Tag: plagiarism

400 Million Copy Bestseller Nora Roberts Sues for Plagiarism

One of the world’s bestselling authors, romance novelist Nora Roberts is suing Brazillian author Cristiane Serruya for plagiarism, seeking up to $25,000 in damages.

 

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Left: Nora Roberts, Right: Cristiane Serruya | Image via Jornal O Global

 

 

According to a US News article, the lawsuit began on April 24th and Robert’s allegations were reported Rio De Janiero’s morning papers. Roberts’ case calls Serruya’s romance novels “a literary patchwork, piecing together phrases whose form portrays emotions practically identical to those expressed in the [Roberts’] books.”

Roberts also stated:

“If you plagiarize, I will come for you. If you take my work, you will pay for it and I will do my best to see you don’t write again.”

 

Nora Roberts wants to turn the situation around by donating any proceeds to Brazilian Literary organizations. Hopefully that will help spread more original writing and creativity.

On the subject of plagiarism, Roberts made a post on her blog entitled Not A Rant, But A Promise. This post revealed extensive research Roberts has done on the organized system of plagiarized books. We may not see it, but it happens on a “professional” level every day, with teams put together to hire cheap ghost writers and even tutors to teach writers how to scam the system.

If Serruya is proven guilty, her lawyer Saulo Daniel Lopez says that “[she] could be forced to pay from the proceeds of her books”. Cristiane Serruya has defended herself against Roberts’ allegations, stating that she is using software to analyze her books. She stated:

 

My books are big. In a book of 120,000 words it’s difficult to know how many supposedly came from a work of Nora Roberts.

 

Unfortunately for Serruya, she already has an alleged reputation as a plagiarist. According to US News:

 

Serruya has faced allegations from several other writers and even inspired the Twitter hashtag #CopyPasteCris. In February, author Courtney Milan titled a blog posting “Cristiane Serruya is a copyright infringer, a plagiarist, and an idiot,” and cited numerous passages from Serruya’s “Royal Love” that closely resembled Milan’s “The Duchess War.”

 

So far things do not look like they are in Serruya’s favor, but in the end, if Roberts wins, hopefully the money is put to good use.

 

Featured Image via CBS

Kindle eBook graphic.

‘Book-Stuffing:’ The Self-Publishing Crime You’ve Never Heard Of

There’s a scam going on in the eBook industry, and, as with most high-dollar missteps, no one is stopping it.

Before we get into the details of these legal evasions, it’s critical to understand that eBook authors make money per pages read. When authors fill their works with special features to drive the page count into the thousands, eBook readers feel like they’re getting a steal: extra content for the same price. But, for the author, ‘steal’ isn’t that far off.

 

Image Via David Gaughran

 

There have been a number of tactics to stop self-publishing abuses designed to arbitrarily inflate eBook profits, but few have actually been effective. Authors are banned from directly incentivizing reviews, but some have found a workaround: Chance Carter, a self-described “bad boy who writes about bad boys,” created a giveaway in which reviewers would earn the chance to receive a Tiffany ring. It’s clear he really is a bad boy: he nested six extra books in the back of his Mr. Diamond (the precious gem is as hard and desirable as the protagonist’s, well, you know).

This is how authors game the system: filling their publications with bonus content to artificially inflate the length of each book. It’s called ‘book stuffing,’ and it’s no game—the top scammers are making $100,000 per month.

 

Chance Carter's proposal to his followers

Image Via Medium

 

There’s some measure of justice, even if that measurement is more an inch than a mile. Bad boy Carter was banned after #tiffanygate made its way into the public consciousness… but not for long. Many suspect Carter now writes under the pseudonym Johanna Hawke, who writes about “bad boys and hotties.” He’s back with a different name… and the same game.

Well, how bad could it be if an author includes a few bonus chapters? Given that it’s far more than just a dozen extra pages: pretty bad.

 

Self-published Kindle Unlimited authors receive their income from a ‘communal authors’ fund,’ the distribution of which is largely dependant both on what percentage of a book readers complete AND how many total pages readers turn. Amazon has made limited attempts to stop this abuse of the system, enacting a rule that no more than 10% of a book can be bonus content. But many authors have circumvented this system with ‘compilations’ or ‘collections,’ allowing them to hit that 3,000 upper page limit.

This bit of ingenuity is hardly the end of these scammers’ tricks. Many such eBook authors engage in ‘mosaic book stuffing,’ the practice of repackaging previous releases into one new (and derivative) work. While some authors engage in active plagiarism, others will re-use passages of their own works, stitching together some botched Frankenstein’s monster and re-selling it to the public. Others use false links in their novel, which trick readers to skip directly to the end. These authors then get a bonus upon the novel’s completion.

It’s a cheap trick, but the consequences are costing authors who don’t engage in such deceptive policies. The communal fund is, as you may have imagined, communal. Amazon may benefit from the increased sales, and readers may appreciate the extra content. But the authors don’t—at least, not the ones who are honest.

