Friday, 24 February 2012

Stolen stories

Romance writer Liz Fielding has had a story stolen - see her blogpost here. Someone else has taken her work, changed a few details and is passing the result off as her own. That's despicable. The thief, as defence, said she'd downloaded the original story and put it in a folder, then thought it was her own work. Yeah, right. And just happened to change characters' names as well. The lamest excuse I've ever heard.

Unfortunately now that works can be downloaded to PCs, and uploaded and self-published as ebooks so easily, I predict we are going to see more and more of this kind of thing.

Some useful links to sites discussing copyright issues here.

Updated 26/2/12 - more on the story here. This was not an isolated incident. The thief has stolen several other works as well. She has now admitted plagiarism and apologised. I'm not sure that's enough, though.

Updated 27/2/12 - the story was picked up by the Guardian Books Blog.

34 comments:

Old Kitty said...

I can't get into Kay Manning's blog - invitation only! LOL! Oh for shame!!

She's got three other books under this name in goodreads and I wonder if they're hers? Oh dear!

Glad Liz Fielding spotted it - how did she discover this theft? It could have just gone on otherwise.

Terrible and very scary. There are bloggers out there who just publish their stories on their blogs and it's very open to abuse!

Thanks for the copyright links too.

Take care
x

Diane Fordham said...

Wow! That's no good. I'm going to go check out that link. It's a shame, a real shame things like that happen!

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks for the support. Much appreciated. :)

Vikki said...

Absolutely shocking! :o(

I only put snippets off my stories on my Blog...this is very worrying isn't it.

xx

Rena George said...

“Writers” who steal other writers’ work take something special away from all of us.

There’s a joy in writing, in crafting a story and honing it until it’s the best it can possibly be, that goes beyond financial remuneration – and that’s what the plagiarist steals from all of us. How dare they!!

Kay Manning’s audacity is incredible.
I’m not surprised she has taken down her blog post. The heat probably got too much for her.

Well done, Liz Fielding, for dealing with this despicable business in such a professional way.

And thanks, Womag, for alerting everyone to it.

Laura Marcus said...

Don't put anything online that you want to sell. Don't give anything away. You can put the copyright sign on your work but that's unlikely to stop someone determined to steal.

I had some forum posts lifted once and put into a local newspaper column. I was furious as someone was passing off my rant as theirs.

But the internet is the wild west and for now at least it can't be tamed. Just be very very careful. Keep your best lines to yourself. Trust no one.

Teresa Ashby has written on her blog about having a story lifted from a magazine and sold abroad. So it's not just via the internet this happens. Be vigilant and be suspicious.

Lydia said...

How sad and despicable that someone would do this. Good on you, Liz for bringing it to our attention. Shame on the pathetic culprit. Rest assured they will have no success - you can't keep stealing other people's work without any talent of your own.x

Anonymous said...

Sickening! I've had work plagiarised. It made me very unwell. It is a horrible brutal thing to steal the work of someone else and pass it off as your own. A person's creative work is so personal. I'm so very glad you spotted it and were able to deal so effectively with the thief. I think sometime in the village stocks with us all throwing rotten fruit at this awful woman would be good.

Teresa Ashby said...

Shocking - and I just don't get what anyone would hope to achieve by doing this.
As Laura has already said, I once had a story stolen - the thief copied it from My Weekly. It was just by chance that I saw it.
Thanks for flagging this up and for the links!

JO said...

The only good thing to come out of this is the communal sense of outrage by other writers. Hopefully that will put off anyone else with ridiculous thoughts about stealing someone else's work.

Linda Gruchy said...

At first I was minded to give her the benefit of the doubt, partly because I get frightened that my subconscious might dredge up a story I've read and think it mine. I posted the link on another forum and someone posted this link in response.

http://dearauthor.com/features/industry-news/saturday-news-no-deals-just-stupidity-and-smashwords-concedes-to-paypal-terms

Sally Zigmond said...

Th internet is a two-edged sword. Yes, it's far too easy to steal someone else's work but as soon as you're first caught out, everything begins to unravel. The more comments that appeared on Liz's blog, the lower my jaw dropped on the floor. This woman is either a downright criminal or, as I am beginning to believe, a very sick woman. Either way, she thought she could get away with it.

Anonymous said...

I visited Liz Fielding's blog and have only just now picked my jaw up off the floor. The audacity of this woman defies belief.

Liz isn't Kay Manning's only victim. This "writer" is a serial plagiariser - and she's not even subtle about it. She lifts EVERYTHING with almost nothing changed. If Liz hadn't found her out, how long would this have continued? How many other authors would have been unwittingly robbed?

And how many other "Kay Mannings" are there out in the world? Scary.

Brigid

Carolb said...

Really glad that this has been exposed so widely among the community.

A couple of years ago I was judging a small writing competition for another group (not one I belong to) and one of the entries was almost a complete lift from a story that had appeared a couple of months before in a WW Fiction Special.

So sadly, it can happen at every level...

Kath said...

I agree with Sally. She's not a clever fraudster because she's been found out. What's behind it all?

I know I can only look at it objectively because it's never happened to me and it must be really awful to be plagiarised. But I can't help also thinking how frightening it must be when everything does unravel.

Lindsay said...

