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The Many Faces of Plagiarism

I read more than a few posts, emails, bulletin board messages that no one was hurt by the a plagiarist but the plagiarist herself. In reading about the authors of the works that were copied, I couldn’t help but to be moved by their individual stories and how important their contribution was to society, even beyond their individual works. There are a few of the victims and here are some of their stories, in no particular order.

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Caswell Parker

arthur_caswell_parker.jpgArthur Caswell Parker authored 14 books and over 300 articles from 1900 to 1959. He was born in 1881 of a Seneca father and a Scottish-English mother. Parker enrolled in Harvard but would never graduate. Instead, he embarked on a career of archeology, exploring his Seneca legacy by excavating a number of his people’s sites. He tirelessly worked to preserve the Iroquois heritage through archeology, museum preservation, and his literary work.

The Society of American Archeology established the Arthur C Parker Scholarship “for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians . . . to support training in archaeological methods, including fieldwork, analytical techniques, and curation for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.” Parker was the Society’s first president.

Sources:

George Amos Dorsey

dorsey-ncab.thumbnail.JPGGeorge Amos Dorsey was an anthropologist who collected “folk tales of the Osage Indians” and served as a naval attache, a writer for the Democratic National Committee, and a lecturer on anthropology for the New School for Social Research in New York City. In 1925, he published the book Why We Behave Like Human Beings, in which he wrote, “As one recalls some of the monstrous situations under which human beings have lived and live their lives, one marvels at man’s meekness and complacency. It can only be explained by the quality of flesh to become calloused to situations that if faced suddenly would provoke blisters and revolt.”

Sources:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

uewb_06_img0437.jpg Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet and translator. He wrote textbooks in French, Italian, and Spanish, and was the first American to translate Dante’s Divine Comedy into English. His epic poem, “The Song of Hiawatha” was published in 1855 and was based on the legends of the Ojibway Indians: “Longfellow credited as his source the work of pioneering ethnographer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, specifically Schoolcraft’s Algic Researches and History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States.” The final stanza of the poem reads:

“But my guests I leave behind me/Listen to their words of wisdom,/Listen to the truth they tell you.”

Frances Densmore

sc44_densmore_n_small.jpgFrances Densmore was “an American ethnographer and ethnomusicist” who “worked as a music teacher with Indians nationwide learning, recording, and transcribing their music, documenting its use in their culture.” Educated at Oberlin Conservatory, Densmore “began recording music when a tune hummed by Geronimo caught her attention,” and spent every summer for ten years visiting reservations and recording the music of a different tribe. Her efforts to preserve the musical culture of an astonishing number of Native American tribes are now in the Library of Congress, though she refused to record the most sacred of the songs belonging to each group.

Oliver LaFarge

lafarge1-sized.jpgOliver La Farge was a white wealthy Anglo French New Englander who took a keen interest in Indian causes. In his last year of his master’s program at Harvard, La Forge penned Laughing Boy. In 1930, Laughing Boy would beat out Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and William Faulkner’s Sound and Fury for the Pulitzer Prize.

While LaFarge wrote several other short stories, he wrote only two novels in his short lifetime (1901 – 1963). Laughing Boy showed the world that Navajos were as civilized as the rest of society “a people equal to us in all but technology, and as civilized as we are in all but their lack of a written language. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that La Farge was instrumental in helping the Navajos to acquire new technology and, ultimately, to write in their own tongue.”

Sources:

Mari Sandoz

typing.jpgMari Sandoz published her first short story at the age of 11 which earned her a beating and a stay in the family cellar. Despite being isolated on the farm and ridiculed for her desire to learn, Sandoz grew to be one of the foremost chroniclers of Nebraska history. One article I found on the internet said that Sandoz’s writing was her life and allowed nothing to interfere: “She often spent hours at a time in a dank basement of the State Historical Society, reading old newspapers-’by flashlight if necessary-’as research for her future writing.”

Her relationships suffered, she suffered; but it was all for the sake of her art.

Sources:

Luther Standing Bear

3kiedurq.thumbnail.jpgIt is doubtful that Luther Standing Bear would be angered by Ms. Edwards unattributed use of his writing. “The character of the Indian’s emotion left little room in his heart for antagonism toward his fellow creatures.” Luther Standing Bear was used to his culture being torn from him. He was 11 when his family was forced off the land onto a reservation and Luther himself was sent to the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania. At the school, Luther would be stripped of his heritage-clothes, hair, names and language – in an effort to civilize him.

He became part of the Wild Wild West Show, was wooed by Hollywood, and in the 1930s would begin publishing his books, including Land of the Spotted Eagle, about his Indian heritage.

