This morning, I read the cross-posts about the state of plagiarism over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author, . . One sentence in particular made me wince: “In our opinion, plagiarism isn’t taken seriously enough by some readers or by some writers.” Really, I think that plagiarism isn’t taken seriously enough by many readers or many writers. It also isn’t taken seriously enough by our society. And to be honest, that ticks me off.
Way back in my junior high/high school years, we had the rules of plagiarism and citing works of others drilled into our heads. Failing to cite works was considered plagiarism and was grounds for a big, fat ZERO. There was no wiggle room. There was always at least one example of someone you knew who had indeed been caught plagiarizing and paid the price. This was a huge deal in high school, and we were held to the highest standard. I was so nervous that I tended to overciteevery paper. I admit that I was a bit overzealous about not wanting to ever plagiarize, but I think my overzealousness helped me learn what plagiarism was and how to cite works properly. I’m pretty sure that most students today don’t get this kind of indoctrination, and I think it is a shame. People need to think a bit more about how they would feel if someone stole their work without proper attribution.
So, for the record, as a reader I do not condone plagiarism in any way shape or form. And yes, I put my money where my mouth is. I refused to by any books by Janet Dailey after she plagiarized works by Nora Roberts. Yes, her books are still on the book shelves, but I do not even look at them. Had I been a fan of Cassie Edwards, I would have stopped buying her books as well. I approved of Signet’s decision to part ways with Edwards given the overwhelming evidence against Edwards. I am continually amazed that writers continue to plagiarize – and then give a host of bizarre excuses for their behavior. I have no tolerance for it, and neither should other writers, other reader or publishers.