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Controversies have always been around, especially with popular authors. But one of the biggest controversies an author can face (for the most part) is plagiarism since it could lead to legal action. What is plagiarism? It’s stealing someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. So, I thought we’d go over some popular and indie authors that faced these accusations.
Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments)
The Shadowhunter universe by Cassandra Clare, specifically The Mortal Instruments, has faced several plagiarism claims during its lifetime starting off when it was Harry Potter fanfiction. During its fanfiction days, the final book was called Draco Sinister, and Cassandra Clare did have a disclaimer on the chapter that read: “Credit for the inspiration for this conception of the wizarding afterlife goes to a book called The Secret Country, alas, I no longer recall who wrote it.” Now, The Hidden Land is the second novel in the Secret Country series by Pamela Dean, but being inspired by something is one thing and lifting entire sections is another.
I’m not going to be sharing the entire excerpts or comparisons. That has already been done by Avocado, check out their article for more on this claim. But here’s one of the instances in there that happened, but there are more.
The Hidden Land by Pamela Dean
Ted opened his eyes, or thought he did. He could not see anything with them, not blackness, not anything. He did not seem to have eyes, or anything else. Randolph, he tried to say, but he had nothing to say it with. It was like dreaming, and knowing you were dreaming, and trying to wake up by remembering the bed, and the pillow, and the color of your pajama sleeve: it was like the time just before the trick worked and you woke up.“Randolph!” said Ted, and jumped. He had a voice, and ears to hear it, and a nervous system to make him jump when he was startled
Draco Sinister by Cassandra Clare
Draco opened his eyes, or thought he did. He could not see anything with them, not blackness, not anything. Harry, he tried to say, but he had nothing to say it with – no throat, no voice. It was like dreaming, and knowing he was dreaming, but not being able to wake himself up.
“Harry!” he called out, and this time he heard his own voice, and jumped.Draco Sinister, Chapter 9
After Avocado called attention to this, Cassandra Clare was banned from Fanfiction.net.
As I mentioned, The Mortal Instruments have claims throughout its entire lifetime. The next claim that came out about plagiarism against this series was from Sherrilyn Kenyon. She claimed that the Shadowhunter series copied Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters series which was published back in 1998, while City of Bones was published in 2007. Kenyon claimed in a February 2016 lawsuit that both series:
Are about an elite band of warriors that must protect the human world from the unseen paranormal threat that seeks to destroy humans as they go about their daily lives.
They are both given a manual on how to conduct their mission and on how to conduct themselves when dealing with other entities and species in their fictional world.
Both series employ a line of warriors who protect the normal world from demons … In both series, a young person becomes part of the Dark-Hunters’ (or Shadowhunters’) world after being saved by a gorgeous blonde Dark-Hunter (or Shadowhunter) … They each must kill their demonic father … Both Dark-Hunters and Shadowhunters have enchanted swords that are divinely forged, imbued with otherworldly spirits, have unique names, and glow like heavenly fire.
However, Kenyon dropped the copyright infringement/plagiarism lawsuit in May 2016. Cassandra Clare shared information about this lawsuit and it being dropped over on her Tumblr.
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Stephenie Meyer’s final installment of the Twilight series was accused of stealing parts of a novel called The Nocturne by Jordan Scott. A cease and deceit order was set to the publication, but they requested a copy of the book to review the claim further but the book was never sent to the publication.
Later, they made a statement that said, “The Twilight Saga is entirely the creation of Ms Meyer…This claim is frivolous and will be defended vigorously.”
Frost Kay vs. S.M. McEachern
This is an author I had on my TBR for a while, but was going to wait until all the books in the series were published before I read them. Well, I never got around to reading them and have since removed those books from my TBR after it came out that Frost Kay, a USA Today bestselling author, was accused of plagiarizing S.M. McEachern.
Here are the claims from S.M. McEachern against Frost Kay:
Frost Kay since then has claimed it was a ghostwriter that did this from what I heard, but those two books have since been removed from Amazon, but the other books in this series are still available.
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
It was alleged that J.K. Rowling plagiarised parts of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire from Adrian Jacob’s The Adventure of Willy the Wizard. However, this case was dismissed after a trustee for Jacob failed to pay the security deposit by the appointed time. The judge in the case also stated he thought the claim was unlikely to succeed.
And had also been rejected in another US court previously.
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