Kudos to Signet For Doing the Right Thing

Remember that big flap over the Cassie Edwards' plagiarism a few months back? The Smart Bitches outed Ms. Edwards lifting whole paragraphs and using them as her own.

According to the Smart Bitches site, and to Publisher's Lunch (which I just received in my email box today:
Signet Drops Cassie Edwards Over Plagiarism Claims
Publisher Signet said on Friday in a statement that it had "conducted an extensive review of all its Cassie Edwards novels and due to irreconcilable editorial differences, Ms. Edwards and Signet have mutually agreed to part ways. Cassie Edwards novels will no longer be published with Signet Books. All rights to Ms. Edwards' previously published Signet books have reverted to the author."

The investigation was initiated after the Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books site posted numerous instances of passages they said were copied from historical works. At first Signet defended Edwards' work as protected by fair use, saying her "researched historical novels are precisely the kinds of original, creative works that this copyright policy promotes."

But Penguin Group star author Nora Roberts quickly joined the chorus of dissenters: "By my definition, copying another's work and passing it as your own equals plagiarism. As a writer, a reader and a victim of plagiarism, I feel very strongly on this issue. I'm not a lawyer, but I can't see it as fair use, or fair anything when one writer takes another's work."

On the Dear Author blog, Roberts expresses new hope that Edwards' other publishers will also take action: "As for the other publishers, the optimist on my right shoulder hopes they also take the matter seriously and respond accordingly. The cynic on my left isn't holding her breath."
To which I say: Good for them! Signet investigated, didn't like what they saw, and, I feel, acted appropriately. Whatever you think of Ms. Edwards' writing, plagiarism is always wrong - ALWAYS. Don't want to use your own words? Then cite/attribute the line or paragraph you use.

Easy to do.

So a hearty congrats to Signet for getting it right.

~Nancy Beck


Ing said...

Wow. I hadn't heard anything about this...it's been an interesting hour of reading finding out what has been going on.

It's hard to believe somebody could be that systematic and egregious about stealing other people's work and go for years, novel after novel, without anyone noticing.

Nancy Beck said...


Yeah, isn't that something? You'd think that publishers would check out this sort of stuff (and that their lawyers would insist on it), but...I guess it's a "no".

But at least, in the end, Signet owned up to it.