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First Discussion - The Fandom Psychiatrist
September 28th, 2006
04:50 pm
[bibliophile20]

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From:redcoast
Date:September 28th, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC)
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Most plagiarists Ive known have simply not realized that its unacceptable behavior. Theyre the sort to include uncited material, but if you were to comment and say "This is really funny!" theyd respond, "Thanks! I didnt write that, thats Shil Silverstein!" or whatever.
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From:bibliophile20
Date:September 28th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Can you expand on that last statement? I think I got it, but I want to be clear on your point.
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From:redcoast
Date:September 29th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC)
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My ' key wasn't working (strange, but true!).

I've never read any study of plagiarists, but in my own personal experience they have always readily owned to it when questioned about their work.

The Bad Penny report on Cassandra Claire touches on this. Cassandra Claire certainly didn't want to get caught plagiarising, but in replies to comments about the plagiarized chapter, she repeatedly mentioned the book she lifted from. Same goes for the other plagiarizers.
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From:bibliophile20
Date:September 29th, 2006 12:32 am (UTC)
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And why is that, do you suppose? Think it's because the fact that they've plagiarized is so easy to back up once proven that they decide not to get into deeper water?
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From:redcoast
Date:September 29th, 2006 12:51 am (UTC)
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Perhaps they weren't plagiarists in the traditional sense of the word: they weren't intent on passing off someone else's work as their own. Common decency (and guilt) would encourage them to admit it when pressed.

Another way of putting it would be to say that these people weren't out to fool anyone; they just didn't know it was wrong.

A person I beta-read for once cut-and-pasted a bit from the HP Lexicon into their story. When I pointed it out, they weren't offended at all; they removed it without complaint.
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From:bibliophile20
Date:September 29th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
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they weren't offended at all; they removed it without complaint.

Huh. Most of the plagiarists that I've seen thus far get highly defensive when their theft is revealed.
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From:redcoast
Date:September 29th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
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I think that indicates a difference in motive. Defensiveness implies a guilty conscience.
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From:bibliophile20
Date:September 29th, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)
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Indeed, it does, which implies that those do realize that what they're doing is wrong... yet they do it anyway; what does that say to you?
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From:mickawber
Date:September 29th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
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The plagiarism I've seen around the HP fandom is mostly on a far less sophisticated scale than Cassandra Clare's, which was almost brilliant in its packrat deployment of unattributed little bits and pieces of others' work.

Most often I've seen entire fics cut, pasted and posted under the name of the new 'author'--often with a different title, but not always. (It's happened with art too, which is pretty wild, since artists' styles tend to be so easily identifiable.) This strikes me as stunningly stupid, not to mention utterly amoral. The only motivation that I can imagine is Munchhausen-esque--a desire to get a lot of adulation, and a desire to take possession of a piece of fiction (or art) that you love and call it your own.

I think it may also be an outgrowth of the Kazaa/Naptser mentality: if it's out there, it's mine. If it's mine, I can do anything I want to with it. Intellectual property? What's that?

(We can talk about the ethics of IP another day--I just wanted to point out that this might be part of the mindset, especially since most of the plagiarists seem to be fairly young...)
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From:bibliophile20
Date:September 29th, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)
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I think we've all agreed that one of the primary reasons that people, especially younger people who make up the core of any fandom, plagiarize is because they want attention, and, as you pointed out, the whole "information is free! information belongs to us all*!" mentality certainly doesn't help.


*and Karl Marx is undoubtedly laughing in his grave
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From:melisus
Date:September 29th, 2006 04:18 pm (UTC)
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I personally wouldn't go so far as to say Cassandra Claire owned up to her plagarizing. Yes she did say at one point that she had lifted things (especially that large passage from that book) but she never exactly formally cited the reference, used it with permission, and there were previously several other false explanations (in other words, lies) that she offered.

But I do think that in the case of most fandom plagarising issues, Cassandra Claire is an exceptional example.
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From:bibliophile20
Date:September 29th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
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I think at one point we're going to have a whole series of case study discussions: CC, MsScribe, Caina, and that's just in the HP fandom. But before that, I have to go and familiarize myself with the whole story of CC's misdeeds
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From:melisus
Date:September 29th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
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Heh, yeah. I've read all about Ms.Scribe (and in doing so realized that I was actually present in the fandom for some parts of that "legend"), and started reading up on CC just the other day (don't know why... just did). I haven't heard of Caina or what happened there but I'll definitely be familiarizing myself now.
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From:bibliophile20
Date:September 29th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
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*is amused* cool, but let's not get started on that right now; shall we save it for a post where that's the focus?
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From:melisus
Date:September 29th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
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Haha, well of course.
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