In the news recently there is a case called Larson vs. Dorland Perry, which has triggered much discussion about plagiarism, rights to stories and copyrights, derivative works, copyright infringement, licensing abuse, and in general, the pathetic excuses some of us creators receive when the offender tries to justify their behavior. I am no stranger to this nonsense.
If you haven’t read Larson vs. Dorland Perry, a colleague/peer of mine at Piper’s Book Blog has two or more articles on the subject, which help you deconstruct the case apart from what you might have read on the New York Times article, which clearly did not do the story or case justice at all. It’s a fascinating story about plagiarism and copyright (along with a lot of excuses, meanness, justification, group mobbing, etc.).
Frankly, it’s pathetically sad what people come up with as excuses for their copyright infringement defenses, along with acts of plagiarism. I have a pretty wild case developing myself you may want to read toward the end of this post (Example Case 4 re: Australian Business Coach, the professional liar). And it explains why creators who have been infringed upon have to be so insistent with their perpetrators, just like Dawn had to be with Sonya. She could sense something was off.
Accidental Plagiarism is Not Accidental At All
“Accidental” plagiarism is one of my favorite excuses to hear, simply because we all know it wasn’t actually an accident and this lie is just so pathetic. “Oh I was just using your verbatim words as a placeholder.” “Oh I just loved the words so much it was too damn good not to use.” Or, “there was just no other way for me to phrase something other than that same sentence”, where the sentence contains a carefully chose combination of intricate words.
Unless a sentence absolutely has to be written a certain way, and you can find no other alternative, only then do you have a defense. But you can still be hauled into court.
Copyright and License Infringement
As a designer, I face copyright and license infringement issues on a monthly basis, it seems. This month (October), I’m still gathering evidence on an issue from September. There’s always someone out there who finds my shop, uses it as their “inspiration”. They’ll even go so far as to making a purchase, downloading my work, changing colors, putting their own logo or design sprinkles in, and garner the audacity to resell it on their own shop. I come into contact with people who lie, cheat, and steal regularly. When you write and create great stuff, expect this, I guess.
Which may be why I’m not fond of people in general, working with them, and pretty much stick to myself.
These thieves target top designers like myself, who are established. In the case of Larson vs. Dorland, Sonya was planning on publishing the piece “The Kindest” without Dawn knowing, to get it out there and win a types of awards. It was a punch-down piece as a type of mockery project.
These copycats think we won’t notice. We do. We find out. Sometimes other people rat them out and contact us, the original creators. And some of us (ahem) with attorneys will strike back hard. I disclose several instances of copyright infringement cases I’ve dealt with further down in this post.
Most of the time I give people an opportunity to resolve the matter quietly before I get attorneys involved or put them on full blast. The boldness of some many be unnerving to read, though. Still, I like to think that I’m fairly compassionate when I’m having to confront the thieves, just like Dawn was with Sonya in that case.
Let’s Stop Thinking Plagiarism is Ok or Saying “Oh, It Was Just X Amount of Words”
Let’s not kid anyone. These “accidents” and actions are intentional, thought out, and constructed as justified in the offending parties’ heads even before they get their hands on the entire piece of work. These are the kinds of people who prey on those who have something of value that they want, and want to profit off of it in either a financial way or for their own troubled, dark delight.
Heaven forbid they just extend attribution or credit, let alone getting permission. Heaven forbid plagiarizers just do their own work.
Make no mistake: Sonya did this to herself. And she is being burned and scorched for it.
Plagiarism for many is a career-ender. All your work will be scrutinized once that label has been firmly associated with your name, and you’ll be labeled as a person that cannot be trusted. In the design arena, we have groups who hold blacklists as a collective to help each other avoid certain customers or unsavory individuals who steal design and content, including their IP addresses.
Defending Infringers in Writer Groups and Clique Circles – the Mob Mentality
What makes violations of copyright and plagiarism worse is when the offending party has the backing of someone more popular or who wields power/influence, who strikes with their mob of followers and other influencer friends to attack the very person who was infringed upon. In this Larson vs. Dorland Perry case, it’s Celeste Ng.