Sources:

Dr. Charles Eastman

eastman.thumbnail.jpgMy father was a scoutmaster for several years. Every summer we would go to Tomahawk Scout Reservation where my sister flirted with boy scouts and I crawled around on the ground searching for agates for my growing rock collection. What my brothers and father did, I was not privy to. It’s called Boy Scouts after all. At the end of the stay, the older scouts would reenact a tribal story. I don’t remember the story, only the scents of the woodsmoke, the sparks from the huge bonfire, and the thunder of my heart when the boys ran by bellowing out their war cries.

Dr. Charles Eastman helped found the BoyScouts of America. One of his seminal literary works was Indian Boyhood, an autobiography of his first 15 years where he, as Ohiyesa, a Dakota Santeee, struggled to survive with his family facing starvation and hostile tribesman. Ohiyesa became Charles Eastman when his father decided that his family’s future was adopting the “white men’s ways.” His formative years, however, would have a great impact on him and Dr. Eastman would become a great ambassador of his culture.

Sources:

Robert Hughes

hughes-robert.jpgRobert Hughes is considered America’s foremost art critic. A former regular for Time Magazine, Hughes is seen much less publicly since a terrible car wreck in Australia, his birth country. Hughes’ bestselling Fatal Shore which is described as “an assiduously and tirelessly researched work” was based on “diaries, letters and original sources.”

At one point in Hughes’ writing career, he was overloaded: he had a deadline to meet and his difficulty in producing led to thoughts of suicide.

I was about to blow my head off, and then I took the gun and threw it in the sea. It was a really rough time

He overcame his self doubt and despair and set a goal of writing every day, 9,000 words a week, a chapter a month. His marriage suffered (and probably every other aspect of his life) but his obligation was to finish his work and he did.

Sources:

Paul Tolme

adobetown400.jpgPaul Tolme is an award winning writer and journalist who specializes in environment and wildlife topics. His articles have appeared in Popular Mechanics, Defenders of Wildlife, National Wildlife, Newsweek and several other publications. In 2005, Tolme traveled with biologist Travis Livieri to learn about the plight of ferrets. Because ferrets are nocturnal, Tolme and Livieri spent the night hours staking out the ferrets from Livieris’ pickup. The ferrets are an endangered specie with only about 1,000 in existence in the wild, according to Tolme’s Newsweek article. The circle of life story is the cause of ferrets demise. Prairie dogs are a primary source of food for the ferret but the prairie dog population is being poisoned intentionally to provide grass for cattle.

Source:

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

79 Comments

  1. DS
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 04:56:49

    Wonderful, thank you. All of that talent, struggle and dedication. It certainly puts thins in prospective.

    I have no idea where anyone can come up with the idea that plagiarism is a victimless crime. I believe Ms Roberts and anyone whose work has been stolen can set them straight on that.

    (If nothing else out of all this, my spelling of plagiarism has certainly firmed up.)

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  2. rebyj
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 05:09:18

    wow impressive list, thanks for compiling the biographies together!

    It adds another layer of perspective on the situation.
    To me anyway because I had never heard of a good percentage of the above.

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  3. R.
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 05:16:08

    Jane,

    Great information, presented in an appealing format.
    Thanks for showing us what true research looks like.

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  4. Nathalie Gray
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 07:31:00

    Such a glowing list of dedicated people. I find it not only informative and helpful in putting recent events into sharper perspective but also very, very touching. Sacrifice and hard work for their passion. Thank you Ja(y)nes.

    Why do I want to cry?!

    I’m such a wuss.

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  5. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 07:37:54

    I read more than a few posts, emails, bulletin board messages that no one was hurt by the a plagiarist but the plagiarist herself.

    I’d imagine that many of the people saying that aren’t writers. They don’t understand that a writer’s work is very real to the writer~taking those words from a writer isn’t much different than breaking into an artist’s house and stealing a painting that the artist spent weeks, months or even years on. The main difference is that the painting is tangible. Words aren’t.

    If somebody swipes my wallet when I’m at the mall, have I been hurt by this physically? Of course not. But on a level, I have been harmed. I consider my writing more important than my wallet. Money can replaced but a story, once it’s been damaged, is harder to fix, at least in the mind of this writer.

    Standing Bear’s story is what bothers me the most.

    It is doubtful that Luther Standing Bear would be angered by Ms. Edwards unattributed use of his writing. “The character of the Indian's emotion left little room in his heart for antagonism toward his fellow creatures” Luther Standing Bear was used to his culture being torn from him. He was 11 when his family was forced off the land onto a reservation and Luther himself was sent to the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania. At the school, Luther would be stripped of his heritage: clothes, hair, names and language – in an effort to civilize him.

    Entirely possible he wouldn’t be angered. But after how much was already taken from him and Natives like him, is it too much to ask that his words be respected? I don’t think so.

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  6. S Andrew Swann
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 07:46:02

    Seeing all these people together, it strikes me that there is a tremendous possibility for a theme anthology for some enterprising editor who could get the rights together. Maybe the proceeds could go to help the black-footed ferret.

