Plagiarism

On Thursday, my twitter feed was full of tweets about an article published on a reputed news site. Someone related to the original author had revealed that it had been published on a blog 7-8 years ago. The original author (say A), who they said currently lives in the US, had no idea about it.

The news site took the article down. The person under whose name the article was published (say B) disappeared from social media.

The moment I logged into Twitter yesterday morning, it showed me B‘s tweet on the plagiarized article. (I love Twitter’s algorithm so much!!) B had returned to social media with a story.

B says he is sorry for what happened but he was not wrong. He then explains how he got the article.

B tells about C, in his facebook post. “C had committed suicide last year,” he mourns, “I miss you, my friend.”

B adds, “C was better than me in writing. I always appreciated him. Encouraged him to write more. But once while he was in my city, he did not have money. I had this article in my mind and I paid him for it.”

“I had this article with me,” he goes. “It was good. I wanted to publish it. Because C had died, I thought I could publish it under my name. So I sent it to the e-magazine. When I got the article, I never knew it belonged not to C but someone else.”

As I finished reading B‘s explanation, I thought, ‘So, that was the case.’ A few minutes later, his “confession” bugged me. I went back to it. Clearly, B was blaming C for selling the plagiarized story. And B was not actually sorry that he had sent it to the e-zine under his own name. Now that the plagiarism had been proved, he seemed to the blame on to a dead friend. Disgusting.

I retweeted B‘s tweet. I wrote:

1. You can never send an article belonging to somebody else under your name.

2. You seem to blame a dead man, that too, a friend.

3. I can’t believe C would sell an article for money. (B had said C worked in an FM station.)

4. If you bought it from C, why did you publish it in your name?

5. A simple apology would have been fine. This backstory looks dishonest to me.

B replied, “I said what had happened. But I realized I had done a mistake.”

He might be telling the truth, but for me he was not honest in his apology. However, I stopped the conversation as it was going nowhere. I wished him good luck in his journey as a writer.

As I refresh my feed, I found the original author, A‘s tweet. (This is why I love Twitter so much!) Captioned, “To whom it may concern”, he had posted a screenshot of a note which said something like this:

My creations are my daughters. I can never ever dream of selling them. It is painful when someone takes away my daughters. My writings keep me sane in this world of hustle. These words come out of raw emotions and I want my readers to read them that way. I remain anonymous because I want readers to feel the words, not associate themselves with the author. If someone wants to take my writings, ask me. I will give you without hesitation. But please don’t steal them.

I was so moved, I retweeted it immediately. A few moments later, I looked into the thread. B had apologized.

Note:

1. All the conversations and posts are translated from Nepali.

2. I am still concerned, though. This came out on a reputed magazine, the original article and author were discovered. Mr. B was not a “big” author. It was easier to pin him down. How many authors have earned reputation from articles and stories they copied from others? Why those who plagiarize look for excuses instead of saying they are sorry? Why “small” authors get penalized but “big” ones go on boasting their plagiarized material?

#blogging #article #literature #plagiarism