On Plagiarism and Originality


In the past month I have been a victim of two forms of plagiarism/idea-snatching.

Friends that I confided in and shared a secret project idea with decided to make it their own. Although I was very hurt and annoyed by this, I've since forgiven them because it was my lack of judgement in telling them and well, they did it make their own! 

The second case I can no longer ignore, and I just need to get it out there now. Back in January, I read an amazing book called "City of Savages" by Lee Kelly. City of Savages is very dear to my heart. I'm friends with the author, Lee Kelly. It was an honor getting an arc from her, and I loved her book. I wanted to do her book justice and help market it for her. On Friday I stumbled across another review for City of Savages posted a few days ago. Imagine my shock and horror as I saw much of my own words and ideas on the post. I poured my heart and soul and hours of drafting into that review, yet I'm guessing it didn't take that blogger very long to write her review as it contained direct and paraphrased sections of my review. We discussed the same exact points in the same order and same organization. Our word choice throughout was so uncannily similar.

That's called plagiarism, and that is illegal. Those were my words, those were my thoughts and opinions. Is it possible we had similar opinions? Yes. It is probable that we used the same exact sentences and word choice and paragraph structure? I think not.

APCB - There are some books that you discover and just know you're going to love.
Her - I had this gut feeling that said you're totally going to enjoy this.

APCB - What instantly drew me in to this book was the cover.
Her - I think that the first thing about this book that captured my attention was the cover...

APCB - that's as dangerously beautiful as the cover.
Her - The cover... just seemed so dangerously beautiful

APCB - This book is emotionally raw and gritty and intense throughout.
Her - This book was so emotionally heart-wrenching and gritty.

APCB - The older sister Sky is the delicate, smart, proper, and reasonable one.
Her - Sky is the older sister that is more practical, smart, delicate, and proper.

APCB - Ryder is the thoughtful and sweet guy who makes you swoon. Sam is the infuriating bossy military type you can't help but love. Rolladin is the enigma, the woman you just want to know more about.
Her - Rolladin was just someone that I wanted to know more and more about. Ryder was such a nice guy. And Sam was that tough military-guy...

It gets worse. ;(

I never understood the severity of plagiarism until now, having been on the receiving end of it. I knew how rude, disrespectful, despicable, and completely wrong it was, I just didn't realize how much it could hurt seeing your words and your creative works and ideas credited to someone else. This has been my first "blow" to blogging, and I can't say I'm liking it at all.

Thank you to all my twitter friends who gave me hugs and advice. You rock! You're the reason why I love this community, even though there are a few *thorns* out there who threaten to sully it. It's sad, and I've heard of plagiarism happening often in the community as of late. What is my point in all of this? Originality, please. If you can't think of what to write don't go looking at other people's reviews of the book for so-called "inspiration." Your posts should reflect your thoughts, not someone else's. If you can't think of anything to say, then just don't write the post or let it simmer because what you do or don't do can really hurt someone. I know I don't need to say this to my friends and followers since you are all amazing, but I'm saying it anyway. This has been a life lesson for me: not everyone is honorable and respectful.


45 comments:

  1. That's awful, Rach :( That girl must've read your review and rearranged the words, but obviously that is STILL plagiarism. I'm sorry someone took what you wrote! I'd be so mad if someone copied my reviews that I spent hours writing on.

    Now that I think of it, I'm already getting very cautious if someone out there has plagiarized my reviews :( I'll keep a close eye for those people...

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

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  2. So what happened?? Did you tell her?? I hope you told her what she did was plagiarism!! This is one of the reasons why I don't like reading my friends' reviews of a book after I just finish reading it; I feel like their ideas would get mixed with my own and that's not good. I'm so sorry this happened to you. But I'm glad you found the review!! Very good and honest post.