They justify their actions and attempt to “ice” the infringed-upon party, often in their writer cliques, little groups they belong to, or even go so far as impacting the infringe’s career as a collective effort. It’s disturbing behavior.
Groups like this threaten the very existence of the injured party, even though they were the one who was legally injured. They’ll make up lies to justify their mobbish behavior, gossip freely, tweet out or post random passive-aggressive words on their social media so that only the “inner group” will get it and know who they’re referring to. Someone becomes the unwarranted joke or target of their aggression.
I have never seen first hand just how gross and disgusting writer groups can be until I learned of the Chunky Monkeys. They are an elitist group of Boston writers who emerged from the GrubStreet writers scene. Instead of reining in Sonya Larson, one of their members who claimed “accidental” plagiarism in her piece, “The Kindest” [Exhibit C], they in fact encouraged it, helped her disguise it, cover it up, justify her actions, and attacked a woman named Dawn Dorland, a kidney donor, who was the original writer and owner of the copyrighted material.
As court records reveal, their entire chat transcript is on display for the world to analyze and marvel at; how a group of snobs mock and ridicule a target so fiercely and without compassion is shocking.Something even more sinister and cruel, however, was afoot with Sonya Larson and the Chunky Monkeys. Click To Tweet
And this simple act of plagiarizing someone’s words and calling it an “accident” is inherently, if you dissect the case enough, the start of the Larson vs. Dorland Perry case, recently hitting the news as the “Bad Art Friend” piece.Groups can be dangerous; if you're in one that is a gossipy, catty, or cheer you as you plagiarize, cover up misdeeds, rip people off, not pay for book covers or editors, & find yourself in mob group targeting, find yourself some… Click To Tweet
Writer Cliques and Groups Help Writers Commit Fraud, Theft, and Civil Crimes
The Chunky Monkeys in the Larson vs. Dorland Perry case are awful. The group chats clearly show that. But there’s even more sinister behavior lurking in those chats. Icing, weaponizing the race card, encouraging others to commit crimes and theft, celebrating those crimes and thefts, HR issues, mockery, narcissism, conflicts of interest, and more.
This is a very troubling writing group. But it’s not the first one I’ve encountered. Just probably the worst.
I still to this day have an author who I shall not name who owes me money from a cover she still uses for her book. She technically does not have a license or copyrights for it. Yet, she got her group of “wifeys” involved, and instead of paying me on time, like she had originally promised, it dragged out for months, and she got her little friends involved to justify not honoring the terms of my compassionate agreement I afforded her, pegging me as the problem.
Get this: She even went so far as to have three more covers designed by another graphic designer while not paying me for her current one I had completed months before, and was actively using on Amazon. Keeping her on a payment plan she not once adhered to become unreasonable and expensive [my system costs money per month to offer payment plans, and I had made this one exception for her exclusively]. This is exactly why designers share blackball lists so that authors like this can’t keep bouncing from designer to designer and avoid payments.
Was she worth pursuing? Let’s just say I hold some cards. I have her texts where she drags her publisher and states in writing her intent to violate her contract, among other things. She owed over $22,000. I saved it all. I could pull out those cards and use them if I have to if they ever try to come at me in the future (not wise).
But no, she wasn’t worth my time. And it did reveal the kind of people I was working for/with in the writer community. Knowing how much she owed her publisher still and the fact that she couldn’t even make a $50 payment on time told me she wasn’t even worth my effort pursuing. Some people I let go of and have them blacklisted in my collective creator group. Still, I blackballed all the rest of her friends and stopped working for any of them.
Copyright Infringement & Derivative Copyright Cases are No Joking Matter
Larson vs. Dorland Perry reminded me of some cases I personally have had to deal with, when people have stolen my work, continue to use book covers they haven’t paid for, resold my designs as their own, and just other ballsy stuff like plagiarizing my Pinterest Marketing book.
