From Sugar and Spice Press:
An Open Letter From Sugar and Spice Press
Today we received a letter accusing one of our authors of plagiarism. We take matters like these very seriously and have begun an emergency investigation of this matter. The author was contacted by a reviewer on Amazon and denied the plagiarism, but the reviewer saw so much coincidence that she felt the need to contact the original author who in turn contacted her own publisher. It was not brought to our attention by the author of our company. Our only indication came via legal letter today. Sugar and Spice Press abhors plagiarism, and we do not condone this in any way, shape, or form. Our authors sign a contract at the time of submission acceptance, and they affirm by signing that the submission is their original work.
Link to the rest at Sugar and Spice Press and thanks to Laura for the tip. This link is to the publisher’s home page and the content may change
From Erotic Romance Publishers:
Sugar and Spice have posted a front page announcement of a plagiarism issue with one of their titles. The author in question seems to have plagiarized A Harlequin title from the 1990s. Perhaps not anticipating that it would be reissued.
Based on the excerpt provided, the book in question is Too Close for Comfort by Stephanie Morris. To my memory, this is not the first time that romance has been plagiarized and the heroine race-swapped.
Link to the rest at Erotic Romance Publishers
In the days of small presses that sold regionally, plagiarism was easier to get away with. Put an ebook up on Amazon and it’s at least available everywhere in the US and probably elsewhere as well. All it takes is one review pointing out that a book is plagiarized to bring the whole house down. One of the posts reports that another romance press has pulled all of this author’s books.
UPDATE: One of the comments from an author who was asked, effectively, “Prove to us that you wrote this first” reminded PG of a technique he has used for years for a variety of legal matters.
In a world of email and electronic documents, it can be difficult to prove that a document existed or an email was sent on a particular date. There are digital notary services that, for a fee, will place a tamper-proof date stamp on a document to show that, for example, a document signed by both parties existed on the date the document was received by the service and hasn’t been changed.
Because he is always looking for free alternatives to simple paid services, PG opened up a Gmail account for the sole purpose of accepting incoming email from PG, sometimes with a document attached, and giving it a Google date stamp. When he sends an important document to opposing counsel and wants no questions about the content and date, he blind-copies this Gmail account. If there is a future question about what was sent and when, a time-stamped copy resides on Google’s servers.
While Gmail doesn’t have the bells and whistles that digital notaries have, PG is unaware of any method by which a phony document could be placed in a Gmail account on a back-dated basis. It’s easy to make an electronic copy of an email and change the date or to print and scan a copy of an email and use Photoshop to change a date, but so long as an electronic copy is sitting on Google’s servers, it ought to be pretty safe from tampering. If someone hacks the account, emails could be deleted but not changed and resaved with the original date. (PG thinks).
An author who is nervous about accusations of plagiarism could set up a Gmail (or Hotmail, etc.) account, forward a copy of his/her manuscript on a periodic basis and have date-stamped records of when various drafts were written and what was in them. It’s even a free offsite backup system for the manuscript.