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  7. Nora Roberts
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 07:57:25

    Well done, Jane, on an important point.

    Plagiarism hurts, it insults, and it diminishes the profession, the craft, the art.

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  8. Teresa Medeiros
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 08:02:53

    Fabulous piece, Jane! I love putting faces with these names and learning more about their fascinating and unique “stories”.

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  9. Jane
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 08:21:43

    Unfortunately, Shiloh, it is authors as well as readers.

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  10. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 09:03:56

    Unfortunately, Shiloh, it is authors as well as readers.

    That is so terribly depressing. :(

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  11. Jennifer McKenzie
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 09:04:35

    Her relationships suffered; she suffered but it was all for the sake of her art.

    This woman made an impression on me. Thank you for sharing these, Jane. Perhaps the worst part of this to me is the content that is being stolen. My husband is descended from a tribe of Indians from Humboldt County that were almost completely wiped out. Perhaps I have a strong aversion to this because so much of the content being used and not credited is history of a culture that is mostly forgotten and lost.

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  12. Nora Roberts
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 09:29:29

    Shi, just read the comments posted at the end of the P&P article, and it’s painfully clear there are writers not only dismissing this, but who feel everyone should just leave it alone.

    This I’ll never understand.

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  13. Robin Bayne
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 09:36:28

    Thanks for posting this! Puts faces to the history.

    ReplyReply

  14. azteclady
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 09:56:09

    Thank you, Jane. I hope this makes it a bit more personal? human? for those who don’t see what’s wrong, or who’s hurt.

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  15. Sandy D.
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 09:57:14

    Thank you so much for showing some of the people behind the years of work (and writing) that Mrs. Edwards so thoughtlessly ‘borrowed’.

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  16. Suisan
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 09:57:20

    Thank you for this. I loved learning more about these writers.

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  17. Keishon
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:04:15

    Putting this list together puts a sharp focus on the victims and the message is clear for plagiarists: you’re stealing someone else’s time and hard work. Excellent post.

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  18. Kirsten
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:07:43

    Thank you for this, Jane. I am a non-fiction author who has been plagiarized. It cost me over $20,000 to finally find a lawyer who would take this “small-fry” case seriously and help to hold the publisher accountable. It cost me over $20,000 to own my own words again.

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  19. Julia Spencer-Fleming
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:09:55

    A deeply moving reminder that every novel, every history, every monograph and every article has a whole life behind it. Every apologist should read this and reflect. Thank you, Jane.

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  20. SB Sarah
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:12:55

    Jane – you rock the casbah and the tri-state area. Well played.

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  21. Lasha
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:17:04

    When I lived in Tasmania, Australia as a teenager, Fatal Shore was required reading for my Australian history class. As an American, it was an amazing book to delve through and made me so appreciate the new frontier I was living in. To this day, I still have a copy of that book because it reminds me of my second home – Australia.

    So shame on Mrs. Edwards for taking Mr. Hughes’ research on his homeland and not crediting him. I won’t even go into how I feel about her stealing Longfellow, for goodness sake, let alone the other authors mentioned here. This post just brings it home exactly what Mrs. Edwards has stolen.

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  22. LinM
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:18:55

    Thank you Jane – this was a wonderful article. This case is so overwhelming that I appreciate all of the thoughtful and thought-provoking entries that DA has posted.

    On another thread someone quoted her husband asking “What do you want the publishers to do?” I realized that my local library system has about 20 branches and over 2000 Cassie Edwards novels on the shelves. Initially I wanted those 2000 books destroyed. But the plagiarism is so overwhelming that I think the books should be preserved and used for education. So now I want the publishers to provide book plates that must be attached to the cover of every book stating “This book contains plagiarized material” with a link to a site documenting all of the discovered instances of plagiarism. I think that this site should be maintained by the publishers (since I do not hold them blameless). Biographies of all of the original authors would be a wonderful addition to the public record.

    Will this ever happen? Probably not but I don’t want to see this swept under the carpet. It hurts every author, every reader, every publisher, every reviewer, every person who loves books.

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  23. CherylPangolin
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:25:54

    Thanks for putting this together.

    I think part of a fitting punishment for CE should be to research and write short biographies (without plagiarizing!) of all the people whose words she stole. Maybe it will help her “get” it.

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  24. Bev Stephans
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:27:52

    This is an outstanding presentation. Kudos to you and this website. My education has expanded.

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  25. Meljean
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:29:02

    I heart you, Jane. This is a wonderful piece.

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  26. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:29:11

    Shi, just read the comments posted at the end of the P&P article, and it's painfully clear there are writers not only dismissing this, but who feel everyone should just leave it alone.

    I don’t get this. Really, I don’t.