I have been one to hold my tongue; to allow people for the most part to cling to their dignity and remedy the situation privately without embarrassment. But in my pocket are a few cases that have lingering outstanding issues which warrant disclosure and discussion.
Here, as my reader, I want you to be able to understand what it’s like to have thousands of hours into a project, only to have someone rip it off, claim it as their own, and profit from it; in some instances making more profit than what you were charging for.
How I Handle Copyright and Plagiarism Offenses
The copyright and derivative copyright offenses were easy to handle in some instances. I gracefully allowed the DMCA impact on their shop to be enough without pursuing the issue in court or calling them out publicly. Others were more aggressively pursued with me BCC:’ing my attorney the entire way, issuing cease and desist demand letters and invoicing them for damages; all of which were paid in a matter of hours or days. Others, landed in court to collect on damages.
Does me pursuing these cases make me a bad person, litigious or even aggressive? Absolutely not. And Dawn Dorland pursuing Sonya Larson for copyright infringement was well within her right, and according to a judge, she may have a case.
Being a Quality Creator People Like to Copy and Steal from is Exhausting
I’m over here, minding my own business, working hard to feed my family of 8, spending MY time (often 2400 per bundled project in any given month) to deliver a design project collection of quality and substance for others to enjoy, often priced at around $60 or less.
Then someone comes along, and steals my designs. All the time I spent away from my kids, all the resources that went into the project, the labored planning, marketing of my work; everything. I was minding my own business, and someone had to come along, grift my work, and not even put a single ounce of effort or own time into it. Imagine if that happened to you.
I know for a lot of designers and writers who have been copied or plagiarized. It’s a personal insult and an action worthy of every ounce of outrage they feel.As a creator, you start wondering why you create at all? Why continue when someone will just come along and create a derivative of your work for their own profit? It's frustrating. Why bother? Why keep creating when someone is just… Click To Tweet
So let’s go over some example cases I’ve had to deal with in the past, along with one that is in development. I’ll plainly show you why plagiarizers and copyright infringers are often perpetual liars like Sonya Larson and her Chunky Monkeys group. And finally, why they can’t be trusted as creators nor believed when they tell you something you suspect may not be true. Which is why you have to keep pressing and taking legal action, exactly what Dawn Dorland did in the case.
Example Case 1: “Anys” from Malaysia
This case involves another Etsy shop owner who became a member of my Canva template membership group. I believe now that her intent was to gain access to all my work so that she could reused in her own shop. Within months of the end of her membership access, I discovered a multitude of my templates being sold on a shop she had just opened.
In essence, she gained access to my fleet of designs with the purpose of copying them and reselling them. She got busted, and Etsy Legal did their thing on her shop. Two strikes later, she has so far been careful about what she lists in her Etsy shop, but I still see derivatives of others’ work and designs resembling others’ works. Not enough concrete material to pursue, but one thing is for certain: she landed on my radar.
She received two strikes on her account. One more and they will shut her shop down.
What you see above is me reminding her that she already now has two DMCA strikes on her shop; she’s about to get another. She admits to her wrongdoing, however, it was much more than just “a few pages”. It was 30+ and over 50% of her listing, which is way more than “just a few”. See the dishonesty even when they’re caught?
Sometimes, you have to be firm to get the offending party to stop, full stop. You have to be strong, bold, and fierce with people like this. I offer no niceties here, and set the tone going forward. This does not make me a bad or aggressive person. I choose to be abundantly clear of the expectations and what will happen if they mess up again.
Friends, I’ve dealt with people like this so many times. You have to get serious with them or they won’t take you seriously. I have zero patience for people like this.
Anys is still on my radar, and will continue to be one of my monthly check-ins to ensure she continues to comply, and hasn’t snuck in my design work into her shop. Yes, she made some money off of my hard labor. No, I don’t care about pursuing her for damages or compensation at this time, because I look at what her end products are, and know in confidence, mine are better, and she’s merely a derivative copycat leech.
Example Case 2: Slava / Top Brush Design
This case was a bit strange. I’m naming and shaming this one because not once did I receive any communication from her nor an apology. After getting caught, she literally made a few tweaks and removed my unique elements, and then republished it with a different name.
