1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

John Heidenry and Brett Topel are plagiarists and lawyers suck, too

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by lantaur, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. lantaur

    lantaur Active Member

    OK, without getting into too much detail, I wrote a book a while back. Nothing major, but hey, it's out there. Anyway, there's a new book out which tackles some of the same subject. I was looking at it on Amazon.com (you can see pages of the book by clicking on Surprise Me!) and turns out there are quotes directly lifted from my book.

    How do I know they are mine? They came from interviews I did with the subject(s). I did not see any footnotes noting such. (I know in my book, when I quoted material from another book I would mention "told so and so in (book name).")

    I don't know if there is an index/bibliography. If there isn't ... what the hell do I do? What can I do?

    It's semi-flattering ... but also semi-pisses me off if there's no attribution.
     
  2. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    I would point this out to your book publisher and let them contact the other book publisher about copyright infringement if not plagiarism.
     
  3. In Exile

    In Exile Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    The other author may actually be on the side of fair use there. Are the quotes foisted off as gathered by the author, or are they attributed as in "told a reporter," or "said after the game," or something similar? Are the quotes substantial and unique, appearing in your work and your work only, or simple generic one-liners that may have appeared in more than one place? Were they spoken at a press conference or ever broadcast? Is the book for an adult or juvenile audience? Unless it is significant, a book publisher isn't going to respond. In fact, in instances like those cited above, many remove such attributions in the editing process- they disrupt flow. If they didn't, almost every non-fiction book, particularly those with any historic content, would be nothing but footnotes.
     
  4. ballscribe

    ballscribe Active Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    Uh, I would suggest the first thing you might be doing is, uh, actually, spring for the $20 or whatever it costs and confirm you actually have a gripe before you go all worst-case scenario?
     
  5. lantaur

    lantaur Active Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    1. Quotes were listed as "so-and-so recalled" (yeah, recalled to me :)).
    2. Quotes are unique based on phone interviews.
    3. Understood on the "flow" and such ... just wondering if I had any recourse or if this was "par for the course."

    The hell with paying $20, I'll get it from the library. :)
     
  6. lantaur

    lantaur Active Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    Thanks .... I'll probably do that once I check out the book in its entirety.
     
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?


    Now I understand why you Internet types keep trashing print. You're cheap mofos.
     
  8. lantaur

    lantaur Active Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    Ha ha ... good one. I buy of books - but I sure as hell am not going to buy one from someone who might have stolen my shit! :)
     
  9. In Exile

    In Exile Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    I don't think you have any recourse if he didn't foist them off as coming from his own interviews, and they don't go on for hundreds of words.  That's pretty much par for the course, legal and pretty common.  Check out any post game press conference and you find writers using "so and so said after the game" stuff in regard to questions asked by other writers, even when they weren't in the room and saw the press conference on a feed.  

    I'd just let it go.  It's not going to be worth the fight
     
  10. lantaur

    lantaur Active Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    I agree it probably won't be worth the fight :) but I'm not talking about press conference quotes. I'm talking about "exclusive" one-on-one phone interviews (these books are of a historical nature, if that matters). Oh, and there might have been some "non-quotes" lifted. I'll be sure when I get the book in a couple of days. Appreciate the responses.
     
  11. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    whether or not you have legal recourse, you sure as heck want to raise the issue so this guy's publisher drops him -- not out of revenge but because what publisher wants to be publishing a plagiarizer?
     
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Re: Is this plagiarism? What would you do?

    lant,

    Have you considered extortion? Might be more profitable in the long run. Why drop a dime when you can pick up a pocketful of twenties?
     
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page