Plagiarism

Blogger, Janet of ‘Tidalscribe’ mentioned an interesting fact recently about reading on a Kindle compared to a paperback. Even if you’re enjoying a book, it’s easy to forget what it’s called as the title is not staring you in the face. It reminded me of my recent brush with plagiarism.

Shortly before Christmas I mentioned I had contributed to a charity anthology called ‘The Stars will shine again’ where all royalties are donated to ‘Help for Heroes.’

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stars-Will-Shine-Again-Helping-ebook/dp/B09MNN5YC1

This was expected to be a summer follow up to the Christmas 2020 release of ‘When Stars Will Shine’ which was a wonderful success, so I was honoured to have stories accepted for both publications.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Stars-Will-Shine-Helping-ebook/dp/B08234131P

Who released the gremlins? It seemed everything in the world conspired to make things as difficult as possible for the editor and co-ordinator Emma Mitchell, but eventually the second book was released during December 2021. When the days are dark and dreary it’s good to have a reminder summer isn’t that far away.

It became my habit to read one story every night before going to sleep, and I was really enjoying them. They were the perfect length although my Kindle didn’t show the author and title on every page, so when I finished reading I checked back to confirm who had written it. This is where Janet’s comment comes to mind.

I was working my way through the book but had read only a page or two of one story when Christmas and other circumstances intervened, so when I resumed reading about a week later, I had to skim back a bit to remind myself what it was all about.

It was a good story but the more I read, the more it sounded familiar. Plagiarism is something every author dreads. Fair enough there are only so many words and themes, and copyright provides some protection but minor authors don’t have a big legal team to fight their case. As I progressed with the story, I made a mental note to check back through my archives for ones I might have published on my Facebook author page or blog, where someone could have stolen them.

It also reminded me when, some years ago, one of my paperback books which was priced at around £8.99 was on sale on Amazon for something like £1,395. I must admit I was tempted to try to buy it to see what would happen.

I digress. (I’m actually getting quite good at doing that.)

Back to the charity book. By now I was quite heated at the fact I had forgone my royalties for a very worthy cause, and like the other authors, cover designers, formatters, editors and the myriad of people involved in the production of a book, we and the charity were all losing out. I had granted exclusive rights to the organisers but someone had stolen my work.

In high dudgeon, I realised the author’s name would be at the start of the story and flipped back through page after page until I came to the beginning. There it was. The author attributed with writing MY story was Whoops, Me!

To be fair, it had been nearly two years since the first draft but I did feel a little foolish.

Thanks for listening and see you next week.

© Val Portelli January 2022

3 thoughts on “Plagiarism

    1. That could be fun, Rick. I’m up for it. Email me with your ideas and we can get the ball rolling. Remember ‘The six?’ 😀 How long ago was that? but it’s great that most of us are still in touch. Authorism at its craziest. x

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