50:03

    seriously????????????????? i think it’s pretty likely,, i mean it happens. i dont know if it is for sure cause i haven’t like gone in to it, but i heard it on the radio this morning. i dunno if its true but if it is then that Stanton chick is gonna make a shit load a money. poor Stephenie if it’s not,, but if it is true then she should be pretty ashamed of herself cause so many people fell in love with her story. oh well, we’ll have to wait and see so it’s too soon to say isn’t it? I hope it’s not true, cause it’d be really bad if it was, but if it was true I’d sorta be happy too, cause if just one person posts it and everyone is giving it this much attention then they have a really stupid thing. oh well, let’s wait and see!

  10. Karmyn
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 03:00:15

    Why would anybody want to claim they really wrote that piece of crap series anyway?

  11. rustee
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 00:46:10

    yeah, why would you say it unless you were just in it for the money?

  12. Katie Thurman
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 18:38:30

    At StephenieMeyer.com, she says it’s a hoax, that there never was a roommate named Heidi, and that an internet search will show that there’s no professor by that name at BYU.

  13. Rhianna
    Apr 24, 2009 @ 13:41:40

    @rustee:
    My god, of course it’s not true. Are you stupid? Really. How do you plagiarize an entire novel from one short story? And she is apparently being sued for stealing the ‘idea’. How many times has a vampire/human love story been done? And said story wasn’t published, which would make it even harder to sue someone for copyright infringement. Really. And don’t use ‘like’ so much. There’s no way it’s “too soon to tell”, we already know all the information regarding said ‘situation’. It’s all right up there. ^ And you just said ‘poor Stephenie’, then said she should be ashamed of herself. “I hope it's not true, cause it'd be really bad if it was, but if it was true I'd sorta be happy too, cause if just one person posts it and everyone is giving it this much attention then they have a really stupid thing. ” And what the heck does that even mean? Really?! Oh, and if any of it was true, she’d have alot more reason than the money to claim it was hers. Fame, credit for her idea, etc. Keeping in mind that this person doesn’t exist. And don’t you think it’s strange that the ‘roommate’ had the same name as someone it her story? I think it would be stupid to include the name of a person you were stealing an idea from in the story. God.

  14. Sarah
    Apr 27, 2009 @ 17:39:39

    I’m like a huge Twilight fan, and I know that Stephanie Meyers “is not” some low life.Her roommate Heidi Stanton is obiously jelous that someone actually was smarter and had a better imaginaion than her.Stephanie had, had a dream about this story she wrote.Like how in the world is she gonna write 4 books with like 700 pages in each book about some stupid, what five paragraph essay, even if this whole cunundrum was true?People are overrated sometimes, wouldn’t you think.I guess it’s kust people’s way of getting crap around.People with nothing better to do than to make other’s lives miserable for their own pleasure.

  15. rustee
    Apr 28, 2009 @ 01:10:22

    @Rhianna:

    HEY LIKE RHIANNA LIKE I LIKE ONLY LIKE USED LIKE THE WORD LIKE LIKE ONCE LIKE SERIOUSLY I MEAN LIKE THIS IS LIKE USING THE WORD LIKE LIKE HEAPS OF TIMES LIKE SERIOUSLY GET LIKE A GRIP LIKE I WAS LIKE JUST LIKE STATING MY POINT YOU CAN PISS OFF AND LIKE LEAVE ME ALONE LIKE DONT YOU LIKE HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR TIME LIKE SERIOUSLY LIKE GROW UP. AND WHAT I MEANT WAS….

    IF SHE DID COPY THAT PERSON THEN SHE SHOULD BE ASHAMED
    BUT I MEANT POOR STEPHENIE IF SHE DIDN’T COPY IT CAUSE PEOPLE THINK SHE DID

    ANYWAY WHO SAID I WAS TALKING TO YOU
    AND IT COULD BE TOO SOON TO TELL CAUSE THERE WAS NO PROOF AND NO WAY TO TELL IF IT WAS TRUE OR NOT

    I THINK SEERIOUSLY ARE YOU STUPID?? AT LEAST I HAD THE GUTS AND BRAINS TO GIVE MY OPINION UNLIKE YOU WHO DIDN’T…. YOU JUST HAD A GO AT ME.

