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Author Topic: Plagiarist doing the rounds  (Read 11689 times)
Ed
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« on: September 30, 2009, 03:02:10 AM »

Staff at Shock Totem have highlighted a plagiarist who submitted a thinly veiled Stephen King story to them. Apparently he's not averse to stealing work by lesser know authors, too.

http://abrokenlaptop.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/we-interrupt-this-blog-post/

So if you see the name Richard Ridyard on any of the boards you frequent, you might want to alert the webmaster and tell Dick the police would like to talk to him.
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 03:17:21 AM »

It was all over Twitter last night. Here's the original thread on Angel Zapata's blog: http://arageofangel.blogspot.com/2009/09/ive-been-plagiarizedand-im-not-alone.html, and here's my take on it: http://blog.verulamwriterscircle.org.uk/?p=607.
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2009, 05:35:46 AM »

Holy cow!  It boggles my mind that anyone thinks they can get away with it/would try to rip others off...
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2009, 05:45:03 AM »

There'll be cover versions in the charts next, mark my words! Remakes at the cinema, too... maybe the next big thing will be a craze for rewriting the classics in modern styles.

Joking aside, it does indeed boggle the mind that anyone would consider this, let alone consider that they might get away with it (*). Especially, it being a Stephen King story. I mean, if you'd ripped off a Del story then not alone would you get away with it, but you'd deserve a prize for finding one in the first place. It does make you wonder how many of the stories out there are indeed close copies of other obscure stories.

(*) We don't know - maybe he never considered this. Maybe he did it for a bet or something.

Del
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2009, 05:53:10 AM »

I like your signature, Derek  grin  if he did do it for a bet, he's either got balls of steel or bricks in his head haha
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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2009, 02:02:39 PM »

My mind is boggled. The excerpts of the passages from King and Ridyard (if that's indeed his name) remind me of an old writing excercise I used to do, repenning passages from a published story in my own words--it has the same just-changed-a-sliver quality--but of course I never tried passing those writing excercises off as my own original work. It's just ridiculous that someone would think they could get away with that.
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2009, 02:24:36 PM »

 I wonder how widespread this kind of thing is. From time to time I've noticed members, who I have never seen a post from, viewing the flash challenge entries. I'm not saying they're up to no good, for all I know they're just curious, I always read the entries whether I'm taking part or not, but now that all this plagiarist stuff has hit the blades it do make me think.

I guess most people have unintentionally used story ideas and phrases from published writers, for all I know my signature appears in some book, I still say I thought of it first though, but to rip off a story by the world's most famous horror writer does seem a tad stupid.
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2009, 04:55:49 PM »

I saw this on Angel Zapata's blog. A few other people have had work stolen by this jerk off. Hopefully they find out who he is. I'm not a paranoid person, but I've got a few friends that I trust to crit my work, and I think that's how I'll keep it.
Then again, people like that idiot are taking published works as well as stuff from writer's groups. We have to watch each other's backs.

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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2009, 05:48:38 PM »

.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 08:40:24 PM by Woody » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2009, 11:00:09 PM »

Wow.....and wow. scratch
I read some of the posts on the links and this is just nuts.
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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2009, 05:15:57 AM »

This begs the question; do I now check the Interweb for everything I've posted in forums, and otherwise, to make sure that no one else has used it? For me that's 6 years of posting!! Obviously I have everything I've posted stored on my PC, comments and all... but...
What to do?  scratch

I take the view that everything I've written to date is crap anyway, so no worries here afro
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2009, 09:48:41 AM »

I take the view that everything I've written to date is crap anyway, so no worries here afro

I agree that at this stage in our careers, most of us (CD members) haven't yet reached the level of proficiency or critical acclaim that anyone is likely to gain much by snatching a flash piece they find here and marketing it as their own...

But how steamed would you be if someone who had access to the private critique area took the first chapter of your zombie story and ran with it? Suppose they solved the structural problems identified in the storytelling, changed a few names but essentially swiped your characters, the setting, the premise, and the main setpiece? Maybe they'd write a similar story to what you had in mind or something completely different. Or suppose they wrote a short story instead, and it came out to all sorts of critical acclaim? True, they would have to have done some original work to get to that point, but the fact remains they would have stolen some of YOUR intellectual property to get there. And in so doing, they would prevent you from ever fulfilling YOUR vision of the project... except as a private writing exercise.

