Plagiarism Makes Me Sad Too, Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock Holmes holding violin and looking sad while wearing purple shirt

Why would someone write plagiarized fanfic? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s just sad.

I haven’t had a chance to read a lot of fanfic up to now (because I’v been busy writing my own for one thing), but several folks have made some recommendations to me so I’ve been trying to catch up (because I’m suppose to be writing my Sherlock NaNoWriMo project instead.) And, to be honest, I don’t really enjoy porn and I have a limited interest in reading slash (aka Johnlock) unless it’s something special (meaning close to in character and not porn and well written). But as I said, I was avoiding working on my own writing and I’d finished re-re-re-reading the original Canon, so I dove into some of the fanfic that had gotten multiple recommendations.

And then wasted a couple of hours digging around to make certain I wasn’t crazy, and the sense of deja vu was because I had read or heard those very words (let alone scenario) before.

I wasn’t crazy. In the first three stories I’d tried, the authors had plagiarized large chunks of dialogue, plot, narrative description, and what ever else they could lift from novels and films. And, no, I don’t mean the quotes from Sherlock, which were understandable. I mean commercial publications and releases. And I don’t mean borrowing concepts or ideas and re-working them into something new and fresh like Moffat & Gatiss have done with the original Canon, or Bridget Jones Diary did with Pride and Prejudice. I mean straight-forward (you should pardon the expression since all were Johnlock) theft, copying-and-pasting (or possibly retyping) the original material, taking scenes, plots, and so on, and simply changing the names.

In a word, plagiarism.

The only point to doing this is a desperate hunger for attention and recognition (albeit stolen recognition). And it seems to be working. I can only assume that in our modern world of continuous new content spewing forth and the fragmenting of our education and  our cultures, even successful movies can be ripped off without worrying that there will be much overlap between the people who saw it and the people reading “your” fanfiction.

But I confess I find it all very discouraging, disheartening, and sad.

And no, I’m not going to out anyone. The Cassie Claire scandal was disruptive enough, and proved that the authors who engage in this kind of “writing” don’t really care and actually profit from the attention. So I’m just going to go give my head a mental washout by watching Wimbledon and then get back to work on my NaNoWriMo project — although my heart just isn’t in it as much now.

 

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