Sunday, February 28, 2016

Plagiarism Update. Just Wow.

Okay, time for a plagiarism update. Which turns into an update within an update, because the story evolved as I was writing this blogpost. 

So, by about midnight tonight, the plagiarized version of Smart Boy was gone from AO3. Fuck yeah.
I didn't get any response from AO3 after I emailed them, so I'm not sure if they yanked it or if the "author" did, but it's gone.

Unfortunately, some very nice people took the time to let me know that the stolen story had also been posted at by the same person. Yeah, duh. I don't know why I didn't think to check that out this morning. Too frazzled, I guess. So, yep. There it was. Same person, same story. Just for posterity (and to break up the wall of text) here's the screenshot. It's the exact same ripoff version as the one they posted on AO3:

Ugh, I want to puke just looking at that.

I was so goddamn frustrated, people, I cannot even tell you. Like I really have the time and energy to go all vigilante and battle some asshole on the internet who's ripping me off. What the actual fuck! And why the hell do I feel like an idiot for getting so worked up about this? That's not right, right?

The idea of playing whack-a-mole with a plagiarist was fucking exhausting. But seeing my words and my boys all twisted and ugly and stolen fucking gutted me. Again. So, yeah. Whack-a-mole, then, because no one is claiming they created the guys who live in my head. I started taking screenshots and copying links to report it to (They really should make it easier to report plagiarism there, btw.)

Aaaaand, then came the rabbit hole.

I randomly clicked on another story in their catalog, and got double gutted. Because there was more stolen stuff. A little less blatant, but just as much mine. I can recognize a shower scene, believe you me.   

So, I just started clicking. And getting ill as fuck, because I recognized a lot of it, and not just from things I've written. This person had a massive catalog, chapters within chapters, and you could tell just by the way sentences were busted up and fragmented and styles and tenses changed, that they were stolen as fuck. So, I busted out the Encyclopedia Brown hat and started to google some of the most unique sentences in the stories to see what they would pull up. 

Ready for the shocker? Spoiler: It's not that shocking. Search results pulled up the actual, original stories, written months and years earlier. Over and over. Names changed, sexes changed, fandoms changed, skirts changed to pants, purses changed to wallets, yeahs changed to yeses but a catalog of endless ripped off stories that they looooved writing. I mean, I barely scratched the surface, maybe got through half a dozen stories, but everything I looked at was stolen. Some fanfic, some not.

So, I went back to A03, and poked around. Same deal, same stolen catalog. I sent another email to AO3, with some links, saying Hey, you know that person that ripped me off earlier? They ripped off a bunch of other people too. Here's some proof.

What happened next? I'm not sure. But, I'm guessing they realized the game was up. Before I even had a chance to send the plagiarism email to, the plagiarist's entire account was gone from both sites. Nothing left to link to. All the stories were gone. The bio was gone. Everything wiped out.

Now, I'm under no illusions that this person will never plagiarize again. I hope they don't. I hope they realize how much pain that causes people and how unethical it is. But even if they never rip off another person, someone else will. Plagiarists aren't going anywhere. But right now, today, this one did. A thief and a bully got caught and ran away. And that feels pretty fucking awesome at four in the morning.

This community rules so hard. 

The second I posted about this this morning, a tribe appeared and had my fucking back despite the fact that I'd been gone so long, and reappeared out of nowhere just to scream like a crazy person. Which I know is anxiety talking, but that's really how I felt at the time. But no one made me feel like a selfish, crazy person who was overreacting and needy. Everyone was massively supportive. That was shocking and amazing at exactly the time I needed some shocking and amazing (in a good way). A million thank yous to everyone who made me feel not so crazy today.

This blog post had me in tears, because damnit, plagiarism is so evil, and someone who goes out of their way to be pissed off on your behalf when you're so exhausted from being pissed off is an awesome person.

I am so fucking sick of plagiarists I can't even. Can't wrap my head around the point of taking someone's work and claiming it as your own. I really cannot comprehend what would make someone want to say that they thought things and felt things that they didn't. That the characters talked to them, lived in their head, made them write words that they didn't. What would make someone want to steal that? Why would you want to steal the struggles and the process that goes along with the work? What's the point of pretending to have writers block or pretending to have a good time writing a story you didn't write? Why do we keep hearing this and seeing this shit?

Aaargh. Okay. We'll probably never get answers to those questions. But, I have books to write. Really write. With my own hands and my own brain and my own difficult characters that never do what I tell them to, but still belong to me. So, I'm off to work. 

It's nice to be back. :)

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