 

Featured Image Via ElegantThemes.com

Christiane Serruya's 'Royal Love'

Novelist Accused of Plagiarism Blames Ghostwriter

This year has been a wild one in terms of publishing scandals… and, of course, February isn’t even over yet. So far, we’ve got the Jill Abramson plagiarism scandal; the cancellation of a YA debut due to accusations of racist themes; and the cancer lies, urine cups, and possible plagiarism nightmare in the whirlwind of Dan Mallory’s well-documented B.S. Just before the month comes to an end, we’ve got another scandal for you—plagiarism allegations against bestselling romance novelist Christiane Serruya. Fans might’ve fallen in love with her books, but they’re not head-over-heels for her behavior.

 

Christiane Serruya Goodreads List

Image Via Goodreads

 

Christiane Serruya may have written the Trust trilogy, but she doesn’t exactly seem to be trustworthy. Fans of Courtney Milan‘s The Duchess War alerted the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author to similarities between her novel and Serruya’s newest release. Sorry, did I say similarities? I meant that these passages are so similar they look like a children’s spot-the-difference game—is it the comma hiding in the background? Is it the slightly different word order? Take a look at the plagiarized passages and see for yourself why Milan’s next war won’t be fictional:

 

Milan: “Her nostrils flared; he almost thought she might stamp her foot and paw the ground, like an angry bull.”

Serruya: “Her nostrils flared; he almost thought she might stamp her foot and paw the ground, like the bull that had attacked Siobhan.”

Milan: “‘If you’re any good in bed, I might fall in love with you. If that is going to be anathema …’ ‘No,’ he said swiftly. He looked away from her, and when he spoke again, there was a slight rasp to his words. ‘No. That would be perfectly … unobjectionable.”

Serruya: “She stared back, both fascinated and appalled. ‘And if I fall in love with you? Is it going to be anathema?’ ‘No,’ he said swiftly, and looked away from her. There was a slight rasp to his words, when he faced her again. ‘No. That would be perfectly … unobjectionable.’”

 

Courtney Milan with novel, 'The Duchess War'

Image Via San Diego Tribune

 

Milan has made her official statement on the situation—and it’s mostly (and understandably) an expression of anger:

I have not listed all of the similarities because, quite frankly, it is stomach-churning to read what someone else has done to butcher a story that I wrote with my whole heart … I wrote The Duchess War in the midst of a massive depressive spell and I bled for every word that I put on the page. But you know what? Cristiane Serruya has to be the biggest idiot out there. I’ve sold several hundred thousand copies of this book. I’ve given away several hundred thousand copies on top of that. Does she think that readers are never going to notice her blatant plagiarism?

As for Serruya’s own, original work, Milan dug deep: “no wonder you’re copying other authors, girl.” Yikes!

Serruya might have been a royal pain for Milan, but at least her response has been more appropriate than her actions. Immediately after the allegations went viral, Serruya pulled Royal Love from sale. Though she offered an apology, she also gave an excuse: according to Serruya, the ghostwriter she hired is responsible for the plagiarism.

 

Christiane Serruya, author under plagiarism allegations

Image Via Writers and Authors

 

Ghostwriters are legal and somewhat commonplace, particularly when it comes to bestsellers. World’s wealthiest author James Patterson has a whole team of ghostwriters (so, a team of Christmas elves who only talk about murder) to maintain his prolific output. Many celebrities use ghostwriters for their own memoirs as, let’s get real, it’s rare to be famous and a talented writer at the same time. While famous writers don’t need to be talented (which we can all agree on unless your Fifty Shades of Grey opinions are particularly intense) we can assume the combination is an unlikely one. Some fans may not be pleased with this explanation: ‘don’t worry that I didn’t write the book; it’s just that I didn’t write the book.’ But the explanation is logical, if not entirely satisfying.

Serruya called the allegations “distressing,” resolving to pull the book “until [she has] made certain this is solved.”

 

Featured Image Via New in Books

Ex-New York Times Editor Accused of Plagiarism

One of the worst things that any writer can do is plagiarize another person’s work. It’s even worse when it comes from a seasoned reporter. Equally, it’s one of the worst things for a writer to be accused of.

Former New York Times editor and Wall Street Journal reporter Jill Abramson has been accused of copying several passages from other writers for her book Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts.

The book is an investigation into four news companies (The New York Times, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, and Vice News) as it talks about the impact of technology on the press and the challenges these companies face regarding journalistic standards.

Accusations of plagiarism were first made by Vice reporter Michael C. Moynihan. After finding a factual error regarding a Vice colleague in the book, Moynihan noticed several passages that he felt were similar to articles written from other magazines. Moynihan posted his findings on Twitter. The tweets went viral shortly after.

In an appearance on Fox News, Abramson has denied that she plagiarized anything and has promised to review some passages for errors. She has also responded on Twitter.

 

Featured Image Via Wikipedia