In reading through several of the various linked articles on the original post above, there was the one about Douglas Bruton, who supposedly took "inspiration" from his fellow critique group members' works and incorporated that into his own. Before he was publicly named as the culprit, one blog post contained comments from a woman who told of a "friend" (I didn't read far enough to learn if it was Bruton or not) in her writing group. While she was on vacation near the tip of South America, she told this "friend" about the awesome experience she was having, and one person she had met in particular, a piano tuner in Terra del Fuego. Well, wouldn't you know it, this "friend" pounded out a story featuring that character before the woman was even home from her trip. So what, you say? Nothing to prevent her from writing her own story? Well, how "fresh" is the idea going to look the second time around? It's the same with some (not all, I grant) ideas.

Just because we're "not quite there" yet as far as our technical writing ability or storytelling doesn't mean we don't have good ideas. Yes, the world is full of ideas, but there are plenty of authors who have made their name with a "big idea."
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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2009, 03:22:51 AM »

Oh dear! From publicity for Stephen King's forthcoming work "Under The Dome"

"On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away."

From Del's Story "The Only Child":

"Where do you start telling such a story? Maybe with this: on the first day of the Walls one thousand, five hundred, and forty three planes crashed. A few of those were on take-off, but most were several miles high. They hit the Walls and simply fell out of the sky, already burning, already breaking up. And, of course, the emergency teams couldn’t get close to any of them.
   Or maybe the start is here: by the second day, the web was full of images of people who had been cut in two by the Walls. Some had been sleeping when the Walls came, others simply lounging on sofas watching the television, some were on beaches soaking up the rays. The images were horrific. It was like a huge blade had sliced straight through these people. Others had lost hands and arms, some their feet. Almost all had died.
   Then there was the Golden Gate Bridge. There must have been a thousand comparable incidents across the globe, but the Gate was the one that caught everybody’s imagination. A Wall came down across either end of the bridge, slicing through the cables, smashing concrete, and imprisoning everybody on there. We watched them on the web-cams. They climbed through the wreckage of the cars and trucks that hadn’t been able to stop in time and had smashed into the Walls."

This is the story that I submitted back in the spring and almost made it into the Catastrophia anthology. It's back out there, but once King's novel has been released, I guess I won't be submitting it anywhere else.

I had no idea of King's book until about ten minutes ago when idly surfing the web trying to avoid starting work.

Del
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« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2009, 03:27:57 AM »

Oh, I dunno, Del - yours will probably be better than his afro
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« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2009, 05:39:39 AM »

Bummer, Del. But it does go to show how few original ideas there are out there.
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« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2009, 12:08:13 PM »

King was accused of getting that idea from the Simpson's movie. King had to release an early manuscript of the book from 10 years ago to show that it was his own idea.
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« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2009, 12:44:58 PM »

Yeah, someone else pointed the Simpsons out to me today. Luckily mine involved Walls, not a dome...  Wink

You may aslo recall from an earlier thread about my story that the reason (or part of the reason) it didn't make the anthology was because there was another story with the same premise that had already been accepted...

Del

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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2009, 03:37:58 PM »

Michael Crichton pinched the premise for Jurassic Park from a manuscript of mine I'd sent to his publishers two years previous. Well, nearly. Mine didn't have any dinosaurs. JP doesn't have Cold War politics and mine did. Mine had eco-warriers and indestructable bindweed plants whereas JP doesn't. Mine wasn't set in the Tropics - Okay perhaps Crichton (RIP) didn't pinch my book, but I bet he read the MS Wink
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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2009, 03:46:56 PM »

" There’s another reason for publishing this on the website. Several Internet writers have speculated on a perceived similarity between Under the Dome and The Simpsons Movie, where, according to Wikipedia, Homer’s town of Springfield is isolated inside a large glass dome (probably because of that pesky nuclear power plant). I can’t speak personally to this, because I have never seen the movie, and the similarity came as a complete surprise to me…although I know, from personal experience, that the similarity will turn out to be casual. Unless there’s deliberate copying (sometimes known as “plagiarism”), stories can no more be alike than snowflakes. The reason is simple: no two human imaginations are exactly alike. For the doubters, this excerpt should demonstrate that I was thinking dome and isolation long before Homer, Marge, and their amusing brood came on the scene"  Stephen King   http://www.stephenking.com/stephens_messages.html
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« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2009, 05:43:57 PM »

