Discussion: Plagiarism and copyright. When the literary world is abuzz.

Hi friends,

It’s Thursday and today’s discussion has its roots in something I witnessed this week on Amazon when I wanted to write my review of the Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. Something that arrested me!

I came across angry reviewers screaming of plagiarism! The root of the controversy is a book published about the same topic by Kim Michele Richardson “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” and released before Jojo’s book.

Some wrote “I won’t be buying this book but it needs to be said that JoJo’s blatant lifting of scenes and situations is plagiarism at the highest level. After reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and then reading the BuzzFeed article showing the lifted passages, I am appalled! JoJo didn’t even change the names of the characters!”

Other:Reading the reviews I thought perhaps I had already purchased the book; seems it’s been copies from another author.
I’m surprised that a successful author would stoop so low.

And worse some readers base their reviews only on an article of Buzzfeed saying that “Jojo Moyes did not even change the names of the characters” (which by the way is untrue based on The Book Woman’s synopsis and reviews compared with Jojo’s book that I have read).

I haven’t read Kim Richardson’s book (but now do plan to) but I was so astonished that I did indeed read the article in buzzfeed that you can find HERE.

I also read some discussion on Goodreads where the lines are not so clear cut about real plagiarism. You can find some of these discussion HERE.

Buzzfeed states that both Kim and Jojo share publishers as Sourcebooks (Kim’s publisher) is 45% ownership of Penguin Random House (Jojo’s publisher).

Kim Richardson’s book was published in May 7th 2019

Jojo Moyes book was published on October 8th 2019.

But a friend of mine told me that another author, an indie author also had published a book about these Pack Women Librarians this year!!!

Susan Fanetti ‘s Carry the World has been published on May 4th 2019 so before Kim Richardson’s book! Technically SHE is the first to have published about that topic yet none is aware of that fact or is screaming murder! You can find her book HERE.

As an indie author you can’t say that Susan had access to privy informations that Kim’s publisher would have “leaked”.

 

What bothers me in all this are the reviewers on Amazon claiming that Jojo did plagiarism when they haven’t read her book! I won’t take sides as I haven’t read Kim’s book yet but I HATE when people run after some news they have read and bash authors without having first knowledge.

 

Second fact bothering me: the publishing houses IF they were aware of Kim’s book and its detail yet endorsing Jojo’s story. I find it hard to believe as lawsuit can cost a lot but maybe I would indeed be surprised with the extent publishers would go to make money.

 

Third fact: history is not the propriety of a sole individual. How many books have been written around WWII and about the same sub topics? Even sharing common details? Was there real plagiarism here? Maybe, maybe not.

 

What I do intend though is read Susan Fanetti’s book (I began yesterday) and I will also read in the coming months Kim Richardson’s book to make up MY OWN mind and not rely on gossips and news articles.

And I still keep my own review and my own rating or Jojo’s book that I found fabulous and extremely well written despite all this controversy.

Question for you now: have you heard about this hot topic? What’s your intake? Do you know of similar “cases” in the literary world? Have you read both books? Plagiarism or not?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Sophie

 

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43 Replies to “Discussion: Plagiarism and copyright. When the literary world is abuzz.”

  1. Olivia-Savannah says: Reply

    I remember seeing this debate all over twitter. I didn’t really participate as I haven’t read either of the books and didn’t feel like it was my place to judge. And people definitely shouldn’t judge if they haven’t read both books, but sadly people do :/

  2. I read an article about this very topic around the time Jojo Moye’s book released. I have no idea what to think. Plagiarism isn’t acceptable but a historical fact cannot be copyrighted, you know? I’d be curious about the character / scene similarities but won’t judge unless I read them all myself. And I won’t be reading them myself so I’m staying out of it. :/

    Good for you for checkout out all the books involved!

  3. This is the first I’ve heard of this particular controversy, but considering the lead time in the publishing world, I find it incredibly hard to believe there was any plagiarism involved. While they came out several months apart, the finished manuscripts would have had to have been submitted long before then.
    Plus, similar subject matter, even the same topic, is not plagiarism. If there were indeed identical passages, then yeah, but I find that really doubtful. And an author of Moyes caliber and success is not likely to go there.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      That’s what I found hard to believe too and why I want to get to the bottom of that story! I promise to keep everyone updated 😉

  4. I think it’s totally plausible and that it would be indeed sad if it’s actually true and that there was intentional plagiarism… I think the editors, if the same, should be looked into, and if not the same, the publisher should investigate this for sure!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Lashaan I think they told the author (Kim) that they would do nothing as there was little ground for suing…

  5. Excellent article Sophie and a lot of good points!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you!!!!

  6. Jumping on hyped-up bandwagon is a depressing trait that human society always had had but with the advent of social media can be whipped up to a more horrifying level.
    I agree with you, Sophie, and would say that fiction based on historic events are open for “new interpretation” and unless proof of “copy and paste” can be established plagiarism in the artistic world is a HUGE grey area. I read paranormal romance and scenes, character names and tropes are frequently a commonality through various authors work.
    I like that you are planning to read all three books and make up your own mind.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Unfortunately you are right Flora! And I’ll keep everyone updated on the truth or not about plagiarism!

  7. If anyone can get to the heart (or, the bottom of this) I know you’ll try, if not for your readers, I know, for your own peace of mind.

    And plagiarism is rife, and a lot more prevalent now than at any other time because ebooks, Amazon, and how easy it is to download something from the web, strip out certain data and then, repackage it for sale under a new name.