The owner of this shop clearly lifted my work, and it appears even purchased it herself or gained access to it from another site. The owner initially listed her location in Russia; I believe it has changed since July 2020.
At odds here was my very popular course creator Instagram set of 30 instagram post templates, which she turned into 27 posts. (I think sometimes designer wanna-be’s try to hide their infringement with a different number of designs so as to not get caught? Just an observation/trend I’ve noticed).
Some of the other Etsy shop owners I know have suggested I contact the customers who purchased her illegal listing; I’m just not going to do that. These people didn’t know any better that they were buying from a copycat.
Yes, she made some money off of me. Yes, Etsy took it down and dinged her account with a DMCA copyright infringement.
The final outcome is Etsy Legal removed it, and that’s what they’re supposed to do. “Slava” is still on my radar because I know she’s a copycat thief and is unapologetic for it. The point here is, though, is this is how Etsy handles DMCA takedowns and allegations of infringement; listings are typically taken down within 24 hours of a claim. Of course, the other party can counter within 10 days, but then you have to be ready to get a court order.
Usually when caught, the other party backs down, realizing they’ve been busted. But some people actually have the balls to counterclaim, and then you really have to double down and take action. It’s just that on Etsy, this happens a lot faster than a plagiarism claim in the writing community, which can take months or years to sort out.
With Dawn’s case against Sonya (remember, though, if you read Piper’s blog post, you’ll note that Sonya sued Dawn first), it has so far been over five years.
Example Case 3: “Siri Soupcan” – the Derivative Copycat “Designer”
This is an ongoing developing case, but one I can still comment on at this juncture. We lovingly call this one Siri Soupcan (a play off of real name) between my attorney, husband, and other Etsy shop owners who point out to similarities to me weekly on what I had already published weeks prior and what this self-proclaimed “designer” with no professional experience has miraculously created since then. Siri Soupcan is a stay-at-home mom across the pond who is not actually a designer; just self-taught on Canva.
Siri Soupcan is someone who had an Etsy shop for 3-4 years making odds and ends like digital stickers or image type material. The shop doesn’t actually make a whole lot of sales, to be honest. There really wasn’t a theme, per se, in her first “design” shop. Fast forward to late 2019/early 2020, Siri Soupcan opens up another Etsy shop, and mimics my ENTIRE shop!
Every collection of mine had been knocked off – colors, layouts, styles, everything. Including, mind you, my listing titles, which has a big impact on SEO, obviously. Even an unusual design collection featuring bright colors had been copied.
On Etsy, I was the first to offer a membership in 2019. She copied that, too, in 2020.
On Etsy, I was the first to offer a bundle back in 2017. She copied that too, only in 2020.
Each page in her “designs” had been tweaked just enough to pass for basic copyright purview with Etsy Legal, and there wasn’t enough to get a person in legal to clearly see they have a copycat on the horizon. She would move a frame up or down, but the same style and concept was there. And mind you, if you file too many infringement allegations, without being completely confident, Etsy could close your shop up, too.
Sure, she could probably get away with just small tweak adjustments here and there, but this is where copycats make mistakes. They forget that when there’s a pattern established of this, plus mild tweaking of existing work and same exact titles, a basis for the lawsuit is established, because now you can show intent to derive and deprive.
She might pass the legal team’s review on individual listings because there’s somewhat of a difference, but not derivative copyright. And unfortunately for Siri Soupcan, a pattern was developing, and over the last year and a half or so, we’ve been watching carefully, documenting, and building a case for derivative copyright. Is this considered stalking? Not at all. This is what every party does when preparing for a case.
A significant amount of money has been earned by her shop as a result of her copycat actions. Luckily, I’m still in a financial position where my shop still performs well, and much of my traffic comes directly to my own shop site outside of the realm of a common marketplace. There’s over $100k involved and growing. So I’m waiting for the right time.
