Plagiarism - The Last Word


Okay, folks, here’s the deal. Over the past few days there have been some issues on this board, many of which have not made this a very fun place, not the least of which is the fact that it looked like we were going to lose the board entirely for a few days. Thanks to some hard work behind the scenes and in front of them by Heidi and Wendy, the board will be moving to a cheaper server and will continue. Which, thus, brings us to the crux of the other issue: the plagiarism that suddenly seems to be running rampant on this board.

So here is what we, the mods, have decided (and might I add that we are not all in agreement, but that we want this issue dealt with finally at this point and most of us feel this is the best don't think some of us have lost our principles here.)

We feel at this point that banning latahart and Linda would be pointless. Both have openly admitted their mistake, as well as their lack of knowledge that it might be a problem, prior to this issue arising. Both did credit the sources from which they had lifted material. Both have demonstrated real remorse. Both of their threads will be deleted but their other stories will remain open and they may continue to post here. And so, both are being given a second chance. We also feel that there is a certain justification in the position that there was no hard and fast rule about this posted anywhere. For some of us, what is plagiarism likely seems a given, but clearly it is not, and so the rule is NOW being put into place.

We considered banning all fics based on literary material at all, but that seemed a bit extreme. It would certainly make OUR lives easier. However, we do not want to treat the members of this board like children. We feel that we can all understand what constitutes plagiarism and what does not.

From this point on, there will be no second chances. We take full responsibility that there has not been a post stating exactly what plagiarism is and we understand that perhaps it is not the easiest of concepts. However, this does not mean that we will condone it. For that reason, the rule is now simple.

1) Any fic that is proven to be copied word for word from ANY other written source, even with it being credited, will instantly be deleted and the writer banned from the board. This includes fictional, published works and fics written by other fan-writers in any fandom.

2) Any fic proven to be copied scene by scene from any other written source or any movie will instantly be deleted and the writer banned from the board.

3) Any fic "inspired" by another published work, movie or fic by another writer, should be run by a mod first, with a sample from your fic and a link to the original source. If you are unsure, you are probably right. It probably is plagiarism. Go with your gut. WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK A MOD. That is what we are here for.

4) Quotes from the actual TV show Roswell will be permitted, as long as they are not excessive. There is a difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism. While we are all technically guilty of copyright infringement by writing fanfic at all, we are doing so with the tacit approval of the owners of the copyright, as they are certainly aware that we exist. However, overuse of quotes or the posting of complete episodes of Fox’s Roswell will be treated in the same vein as plagiarism.

In the end, not only is plagiarism a betrayal of the writers from which the words and ideas are stolen, it is also a betrayal of your readers. We feel that it is wrong to claim someone else’s work as your own, particularly since so many of us are writers here as well as readers. We pour our blood, sweat and tears into our fics and feel that we should be guaranteed the knowledge that all other writers on this board are doing the same.

Finally, from this point on, there will be no second chances. This will remain posted here and on every board at Fanatics. If you choose not to have read it, that will not be an excuse. Every single user is now held accountable for their actions regarding this very important issue. If you are presently the owner of a thread that has violated one of these rules, even if it was started BEFORE these rules were posted, you will still be held accountable. So if you are, I suggest you get rid of it before we notice. And, trust me, we WILL notice. We have had some very helpful users in the past few days informing us of cases that we are taking very seriously.

If you plagiarize, you will be banned. End of story.

The RoswellFanatics Definition of Plagiarism will be as follows:

The Canadian Intermediate Dictionary defines plagiarism as: "the act of taking and using as one's own the idea, writing, invention, etc. of another; especially the taking and using of passages, plot, etc. from the work of another writer."

I am going to use the novel The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen to give examples of what would be passage plagiarism, an example of idea plagiarism and how it could be adapted so that it WOULD not be plagiarism.

1)An example of direct passage plagiarism using the book The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen:

"Thirteen year-old Mark Harrison sat on a white slab of shale studying a small army of ants that was carrying off the crumbs that had dropped from a granola bar he'd just eaten." (p.3)

Direct passage plagiarism:

"Sixteen year-old Liz Parker sat on a white slab of rock studying a small army of aliens that was carrying off the orbs she and her friends had uncovered."

This may seem stupid and something no one would do, but I assure you, this has happened. And trust me, telling everyone that it comes from the book in question does NOT make it okay. It is STILL plagiarism.

2)Idea plagiarism: This area is a little more grey and shady, but really isn't that difficult if you think about it.

In The Transall Saga Mark falls into a red beam of light and is transported to another dimension, which turns out to be an Earth of the future after a nuclear holocaust. Adapting this idea for Roswell, where Liz falls into the beam of light and finds a post-EOTW situation would be okay, as long as the take is different and nothing comes DIRECTLY from the book. Writing the exact same story, chapter by chapter, could be constituted as idea plagiarism.

Good examples of idea adapted fanfic on these boards:

Secrets in the Dark by Starlady (she has not read the book in question, as it was a challenge - she is simply using the book's premise as a jump-off point for a fic of her own, but still mentions the book in her disclaimer) or If I Fall by mockingbird39 which uses the premise of the movie of City of Angels but goes in a completely different direction.

Speaking of If I Fall, what about movies? They are the same as books. Using a basic premise is okay. Rewriting a movie scene by scene just substituting the characters from Roswell is NOT.