Friday, July 17, 2009

Not Nice

Jane Smith over at How Publishing Really Works at has declared today Anti-Plagiarism Day. There are some interesting posts on the subject out in blogland and I thought I'd contribute in a small way.

I noticed this month that once again my book review in the local paper has been attributed to someone else. A man this time. Greg Burns. (It was Polly something last time.) I'm sure he's a very nice man. He might even be a very good writer - better than me. But he didn't write that 300 word book review. I did. I don't get paid, but still. I like doing them, and before the paper was taken over recently there was even a little photo of me to accompany the review and a bit about me and my services to humanity job in the library. Now, I don't even get a mention.

It sucks actually, so I can sort of imagine how people must feel to have whole swathes of text that they've sweated over passed off as someone else's work. Not nice.

Anyway, I've fired off a creative email informing the paper that I won't be contributing anymore.

So there.

35 comments:

Quillers said...

I don't blame you, Karen. That really isn't fair at all. The fact that you don't get paid for them is irrelevent. You put time and effort into them so deserve to get the credit.

Paul Capewell said...

That's really poor, Karen, sorry to hear that.

The Examiner has basically died on its feet ever since the takeover. I appreciate that it's the only cost effective way to run a local paper these days, but at the cost of having actual people on the ground, based in the area (and who know their contributors personally, such as yourself), I'm not entirely sure it's worth it...

Teresa Ashby said...

Good for you, Karen! What a flipping cheek they've got! I agree with Sally!

Queenie said...

What Sally said. And Teresa. In fact they're lucky you didn't sue them for copyright infringement.

ChrisH said...

Good for you.

Chicklit Addict said...

Go, Karen!
They should get the message. Their loss.

Helen P said...

Bloomin' heck, the cheek of some people. We all write for some reward and in my experience a byline is the least they can give us. There is no other profession I can think of that treats its members so shoddily. There are plenty of places you can write for free and be appreciated, Karen; your blog for one.

Suzanne said...

Definitely not nice, Karen.

It serves them right that you're not going to contribute anymore. And it's their loss.

SpiralSkies said...

I'm really rather proud of you for telling them to bog off.

The credit is what counts, not the money but you deserve both.

LauraCassidy said...

That sort of carry on annoys me so much! Well done for telling them off!

Jane Smith said...

Karen, thanks for linking to my blog and for taking your own stand against the misappropriation of writers' work. Your support is much appreciated.

I've added a link to this piece to my blog post, so everyone can find you now.

HelenMHunt said...

That's a shocking thing for them to do. Their loss, as they'll be hard pushed to replace you as a reviewer.

Annieye said...

It really sucks, Karen.

It happens all the time to me at work. There is a little box at the top of council reports for 'report author'. Only service heads and above are allowed to be 'report authors'

I often sit at Committee, taking the minutes, and councillors compliment these so-called 'report authors' on their excellent well written reports. I know it's my job, but I get really fed up with it.

Don't blame you for withdrawing your services.

Gonna be a writer said...

Its a pity that you had to do Karen but good for you for doing it. It would have been easy to just carry on but there are times when you have to stick up for yourself and this was one of them.

Fia said...

Furious for you.

A creative email to rival newspaper might go down well.

Liane Spicer said...

It's not even my work and it makes me so angry I shudder to think how I'd react if it happened to me. Doesn't matter whether they pay you or not. It's your work and the least the paper could do is run a correction notice.

Jan Jones said...

Well done, you! That is just so disrespectful of the editor!

Tell you what - why not put your would-have-been-review up on your blog instead and then write a letter to the paper telling the readership that that is where it can now be found.

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

That stinks and good for you! That's just so wrong.

Amanda said...

I don't blame you, Karen. That's so unfair - especially as you not even paid!! They'll be sorry to lose you! x

Honeysuckle said...

Why would they do that? Are they trying to give the impression they're a huge organisation with loads of staff? Doesn't make sense, but you did the right thing. Rotters.

Anna said...

Good for you!! If they can't get their names straight...

That must have been SO FRUSTRATING!!!

Debs said...

Well done for telling them what you think. What a damn cheek, and why would they thing you wouldn't notice what they'd done?

Karen said...

quillers - It's not the first time it's happened, but it will be the last!

paul - Yes, I've heard a few people say the same thing. I think they've moved out of the area too - it's definitely not the same and there's no personal touch like there used to be :o(

teresa ashby - I did get a terse email back late yesterday saying, "sorry about the contributor error" but that was all.

queenie - Well I let them off the first time it happened, but enough is enough!

chrish - Thank you :o) I worded my email very nicely. No swearing or anything!

chicklit addict - Thanks! I think they have now.

helen p - It is a bit off isn't it - it's not just me? A few people have already said, oh I see someone else is doing the book review now!

