Everyone wants to go viral – but what if someone else gets all the credit?
You may recall that a few weeks ago I reported how the Daily Mail UK, ABC in New York Nine news in Australia and a big Australian online magazine called called Mamamia went viral with a 14 Step Guide to parenting, which was then claimed as an original work by Jelica Greganovic, a blogger in Serbia.
As it was word for word from a book called THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO FATHERHOOD that I wrote twenty years ago, and to which I won back the rights so I could republish it myself on Kindle late last year – AND AS I MADE ZERO SALES OUT OF THIS VIRAL STORM – you can imagine I was a little perturbed.
I wrote the the blogger who claimed my work as her own. (Apparently she even included it in one of her books!) Here’s part of the email I received in response to my complaint.
“I am a wife and a mother of three children and in the process of writing the stories I have without really noticing turned my husband and my three kids into the central characters of my stories built on humor and wit. Knowing that, it may be easier to understand how I came up with the same idea for a story as you did already twenty years ago. I am afraid that what happened was one of rare coincidences which I actually knew were not unheard-of in arts and science – they were even recognized as a challenge in the intellectual property law. I never thought I would end up living one of those, though.”
So there’s the explanation!! Amazing. ESP!!!
So I tried it for myself and it’s brilliant. Just this week I have written this great story about a young female FBI trainee who exchanges personal information with an imprisoned psychopathic genius to catch a serial killer who is killing young women for their skins. I’m thinking of calling it Silence of the Rams. Sound like something you heard of before? Pah. Co-incidence.
I also scribbled off this great novel about a scientist who clones dinosaurs on a remote island to create a giant amusement park – then they have to fight for their lives when the dinosaurs get loose. I’m stuck for a title though. How do you like PALEOZOIC PARK?
I’m sure Thomas Harris and Michael Crichton won’t mind the similarities, we’re both writers after all, and we draw upon the same creative unconscious.
The fact that the ideas are exactly the same is just co-incidence.
By the way THE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO FATHERHOOD was written as a consequence of an enormously popular column I wrote in the early nineties when my girls were little. But this was the days before the internet. If you reproduced someone else’s work then it was called breach of copyright and it was illegal.
If you feel as perturbed by this as I do, I’d really appreciate it if you’d go over to THE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO FATHERHOOD and press the “LIKE” button. Thank you.
And you never know. One day I may even make one sale out of all this.
Yours in shock and disbelief.
STOLEN FROM, RIPPED OFF, BUT APPARENTLY STILL FUNNY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.
Thanks again to Tim Lince who has a great online magazine that watches out for this sort of thing and alerted me to this in the first place.