Because this case is ongoing, I will not share side-by-side comparisons, as I don’t want to name the person specifically yet. But in time, as the case broadens, I will get ready to pull the trigger. Is there financial harm? Yes. This person used my designs as a basis and prompt for their own, thus depriving my shop of what could have been my customers. Couple that with the favoritism of the new Etsy shop algorithm, and you take away traffic from existing shops and give it to new shops.
There is always direct competition, and a saturation of the marketplace when derivative copycats start replicating your work.
And yes, other Canva and template designers are well aware of what she has done. Some of them know I have a case developing. Others are cheering me on, waiting to see what happens. We’ll see.
Anytime someone uses your designs, concepts or copyrighted content as the basis for their “derived” project, it opens them up for a derivative copyright infringement case. It’s harder to prove, takes lots of money and time, so it’s best to make sure it’s worth your time. But this is also why I highly recommend shopping with older, established shops who are the “OG” of the field, or the original gangsters.
This one, I just feed info to my attorney, and will follow her instructions when she feels the case is ready to go to federal court. I trust her judgment.
Example Case 4: Australian Business Coach – the Professional Liar
Buckle up, buttercup; this story is wild.
In late July 2021, I became aware of two female entrepreneurs selling my own templates on their websites. I first learned that one American blogger was using a whole Instastory/Instagram collection of mine as a freebie lead magnet for her email list. The very same collection I charge for in two shops I own.
The funny part is, neither of these women bothered to change or remove my name in the templates! How lazy and unoriginal! So it was obvious they had been stolen and were being distributed without my consent.
I found out that the American blogger had gotten her copy from an Australian business coach, who professes to help people make 6 or 7-figure incomes selling digital products. “I’ll help you make money online”, right?!
Looking at the Australian business coach’s website, I knew exactly the type of person I was about to deal with. The make-money-quick-get-rich-scheme type. You know, the ones most apt to be devoid of all morals and ethics.
So screenshot after screenshot on her website and Facebook profiles, LinkedIn, Twitter, and anywhere else she had a platform, I discover my entire collection had been included as the basis of her membership program, and was offering my designs as “private white label downloads” that any business owner could resell or use to their own audience. Meaning, she was telling people they, too, could resell my work. I also recognized others’ designs in the “program”, as well. I gave the design community a heads up.
This was going to be a disaster. Typically people like this are complete frauds and don’t even have the money to pay you for damages. So you end up getting their other assets tied up in court.
I found out she had purchased my product on Etsy for $39. I also know that she boasted my product had made one of her customers over $12,000 (saved the screenshots for a later purpose, will explain this later).
The Big Lie of a Australian Business Coach is Exposed
I get an “oh my gosh I’m sorry that was an accident, I had hired a Philippines firm to use your templates for inspiration to make my own, and only found about your templates a few days ago”.
I’m sitting there, reading this message from her, rather confused. If you discovered they were improperly being used on your own website, which you posted a video about weeks before, specifically naming my own templates by their unique names, why wouldn’t you take them down and make amends with me right away?
Because I caught her in a big lie, and she was trying to backpedal.
Number one, I don’t allow my templates to be distributed to virtual assistants, design teams, or other designers for a reason. It’s part of the license use agreement. Number two, my name was still all over the templates in some places. In others, she had replaced my name with hers. Did she not even review the final product? That just seems weird. Number three, she was the one who bought them on Etsy; so she knew whose templates they were from the start. I can sniff a lie easily.
I send off DMCAs to her website host, ClickFunnels, and all the other places she had linked my designs. ClickFunnels had my material down within 2 hours of me contacting them. They’re super fast. She’s lucky she didn’t lose her merchant account with them, actually. Her world began to crash fast. Remember – she brought this on herself.
In reviewing her web pages and content, her own designs the Philippines team put together were not of designer quality. At all. They were lacking in cohesive style, basic design concepts, and void of esthetic appeal. It was no wonder they wanted to steal mine and try to get away with it. I screenshot everything.
Then she proceeded to try to send me $500 via PayPal within hours of our first contact, which is a payment form I do not accept, and I let her know. As I was putting together a reply, I couldn’t help but think of her choice of words.
