Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Modern plagiarism

Here’s an interesting post on modern plagiarism techniques, from The Passive Guy, who is a lawyer, as you may know, and whom I think specializes in intellectual property law.

PG has been looking into contemporary plagiarism over the past several days and will be writing more than one post about the topic.

While many of the ways of beating academically-oriented plagiarism detection are focused on manipulating a student paper, other, more sophisticated computerized tools often referred to as “Spinners” or “Article Spinners” can be used to not only fool college plagiarism checkers, but also make it difficult for the author of a book to discover plagiarism and prove copyright infringement in court.

Google has become smarter, so spinning doesn’t work there any more, but spinning software is still around and has reportedly become more sophisticated. Pour the text of a romance ebook into spinning software and out comes another romance that has a similar plot but different character names, places, descriptions, etc.

And here is a post where PG goes on to apply this to a current plagiarism case that’s currently in court.

I must say, that sure looks like plagiarism to me. Also, it’s totally consistent with the type of plagiarism that’s apparently such a problem in the world of cheap romance ebooks, the type that targeted Courtney Milan and Nora Roberts, among others. I wonder how those cases are progressing? I doubt there’s been time for everything to work its way through the court system yet.

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2 Comments Modern plagiarism

  1. Pete Mack

    What is most interesting to me is that Simon Schuster chose to contest this case. They can’t be making their existing (real) authors happy. And their eventual legal costs will be high. So what is their motivation?

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