Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I May Be Some Time (Again)

Here's the thing. Remember that new computer which rescued me from having to undergo a complete internet withdrawal a couple of weeks ago? Well, it's slowly collapsing under the weight of its own short circuits, and so it looks like I'm going to actually have to buy a new computer now.

If I don't appear for a few days, then, don't worry. I'll be back. And mean while, here's an eye-watering new plagiarism story to keep you going. I can't understand why writers would do this but still it happens.

27 comments:

The Voice said...

Dang, some are word for word. Could he not think on his own? Maybe to person is really a copy machine in disguise.

Anonymous said...

Any chance you'd be willing to divulge the brand of your new-computer-lemon? As a favor to those who may be shopping for one soon?

Jane Smith said...

Anon, the new lemon-fresh computer is only new to me, not new to the world, so it's not to blame. It's from my husband's office, where it's languished almost unused for a while.

I can see why now!

Each time I start it up it panics, and every now and then I get a message that it has a major system error. I could probably fix it but at the moment I have enough on my plate and so will probably solve the problem by flexing my Mastercard. Oh, the joys of the middle-class life!

BuffySquirrel said...

Come back soon!

Anonymous said...

I've got a plagiarism question. Or maybe a copyright infringement question. I guess that's part of the question.

What if I write a story about a young girl who lives on a backwater orbital platform with her older brother and their widowed mother, a middle-aged lawyer. The kids and their friends are terrified of the alien Booradlian who lives next door, they tell stories about it, plan to lure it from its ectoplasmic frond, etc.

Then the mother is appointed to defend a falsely-accused rapist, and To Kill a Mockingbird-cetera.

Is that plagiarism? If one takes the entire plot of To Kill a Mockingbird and transplants it into space, say, but doesn't copy any of Harper Lee's specific language?

Copycat

Anonymous said...

@copycat

No, you wouldn't be plagiarising there. You can't hold the copyright to a plot, only to specific expressions of that plot.

Simon

Derek said...

Why not just make up your own story? It's a lot more fun.

Get well soon, Jane's computer.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Another serial copyist. It's a sad old world out there.

Anonymous said...

Well, Derek, I can think of a few reasons to do that. It might be less fun, but what if, for example, I felt I could illuminate or interrogate some of the assumptions in To Kill a Mockingbird by transferring the plot into a different time and location and with different characters? I'm not actually planning this, but I don't think that 'fun' is necessarily the highest achievement of a writer, and I do think that perhaps engaging in a sort of 'conversation' with classic novels, even those still copyrighted, has some value.

But mostly I'm curious. I know characters and language are verboten, but plot seems a big of a vague spot. Simon says yes, but I wonder at what point this sort of copying becomes illegal. I suppose you can't entirely copy the plot without also appropriating the characters ...

Diana said...

It would be nice if someone put out a Small Publishers Beware list of people who plagiarize.

Nicola Slade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicola Slade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicola Slade said...

Sorry about that, had a senior moment. Meant to say that I like the idea of a space-opera version of To Kill a Mockingbird which would surely involve similar comparisons re discrimination? The trouble is that it's still in copyright so you'd need to have a foreward acknowledging your debt to the original work.
Would that be legal? Sounds polite at the very least!

Anonymous said...

Nicola:

Definitely polite! But I do wonder about the legality and copyright issues. Because if you -needed- to acknowledge the original, then that means if you wrote the space-opera version, you could be sued, and your novel pulled from shelves, etc.

And you're a fan of Pachelbel? Have you ever seen this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM

You might enjoy.

Copycat

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I now feel the need to copyright every witty word I write. Arggh! I need to know if there is a shortcut to that sweet little "c" with a circle around it!

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Oh,don't go away-- I just found ye!

I found this blog by way of TRUE SMALL CAPS, one of the great blogs I follow.

Hey, and I'm a self-published author that's doing well (non-fiction, probably why I'm not in the poorhouse). I look forward to reading more!

Natasha Solomons said...

Ok, it's been long enough. You need to come back now. Is there no one reading this blog who can't go round and sort out hprw's computer? I'll give you biscuits if you do...

Sara Crowley said...

Just read a message on twitter from HPRW saying " new computer is working fine, but Blogger won't let me in? Thank you! Will be back there ASAP."

Just to let you all know!

ViolaMaths said...

Hello everyone - I just received the following tweet from @hprw

Could someone please comment on my blog that new computer is working fine, but Blogger won't let me in? Thank you! Will be back there ASAP.

So there's your update! Please keep watching this space! I'll update further if I hear anything.

Anne Lyle said...

Jane says her computer is OK but she can't get into Blogger :(

(via Twitter)

Sara Crowley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DOT said...

You tweeted you wanted a comment; here is a comment addressed to your computer: Behave!

Josin L. McQuein said...

From Jane's Twitter:

Could someone please comment on my blog that new computer is working fine, but Blogger won't let me in? Thank you! Will be back there ASAP.

DanielB said...

Great story! Hope computer is back in action soon. I like your "Party Of Five" style "Here's the thing."

JFBookman said...

At least you know there's a crowd awaiting your return from compu-limbo.

Jane Smith said...

I'm back!

Thanks, all, for keeping things going while I was away. The fault was my own, and nothing to do with Blogger or my new computer (which is shiny and very fast, oh, joy), and I've sorted it out now.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as I catch up on missed work, sundry emails, and sort out my cat: fellow Twitterers might know that she's not terribly well, had a tooth out and biopsies taken yesterday, and is due back home today while we wait for biopsy results.

BuffySquirrel said...

Welcome back Jane!