Tweet of the Day: Pants on Fire
This Sunday tweet is brought to you by the letter P for Plagiarism.
[pley-juh-riz-uhm, -jee-uh-riz-] Show IPA
–noun1.the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
2.something used and represented in this manner.
Or at least the part on the publishing contract where you (Insert Author’s Name Here) pledge that you have not stolen, borrowed or copied from someone else work, at least without proper attribution.
Now the outright stealing is easy enough to understand. Don’t Copy/Paste from someone else document without proper authorization or attribution.
It’s the part about “close imitation” that gets a lot of people into trouble, for those that do it and those who want to prove it.
I mean how do you define “close imitation.” Is it a matter of copying a certain style, a phrase(s), ripping a particular character or what? What about parodies or characters that are in the public domain?
If you set your story in Arthurian times, are you guilty of copying all others that have done the same?
Set your story in a magical boarding school?
Or a medieval fantasy with a Left Justified Map?
You have more room to maneuver in works of fiction than non fiction, but even in fiction, author’s influence one another and many times deliberately emulate (or lambast) said influences. Unless your graft is so blatant that anyone can see it (and object to it) then people won’t mind.
Of course, you, as the author, should always be honest with yourself and try to avoid this. Don’t compound the problem by lying about.
It happened to me, and I learned my lesson.
And check out my new Writer’s Challenge: Interview with a Character. Follow the link for details.