    Why is the respect of a person’s creativity being dismissed? I’d really like somebody who doesn’t see the ‘point’ to explain it to me and I’m not being sarcastic or trying to attack anybody. I want to know why people think it doesn’t count…so I can explain why I think it does.

    Is it the idea of respecting creative thought? Or because it’s romance? Is it because plagiarism involves creative thought and words… do people think creativity doesn’t deserve respect?

    Man, if creativity didn’t have at least a little bit of respect, many things in our world wouldn’t exist.

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  27. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:32:45

    Makes me sad to see that she knew enough to steal from the best, but not enough not to steal in the first place. *sigh*

    Thanks for the great info, I’m so going to have to get my hands on the stuff I haven’t already read. And I feel the need to adopt a ferret. LOL!

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  28. Sela Carsen
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:33:29

    Thank you, Jane, for putting this together. It brings it home that these are *real* people that were hurt here. And it certainly should shame those who believe plagiarism is victimless. When I think of what some of these people went through to get their words on paper, I’m more grateful than ever to have the opportunities — and the support of my family — that I do.

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  29. Lynne
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:40:39

    A wonderful article, Jane. Thank you for pulling this all together.

    It surprises me to still see ANY authors defending this. Not only is it wrong on pretty much every level there is, but those four slots a year Edwards is taking up could be given to authors who aren’t plagiarists.

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  30. Chris Fletcher
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 10:59:45

    Beautifully done. I am moved and awed by the stories of these writers. To write original and deeply felt work in the face of hardship…or to willingly look back at what one has suffered, to live it again and chronicle it so no one will forget…what enormous strength these artists had. Thank you for this inspiration.

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  31. Charlene Teglia
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 11:03:07

    Thank you for an eloquent post, adding faces and history to the names of those plagiarized. And now Fatal Shore is on my reading list.

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  32. Kristie(J)
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 11:14:22

    Jane: What everyone else has said. Thank you. Now these are ‘real’ people and not just names.

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  33. Stephanie
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 11:33:35

    Oh, well done! So much for any arguments that Ms. Edwards’ actions didn’t hurt or damage anyone but herself. These people dreamed, worked, sweated, and wrote and earned the right to have their efforts respected and recognized.

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  34. SandyW
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 11:35:45

    Thank you Jane. This adds some lovely perspective to the whole mess.

    The part that jumped out at me was the mention of the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania. Children who attended the ‘Indian schools' were systematically deprived of their culture and history.

    Once there, our belongings were taken from us, even the little medicine bags our mothers had given to us to protect us from harm. Everything was placed in a heap and set afire.
    (Lone Wolf, son of Fine Shield Woman, a Piegan Blackfeet, and James Willard Schultz in Native American Testimony. Peter Nabokov, editor. (1991, 220))

    The only equivalent I can think of is to imagine a little child forcibly transported to boarding school, where they immediately have their head shaved, their name changed, and are made to watch as their security blanket, their asthma inhaler, and their last note from Mom are burned.

    To read this post and then go back and read the MySpace bulletin (regardless of who wrote it) really brings the whole thing into focus.

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  35. Jenna
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 11:41:23

    Jane, thank you so much for putting this together. Having faces–and lives–to go along with the words makes the whole issue that much more touching; and infuriating towards CE.

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  36. DearAuthor Spotlights Victims of Plagiarism | avidbookreader.com
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 11:47:07

    [...] In response to those who think plagiarism is victimless, Jane has compiled a list with the biographies of those whose work was allegedly stolen by author Cassie Edwards. Excellent reading and you can read the article in its entirety here. [...]

  37. Robin
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 11:53:58

    I have refrained from commenting on the whole ‘I’m writing my books to honor the Indians’ thing, but I just want to say that as a sometime Native American Studies scholar, I think a post like this is especially enlightening. Even if Edwards does believe she is somehow enhancing appreciation of Native American cultures, it should never be at the expense of ANY writer, Native American or otherwise. Honor goes both ways.

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  38. » Dear Author puts the human face on plagiarism
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 12:00:19

    [...] read about these original authors here. Categories: News | Trackback • Permalink • • [...]

  39. Katrina Strauss
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 12:06:17

    Shi, just read the comments posted at the end of the P&P article, and it's painfully clear there are writers not only dismissing this, but who feel everyone should just leave it alone.

    Nora, It makes you wonder just what skeletons are to be found in some writers’ closets, eh? I’m here, along with you, to say that unless you have been a victim of plagiarism, you can’t truly understand how sickening of an experience it is. (Though I will say I’ve learned something from the Edwards fiasco myself — when it comes to non-fiction research for my writing, I will be taking greater pains with future manuscripts to include proper accreditation for any heavily relied upon sources!)

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  40. Nikki
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 12:56:51

    Well done, Jane.

