Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Another rather high-profile case of plagiarism, author Gerald Posner and publisher Simon & Schuster has been sued by author Frank Owen. Owen alleges that Posner's book Miami Babylon as "numerous examples of word-for-word copying" of his book Clubland. The lawsuit claims that Posner's book "is little more than a frequently verbatim precis of significant portions of Clubland, a verbal reduction sauce in which 30,000 words are reduced down to approximately 10,000 and yet the flavor remains the same." In a separate letter, Owen wrote that "Simon & Schuster has known since March that Miami Babylon contains dozens of plagiarized passages, yet six months later they continue to sell the book. It's obvious that Simon & Schuster not only condones plagiarism but continues to profit from it."

Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg tells the NY Post that while Posner acknowledges "inadvertently used phrases, to suggest that this usage amounts to copyright infringement is entirely without merit. As the complaint makes clear the unattributed use of phrases at issue was limited and in the reporting of factual events. Mr. Posner and Simon & Schuster will vigorously defend this lawsuit."

Here's my question: Why can't people just do the right thing? There's a reason why I don't read the type of book I am currently writing--I don't want to inadvertently pick up and use phrases or ideas that I may retain from another author's book. I don't know the details of this case, any more than what's been made public. I don't know if Posner indeed plagiarized Owen's book. I'm just saying...

Do the right thing.


Colleen Love said...

I'm with you 100%, Sherrill! When I see stuff like this, I have to wonder, why? Seriously, why the hell copy someone elses work? Do people have no pride in their own? I simply don't understand it.

I think I do the same thing in the research department, too. I don't want the other person's work/story sticking in my head. I like to do the research and tell the story in my own way.

Sherrill Quinn said...

I agree with you on the research, Colleen.

Jenna Howard said...

I'm always amazed when people are surprised they get caught.

What? Did you think no one was reading anything else?

I'm always curious about the thought process. "Well I'm writing this scene here and didn't I read something like it? Yeah. That's what I'll do...use theirs because our writing voices won't clash at all."

Lazy asses.

I think this is one of the reasons I'm hesitant about doing my vampires since they're only created by a goddess. Anyone else know about a popular series with sharp fangs and a goddess? *sighs* Damn that Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Sherrill Quinn said...

Jenna, why is it we get these great ideas only to realize someone else got them first? *sigh*