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  3. I'm so sorry you had to go through this, Rachie! :'( I don't think any book blogger realizes how much plagiarism hurts until it happens to them, but I really wish it hadn't happened to you, as it really takes your confidence away. :'( However, knowing you, you probably handled it beautifully, and remember that your loyal readers *waves hand wildly* are always here to back you up and cheer you on! <3 xx

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  4. Oh my god this makes me so sad to hear. I cannot believe the reviewer basically just reworded everything you said in your review. I mean--as if they were gonna get away with it! I guess that some people don't understand how bad plagiarism can be but seriously, I am so so sorry, Rach :( Have you contacted the reviewer yet?

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  5. That sucks! It's important to get these things out into the blogging community, so we all know they're happening, because i think most people are totally against this!
    So thank you for your post. (:
    I'm sorry someone did this. I would be pissed too.

    - Love, Felicia
    ( http://asillygirlsthoughts.weebly.com/ )

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  6. I saw you tweet about this on twitter and thought it was unbelievably awful that someone would do this. I'm glad you're bringing it to everyone's attention. I hope you get all of this worked out.

    PS. I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award over @ Novel Ink :)

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  7. Oh god, Rachel! *hugs* I'm sorry you had to face something like this. Plagiarism is despicable, and it's terrible how someone could do something like that. I mean, yeah, people can have the same thoughts but she basically just rephrased your sayings. I can't imagine how you must have felt.

    I hope all is well now. This post is on point. You go, girl!

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  8. I'm so sorry you had to deal with this, Rachel. It must be horrible having someone plagiarize your work like that. I think there's a fine line between taking a broad discussion topic and writing your own post about it with your own unique opinions, and actually rewording someone's review or post. Obviously that line was crossed, and I would be pretty mad if that happened to me. Hopefully this won't happen again.

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  9. I'm sorry that someone would so this Rachel! It must be so frustrating! I hope everything gets sorted out! <3

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  10. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I understand the time and effort people put into reviews and when someone plagiarizes that just makes me very disappointed in how disrespectful people can be.

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  11. I'm so sorry this happened to you Rachel! That sucks :( It's so frustrating that people have the audacity to plagiarize. Hopefully, everything will be resolved and she'll take her post down (and apologize)!

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  12. Wow, this is actually so ridiculous. I don't understand why anyone would do something like that! Plus, it's a review. It isn't like some beautiful form of Shakespearean writing. Literally anyone can write a review if they put their mind to it.

    I'm sorry you had to go through something like that but you're definitely handling it very professionally.

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  13. Ugh. This makes me so sad that someone did this. I'm glad that you've brought this to light. I hope this person rethinks their actions, takes down the review and apologized. And most importantly never ever does it again.

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  14. Oh my gosh Rachel, I'm so sorry that happened to you! D: I've never had this happen before, (thankfully) but I'm sure it has to feel terrible. I'm sure you're handling it better than I would--I would probably be extremely rude and combatative to the person and regret it later--so kudos to you. Hang in there. <3

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  15. Oh Rachel... I feel awful this happened. People sometimes put me down because my reviews are so casual and conversational, but if someone ever copied my ideas it would be seriously obvious, so maybe having quirky reviews is actually a good thing, and that most bloggers wouldn't want to copy them, anyway. I hope you emailed this blogger to let them know they have been caught. At least maybe they would hopefully be less likely to do it again to someone else. All I can do is send you a bushel of cyber hugs, and urge you to keep pouring your heart into your reviews because the authors need more reviews like those. Chin up, you'll get over this bump. I am also sorry that you had a project idea stolen by bloggers you felt were your friends. I had a weird thing happen to me a little while ago, and I was contemplating quitting book blogging because at first I felt I couldn't trust anyone anymore, but I am not going to let one bad apple ruin the whole bunch. You are a wonderful blogger please don't let this affect your passion. <3 <3 <3

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  16. Oh my goodness. I mean I know plagiarism happens in this world, I didn't realize that it happens a lot more than I thought it did. That is terrible, and I'm so sorry that this happened to you.

