Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Inspirational Plagiarism

Even the Christian side of publishing isn't immune, either to plagiarism or to rabid fan-apologists.

Links from Dear Author:

Discovery -- Famous Christian author Neale Donald Walsch published an essay which was incredibly close to another essay published ten years earlier by much more obscure author Candy Chand. He says he mistakenly thought it was something that'd happened to him. Uh huh.

Admission -- But okay, when they caught it he admitted the mistake. Good for him. Ms. Chand is still ticked off, and doesn't buy his explanation, but assuming it was actually just a mistake (rather than an actual conscious theft) at least he's owning it.

Fan Response -- Many of his fans, on the other hand, are righteously [cough] insisting that he did nothing wrong, that it's not a big deal, and that in point of fact the other author should be flattered.

Another reader chimed in: "[Y]ou, with 22 books out and counting and numerous articles published, stood to gain nothing in printing her story here as your own. Now that you have graciously given credit where credit is due, I can imagine a possibility that Ms. Chand might even be flattered by an author of your stature finding in her work such quality that it moved him to breed further life into it."

I love how he "graciously" gave her the credit she was due. Like he was being such a nice guy by doing her that favor. [eyeroll]

All I can say is that I'm glad this case didn't come out of the Romance end of the industry.

Angie

6 comments:

spyscribbler said...

I always feel so uncomfortable when I see something like this. I've never plagiarized, of course, but I'm always afraid I will, accidentally. Seriously. I had a crit partner once, and one day we wrote nearly an identical scene. I decided it was time to stop reading her, even though she is my FAVORITE writer.

Angie said...

SS -- I absolutely buy that it can happen accidentally. [nod] I also think that some people seize upon that as an excuse when they've been busted, but it's tough to tell which is which, so usually if someone cops to the plagiarism and apologizes, then says it was unconscious, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

What really annoys me is the reaction of the fans, though. The rabid apologists aren't helping the situation any; their existence, in ever case of plagiarism I've ever seen, makes the concept of plagiarism that much less abhorrent. I think it's easier for people to decide to take the chance, knowing that even if they're caught, they'll have some number of people surrounding them and defending them and propping them up with pets and loves and e-cookies.

Aside from the fact that some of the statements these people make are just ridiculous and offensive. :/ Like the idea that Ms. Chand should be proud and flattered that Mr. Walsch found her writing worthy of theft. o_O Where do these people come from, seriously?? [sigh]

Angie

Charles Gramlich said...

One wonders how he managed to publish 22 other books. Or did he? how much other "honoring" of lesser writers has gone on?

Angie said...

Charles -- exactly. [nod] That's the really sad thing. He might well have written every word of those twenty-two books himself, but this one lapse will cast doubt over everything he's ever written and everything he'll ever write in the future. If it was truly a mistake, then he's really shot himself in the foot. If it was deliberate, then I hope he still thinks the gamble was worth it.

Angie

laughingwolf said...

i don't, for one minute, buy this guy's 'excuse'... like charles, i question the legitimacy of everything he's written, or will ever write grrrrrrr

Angie said...

LW -- which is why it's not worth it, not even once. This guy will be under a cloud for the rest of his career, and conscious or not, he brought it upon himself.

Angie