[Reblog] Plagiarism Doesn't Happen by Accident, It Takes Hard Work.

Reblogged from The Fangirl:

Spanglemaker9 brought another interesting point to my attention in the comments of my post on the Shey Stahl Plagiarism controversy. After doing a little research I decided that it deserved to be examined a little closer. So...


Let's talk about timelines. 


In Stahl's public letter, on her website, she admits to posting her books as fan fiction form "back in late 2009" and said that none were completed before being pulled. 



I can only find evidence of four fan fics posted under Stahl's two different fan fiction accounts. While I can confirm three of them were pulled before completion, Lapped Traffic was completed and outtakes were posted for it before Stahl pulled it down. There are copies of the completed Lapped Traffic with outtakes circulating on the internet.


However, what's really interesting is the date that Stahl claims to have posted her fan fic, "late 2009."


Stahl used two pen names (that we know of) to post fan fiction, Jaydmommy and pitprincess. What's interesting about them is both were created after 2009. Jaydmommy was created in 2010, and was the account under which Stahl posted Lapped Traffic, which went on to become the Racing on the Edge series (the first books that Stahl published). While the pitprincess (created in 2011) was used to post Moab, which was published as Everything Changes. 



Why would Stahl contradict the date stamps on her own Fanfiction.net accounts?  Simple, because all of the fan fics that she copied from were posted in or after 2010. 


For the Summer by Camoozle posted 4/30/10 [copied for For the Summer]


The Misapprehension of Bella Swan (2/25/10) [Lapped Traffic]

The Art Teacher by spanglemaker9 (11/7/10) [copied for Everything Changes]

A Gilded Cage by MissAlex (10/21/11) [Happy Hour]

Dusty by  Mary Elizabeth & Sarah (12/21/11) [copied for For the Summer]

The Practicum by TheFicChick (1/13/13) [copied for Everything Changes]


Pickup Truck by Mary Elizabeth (5/8/13) [copied for For the Summer]


 This is important, because it looks like Stahl is trying to give the impression that her fan fiction, which was the basis for her books, were posted first. Which would be important to any case, legal or for the sake of public opinion, that she is not only not a plagiarizer, but the victim of this situation. Unfortunately for Stahl, she never bothered to delete her jaydmommy account, and we obtained screenshots of her pitprincess accounts (both on Fanfiction.net and Facebook) before they were deleted. 


All this maneuvering aside, what really intrigued me was something I found while collecting the posted dates of the fan fiction that Stahl plagiarized and publishing dates of her books. 


Stahl actually pulled her fan fiction in 2011. Lapped Traffic (Happy Hour) and Watching Waiting were pulled in February of 2011. While Moab and Air Conditioner From Hell were pulled in December of the same year. 


Interestingly enough several of these fan fics that Stahl plagiarized were posted after Stahl pulled her fan fiction from the internet. Which is a strong indication that Stahl was not only plagiarizing while writing fan fiction (like Lapped Traffic), but that she continued to "borrow" from Twilight fan fic while "rewriting" and editing her books (For the Summer and  Everything Changes) for publication. In the case of the fan fic Pickup Truck and For the Summer, Stahl was even copying the summaries for fan fiction to create blurbs for her published books. 


When you look at the sheer scope of the copying Stahl's claims that any similarities between her work and the fan fictions listed are coincidentally don't hold water. Rightly so. This kind of plagiarism could never happen by accident. 




I've seen a lot of people dismiss plagiarism as "lazy." After investigating the Shey Stahl controversy, I have to disagree. Shey Stahl did a lot of work to camouflage other writers words to pass them off as her own. 


Stahl not only had to source her stolen words from multiple sources, but she had to conceal her theft by melding her writing with the work of others. She achieved this through rearranging sentences, changing tenses and even rewording sections. Which explains why her books (as she claims) "pass a plagiarism checker." Those kinds of programs are looking for exact words, and specific sentence similarities. Looking at how Stahl disguised another author's words as her own it's easy to see how she could fool a computer program.



It's no wonder after all this work to rewrite other writers words that Stahl feels she's earned the right to call it her own creation. The question is has she convinced anyone else.