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  17. Whoa. Not okay! Not okay at all. I am pretty sure this happened to me recently too. It just sounded too... convenient. But this is just... I am kind of at a loss for words. (I had a plagiarism joke, but I don't think now is the time for that!) This is one of those things that I am SO paranoid about, I don't ever want anything I say to be too close to something someone else is saying, even by accident! I try not to read too many reviews before I write one, just because I don't want to unconsciously do it. Because that is just not okay. I have been struggling to write a review of a book I loved, and cannot come up with words. But when I do, I want them to be MY words!

    As for the "friend"... that's just low. I think that is pretty much WORSE than the plagiarizer, because the "friend" was someone you trusted, and that is really sad. But now I guess, at least you know they aren't trustworthy, though it absolutely sucks having your idea stolen.

    I am really, really sorry Rachel. This is awful :( But you are amazing, and I know you will be able to overcome all of this, and your next idea will be even MORE amazing! And I am really glad to see that the other blogger took down the review! Hugs <3

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  18. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. :( That is absolutely terrible. She must have thought that rearranging words and changing them up a bit made it NOT plagiarism, but it is STILL plagiarism and it's STILL WRONG. Those were your ideas and it was your review, and by taking that away from you and trying to pass it as her own... Wow. It still amazes me that people like that exist in our world today despite how easy it is to track down plagiarism.

    I hope she emails you an apology, takes down the review, and doesn't do this EVER again. It just sucks that you had to deal with it at all. :(

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  19. Oh wow, that is so sad :/ I hate it when people plagiarize ideas/words of other people. It is so wrong! I hope these people will at least apologize and take down what they stole from you.

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  20. OMG. I saw that review, and I knew it was familiar.

    I know we talked about this on Twitter, so I'll keep it short. I'm glad you made a post like this too. I don't have nearly as many followers as you do so mine didn't get a lot of attention when I posted. I'm just glad that you turned this into something positive to educate other bloggers.

    Good luck with dealing with her. I know how hurt you are, and I just hope you get everything worked out soon.

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  21. This is so sad! We all can struggle to get the right words sometimes for our reviews, but if don't put our own voice to our reviews, what's the point??

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  22. Aw, I'm so sorry this happened to you, Rachel! It takes so much thought to write a review and it makes me sick that someone would just take shortcuts and copy your ideas and thoughts. ):

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  23. Wowzers! IM sorry nugget. I can't imagine how bad this makes you feel. It a totally invasion of personas, thoughts, and the worst part is how anyone could try to pass off your hard work as their own. It's disgusting. I know your such a positive girl that you'll get through this but I also think you should, confront the person when your not so angry and ask her to please remove her review ( I'll freaking do it for you...you know I will!) lots of hugs and love!
    ❤️Britt

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  24. That is so awful! I'm so sorry that happened to you, I think it's something that we all worry about as bloggers. Especially when you put so much time and effort into expressing your thoughts! I love your blog by the way!

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  25. I am terribly sorry about this Rach, this shouldn't happen to anyone especially if they spent so much time working on reviews and posts like you do.
    ~Blaze

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  26. So sorry to hear both of these things happened to you! You have such a big heart to forgive your friends for taking your ideas. I don't think I'd be able to do what you did but I never come up with anything fun and creative anyways so no worries for me haha? I hope you straightened that plagiarizing reviewer out. As a blogger, he/she should know better than that! It's seriously sad and maddening to hear this happen!

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  27. It's so unfortunate and wrong that something like this has happened to you Rachel - some people just don't realise the kind of effort we do put into our reviews and communicate our ideas.

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  28. Oh wow, that is so awful! I know a lot of book bloggers read and review the same books. It is one thing to have similar thoughts as another blogger, but it is quite another to just paraphrase that blogger's opinion and use it for their own. That is so wrong on so many levels. Did you ever confront this blogger? I can't believe that happened.