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  41. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 13:25:37

    It makes you wonder just what skeletons are to be found in some writers' closets, eh?

    I think what we’re seeing is a knee-jerk reaction to fear. The fear that you may have inadvertently done something wrong can induce panic. Combine that sense of panic with a desire to avoid unpleasantness, and what you get are a whole bunch of people desperate to quash the discussion.

    I honestly don't think that the genre is brimming over with plagiarists (accidental or otherwise). I do think that at the moment it's chock-a-block-full of writers who feel an overwhelming sense of panic and doom (and who may be even more frightened by the feeling of being at sea with their understanding of the intricacies of just what is and isn't plagiarism).

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  42. Bernita
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 13:36:17

    Kalen, I agree.
    We may see a few investigators firing up their google engines in search of apple cores in the pockets of prominent writers.
    I hope any such entrepreneurial St Michaels have read the various definitions provided here and have a clear understanding of what constitutes plagiarism.

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  43. HelenKay Dimon
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 13:48:01

    A perfect reminder that there are people behind those stolen words. Nicely done.

    ReplyReply

  44. Why it matters… « Trivial Pursuits
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 13:49:40

    [...] shilohwalker under Ponderings, Writer stuff   Reading a post over (yes…again…) @ Dear Author on the issue of plagiarism in general, I was thinking about creativity. Why it should count for something and why it should be respected. [...]

  45. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 13:51:23

  46. Karmyn
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 13:54:35

    Thank you for putting this together. It really does put a face to this whole mess. Maybe this will give those last few doubters a chance to realize just how serious this is. It is not a victimless crime.

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  47. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 13:55:02

    Ditto. Especially since some people seem to confuse thorough research with plagiarism.

    I think what we're seeing is a knee-jerk reaction to fear. The fear that you may have inadvertently done something wrong can induce panic. Combine that sense of panic with a desire to avoid unpleasantness, and what you get are a whole bunch of people desperate to quash the discussion.

    I honestly don't think that the genre is brimming over with plagiarists (accidental or otherwise). I do think that at the moment it's chock-a-block-full of writers who feel an overwhelming sense of panic and doom (and who may be even more frightened by the feeling of being at sea with their understanding of the intricacies of just what is and isn't plagiarism).

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  48. azteclady
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 14:04:58

    Yes, exactly, Kalen–and thank you, Shiloh, for your posts. Thank you to every author who’s written about what is and what isn’t plagiarism, how to avoid it, how to research, etc. IMO, it all helps educated both readers and fellow authors. Thank you.

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  49. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 15:18:46

    Ditto. Especially since some people seem to confuse thorough research with plagiarism.

    I've prepared a LOOOOOOOOOONG post on the topic, compete with examples of how to do it right (IMO), that I'll be posting on my blog (History Hoydens) on Monday. I've been working on it all week (with input from my blogmates), trying to make it as clear and non-controversial as possible (not a mention of CE anywhere). I'll try and remember to send DA a quick note about it when it goes up.

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  50. azteclady
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 15:23:46

    Kalen, do you mind if I post link to it? I’ve been gathering authors’ blogs on this, and other sources, to post everywhere readers gather–to spread the effort to educate the community.

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  51. Karen Scott
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 15:52:26

    Nice one Jane.

    I'd imagine that many of the people saying that aren't writers.

    Well, I could certainly name a few writers who are going down the route of of ‘what did that poor 71 year old woman do to anybody to deserve this from those horrible people’.

    And I believe the whole ‘witch hunt’ mantra originated from an author blog.

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  52. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 16:18:33

    Kalen, do you mind if I post link to it?

    Not at all. Won’t be up till Monday (ok, maybe I’ll put up on Sat and give it the weekend to be on top of the blog).

    ReplyReply

  53. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 16:28:49

    Well, I could certainly name a few writers who are going down the route of of ‘what did that poor 71 year old woman do to anybody to deserve this from those horrible people'.

    Eh, that’s what I get for being optimistic because you’re right. Apparently that part of why some feel it should be ignored and/or overlooked and coming from writers makes it so much harder for me to get. It throws me, although I seriously do hate to think of the stress, however self-caused, this could put on a person.

    And I believe the whole ‘witch hunt' mantra originated from an author blog.

    I can’t say you’re wrong on that, but I suspect much of that post came from some of the general commentary when this whole issue first came to light. The impression some of us were left with, myself included, that unless we openly and publicly discuss plagiarism, it means we condone it…and that is kind of insulting.

    I think some have explained just why that isn’t the case and I also think there’s a bit more understanding now. Maybe not agreement, but I think a few more people in general realize that writers aren’t all trying to pull some hush-hush routine.

    BUT considering that the morning that blog post went up…and later that day a reader elsewhere made implications regarding this author’s techniques and alluding to plagiarism…. I honestly don’t know if I wouldn’t feel a little hunted myself.