    ANYWAY HOW OLD ARE YOU CAUSE YOUR PRETTY IMMATURE…..

    AND I NEVER SAID IT WAS
    OR WASNT TRUE
    I SAID IT WAS LIKELY
    AND I’M PRETTY SURE THERES A DIFFERENCE…
    ANYONE THAT HAD SOME BRAINS WOULD KNOW THAT!!!!!!!!!

  16. Rhianna
    Apr 29, 2009 @ 13:03:39

    @rustee:
    Yes, you did use ‘like’ quite a few times there. Gold star for figuring that out. ^^ I think you are the one that needs to get a grip, and not spaz out because you were insulted. Don’t YOU have anything better to do? We both got on here and took the time to write and post replies, so we’re in the same boat here.

    Okay, I see what you’re saying, but it’s a good idea to make things clear to avoid confusion.

    Um, no one said you were talking to me. I certainly didn’t say you were. Why would you have to be talking to me for me to be able to comment on your comment? It wouldn’t be very easy to start conversations on forums, were that the case.

    Actually, I did give my opinion; if you’d re-read my post you’d see that, quite clearly. I think it was very clear that I DO NOT believe the rumour. And it doesn’t take ‘brains’ to state your opinion about something, unless you are so unintelligent that you can’t speak, read or write, or in this case type. Yes, I did have a go at you, though, so you get half a point. :)

    I’m fourteen. And I’m not the one who wrote my whole post in capitals and used the word ‘like’ 22 unecessary times just to be contrary. I also didn’t accuse someone of not having stated their opinion when they did. I ALSO use (and/or know how to use) correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. So who’s immature?

    The difference between saying something is true and that something is likely is small. That’s saying that you don’t know for sure if something is true, but that you believe it is.

    Anyone who had ‘some brains’ SHOULD know these things. But maybe not.

  17. rustee
    Apr 30, 2009 @ 02:25:17

    @Rhianna: Well…. you sure have a lot of time on your hands. And, I do use correct spelling and grammar. In fact, FYI, I was accepted to the Queensland Academies for Spelling, Grammar, Writing, Creative industries,Science and Sport. So who’s talking now? Oh yes, I live in South Australia, and was invited to that. And, I was just stating the different points between if it was / was not true. And I used the word ‘like’ an ‘ 22 unnecessary times’ in that post to get the point across that I DO NOT use the word ‘like’ that much. Oh, by the way ‘RHIANNA’ it’s only all in capitals because my computer wasn’t working. I’m sorry. =’[. And the reason things might not have been that clear, is because I have an illness. And I’d only just woken up. So consider the reasons before you accuse people of things. If you can do that, maybe thats… I’d say… a gold star AND half a point. CONGRATULATIONS! I wasn’t insulted, just annoyed at the stuck-up people of this generation. Shame I could be younger than you. And no. What you wrote was aimed at me- Or why did it say at the top ‘ @ Rustee ‘ ??

    Sorry for the rant. I just get really annoyed.

  18. Rhianna
    Apr 30, 2009 @ 14:30:48

    @rustee: I’m sorry, but that didn’t even make sense.

    I’m sorry, but it takes all of five mintues to type a response. I actually have very little free time. The fact that I’m choosing to use some of it to chat on forums doesn’t mean I don’t have a life. Like I already said, you are on here to, using your time just like I am, and you posts are hardly shorter than mine. So, you obviously have at least the same amount of time on your hands as I do, if you assume that all either of us do with said time is post.

    That’s very good that you are capable of writing coherently. Um, I think you’re talking now. Or am I? It’s so hard to tell sometimes. You use alot of strange expressions. Lot’s of people are accepted into those kinds of schools, so that doesn’t prove much, other than that you at least pay attention in school and don’t fail.

    I’m sorry, you were invited into South Ausralia? What?

    Sorry, but you generally only use ‘an’ before a word that starts with a vowel. Twenty-two, as you can see, starts with a ‘t’. Which, sonsequently, is not a vowel.

    So, why’d you put my name in capitals? -_o That sounds like an excuse to me. A very hastily thought-up one. Shouldn’t it have been your keyboard that wasn’t working?