Who's that pretty lady?? Oh hi, Suzanne! Well yes, I like to think it's their loss.

sprialskies - I wish I had actually said that now. "Bog off." Has a nice, final ring to it :o)

lauracassidy - That's exactly what I said in my email - that it was annoying ... and it is!

jane smith - Thank you and my pleasure. It's an interesting debate, and just happened to coincide with the book review coming out!

helenmhunt - Thank you for that :o) Actually, I might send it to you for Bookersatz!

annieye - Ooh, that's definitely more annoying knowing someone else is being praised! How blummin' rude.

gonna be a writer - I think so. They said it wouldn't happen again after the first time, so I think it probably will!

fia - Ooh, yes I could start a war of words! Actually I don't think there is a rival newspaper ...

liane spicer - Hmmm, I can't see them doing that somehow. I expect they've forgotten about it now :o(

jan jones - Thank you, and I would do that only I'm not sure they've got much of a readership any more! I suppose that's one consolation :o)

bfs - I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so :o)

amanda - I know! The buggers. An well, I was thinking of sending it to Helen for Bookersatz so it's not wasted :o)

honeysuckle - I honestly don't know. I don't know who any of them are any more. The lovely editor, Julie, left earlier this year and I have no idea who's even in charge now!

anna - It was frustrating actually. It's not like I can tell people, oh actually that should have my name at the bottom, not his! Grrrrr. I feel some cake coming on ...

debs - That's a good point actually. Maybe they don't think I read the paper - which I probably won't in future!

Jumbly Girl said...

That's really dreadful Karen, well done for walking away, definitely their loss. Lots of local papers seem to be heading the same way - the editor of ours lives miles away and apparently never comes into the local office so as no idea what happens here - very sad as I think local papers are important. Hope you keep up the book reviews elsewhere -could there be an outlet for them in the library?

Ladybird World Mother said...

Grrrr. Grrrrr and Grrrrr. You must be so cross. Good on you to write and tell 'em you wont be doing it anymore. Grrrrr.

TOM FOOLERY said...

Oh! This will not do. Post haste I'll compose a letter to the
letters page pretending I'm an angry reader. I'll be polite ;-)

Dear Arsehole Editor........

Tommox
(I'm ma-in-law free today, my humour is returning :)

Karen said...

jumbly girl - It is a shame - the paper definitely has a more impersonal feel these days. I'm going to shunt them over to Helen at Bookersatz, if she'll have them!

ladybird world mother - That's exactly what I did. Lots of grrrr-ing. And felt much better for it :o)

tommo - Lol! That would be funny - although hang on...I don't think they have a letters page any more either :o(

(Sounds like ma-in-law needs locking in a cupboard ;o))

Lily Sheehan said...

That is so cheeky. I don't blame you for that. I hope they have the decency to print an apology.

Karen said...

lily - I'm afraid they won't. They didn't last time, anyway!

Edward said...

Good on yer. You should publicise the name of the paper so that we can all avoid buying it in the future.

Denise said...

Ooh, that made me really cross for you. I wrote into my local paper with an idea for a column, and a few examples. I got no reply, but a couple of weeks later they set up a new part of the letters page, where people could write in with humorous stories of things that had happened to them in the area. Their examples were the 3 ideas I'd sent them...

Fionnuala Kearney said...

Gosh you know this whole thing - the 'P' word has really surprised me. I used to be neurotic about protecting my work - put (C) Author's Name - on everything I even let anyone read. Then over time I thought this looked amateurish and in fact was told it did by professionals. No-ones interested in stealing your work, they all said in unison. And now, I'm not as neurotic anymore and maybe I should be?!
And that part about someone else taking the credit for your words - your 300 words that came from your brain in that order. Someone else getting credited for it. Grrrrr.... You were right to tell them take a hike, unless of course they come back to you and want to consider paying or at least crediting you?

Tam said...

Hurrah! Tell 'em to stuff it where the sun don't shine. When you're a super successful novelist they'll be v sorry :-)

Lane said...

That's disgusting.
I've had run-ins with my local paper too. Pitched ideas which they've immediately run with an in house writer. And loads of emails just going unanswered. It's enough to make you grrr for England.

Well done for taking a stand.tw

Karen said...

edward - It's the Bucks Examiner - not much interest to anyone outside Bucks I guess (or anyone inside for that matter!)

denise - Ooh, I'm really cross for you now. How annoying! Have you seen that whole plagiarising debate going on over at How Publishing Really Works? Interesting stuff.

fionnuala - All I got in the end was an email saying, "sorry about that." Okay then. My friend's dad has written to the paper in my defense, bless him!

lane - It must be a 'local paper' thing, although they were great to work with before the take-over :o( Not answering emails is downright bad manners.

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