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  54. azteclady
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 16:33:50

    *wincing* I’m sorry if I’ve contributed to that feeling, Shiloh. Thank you again for your posts.

    Kalen, thank you as well–I’ll keep my eye out for your post.

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  55. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 16:41:17

    I'd imagine that many of the people saying that aren't writers. They don't understand that a writer's work is very real to the writer

    Folks, I feel the urge to apologize for this comment I made earlier, and to very openly state obviously, I thought wrong and that I wasn’t being fair to readers in general.

    I would have thought that writers in general would understand why totally ignoring the issue of plagiarism isn’t a good idea. I mean…none of us want to be next, right? I would like to think that writers realize that a lot of this discussion is focused on the issue… not just one author’s ‘alleged’ acts.

    But I was wrong…and thinking about how so many books have come alive for me when I read them, I should have thought about that beforehand. I may write, but I’m still a reader and readers love it when the book comes alive for them~ if they are alive to me as a reader, they are for others as well. If this bothers me as a reader (and it does) then it’s going to bother others.

    My thinking is all screwed up~I’m just so very mind-boggled that writers, of all people, don’t understand why it’s an important issue. :|

    But boggled or not, doesn’t change the fact that I made a thoughtless comment and if I offended or insulted any readers with it, that wasn’t my intent and I am sorry.

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  56. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 16:47:24

    Kalen, don’t apologize to me, it’s not needed, not from you and not from anybody else for their opinions.

    My knee-jerk reaction when the post on why plagiarism is a community issue was definitely to feel insulted. But I’m usually pretty good at taking a step back and trying to see from all viewpoints. Not always…but usually. This was one of those instances where I could see why some people thought there was a unified-writer-wall-of-silence thing going on.

    In my mind, that was a misconception. There are misconceptions about certain careers all the time…cop/donut jokes & lawyer/ambulance jokes…??? Dealing with misconceptions usually requires explanation and since I do love to yap and run my mouth…. (not that anybody has noticed) ;)

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  57. sharky
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 16:58:40

    Thank you, Jayne.

    ReplyReply

  58. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 17:01:25

    I think you meant azteclady, not me.

    I would have thought that writers in general would understand why totally ignoring the issue of plagiarism isn't a good idea. I mean…none of us want to be next, right?

    This is my feeling too. But the fear she does run deep . . .

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  59. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 17:13:53

    I think you meant azteclady, not me

    Guh. Yep, I did.

    My brain is tired. Anybody else just exhausted from following this?

    I need to spend a day in my writing cave and settle my thoughts.

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  60. Grace
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 17:28:40

    What a wonderful thing to post. Thank you for researching and sharing.

    ReplyReply

  61. Silence is the Voice of Complicity « mindful meanderings
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 18:21:00

    [...] This travesty must not be swept under the rug. It must be made known. [...]

  62. romblogreader
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 18:25:11

    Awesome list!

    And on a less high minded note, please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks Paul’s hot.

    ReplyReply

  63. Maysa
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 18:32:47

    This was great. I actually love that this scandal helped me learn about some very cool writers and researchers.

    ReplyReply

  64. Larissa Ione - Blog
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 20:57:33

    [...] well, Alison Kent’s post and links sums things up — there are a LOT of authors who have been victims of plagiarism. And there are a lot of ferrets who need help. Again, you cave-dwellers will be lost…unless [...]

  65. Nora Roberts
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 21:00:17

    ~I think what we're seeing is a knee-jerk reaction to fear. The fear that you may have inadvertently done something wrong can induce panic.~

    I imagine most of us have had moments in the last couple of weeks where we’ve asked ourselves: Have I ever been careless? I know I’ve asked myself that.

    But I think we need to understand that there’s a difference between copying down a couple of lines in research–forgetting to change it, or not changing it enough–and copying chunks, word for word, then doing the merest hint of paraphrasing. And doing so again and again and again.

    That’s not careless or inadvertant or forgetful, imo.

    We need to be more careful, and more respectful of our resource material. This has certainly brought that home for me. It’s a good lesson to learn.

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  66. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 22:21:27

    I imagine most of us have had moments in the last couple of weeks where we've asked ourselves: Have I ever been careless? I know I've asked myself that.

    Ditto….

    But I think we need to understand that there's a difference between copying down a couple of lines in research-forgetting to change it, or not changing it enough-and copying chunks, word for word, then doing the merest hint of paraphrasing. And doing so again and again and again.

    That's not careless or inadvertant or forgetful, imo.

    Ditto…

    We need to be more careful, and more respectful of our resource material. This has certainly brought that home for me. It's a good lesson to learn.

    And ditto…

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  67. traci
    Jan 16, 2008 @ 23:09:28

    For me personally, I have an issue with people’s reasoning that a 71-year-old woman is being picked on. Do the math: she wasn’t 71 when she started plagarizing.