I can only add my agreement with the above posts. The Internet has always been a mixed blessing, and it is only too easy for this to happen. I'm glad the fraudster has been exposed.

I had a silly little taste of this kind of thing when I posted something on my blog and someone else later posted a slightly reworded version and backdated their post to look as if they had posted before me! This insignificant incident mattered not a jot but was still a tad annoying, so I can imagine what it feels like to have a whole story misused in this way.

marian h said...

It makes you wonder how many times stolen stories appear in magazines all over the world and the real writer never finds out about it.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Unbelievable how bad this turned out to be - KM has now left a link on Liz's blog, to an apology she posted on a readers' blog. Ruined reputation for sure.

Deborah (Debs) Carr said...

How disgusting that someone has the nerve to openly steal another writer's work. I'm so pleased Liz discovered this had happened.

beverley said...

It must feel like a knife through your heart to have someone steal your work like this...all the hours, imagination, re-writing and drafting, etc, etc.

It really does make you wonder though if with the internet-explosion-of-blogging and self-publishing if there's a way of the copyright laws being strengthened to protect the rights and interests of the writer?

The 'pay' for a writer is often so low that the only real joy is from the recognition that it is your work - how could one 'writer' do that to another fellow creative is beyond me.

Thanks Womag for posting this...'naming and shaming' is completely the right thing to do.

Geraldine Ryan said...

This is a sick sick person. But if there's one like this there must be dozens of them. It's very worrying! teresa. I didn't know this had happened to you too! Did you get to the bottom of it?

Liz, so glad you saw this and shared it.

Anonymous said...

I am a newborn in the mag writing business. This is a scarey revelation indeed! But I firmly believe that cheats NEVER prosper! I doubt Kay will ever make another sale. Thanks for alerting us all to this nasty reality. Here is hoping all our words remain our own.
Sharon

Cary said...

This is horrible! It is sad this woman, and I'll use that word lightly, is not creative enough to write her own story. Shame on her for doing this.

Nan Sheppard said...

Shameful! and scary too. It takes so much out of us to write someting that we think is good enough.... to have it stolen is dreadful.

Sally Quilford said...

I'm only just catching up with all this properly, having been away for part of the weekend without internet access, apart from my phone. Well done to Liz for dealing with the plagiariser with such grace and professionalism.

I can't get my head around the excuse though. If Kay Manning downloaded Liz's story as an ebook, with corresponding cover etc, then how on earth could she think it was her own work?

I'm also amused that Manning felt she could 'improve' the work and put it up on Smashwords. I'd love to know what she thinks she can possibly teach Liz Fielding about good writing!

Colette McCormick said...

This is disgraceful and thanks for flagging it up. Since when has it been okay to steal someone's work and pass it off as your own. And, as feeble excuses go her's takes the biscuit.

Maggie May said...

Sometimes I'm glad I'm not a published writer. I enjoy my amateur status as a writer without all the worry and hassle of things like this.

Kat said...

I'm one of the writers who posted comments on Kay Manning's blog, telling her we knew what she'd done, and then reported her on Smashwords, and kept on until she took everything down, so I'm glad that together, we forced her into making an apology on Dear Author - for what the apology is worth!

What upsets me on top of this, is that a few people - writers too - are saying they feel sorry for her. WTF?

Why do they feel sorry for a woman who knowingly - not once, but many times - took an author's work, changed the names and locations, and then posted it up as her own, and even made money from it. I find that despicable, and can't understand why some people feel sorry for her.
What about the people she stole the work from - feel sorry for them please, but not for the thief!

Some people are also saying that what we did was bullying - well, if it was, then I'd do it again to help get justice for a fellow writer who had been wronged.

womagwriter said...

Well done Kat. I too can't understand why people feel sorry for her. She is where she is by her own doing. Do we feel sorry for other criminals who get caught? As for the bullying accusation - well if that's bullying then so is calling the police to report a house breaker.
Theft is theft. She's apologised and seems remorseful which is good, but if she'd stolen physical (rather than intellectual) property, she'd end up in court and possibly in prison.

Writers are artists. If paintings were stolen, the thief would be charged and sentenced. Why is it different when stories are stolen?

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Anonymous said...

I have just started in this writing business and I was stunned to hear what has happened. I do hope the magazine editors out there read this blog and pick up that lady's name and never publish a thing by her again! I know it sounds wicked, but we all put our hearts and souls into writing. This is theft of the very worst kind!
Leonora

jaylen watkins said...

Thanks for bringing it in light.

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Anonymous said...

oh my blooming memory - perhaps someone else will remember this article and be just a little more informative than I can be. I read an interview with a short story writer (the name truly evades me, but must have been a known 'name')she was explaining how, on occasions, magazine editors had sent her another person's work, and asked her if she 'could do anything with it'. I was gobsmacked. Perhaps not exactly dishonest, but I don't like that, at all. If the work was worth 'sorting out' then ask the author!
Linda Gruchy - I know how you feel - I read everything, even the back of sweetie wrappers - did my subconscious dredge anything up and claim it? Thank goodness I don't download anything...

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon 4th March - rather scary what you're saying about editors sending other peoples work to known and accepted writers. I've seen stories published very similar to some of the stories I've had returned to me after a very long wait. I've tried to tell myself I was being paranoid even when the main character's names are the same or similar and the plot as kooky as my own! I hope this isn't a common practice.