Copyright Infringement is Not an Accident
“Accident?” Accidental reselling of my work? Don’t think so. My name is all over those designs. I replied back with a firm cease and desist letter to BOTH WOMEN, and made a list of demands of each accordingly, based on what infringement had been done with each situation. I copied my attorney. I contacted the Facebook groups they were posting in. I filed DMCA takedowns on all social media platforms.
I came for both of them. Fast. Hard. And struck without mercy. Because they both deserved it. This was not my first rodeo with copyright-infringing clowns.
I insisted via email on payment for the number of members who had access to my designs, as well as the number of downloads as per my licensing and copyrights. American blogger sends me everything I want and ask for. I send her an invoice.
Lo and behold! She has no money to pay.
She cannot pay or afford the invoice; calls up a lawyer, who says in so many ways to her “oh shit, you’re in big trouble – the Australian business coach needs to pay this to indemnify you from further claims”. So she tells Australian business coach this, and Australian business coach agrees to pay American blogger’s portion of the fee.
When You Fuck Up, Prepare to Pay
Australian business coach agrees to pay American blogger’s fees. Good. We’re getting somewhere. An invoice is sent to the Australian business coach for $1326.00 after the American blogger sent over everything I had asked, and I had a chance to review numbers.
Australian business coach has the audacity to offer me $800 instead, after telling American blogger that she would take care of the bill. I convey this attempt to discount my work by the same person who originally resold it to the American blogger. She does not reply. I assume she’s probably writing off more furious emails to Australian business coach.
I instead reply to Australian business coach with “$800 is NOT acceptable. The full amount owed of $1326.00, IS acceptable. I expect payment immediately.”
Oh my God, you guys. The nerve of this thief.
Australian business coach becomes embarrassed (via email). Minutes later, my invoice is paid.
A total of $1326.00 was paid for American blogger’s redistribution of my work and licensing. I release her from further liability provided she was truthful in her statements, that I did not find any further licensing use, and her agreement to remove my content from all aspects of her social media and website platform. American blogger admitted she had learned a important business lesson. She agreed and moved on with her life, very shaken up and scared.
Australian business coach claims she only had 15 members joined, which I thought was incredibly low for an Australian business coach. Plus, it didn’t factor in the supposed $12,000 she had allegedly help one of her business clients make with my design templates.
Nevertheless, I sent over the invoice for 15 licenses, amounting to $585, and the Australian business coach paid.
But I kept digging.Because if there's one thing people like this have taught me, it's that they are perpetual liars, deception artists, thieves, and will do anything to help themselves look better than they truly are. And I knew this chick was still… Click To Tweet
As I continued to pull info for my attorney as part of my due diligence in discovery, the Australian business coach nonchalantly purchases another 10 license seats for $390.00 days later. This struck me as odd, but I don’t question it. She sends an accompanying email explaining she “found” more people on the list. A list I had demanded she turn over in the cease and desist letter, but she still did not provide.
Naturally, I kept digging. And on August 3, I conclude that she has had every opportunity to come clean with me, and still hasn’t. I send an email throwing every threat, action, and pursuit I will take if she doesn’t start working with me in an honest fashion.
I confront her about the 125+ purchases she bragged about her customer making off of my work. I send her the bill for exactly $4875.00 for exactly 125. I was tired to dealing with this woman. I was going to pass her along to my attorney and have her finish this Australian thief off for profits made on my work. I figured my attorney will handle the rest of the discovery, because I, frankly, was exhausted.
A 6 or 7-Figure Business Coach Needs a Loan to Pay Damages?
Then Australian business coach sends me an email. Only that, too, was a lie.
Her business wasn’t in fact closed as she claimed in the email. Because I’m an excellent digital sleuth, I found that she had simply moved her membership platform to another site calling it “2.0” and established another link on ClickFunnels.
This is when I knew this chick was a complete fraud.
After this email, she told me she had to take out a loan to pay me the $4875.00 over a course of emails back and forth. I got paid what was owed at that time for actual damages (not profits made off of the stolen copies).