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  68. KS Augustin
    Jan 17, 2008 @ 00:06:20

    We often forget that the material we read, watch and listen to (esp. non-fiction) has been created by humans with their own drives and passions. And I think we particularly forget when these people are not contemporaries of ours. When I see that look of quiet pride on Caswell Parker’s face, I can so easily imagine my own child there. They are us.

    Thank you Jane for bringing so many of these people to life again and for putting faces and histories to the words.

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  69. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 17, 2008 @ 00:15:50

    The Society of American Archeology established the Arthur C Parker Scholarship “for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians . . . to support training in archaeological methods, including fieldwork, analytical techniques, and curation for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.” Parker was the Society's first president.

    Totally unrelated… but my daughter has talked about being an archaeologist since she was old enough to say ‘dinosaur’ (yeah, I know they aren’t the same…)

    And my husband’s Native. Never knew this particular specialized scholarship was out there. I’ve got time (ten years, that’s plenty of time, right? don’t tell me otherwise, I’m in denial) but still… something to keep on the back burner.

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  70. Gemiwing
    Jan 17, 2008 @ 02:40:39

    What an amazing list of people. Thank you so much for posting this. It really puts a face and a soul behind the victims.

    On another note, I’ll never complain about my writing hardships again. Trying to finish that fifth damn chapter while sitting at my comfy desk with my Dr. Pepper nearby…. while Mari Sandoz got beaten just to be able to put her voice out there….
    It’s good to get knocked with the “Get over yourself” stick now and again.

    Truly inspirational in all the best ways, thanks again.

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  71. Amanda Jarrett
    Jan 17, 2008 @ 08:22:31

    Reading about these people almost makes me too embarrassed to make a comment, since there’s absolutely no comparison between these great people and myself, but I feel I at least want to make a contribution to the discussion of whether plagiarists are the only true victims of their own behaviour. It’s been over six weeks since I first became aware that somebody plagiarised one of my stories. During those six weeks I’ve run a gauntlet of emotions from almost insane anger right down to an almost unbelievable (albeit temporary) felling of pity for the person who did it. Currently I’m feeling more pity for myself, since I just wrote a horrendously large cheque this morning to my lawyers with regard to the case. Over the last few weeks (particularly while scrabbling around to finance legal proceedings) I had to ask myself, over and over, is ownership of words REALLY something worth such financial and emotional pressure? I have to answer that it does, and have come to the conclusion that if I have to explain to someone WHY it does then they’ll never truly understand anyway. Nora Roberts apparently once described the feeling as being ‘mind-rape’. I’m not famous or important like her and wouldn’t dream of comparing the importance of having my little story stolen in the same light, but the feelings are the same regardless of the source. I’m numb and hollow. I can’t even claim anger any more because the daunting and horrendously expensive process of reclaiming what was stolen from me has already bled my emotions dry and this issue has barely even started from a legal point of view.
    Imagine being burglarised and then finding your stolen goods in someone else’s house. Then imagine there isn’t a police force you can call. The only thing you can do is yell out to your neighbours that it has happened. Some of the neighbours are great and supportive once you provide evidence. Some of the neighbours say ‘prove the goods were yours first‘. Other neighbours say, ‘those just LOOK like your goods’. Others say, ‘she was only borrowing your goods, so what’s the problem?’, some people say ‘you are so MEAN to tell people it happened. She is far nicer/popular/ more famous than you so shut up and go away’ and some people say ‘how dare you air your dirty linen in public like this?’
    To me, the theft of my story has created the same feeling of victimisation as a house burglary (and I speak from experience). I have lost the right to use my own words until such time as I can legally reclaim them. When my house was burglarised, nobody chastised me for making the theft public. Nobody told me I had no right for anger. Nobody told me I was over-reacting. Nobody told me I was bringing the neighbourhood into disrepute by talking about what happened. Nobody else was criticized for saying ‘burglary is wrong’.
    The other thing nobody said to me was that I wasn’t a victim. So why is it different when ‘only’ words are stolen? Aren’t words far more personally valuable than household items?
    Whilst everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I just wanted to state that I do feel like a victim of plagiarism. I have been hurt by it, emotionally and financially, and I would say to anyone that thinks plagiarism is a victimless crime that I certainly hope it doesn’t happen to them too because, honestly, it is an absolutely horrible thing for anyone to experience.

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  72. Nora Roberts
    Jan 17, 2008 @ 09:05:50

    Amanda, I’m so sorry this happened to you. Everything you said, every feeling you described, is absolutely true. Except that the importance of having your story stolen can’t compare to mine. It’s every bit as important.

