Saturday, July 18, 2015

Standing Up Against Plagiarism

I have written before about my friend, Rachel Nunes, and her fight against plagiarism.  She and her lawyer, Shawn P. Bailey, whose website can be found here, are still preparing for their court date against the woman who plagiarized her.  Rachel's blog gives up to date information as things progress.  I read an interesting and informative article by Carolyn Campbell writing for Salt Lake City Weekly entitled Ripped and Ravaged.  While Ms. Campbell is author herself, she still, in my opinion, does a good job looking at both sides of the case.  Of course, I am still firmly on the side of my friend, Rachel.  And I would hope, if someone brazenly plagiarized me the way that Rachel was plagiarized, that I would have the courage, and the means, to do exactly what Rachel Nunes did, in doing all in her power to bring the plagiarist to justice, not backing down when  the plagiarist pulled the book just because she was caught.  If all that happened to the new breed of plagiarist victimizing indie published authors was a stern tisk tisk, few of them would feel the needed fear to refrain from plagiarizing.

Many people in the world, thankfully, are guided by a sense of right and wrong, and amazingly, choose to do what's right, even when other people aren't looking.  They do what's right simply because it's right, not because they expect some sort of reward.  They do what's right simply because it helps people.  They avoid doing what's wrong, simply because doing so would hurt people.  They have internalized the Golden Rule.  From what I know of Rachel Nunes, this is the kind of person she is.  I know her personally, and I know her to be a genuine, honorable, and good human being who sincerely cares for, and values others, not for what they can do for her, but simply because she sees them as worthwhile.

Other people, unfortunately, are not so altruistic.  Some people in the world are guided, not by a sense of right and wrong, but by a sense of reward and punishment.  They may do what's right, or simply what others approve, if other people are looking, and/or if they believe they will receive some sort of reward for it or avoid some sort of punishment.  Such people are very hard to predict, because their behavior changes in relation to their circumstances.  If they are trying to impress one certain kind of person who has one certain set of values, they will behave and speak in vastly different ways than they would five minutes later or earlier when around a very different kind of person with very different sets of values, because they are looking for approval from both kinds of people.  They don't internalize a set sense of right and wrong.  They don't know how to stand up for what they believe, because they may not even know what they really believe aside from the belief that they want to be rewarded.  Such people cannot be trusted just to do what is right.  They need to be compelled to do so.  Unfortunately, with the way the plagiarist has behaved against my friend Rachel when she thought she wouldn't get caught, seems to indicate to me, from all that I have seen, that she is in this second unfortunate group.  She needs to be compelled to stop plagiarizing and harassing.  And other plagiarists need to be compelled to stop.

Rachel Nunes is not acting out of a spirit of meanness when she insists on seeing this plagiarism case to the end.  She is not being vindictive when she refuses to give the plagiarist the easy way out after the plagiarist deliberately stole her story, then brazenly harassed her so unjustly.  She is doing what she is doing, because it is right.  Because the plagiarist needs to be stopped fully and completely.  Because other would-be plagiarists who could victimize any honest author next, (possibly me!) may be dissuaded when they know that the consequences for stealing others' hard work and intellectual property are very difficult, draining, and uncomfortable.

Rachel Nunes said it best when she said:  "I believe in redemption.  I believe in forgiveness, but I don't believe that I have to give this woman my work or let her attack me."

I agree.   

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