The Cassandra Claire Plagiarism Debacle -- Part XIII through Epilogue
Note: I will go through the quotations posted by others in Part XII tomorrow, and make additions or comments as necessary.
ETA, 8/10/07: The previous post has reached the JournalFen character limit.
Part XIII: Is Cassandra Claire claiming credit for it?
If lines are not properly annotated, by default, she's claiming she wrote them. She's had more than five years to fix her annotations at this point, and she's chosen not to do it. Beyond that, she's made several comments that indicate she takes credit for the Draco Trilogy.
In an interview with Jive magazine, she said:
In a comment referencing an interview by Russian fans (this comment comes from an entry which is now locked):
She seems to me to be taking credit for the writing.
Part XIV: Is Cassandra Claire profiting from plagiarism?
When Cassandra Claire allegedly had laptops stolen from her New York apartment and Heidi organized a fundraising drive to replace them, several fans stated they were donating because they enjoyed Cassandra Claire's fanfiction:
i've never posted on anything before, but i've enjoyed cassie's writing immensely. thought that a little contribution is the least i could do, after reading all of her work! -- anonymous
In fact, Heidi initially advertised the laptop fundraising drive on the Cassie_and_Rhysenn list-- a list devoted to Cassandra Claire and Rhysenn's fanfiction (and with over 4000 members at the time). This was reproduced on Fandom_Wank at the time of the incident:
From: Heidi <lists@h...>
I am well aware that Heidi made this post, and that Heidi organized the fundraising drive-- not Cassandra Claire. I support fans spending their money as they choose-- and I do think many felt they were helping out someone in need.
All the same, the appearance of this advertisement on a list devoted to Cassandra Claire's fanfiction strongly suggests a connection between that fanfiction and donations, despite later claims that the donations mostly came from close friends of Cassandra Claire.
Further, Cassandra Claire is using the popularity of these stories to advertise for her forthcoming professional novel; she's publishing professionally under a slight variant of her fandom name and posting notices about her novel on her fandom weblog:
I am happy to announce that my Mortal Instruments trilogy, starting with City of Bones, will be coming out in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. So those of you who live there, you'll be able to find them in any bookstore, should you so desire. They'll be out at the same time as the U.S. release and I believe are coming out in simultaneous hardback and paper.
To me, all of this smacks of profiting from plagiarism, whatever Heidi claims.
Part XV: Heidi
I've considered the wisdom of putting this section in. It is almost certainly unwise, but my part in this conflict began with Heidi. It's only fair that my account of it end with Heidi.
While many things have contributed to the continuing conflict over the past five years, Heidi remains one of the main causes of bitterness among the "opposition."
First and foremost, her behavior during the original incident was astounding to me.
Carirny explicitly said that what cassie did could get them sued, and
From ParadigmOfUncertainty (June 23, 2001; I did not record the post number-- this may have also been 9442, which I previously linked on FWGH):
We all know
Heidi made several posts on the SugarQuill, mailing lists, and the FanFiction.Net forums defending Cassandra Claire and claiming she had not plagiarized. As previously described, she also accused Cairnsy of libel, apparently because Cairnsy suggested that people were being banned from mailing lists for disagreeing.
In 2005, Heidi objected to an edit Michela Ecks made to Cassandra Claire's page on Wikipedia:
Hi - this is Heidi, Cassie's attorney - I didn't get an email from the person who posted above me, but I can be reached at heidi @ heidi8.com (I'm traveling this month, so that's the best way to catch me). Yes, the posts that an individual or group of individuals persists in posting here are actionable libel, and they must stop. Examples of defamatory statements in the entry include things like "It would take Cassandra Claire four years to fix her disclaimers on her stories", which is a clear lie, given the existence of this entry in the WayBack Machine - . I am cheered that earlier claims that no sourcing had been done by Cassie in her fic have now been corrected to read "The disclaimer did not attribute an author and cited the wrong books" - I wonder if the person posting here on Wikipedia finally read my post at the Fanthropology LJ, where I clearly  pointed out that no plagiarism had taken place because Cassie had never said that the scene was original to her. We have been having this argument for well over four years now, and it has to stop because it has gone beyond any actual discussion, if such a thing ever existed, and is now a personal vendetta by a person or persons against Cassie. She is not a plagiarist - she is a young woman who did not cite a book that she admitted to incorporating material from, with chapter and verse when she posted a fanfic in December of 2000. Stop posting defamatory accusations that she plagiarised, or we'll have to take this into the Wiki dispute zone, per the site's Terms, and that sort of thing can get those who defame banned from Wiki.
I rolled my eyes when I saw Michela's edit, but, as I believe this document has demonstrated, it is largely accurate.
Heidi also accused Michela Ecks of defamation on JournalFen:
I'm going to post this as a reply to the last post you made on July 5
There were similar accusations in a now-deleted post on the LiveJournal community fanthropology.
I have never been entirely certain whether Heidi actually understood what she was defending. However, even after demonstrating to Heidi that there was additional plagiarized material in Draco Sinister, her edits to the Fandom Wank Wiki four months later showed her making the same sorts of claims. At this point, it matters very little to me whether she understands or not. On the Fandom Wank's Greatest Hits thread last year, I posted examples of plagiarism, and I said:
To anticipate your next argument, I can play the same game with other published fiction which is not written by Pamela Dean, and with quotes from television which still remain unannotated or incompletely annotated-- all in the version currently posted on schnoogle.com.
She has never requested more information from me, and I do not think it is a stretch to conclude that she does not care.
In response to my query:
So, let's ask a hypothetical question. Suppose I create a piece of "fanfiction" that is 500 pages long. To do so, I lift 1 page each from 499 different 300-page published works, change the names, and alter a couple of words. Then I have about a page of bridging material (total) between the sections. Is this actionable infringement? Why or why not? At what point does something become actionable? Would it be different if I lifted 250 pages and wrote 250? Or if I lifted 50 pages and wrote 450?
It would not be actionable and my God I would love to read it. I can't imagine how it could be done in any way other than pastiche or parody - say you took 500 Mills & Boone or Harlequin novels and pulled them together that way, it might be readable as a story/narrative. But a random 499 novels, with a page pulled from each, that wasn't done to be a parody? Impossible.
Whatever your opinion of Michela Ecks, Heidi has consistently come down like a ton of bricks when Cassandra Claire's plagiarism is mentioned, spouting accusations of "libel" and "defamation." This keeps the incident quite firmly in the public eye.
Heidi is both Cassandra Claire's greatest asset and greatest liability.
Epilogue: Why bother, five years later?
I tried to address this question 100 pages ago, but I'll address it here.
First, what do I want to happen?
Second, what do I expect to happen?
I watched what happened to Colin and Michela five years ago. I read posts by people who wished for horrible things to happen to me. I've seen Cassandra Claire's fans rake Michela Ecks over the coals again and again for five years, spamming her Writers U site, spamming her Fandomination.net archive, and accusing her of being a pathological liar. Oh, yes, and I watched the Inner Circle's reaction to the Ms. Scribe story.
I think I have a very good idea what to expect:
Yes, I expect to be run out of fandom on a rail. Fortunately, I do not care.
To specifically address the objections that I expect to see:
The above is my original epilogue. I will add this comment as well:
People have commented that this series of posts is less amusing than The Ms. Scribe Story, and I agree. Because I do have a "side" in this debate, I've tried to err on the side of objectivity instead of snark. Still, I am not neutral. Some quotations I've cited are available online for your review in one form or another. Check them. Check with other people around at the time; many are still available. Review. Research. Make up your own mind. -- Avocado, 8/6/2006
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