    And yes, it costs the victim. Emotionally and financially. The stress, the expense of lawyers, the loss of work time, the sheer emotional toll costs so much. Added to the response of some–it’s no big deal, why are you being so mean/snotty/picky and so on just piles on that emotional distress.

    If you need somewhere to vent, please e-mail me. You’re not alone.

    ReplyReply

  73. Poison Ivy
    Jan 17, 2008 @ 09:45:46

    I can’t get over Mari Sandoz getting beaten and put in the cellar when her family discovered she had achieved publication. Yet she kept writing. It was that important to her.

    It ought to be that important to all of us. We should take a beating before we let someone’s words be stolen. And some of us are taking a beating now, by being told to shut up, or by having our motives in speaking out impugned.

    I posted my blog on this several days ago. I am so glad that the Internet allows us all to comment, and in multiple forums. People who have been plagiarized are not as alone as they might think. The rest of us might not be able to help you win your legal battle, but we can help with the public face of the struggle, and with the private grief. We also can help at the local level with campaigns to get books containing plagiarism off library shelves, and by urging booksellers not to carry plagiarized books, and by speaking up every time someone makes light of plagiarism. And, of course, by supporting ferrets.

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  74. Kayleigh Jamison
    Jan 17, 2008 @ 10:55:52

    moments in the last couple of weeks where we've asked ourselves: Have I ever been careless? I know I've asked myself that.

    But I think we need to understand that there's a difference between copying down a couple of lines in research-forgetting to change it, or not changing it enough-and copying chunks, word for word, then doing the merest hint of paraphrasing. And doing so again and again and again.

    That's not careless or inadvertant or forgetful, imo.

    Again, Nora, you’ve hit it on the head. Mistakes happen. Katrina Strauss and I talk to each other so frequently that we often finish each others sentences now. We share our WIPs with each other, and at times use each other as sounding boards to bounce plot ideas off of. Because of this, there are similarities between our works that we can see quite clearly. Add in the fact that we have the same tastes on many things, and the same influences, and yes, if you look at our work together, you can see the parallels.

    Particularly when an author starts out, it’s easy to find clues as to their influences. I think the longer an author works to perfect her craft, the more distinct her own voice becomes.

    I have another friend who is also an author. We were crit partners before either of us achieved publication. I had her reading one of my novels for crit (prior to publication) and she found a sentence that was almost exactly the same as a sentence she’d written in a piece a year prior, one which I had read and critiqued for her.

    When she pointed this out to me, I was beyond horrified. I felt physically ill, and thoroughly disgusted with myself. Dear God, was I a plagiarist?

    In the strictest sense, I suppose, yes. I obviously had gotten that sentence from her, and stored it in my brain somewhere. I hadn’t done anything consciously, or deliberately, but I’d done it all the same. It reminded me of Helen Keller’s Frost King incident.

    But, as you said, Nora, there’s a difference between one or two lines, and entire chunks of text copied verbatim from one source to another. We could all stand to go that extra mile to be careful with our work, to make sure credit is given where credit is due, and to make sure we are extra vigilant.

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  75. Julia Sullivan
    Jan 17, 2008 @ 20:22:24

    This is a great post.

    And everyone should read Mari Sandoz and Luther Standing Bear. Seriously, you’ll be delighted.

    If any good has come out of this, it’s that these folks’ achievements are being brought back to our attention. These folks’ achievements, and the black-footed ferrets (and I, too, have a little crushlet on Paul Tolme now!)

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  76. imran khan baloch
    Mar 19, 2008 @ 04:28:10

    Its really been a pleasure to have such informative knowlegde avaiable on such easily accessable connection.I would simply conclude that the way writers are making impressions on the third world conutries to optimize thier thinking is not only great in my view rather its fan-tas-tic.

    Being a student of university in a developing country its been a pleasure to share my experience regarding my research work over plgiairism from the parents of of post graduate students of universities here in pakistan.i would like all of ytou to write some comments on it.

    While doing research i do feel that plgiarism is an ponion rather than anythingelse.

    what do you say abt it???

    Regards

    ReplyReply

  77. Romance novel fans catch plagiarist black-footed ferret! « The Learned Fangirl
    Apr 15, 2008 @ 20:32:07

    [...] Tolme, to find a wider audience for his writing through an article in Newsweek about this situation (Dear Author has detailed profiles of all of the known uncited). The scandal has also led to greater awareness of the black-footed ferrets, including a donation [...]

  78. Tweets that mention The Many Faces of Plagiarism | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 05:13:57

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karan Sehgal. Karan Sehgal said: cc @anaggh RT @gunjankushwaha: The Many Faces of Plagiarism : http://tinyurl.com/2tnjlp [...]

  79. Name (required)
    Feb 28, 2011 @ 19:01:44

    I've really enjoyed browsing your blog posts,I’ve learned a lot from your blog here,Keep on going,my friend.

    ReplyReply

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