|Date(s):||16 December 2004 - 3 September 2014 (last updated)|
|Moderator:||archylou, ashes_and_wings, autobadgirl, frayen, enigmaticblues, irishrose1, misscam, pomkeygeekange, sevvy_o, spiralleds and the_gubette, along with maintainer quinara and ff.net monitor ladywhitehart|
|Type:||Addressing plagiarism within fandom|
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
Stop Plagiarism is a multifandom livejournal community devoted to discovering, publicizing and addressing cases of fannish plagiarism. They have a sister community, dontstealvideo, for cases of fanvid plagiarism.
Originally, Stop Plagiarism confined its scope to the Buffy and Angel fandoms, but soon expanded to cover plagiarism in all fandoms. Most cases handled by the mod team involve one fan writer plagiarizing another, but they also handle cases of fan writers plagiarizing original work.
The mod team of Stop Plagiarism asks a person who suspects that they have discovered a plagiarized story to do the following things: first, compare the new story with a copy of the original. Second, contact the original author, in order to ensure that a person who has changed pseuds is not mistaken for a plagiarist. Third, write up a report and post it to the community, including documentation; screencaps of the plagiarized story in case it is pulled down, earliest dates of publication for each story, and reports on communication with the author(s).
All posts to the community are screened, meaning they do not appear publicly until approved by a moderator; this is to avoid making false accusations public.
Once a report has been submitted, moderators will review the post in question. They will then approve or reject the post. If approved the moderators will contact the suspected plagiarist for her side of the story and to warn her of potential consequences. If plagiarism has occurred, the moderators will post the "Case Against" the plagiarist, including proof such as screencaps or quotes, and add the plagiarist's pseudonyms to the List of "Convicted" Plagiarists for one year. (Additional acts of plagiarism may extend this time.) They will also contact archives and inform them that they are hosting a plagiarized story.
Mod spiralleds has written the following Top Ten list of warning signs that a story you are reading may be plagiarized:
- Sex scenes are in a different style than the rest of the fic. Particularly for young writers who don't have a lot of sexual experience from which to draw, there is the temptation of cutting and pasting in sex scenes to their fic.
- The description of parts in the sex scene don't match the characters. If someone is describing a male character as having a G-spot, something is amiss. If Veronica is having an orgasm from Logan biting her neck and drinking her blood, something is amiss. And at that point, I'm nearly hoping it's plagiarism, not AU's Gone Wild!
- If in her info section, the writer provides her age, yet her level of knowledge of a topic, particularly the topic of sex, seems rather beyond her years, it might be plagiarism.
- The writing is oddly generic. There is nothing with specifics about physical traits of the character or mannerisms or accents or experiences or names, etc. Or it could just be poor writing. Not long ago I read a fic where if it hadn't been for the header telling me the pairing I would not have been able to identify it, I googled the most unique phrase in it. I didn't find anything and decided that it was unlikely to be plagiarism but just writing that could have and should have been tighter.
- There are vague references to things in the lives of the characters that don't track. If Mal is brooding about things he did before getting his soul, don't automatically shrug it off as being a metaphor.
- The writer is prolific. No, this isn't me being jealous of the prolific, as I realize that there are many completely legitimate prolific writers. But when someone is cranking out more fic than seems humanly possible in a given time frame, be aware.
- The writer is all over the board in pairings, writing styles, etc. Most writers have favorite pairs they write over and over again. Favorite kinks. Favorite styles - gen or het or slash or whatever. Most writers do not bounce around. Yes, there are exceptions. (Points to self.) But like being prolific, if joined with other signs, it might be worth a google fu or two.
- If the quality of writing improves dramatically from one fic to the next. Granted, writers should and do improve, sometimes dramatically, especially if she gets a beta after writing without one. However, if it goes from atrocious to polished without any intermediate steps and with limited time between the writing, you may have someone who was disappointed in the lack of feedback or lack of positive feedback and in order to get the pets she sees other writers getting and for which she is eager, she plagiarizes another's work.
- Her Author's Notes are riddled with netspeak and spelling errors and overuse of ellipses, yet the fic is well written. Ex: i dont' know where this idea came form but i just had to right it... let me know if its gr8 or if it sux... (o.k. maybe not if it sux... lol...) Yet in the fic itself, the "I"s are capitalized, the spelling and rules of grammar are there, the use of ellipses is limited and appropriate, etc.
- The names are inconsistent. What is supposed to be a LOST fic involving Kate, Jack and Sawyer occasionally has the names Buffy, Angel and/or Spike or maybe the names Veronica, Duncan and/or Logan showing up.