As a teacher of senior high school English and Humanities, the ONE thing I impart to my students every time I assign a task is that they must do their own work. They all know what plagiarism is, and why it is wrong. They understand that, both at school and beyond, it is an act that has serious consequences.
If high school students can grasp this concept and comply, it beggars belief that an author – who also claims to be a lawyer, no less – thought they could get away with stealing the work of other authors, mashing it together, and claiming it as their own.
This week, the revelation has been made — and proven — that one person has done exactly that.
It didn’t take long for the Twitterverse to light up with the scandal, and the flames of shock and indignation soon spread to other social media. The fires are still burning, and it seems there is plenty of fuel.
I am not going to recount the whole story here – for all the sordid details, you can google #CopyPasteCris or search for that tag on Twitter.
It is sufficient to say that upon being discovered and accused, #CopyPasteCris promptly defended her integrity and blamed the whole fiasco on the ghostwriters she hired on Fiverr.
Seriously? Even if the plagiarism was done by someone else, the books were published in her name, she agreed to the publishing terms of service as the creator and owner of the work, and she received the royalties of every copy sold. I am confident that I am not alone in thinking that this is on her and nobody else.
Here’s the thing.
- Even if one hires ghost writers, why on earth would she not still read the finished book before publishing it?
- Upon reading it, how on earth would she not realise that there were inconsistencies of style and plot… and fix them?
- How did her editor not catch it?
- Or… did she not bother with an editor?
- And if she doesn’t have an editor, what quality control does she have in place for her books?
- What makes her think she is smart enough to get away with repeated, blatant plagiarism when her readers also read the authors that have been plagiarized?
- Was she never taught right from wrong? Did she ever actually think about the consequences of her actions?
Perhaps the biggest question, though, is how did it take so long for this to be discovered?
As an Indie author who does, in fact, write all her own material, , the entire situation leaves me furious. This one person has thrown the integrity of every honest, hard-working and worthy-of-being-read Indie author into question.
This behavior is the kind of thing that justifies in the minds of the traditional-publishing-snobs the various stigmas that good quality Indie authors have been working so hard to overcome: sloppy writing, books riddled with errors, and people playing at being legitimate authors when they are not.
As a reader, I am offended and outraged. Just how stupid do people like this think their readers are?
Although I fear it is not, I hope this is an isolated case.
And I hope every author who was plagiarized lawyers up and sues #CopyPasteCris for every penny they deserve.