Crazy. That's the problem when we're all affected by the same influences, from the media, to books, films and TV series, whatever war is going on at the time. We simply regurgitate translations of what we see and hear all around us, whether it's conscious or not.
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« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2009, 04:13:02 AM »

The thing that drove my story - although it's not apparant in that opening section beyond a couple of mentions of webcams - was surveillance. Here in the UK we're the most photographed people in the world. Cameras on every street corner, on motorway bridges, in police cars, in shops, on garage forecourts. Emails and phone calls being intercepted. Local officials having the powers and authority to snoop and to go through our official (bank, web, phone, medical records, dustbins...) for even the most minor civil infringement (i.e. putting our rubbish bin out on the wrong day!)etc etc. It feels to me that the government is terrified - totally paranoid - about not having control and knowledge about every single person. So I thought - what if I create a situation where all that control and power is taken away in a single hit? What would the government do - how far would they go - to get it back? So my Walls were merely a device to breakdown the ability of government to function. The story itself followed the small community in which the key to that refunctioning is discovered - and what happens next.

But I can guarantee, because of the oppressive nature of the aforementioned surviellance, there are probably ten thousand writers in the UK working on, intending working on, or having recently worked on, pieces with such a theme. They may not include Walls or domes, but the theme will be there. As Ed says, we're all influenced by the same stuff.

I'd like to think that nobody came up with my unique take on the idea, though - that mixture of fishing, SAS raids, toy steam engines, and squirrels, that I so lovingly crafted!  Wink

The original disappointment over the coincidence wasn't so much that King has written a story about domes and I've written one about Walls, so I can't use mine - but because the blurb that his publicity people have come up with mirrored my opening so closely, in imagery and order - planes falling out of the sky in flames, limbs being severed out of the blue, cars smashing into invisible walls. I guess I should be happy that I elected to use the same ideas in the same order. Maybe I'm starting to learn something about the art! Having said that, it was my opening that the editor of the anthology didn't like... so maybe I could simply cut it, get straight to the squirrel and the steam engine, and still have a submit-able tale.

Hey ho - I'm off to write something about cowboys!

Del

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« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2009, 06:52:40 AM »

Yee-haw! Go gittem, Tex afro
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« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2009, 07:53:51 AM »

It sounds trivial - folk putting their bins out on the wrong day (Del's post above) but a lady in our street used to do that so much that our urban fox and cats regularly clawed open her plastic bags - garbage everywhere for up to two days. Then the binmen wouldn't pick up all the crap -how could they? It encouraged rats and mice too. Our street were pleased when she was served with a caution - now her garbage is put out on the morning of collectioin - hooray.

As for the Simpsons, a major  part of their appeal for adults is the spot-the-film an episode parodies. Does parody = plagiarism? No, it glorifies the original.

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« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2009, 08:44:49 AM »

The great thing about parody is that humour is exempt from libel and AFAIK copyright issues, too.
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« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2009, 10:37:06 AM »

Yeah, but in this case the simpsons movie wasnt a paradoy, it was just mere coincidence, and King doesnt seem to have a problem with it at all.
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« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2009, 02:17:45 PM »

Yay!  That very first post linked to my blog!  Dude, I can't even begin to tell you what the conversations sounded like behind the scenes at Shock Totem.  Just...utter shock.  Everybody was livid.  Then Ken discovered that Ridyard had ripped off somebody that we personally knew, and that really brought it home, you know?  King is kind of untouchable, and can take care of himself.  Then there are the rest of us who are just starting out.  This business is tough enough without yet another roadblock in the way.  I shake my fist at you, sir.

Del, I think your story sounds fantastic.  And yes, it's similar to something that King just put out, but it's your story.  You'll tell it differently and it will be unique to you.  We can debate the "originality is dead" argument until the stars fall from the sky, but I think what makes stories so amazing is that they come from different writers.  That's why anthologies can give everybody a theme and still end up with twenty completely different stories.  You start with something similar but they branch out.  If you still have the fire to write it, write it.  It won't be King's tale.

I mean, how many Cinderella or Romeo and Juliet stories have we seen?  But some of them are so earth-shatteringly good that they feel completely fresh.

Besides, I totally dig this kind of tale, so I hope you'll publish it so I can read it.  >>
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