    It is, however, rare for two well known writers who are published by big name publishers. Which probably means its a case of similar content, rather than any actual plagiarism.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well Alexandra I am nearly done with one of the other two books (Susan fanetti) and I can already tell you there is absolutely no plagiarism in this one. And you are right about palgiarism and ebooks but as you’ve said it’s very unusual for traditionally published authors (both)

  8. While it’s weird it could be a coincidence. Publishers work differently and things take a long time there before the book is actually released. It’s unusual that two authors write a similar book at the same time and publish it through the same house it’s not impossible. So for now, benefit of doubt.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Exactly Astrid, benefit of the doubt!

  9. Wow! I haven’t heard about this yet. I do agree with you that nobody owns history. If you do get the opportunity to read and make your own judgements on whether plagiarism occurred here or not, I look forward to reading your thoughts. It makes me shake my head when people leave reviews and negative comments without reading the book. Thanks for sharing about this.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You are so welcome! I am almost done with one of the other two books so expect a review next week already. I’ll also write a comparison post once I’ll have read all three books!

  10. I’ve fallen off of social media these last few days, so I didn’t see any of that. But I completely agree with you and hate when people write reviews when they haven’t even read the book, that always bugs me. I’ll be looking forward to your review of the books when you get to it. 🙂

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Jen!!!

  11. It really annoys me when people write reviews on AMAZON based on something they see on twitter or a buzzfeed article. I commend you for reading the three books to compare them, looking forward to hearing the results!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Kal!!!

  12. It seems like it’s always something, doesn’t it. It’s great that you will be reading the other books and then making up your own mind.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Yes Laura! And thank you xoxo

  13. I commend you on reading three books to compare them. I appreciate that you really want to see for yourself and are not following the mob. It frustrated me, when one person says something and others wage a war based on that alone. I think if you are going to accused an author of such a crime, you should at least read the books in question. And, seriously, nobody owns any historical events.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Yes Sam! And I get angry because I know how hard authors work to write their books so I can’t stand this lack of respect!

  14. First off – I love that you are going to read all 3 and then use your own judgement! That is amazing of you, and I hope you write a post telling us what you found (because I am lazy and don’t want to read any of these three books but I’m curious and trust your judgement!) This is the 2nd post I’ve seen about this, but I don’t remember much about the other post. I don’t even know who wrote it, but if I remember correctly the author of the post wasn’t going to read the other book because she didn’t really want to read a similar book. (so not because of the plagiarism controversy) This whole things really just reminds me of the big hoopla when Hunger Games came out. Everyone was mad because it was just copying some other movie (Battle royal maybe?) But really it had the same basic bone structure to the story but the characters were completely different. I think people are just to quick to jump on the bandwagon and judge too harshly and without and research!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I totally agree with you Brittany and I know this is how people act nowadays but I get furious every single time. And Yes I’ll write the reviews and by the end a comparison!

  15. I haven’t heard about this case but if it’s a historical fiction involving real people, I wouldn’t call it plagiarism. If someparts were the same or very similar, then we can discuss it.
    I know recenly author Jen Campbel (maybe I misspelled her name) accused John Lewis of plagiarism, because she has picture books with red hair girl and dragon, which is silly to me because she’s not the only one who wrote the book about red haired girl who is friends with dragon.
    There’s a classic Tilly and her Dragon which was even animated, and main characters are red haired girl and her dragon.
    I think more authors claimed they were plagiarized by John Lewis, calling out the same commercial.
    Little egotistical from my perspective.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well yes when you put it like that of course many stories could have a red haired girl and a dragon!

  16. I can’t believe the editors didn’t pick up on this, though it HAS happened before! Many years ago, mega-famous Nora Roberts sued Janet Dailey for plagiarism and won.
    I’ll be curious to hear your reaction after reading the second book, Sophie.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I promise to share here Jacquie!!!!

  17. Omg it’s always drama in the book world isnt it!!!

    Ps, I love Susan Fanetti!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well yes worse than Dallas and Dynasty LOL

      1. One I’ll day I’ll wake up and realise all the book world drama has been a dream!!!!

  18. I haven’t heard of this, but I would be surprised if it were true. I’m interested in hearing what you think when you read Kim’s book Sophie.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I promise to share everything here Kim and compare the three books. And not in a demeaning way (I am not that person) but just to get down to the roots of the controversy.

  19. I read all about this before I started the Jojo book. I’ve not read the other book but my view point is Jojo Moyes has no need to plagiarise and she knows the seriousness of something like that. She seems an ethical professional. I agree with your point, what about the other books that write about a very similar context? They probably read the same books and visited the same places to research the history of the librarians. Great post – Micky

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Micky! And yes that’s what I think too. Now the interesting part of gthis controversy is that it made me want to read the other two books just for the sake of research …and because they seem great too 😉

  20. Working with authors who publish traditional I can tell you regardless of the actual publication date.. all three women would have submitted their drafts and final drafts MONTHS before said release date. So I feel confident that Jojo’s book was already written and going through mass edits before the May release of Richardson’s.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Kimberly that’s what I want to think too! And I do think Kim’s book also seems excelelnt so it’s not to diminish one author’s work. Just that attacking and bashing without having all thefacts first hand makes me mad every time LOL

  21. I’ve been seeing this type of thing a lot over the past year. Sometimes from an author, but more often from a reader or two. I know Blood Heir had the accusation for something. It’s one thing to use a popular quote or have something happen (that is kind of a trope) vs flat out writing the same book. I am curious to see what you find after reading all three of these. I’m hating all the book controversy lately.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well that’s why I intend to read them all as I hate such controversy too! I hope I won’t find a downright copy but from the reactions of those few who have read both I don’t expect this!

      1. I’ll definitely watch for your future posts on it.

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