    I’m sorry, what illness? A mental one? One that affects your ability to transfer what you’re thinking into words? What were you saying about being accepted into that school? Could I have the name of said disease? And you just woke up? Both of those sound very similar to that first reason. Excuses, excuses.

    Again, there aren’t really any reasons behind the words for me to consider, just excuses. Even so, I didn’t have any information concerning your personal situation, and I certainly can’t be expected to guess at all the arbitrary things that could be the reason for an action. Because there are alot of possible reasons.

    You got a gold star and half a point for your last post, so if I had the same score, you wouldn’t need to but the emphasis on the ‘and’. Just saying.

    You sounded insulted, but maybe not. I know I’d be insulted if someone called me stupid. :) That’s kind of a big stereotype, don’t you think? Aren’t we in the same generation, or are you starting high school late in life? I’m assuming Queensland Acadamies are high schools? Were you accepted into all, or just one? :) Because before you said you were accepted into ‘Queensland Acadamies’.

    Um, how is it that you ‘could’ be younger than me? Did I not tell you my age? And don’t you know yours?

    Right… Like I said in my earlier post, what I wrote was definately aimed at you. When did I say that it wasn’t aimed at you? Hmm? You don’t appear to read things very carefully.

  19. rustee
    May 01, 2009 @ 00:31:39

    I don’t read it carefully because it’s not that worth my time.
    You made a lot of mistakes in that one.
    The reason I said I could be younger is because I’m not STUPID (I guess you are insulted now, because you said you would be if you got called stupid)(Sorry for insulting you) anyway, STUPID (yes) enough, to post my age where everyone can see it!

  20. rustee
    May 01, 2009 @ 00:34:40

    @Rhianna:
    I don't read it carefully because it's not that worth my time.
    You made a lot of mistakes in that one.
    The reason I said I could be younger is because I'm not STUPID (I guess you are insulted now, because you said you would be if you got called stupid)(Sorry for insulting you) anyway, STUPID (yes) enough, to post my age where everyone can see it!

    Oh, sorry, I was being dumb and forgot to post it as a reply to YOU.

  21. Nonny
    May 01, 2009 @ 00:36:54

    This is pretty damn ridiculous all around, but I have to say, the 14yo is winning in the maturity department here. Pretty sad, that.

  22. rustee
    May 01, 2009 @ 01:05:10

    @Nonny: hey, ‘Nonny’

    the 14 year old is winning because she is like 6 years older than me.

  23. rustee
    May 01, 2009 @ 01:12:01

    so use your head before your mouth… or in this case…… Fingers. Or keyboard? I’m probably too immature to know. You know, since the 14yo is winning, and I’m 6 years younger. And, I’m probably too dumb as well. As she says.

  24. Mireya
    May 01, 2009 @ 04:08:49

    Last time I looked this blog was not titled “Who Pisses Farther”. Just sayin’

  25. Jane
    May 01, 2009 @ 12:29:34

    @Mireya No, it’s not but only because I wasn’t clever enough. ;)

  26. Rhianna
    May 01, 2009 @ 20:39:18

    @rustee:
    No, it obviously IS worth your time, because you keep replying to every one of my posts. :)
    The difference between my mistakes and most of yours is that they are unintentional, i.e. I’m trying to spell correctly (and I know how ^^) and use the right grammar, because I enjoy not butchering the English language. And I don’t think four misspelled words as a result of accidentally hitting the wrong key counts as a lot.
    I’m sorry, so how does posting my age make me stupid? Does that tell someone what I look like? Or where I live? You posted the country you reside in, which is no less “stupid” than posting your age.
    Also, you didn’t answer the large majority of my questions, such as what kind of illness you have that prevents you from being clear about things in written form, what you meant when you said you were ‘invited to South Australia’, and how your computer being broken makes you type all in caps. You also didn’t say anything about us being similar ages, and your having called my generation stuck up meant that you were calling yourself stuck up too.
    Also, you didn’t explain why you said ‘no. What you wrote was aimed at me- Or why did it say at the top ‘ @ Rustee ‘ ??’ when I was very clearly talking to you, and hadn’t claimed otherwise.
    SO, seeing as you said nothing to defend yourself regarding your reasons for typing all in caps and for not being coherent, and did not try to discredit my claim that these things made you immature, I’m guessing that I caught you in a lie.
    And no, I’m not insulted, because I know I’m not stupid, and would never say that I was, like you did in your later post.
    So I’ll just sum up all of my questions and/or points quickly here so you don’t forget what they are: What is the name of your illness? Do you think you, too, are stuck up? You were lying about each of the reasons you gave me for not being coherent and typing in caps? You did insinuate that I had said I wasn’t talking to you when, clearly, I was? How is it that you were ‘invited’ to South Australia?

