A long time historical author has been accused of the unthinkable. This should shake things up a bit. Even La Nora has eloquently spoken. I was checking e-mail tonight and a RWA Alert was posted. It was a second notice about RWA's standing toward a recent scandal hitting the press but it sounds as if the internet and blogosphere is where it all began.
In a succession of blog posts, you can see the controversy bud and then explode. Supposedly, even CNN, MSNBC, USA Today, New York Times and the AP have responded. SBTB details how they have compared passages from multiple books, multiple publishers written by historical romance writer Cassie Edwards, to identical passages she supposedly lifted from various published works. They've even tracked the plagiarism dating back to 1983. Apparently a big part of the controversy lies with the fact that Signet, the publisher, originally denied any illegal wrong doing and Ms. Edwards herself claimed to have done nothing wrong. The passages she copied were available for "fair use". But I guess now that Signet has had time to see the fallout from this, they've decided to investigate. In my case, the internet worked better than satellite. I hadn't heard anything of the debate until tonight.
SBTB notes that Signet has changed their POV. Hmmm. Really. La Nora even commented on SBTB with calm and class. But even I remember as far back as elementary school, it's considered plagiarism if you copy words verbatim and not site the source. Whether it's from historical research and non-fiction or fiction.
How does this affect us? Well...if people boycott Signet...what about the sales of innocent authors swept up in the tidal wave of bad press? What about Janet Dailey and her admission to plagiarizing Nora Roberts works in 1997...is Ms. Dailey still writing?
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