After so many insufficient fund transaction attempts, her payment finally went through, and I closed *my* chapter of this story on dealing with her directly and passed it off to my attorney.
In total, she had to pay me $7,176 in actual cost damages. I’ll be pursuing the profits and punitive in court, because of her insistent dishonesty.
Some Things Never Change for Thieves and Plagiarizers
This Australian business coach continues to run a membership. She has continued to “not do the hard work” herself and keeps launching these void programs with expensive coaching fees upfront.
She never fired her Philippines team. They still run her Facebook group and page to this day. Still has them as admins. Curious, right? Especially if they cost you over $7176 in damages? Wouldn’t you fire the “firm” as well? Something was off with this lady.
The Philippines team she refused to mention, failing to provide me with documents requested in the C&D, not fully complying with the C&D, the needing to get a loan from the bank to pay the copyright infringement damages (actual costs, not profits), and the fact that she had already started working on another 2.0 version of the same membership site, just on another ClickFunnels channel?
Plus, her constant need to push herself to keep launching and being recognized as a supreme professional without taking any time off to reflect on what had just transpired screamed perpetual fraudster and copyright infringer. Red flags flying everywhere on this one.
She went on with a final email about her mental health, how she hasn’t slept in days, yada yada. Hey, you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. If you cannot accept the consequences of your actions, don’t play stupid games.
I’ll let my attorney finish her off and go for profits and punitive damages. This woman, with the constant deception and lying has it coming. Had she been honest with me and followed the terms of my cease and desist demand letter to a “T”, we wouldn’t be here. It’s about choices, my friends.
What Does All This Say About Copyright Infringers and Plagiarizers?
I’ll fill you in.
The people who commit these infractions find ways to justify their actions. They either hate you, envy you, want the talent you have without doing the hard work, are lazy, are often authentic imposters, and so much more. Then, many of them blame their mental health. Or that it was an accident.
If someone has literally infringed upon your work, you are not to be blamed for taking action.
You are not to be labeled as “difficult”, “bitchy”, “insufferable”, “hostile”, “litigious”, or any other descriptor the Team Sonya and Chunky Monkeys people have assigned to reflect their feelings about Dawn Dorland. You are none of that. Don’t tolerate it or stand for it. You are exercising your legal rights under our governed laws. And honestly, if the roles were reversed, Dawn’s aggressors would be doing the same thing.
When you handle infringement or plagiarism, the system is designed to help you stop it. Our laws and procedures with every online platform and business model are designed to help you mitigate damages along the way, lessening the impact to you and your business. Judges like this. That’s why they want to see you taking positive action to stop the distribution of what you claim is yours.
The system worked. It stopped the distribution of the plagiarized content. We WANT to see the system working.
When people cry out in these writer groups that Sonya Larson was somehow justified in plagiarizing, they fail to remember that she brought this crashing down on herself by her own poor choices. She didn’t have to plagiarize. She could have written her own material. And the person who gets to decide on whether it is actually plagiarism is the judge. Until he/she decides, the project stands in limbo.
And that’s the hefty price you pay for plagiarism and copyright infringement.
You as a writing group (talking to you, Chunky Monkeys) do not get to decide what is right or wrong with the case, cheering Sonya on to commit crimes and organize as a group to ice her out of her writing career. You have to wait and see, just like everyone else. Once that plagiarism button has been hit on any piece of work, the time clock stops. No one can publish the infringed material, no one should be distributing it, and no book awards festival or reporter is going to want to touch it.
And Chunky Monkeys, including you, Celeste Ng, should want to enjoy the same protections that Dawn Dorland has. That we all have. She didn’t deserve the 5+ years of hostile treatment. She didn’t deserve the mockery and asshattery you dished up. Shame on you all.
It would suit everyone to remember we all have the same rights regarding plagiarism and copyright laws, and that no one gets to be the exception while an active claim is made. No one.
Was the art that was created in “The Kindest” any good? Read the scathing New Yorker review.
Was it all worth it, Sonya?