Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hello, World, I'm Back. (And I've been Plagiarized.)

Hello, world, I’m back. With angst and wine and tears, and oh yeah, I’ve been plagiarized.

Sweet.

So, this was supposed to be a happy post about returning to the writing world as a functioning human being. Well, not this post. I had a post scheduled for a few weeks from now, when I was about to start publishing again. It was going to be all upbeat and happy and stuff. That was the plan. I had a plan. Not a perfect plan, but a plan. And then today happened. 

And now it’s 10 am, and I’ve already sucked down a bottle of wine, but I’m so upset, I’m not even drunk, and that makes this shit even worse.
So, yeah. Hiya. I missed you all. Like, for real. It’s been a shitty year.
You may remember me from eight months or so ago when I used to be online and publish stuff, and then I took a little time off to deal with some hard to deal with family stuff. It’s been hard. Really hard. So hard that the only word I can think of to describe it is hard. And that’s kind of bullshit for a writer.
I tried to deal with some super painful shit, that happened all at once, with a happy face pasted on. It didn’t work out so well. I lost my focus. I lost my way. I was gone a long time. It’s been a tough struggle back.
But I was dealing.
Okay, that’s so not true. I was totally not dealing. I was a wreck. But, I had the aforementioned plan. And it was a real plan, not one of the vague ones I’ve had and lost over the past few months. I was going to somehow reemerge from this shit year as this polished, professional, healed person who was publishing again. And was cool and pretty, and confident, and… yeah. So, maybe it wasn’t a completely thought out plan.
But it was kind of a plan. And I was gripping onto it so tight that I really, truly believe that it probably would have worked. And I never think anything is ever going to work, so that’s saying a lot. 
So, this morning, I was in the process of logging back in to dusty social media accounts and bracing myself for the horrific anxiety that comes along with talking to the world after a long absence.
Just for fun, I logged into AO3. You know. For kicks. To read some dirty fanfic. You know the drill. But you know what’s not so fun? Plagiarism. 
Right on the first page, like it was fucking mocking me, was a story called Smart Boy. So, okay. Just because I have a story called Smart Boy doesn’t mean anything. It’s not the world's most original title. That’s fine. There are only so many titles in the world. But something told me to click on it anyway. Just to check. And somehow, even before I even clicked on it, I knew. My gut was telling me, this is bad.
And it was.
Someone has plagiarized me. Ripped huge passages straight from Smart Boy and published them as their own. Taken Josh and Damon and changed their names and made them into some fanfic version of Suits. (Which I’ve never watched, but assume is about guys in suits. I think my brother watches it, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to stomach it now, no offense to Suits.) 
I mean, this is blatant. They didn’t even change the title! I could tell by reading the first sentence that is was mine, and holy shit, what the fuck. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!!!
These screenshots made me actually physically ill to take and upload, but here we go.
If you’ve read Smart Boy, you might recognize this actual excerpt, created via blood, sweet and tears, published over a year ago:



And, here we have the bastardized fanfic version, where Josh & Damon have been replaced by an alt universe student & professor, as far as I can tell.




Sweet, right? Look slightly familiar? That’s just a small sample, the rest is the same deal. But my favorite bit comes at the end, when the plagiarist tells everyone about how fun it was to write. Because, yeah. It was. BUT NOT FOR YOU.

As you can see, apparently this is part one of a plagiarized series. Can't wait for the next part. I wonder what happens. 

So, yeah. I’ve been plagiarized. And holy shit, does it suck. It hurts like hell and makes me sick to my stomach, and makes me ANGRY AS FUCK. So angry that I decided, you know what, enough, universe, enough. I’m drinking the wine in the fridge, I don’t care WHAT time in the morning it is, and I’m coming back online NOW, even if I have no balls, and nothing ready to publish, because THIS IS SO FUCKED. Somehow, this asshole plagiarist claiming their stuff was real knocked my this is fucked up limit over a cliff, and no more silence, no more being gone, no more being alone. You are not going to plagiarize me, you are not going to take my boys and claim them. No one is. NO FUCKING WAY. 
 
Plagiarism is horrific. I’ve watched so many authors deal with it, and it seems like it’s just getting more and more common. And part of me feels like I shouldn’t even post this, because it’s not like anyone is profiting off it. No one's publishing it on Amazon and raking in the bucks, it's just posted on a fanfic site. Except that is so not the point! There's no "just" in plagiarism. If you want to get technical, Smart Boy #1 is actually free everywhere, so no one is profiting off the real thing either. But this is not about profit!
This is about someone kidnapping characters and putting stupid wigs on them to disguise them and pretending they belong to them. About pretending the voices in my head were in their head. No. No, no, no, no, no, NO FUCKING WAY.
Josh and Damon are our boys! They belong to us. Their words and their actions belong to me and to AJ, and the fact that someone who did not write those words is actually claiming it was fun to write those words makes me feel sick as fuck.
So, yeah. 
Well, like I said, I’m back. I’m just back earlier and more raw than intended because someone fucked with me, and they did it at a really bad time. When I’m not feeling especially polite, and I’ve seriously got nothing to lose. 
I’m doing everything I can to shut this down, which basically consists of contacting Ao3 and telling them it’s plagiarized. Hopefully, they’ll delete it. I’ve never dealt with this kind of thing before, I don't even have an AO3 account, and I have no clue how they respond to this kind of stuff. I guess we're about to find out.
Since, as it seems we’re reminded on a weekly basis these days, plagiarists rarely just strike once, authors might want to check for  familiar work here: http://archiveofourown.org/users/cumbercookie81/profile.
But, yeah.  That's what's up today. Thanks for waiting around for me, thanks for listening to me go all angry hyper berserk, thanks for (hopefully) not thinking I’ve gone completely nuts in the last few months. I kind of have. But I’m starting to shake off the dark stuff and doing my best to move forward. If all goes as planned, I'll be publishing again sometime next month. In the mean time, no more plagiarism would be nice.  

2 comments:

  1. I may be remembering wrong, but when I checked the fanfic writer's profile this morning, there were way more than 5 fics. And they all disappeared after I sent a message on Tumblr asking if she'd disabled comments so nobody could ask here why she'd plagiarised...

    I'm guessing that everything that was stolen has now vanished.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yup, you are totally right. Just posted an update, but after some people let me know the ripped off story was posted on FF.net too, I started poking around. There were DOZENS (probably more) of stolen stories. I started sending links to AO3, but before I even had a chance to send a plagiarism alert to FF.net, every trace of this person just vanished. Clicked on a link, and everything was gone.

    Thank you SO much for everything you did today, you rock so hard. I sent her a similar message, soooo I think she must have realized the game was up. Just wish everyone who'd been ripped off... I don't know. Hadn't been. But seriously, thank you. *hugs*

    ReplyDelete

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