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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hard Evidence or Stunt?

Fame seems to go hand in hand with lawsuits.

By now I'm sure you've heard about the lawsuit author, Jordan Scott filed against Stephanie Meyer.

According to J. Craig Williams who represents Scott, Breaking Dawn has similar plot and character points and a few word for word similarities to Scott's novel, The Nocturne.

So far I have not seen the evidence that is supposed to support the accusation.

I am more likely to be convinced of plagiarism if there is word for word copying. But saying that plot and characters are similar smacks of desperation.

But in Scott's defense, put yourself in her shoes. How would you feel if (insert famous author name here) published a book that seems uncomfortably similar to yours? Even if it only felt similar to you alone, wouldn't it feel like a slap in the face that the other author rose to fame and fortune on the same concept you also came up with?

It's a bitter pill to see someone else's work touted, especially if it 'appears' as if you came up with the idea first.

But let me also remind you that ideas are not copyrightable. I can go out right now and write a book about a boy wizard who goes to wizard school. No publisher will probably touch it because it can't compete with the 'original' successful story.

The idea of a boy wizard and a wizard school is not copyrighted. Harry Potter is.

The lawsuit will have to prove Meyer stole the words, but I don't think that accusation of stealing character traits and plot is going to float.

Judging also by how readers have responded to Meyer's series, they are hooked by Meyer's specific voice and style. Something Scott didn't achieve.

I feel sorry for Jordan Scott. I'm sure she's feeling betrayed and angry, but right now from what little is being revealed, it sounds like trumped up charges. Her website says the book is sold out from the site itself, but you can buy the Kindle edition or read it on Google Books.

Is it possible that the lawsuit is a promotional stunt? It's been done before. It doesn't do much to garner credibility for the author in the long run, but it can provide some fast sales in the short run.


Jannette Johnson said...

It think this is a stunt. It's like you said, people fall in love with voice and style, and from what I've been able to learn, this person had neither. If she did, we'd be reading about how Meyer's ripped her off.

Maria Zannini said...

Yeah, it kind of seems to lean that way.

I guess we'll find out eventually. Since there's been so little publicity, it's likely this might fade away before it even hits the courts.