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  29. I'm so sorry this happened to you, Rachel. Just know that there are a lot of people who support and love you and your blog. I hope it all gets straightened out. *hugs*

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  30. Oh wow :( Rachel this is awful. I'm so sorry this has happened to you. It's always weird to hear about plagiarism, but you never expect it to actually happen to you.

    Keep your head up. The karma wheel will keep on spinning

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  31. I'm sorry that this happened to you Rachel, I've not had any of my reviews plagiarized (not that I know of), but I can understand how you're feeling if it ever happened to me, especially when you're your time and effort into a review and someone just completely fobs it off. I'm grateful that there's only a handful of people that would stoop to this level and that there are still fantastic bloggers out there in our community!

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  32. So sorry this happened!! You're right, her words are uncannily similar to yours! It's a terrible experience and I think it's great to write about it! Let other's know what happened and how it made you feel, hopefully it will help people who do this to understand how hurtful it is. <3

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  33. Oh gosh, that's horrible! I really hope you confronted her (in a calm way, but just to let her know that it's not acceptable), because that was really douche-y. I'm glad you brought this to light, it'll make the reviewer think twice now. *hugs* <3

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  34. It's so sad when people steal your things. It's like they take a part of you and put it on their blog :(

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  35. Rachel,

    I'm so sorry to hear this happened to you. :( Your blog is one of my favorites, and you're such an amazing friend. I always smile whenever I see a notification from you, and everything you type always brightens my day. It is so completely unfair that someone would do this to you - you don't deserve it! It's so sad that someone would go so low as to take content from you - that's just unacceptable. :( I hope you're able to settle things out and that you keep holding your head high through the storm.

    DM me if you need something, or if you just need someone to talk to, okay? <3

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  36. Oh, man. This is horrible. I'm so sorry that this happened to you, Rachel. Plagiarism sucks and it is beyond me why people would do things like this when it has been taught in school even that it is illegal and rude and just downright nasty. Nobody deserves to have their ideas stolen like this. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you, hun. Hang in there!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  37. I'm so sorry this happened to you! From what you've told me, you handled it perfectly, and I'm glad she's now taken down the review. It just makes me so angry that she would do that! And I'm embarrassed for her. That's just such a big no-no. Hopefully you will not be running into this issue again!

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  38. Aw Rach :( I'm sorry that happened. That's horrible! It's so sad to see people do that to others. But I'm glad everything got resolved!

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  39. I don't get why people do this. Well, I guess I do get it: they're greedy and hope to get free books for review without actually doing any of the work to build their own reputation as a book blogger.

    I also don't get why people think they can get away with it these days...

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  40. Oh my gosh, Rachel, that's horrible! I can only imagine how awful it must feel to have your review plagiarised. If I think how long it takes me to write a review (often over an hour), I can just imagine what a terrible feeling it must be to have someone basically copy out your review and change a few words in a couple of minutes. I really, really wish people would stop doing this. It's so wrong and unfair to the person who actually wrote the review. I hope this has been sorted and that you never have to experience this again! <3

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  41. Oops,that sucks:(Plagiarism is horrible and it's awful to be a victim of it.Don't they even think of the amount of time and effort a person would have invested into a particular piece of writing?How can they just calmly steal someone else's idea?
    I feel sick to know that there are people like these in the book blogging community:(
    However,you know we are here for you hun!I know I am late to this conversation,and you're probably okay with this by now,but still I want to say,chin up,girl!

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  42. Woww, that's really upsetting. I hope you did talk to her about this, it's not fair for her to use your review and just rephrase some words... It does show that you're an amazing reviewer though :) x Benish | Feminist Reflections

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  43. Aww :( I saw you mention it on Twitter. So sorry this happened to you D: I don't understand why someone would even risk a friendship just to do that. *HUGS*

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  44. Ugh, that is seriously so bad!! I didn't know people did things like that. Hugs to you.

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  45. I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I hope everything got resolved. Hugs hun xoxo

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