Friday, January 4, 2013

Ethics?

I wrote about plagiarism the other day on both my blog and the HWA Forum. The practice appears to be alive and well. I received two plagiarized stories from two writers on the same day. The tougher question is why. Why would somebody take someone else’s story and try and peddle it as his own? In the case of Science Fiction Trails, this is a small press operation and it’s certainly not for the money.

And this isn’t my first time down this path. Ten years ago I was editing an anthology and received an O. Henry short story that some guy was claiming as his own original work. This is fraud, and he presumably would’ve signed a contract stating the story was his own original work. But there’s something else that I can’t quite figure out. Some people seem desperate to get published. But, is selling somebody else’s story as your own really getting published? So why do it? Some cynical need to prove even major authors can’t get published? There is no empirically good or bad story. It’s either right for a project or it is not. I don’t have the answer for this. It also makes me wonder if there are any out there that have slipped through that I didn’t catch.

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