Thursday, January 10, 2008

Plagarism is bad, m'kay?

I'm reposting a letter I just sent out to my local chapter. I'm feeling a little disillusioned by some responses to this issue, so why not give it more legs?

"Given that we’re all writers, I thought I’d pass on some news about something going on in the industry currently.

The women at the website Smart Bitches, Trashy Books ( reported a story about Cassie Edwards, who writes historical romance, and several instances of plagiarism. You’re welcome to go check out the website if you like, but I do warn that these ladies have biting tongues and can be quite caustic, so be prepared.

The news, of course, spread to other blog sites, one of which is Dear Author ( I personally find this a less snarky website so this is where I first learned of it.

The issue at hand: In Ms. Edwards’ latest release, Shadow Bear, readers have discovered several instances where Ms. Edwards has lifted passages from other work—non-fiction articles, other works of fiction—and copied them into her own, with no or very little modification, and no citation. In other words, she’s plagarised from these sources.

I encourage all of you to go and check out the story for yourselves. Signet, her publisher, has issued a statement defending her. Ms. Edwards herself has also made a statement. Sherry Lewis, our current RWA president, has also made a statement. The story has been picked up by the AP (here) and Publisher’s Weekly.

It’s an issue that, I feel, needs to be known and thought about, at the very least. Discussion is even better."

There you have it.

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