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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Deceptive Appearances

March 2015, a little over a year ago I posted "A Cautionary Tale from Becca Mills" which linked to Becca's own post at The Active Voice and recounts how her book Nolander was blocked by a DMCA notice,

Now via the Passive Voice, comes another tale of the perils of publishing; plagiarism

Eilis O'Hanlon recalls how her novels were swiped by a stranger in the Irish Independent newspaper. She unpacks a story worth telling and like most real-life stories the outcome for O'Hanlon and her co-author, Ian McConnell, writing as Ingrid Black is not tidy.

The discovery came through a tweet from @donnapatel asking the simple question; "Are you Ingrid Black?"

The reworking of Ingrid Black's The Dead looked as though the plagiarist had the book open beside the keyboard as she wrote, so strong were the similarities.

The first book had been ripped off, and in due course. The Dark Eye the second book in the series endured the same fate and O'Hanlon began to track down the plagiarist writing as Joanne Clancy,

O'Hanlon raises a number of points about productivity. Do readers ever wonder where all the books come from? The plagiarist had published a number of books over the years; how many of those were actually the work of other authors? Was she dealing with an individual or a collective. 26 novels in various genres, suggested an output on an industrial scale

Most professional authors find creating one a year is hard work, and for the enthusiastic amateur, or semi professional working around a day job maintaining any sustainable output can be challenging.

The victim of plagiarism has the responsibility to seek legal restitution from the plagiarist. This can be a lengthy process and the outcome is not certain, convincing the relevant websites and distribution platforms of your ownership and integrity can be difficult, doubts can undermine resolve.

O'Hanlon ploughed on and eventually made contact with the plagiarist. Searching the Internet for clues, embarking on her own detective work, Images, Linkdin, Facebook, Twitter, all threw up their clues to be chased down leading to email contact with "Joanne Clancy." She unpacks the exchanges in the article and the end result is that Joanne Clancy's books are withdrawn from Amazon, her account closed down and she is banned for life.

Eilis O'Hanlon's sense of validation must have been staggering, to be the victim of fraudulent activity and have it acknowledged and confirmed must have made the effort worthwhile.

The tale reads like fiction, and good fiction. but the harsh reality is that O'Hanlon and McConnell are both left with unanswered questions. Loose ends that fiction would neatly tie off are left flapping in the cold breath of reality.

Read the article for yourself, you'll see what I mean!

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