  27. Rhianna
    May 01, 2009 @ 20:47:37

    @rustee:
    So, you just posted your age (which would be eight) making you a hypocrite, and, by your own words, stupid. And how is it that you are eight and going to high school (Queensland Academy, the aforementioned school you were accepted into that proved you lack of stupidity)? You aren’t really the kind of immature and eight-year-old would be. This being youthful immaturity, rather than immaturity retained past the age where it acceptable. Also, I don’t know a lot of eight year olds that say ‘shit’ and ‘piss off’ and ‘chick’ (when referring to women) a lot, although these days… Anyway, I doubt that you are eight, because you definitely don’t sound like it. And if you think that claiming to be a third-grader will make you seem more intelligent, it doesn’t.

  28. Rhianna
    May 01, 2009 @ 20:49:12

    @rustee:
    I’m sorry, but you, my friend, are the world’s best example of someone who acts before thinking. And immaturity has nothing to do with intelligence. You exhibit extreme signs of both, is all.

  29. Rhianna
    May 01, 2009 @ 20:52:44

    @Mireya:
    Meh. I was upset about the rumour when I read Rustee’s post, and it was literally the incarnation of jumping to conclusions, beliveing everything you hear and gossiping. Also Rustee (he, she? I’m not sure they’ve said yet) sounds exactly like the kind of person that really annoys me. And then I got the response back, which was, if possible, even more annoying and exasperating, and so I’ve kept responding as I get responses. :)

  30. rustee
    May 01, 2009 @ 21:08:53

    @Rhianna: @Rhianna:

    I said I was invited to Queensland Academies, and I LIVE in South Australia.
    I don’t have to tell you my illness. It’s personal. Why should I tell some random stranger that makes pointless attempts to insult me? I’m not ‘claiming to be a third-grader’ to make me sound more intelligent. I AM a third-grader. And I was accepted into those schools because of my ‘high level of intelligence and maturity beyond my years’ And that’s exactly what the letters say. I said YOU called me stupid, I didn’t say I was. No I don’t think I am stuck up. I think you ought to look at yourself. You seem more stuck-up, and that’s because you keep everything perfect when you type. And my sister, who to you, refers to you as a ‘Posh Rich Bitch’ also posts under my name. And what a coincidence, is your age. She is enjoying being young by not being so perfect. It’s okay to be alien. You don’t have to be so uptight all the time. Just enjoy being young while you ARE young. If you are aged they way you say, 14, You haven’t actually got too much longer left. You should just enjoy being a teenager and keep it simple. Having an illness can result in extreme tiredness, well in my case anyway, hence the lack of coherency, caused by tiredness and illness when you have the same illness as myself. Like I said, I typed in CAPITALS (Your coherency gets worse in every post, eg. CAPS. The English Language is bleeding, shame on your butchering.) My point anyway, I typed in capitals, like I said, because my computer was not working properly. I never posted my age anyway. I have now, well actually, you took it upon yourself to post MY age. I never stated that I was 8 years of age, I said, I was ‘like 6 years younger’. Yes, I used the word like. Crime! The reason it had ‘shit’, ‘piss off’ and ‘chick’, Like I said, Is because my older sister and I both post on here. No I wasn’t calling myself stuck up by saying the generation was stuck up. I am in a different generation to you. You are generation Y, I’m generation Z. I didn’t defend myself because, why should I have to go into detail to you about something that could very easily kill me at any time. It’s none of your business.

  31. Jane
    May 01, 2009 @ 21:33:19

    I’m closing the comments. I’m not sure what it is about Meyer that leads to me having to close the comments on every single thread.

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