SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

How Opal Mehta got plagiarized...

Discussion started on

Uber Sparkly Poster
Poster Plus
Has anyone else noticed the Little, Brown is now saying that the advance was less than the well-reported 500,000 and was split between Kaavya and Alloy? 
#211 - April 27, 2006, 05:10 PM

steph

Guest
Yeah, still lots of unanswered questions - or answers to questions that i'm not sure i'm buying.

LOL! Just wanted to make clear that I don't think anyone here has 'accused' anyone of anything, but in re-reading the post I think you're right Diana.

Apologies to Jaded if I misunderstood ;D
#212 - April 27, 2006, 05:13 PM

steph

Guest
Jen,

One of the links above - I believe the crimson article with 'the old hag' (sorry that's her blog can't remember her name) mentions that up to half of an advance can go to the packager. Now we hear that LB says the advance was for less than the reported amount. Take away the agent's cut and she isn't left with much.

In the link to the NY times story above - it says that the actual deal was signed between LB and Alloy - I found that interesting.
#213 - April 27, 2006, 05:20 PM

Melanie

Guest
i don't know, it seems to me that the publishers and packagers would have more to gain by sticking with each other on this story than by supporting the writer.  they make each other lots of money, no?  they have established relationships where they have made lots of money together, and my hunch is that they would want to continue that relationship. 

what would a young writer who has fallen from grace have to offer either of them? 

i agree with diana -- it all reeks (and that this thread is addictive).
#214 - April 27, 2006, 05:57 PM

The constant gardener
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
  • SCBWI PAL
To continue with what Melanie and others wrote, this is why I wonder why Alloy gets a share of the copyright for simply assistingin the preconceptual phase.

And this is just my two cents, but generally NYT errs on the conservative side when it comes to sources. Meaning, they won't print something unless they're 100% sure.
You might notice that when the KV item came out on Sunday, NYT didn't report on it until Tuesday, when people were actually making statements. So I find it interesting
today to see an article in NYT about KV and plagiarism and right next to it, one on Alloy with the headlines "First, Plot and Character. Then, Find an Author."
Hmm...doesn't sound like Alloy is so out of the picture just yet.
#215 - April 27, 2006, 07:01 PM

jadedmetaphor

Guest
Don't  know if somebody mentioned this yet or not (I could have missed it) but there is a review from a 7th grader at Amazon who says there is nothing wrong with what she did. How sad.
Only time for quick post-

It's especially sad, considering Little, Brown isn't going to take any action against KV and even Megan McCafferty, herself, said she won't seek restitution (not that it sounded like she could get it, anyway). I respect her right to choose, but I hope adults will be able to explain to children like the 7th grader why what happened was wrong...

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=513121
#216 - April 27, 2006, 08:03 PM
« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 08:06 PM by jadedmetaphor »

Veni Sancte Spiritus!
Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
a review from a 7th grader at Amazon who says there is nothing wrong with what she did.

 :faint:  

What next?
#217 - April 27, 2006, 08:04 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

Uber Sparkly Poster
Poster Plus
Only time for quick post-

It's especially sad, considering Little, Brown isn't going to take any action against KV and even Megan McCafferty, herself, said she won't seek restitution (not that it sounded like she could get it, anyway). I respect her right to choose, but I hope adults will be able to explain to children like the 7th grader why what happened was wrong...

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=513121

Even if Little, Brown doesn't sue, Dreamworks still could.  At this point, if they decide against making a movie and have a standard originality clause in their contracts, they could cut their losses by getting the money back.  Somehow, though, I think they're more likely to just let the option expire if they decide not to make a movie.
#218 - April 27, 2006, 08:20 PM

Pickles

Guest
There's another jr. high student in a much earlier review, but still post-scandal, who says the same thing and calls MM jealous and very old. Ha! And there are two other posts, which I supsect are written by the same person, which say we shouldn't feel sorry for MM because she's getting so much free publicity. Heavy sigh.
#219 - April 27, 2006, 08:24 PM

DerekJ

Guest
Even if Little, Brown doesn't sue, Dreamworks still could.  At this point, if they decide against making a movie and have a standard originality clause in their contracts, they could cut their losses by getting the money back.  Somehow, though, I think they're more likely to just let the option expire if they decide not to make a movie.

"Originality clause"?....DREAMWORKS?? 

Face it, this is The House That Plagiarism Built, where it's treated like a code of honor--These two lonely people on the planet were made for each other...
If there was a "no-plagiarism clause" in any of Dreamworks' productions, none of their animated films would have ever been MADE.    :pp
#220 - April 27, 2006, 09:01 PM
« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 09:05 PM by DerekJ »

ecb

Guest
One of the links above - I believe the crimson article with 'the old hag' (sorry that's her blog can't remember her name) mentions that up to half of an advance can go to the packager. Now we hear that LB says the advance was for less than the reported amount. Take away the agent's cut and she isn't left with much.

Hmmm.... how much less, though?  For a 2 book deal, assuming William Morris got the standard 15% and Alloy got half of the remainder... that still leaves just about $100,000 for KV for OPAL.

So unless the real advance was SUBSTANTIALLY less than reported... say, $475,000 less... I'd say she still makes out pretty well.
#221 - April 27, 2006, 10:22 PM

Paulahy

Guest
There's another jr. high student in a much earlier review, but still post-scandal, who says the same thing and calls MM jealous and very old. Ha! And there are two other posts, which I supsect are written by the same person, which say we shouldn't feel sorry for MM because she's getting so much free publicity. Heavy sigh.

And this is why LB and Alloy need to do a  very expensive joint education campaign on the evils of plagirism.  Say about $500K worth of PSA's and print ads directed at kids in age from 6-18. 

The opportunity to educate on why this is wrong is staring them right in the face!!!  Matter of fact, the whole industry may as well get in on it instead of expecting an entitiy like the Author's Guild or Assoc of Journalist to tackle it.  The people that publish the work should educate b/c their pockets are deeper and more capable of doing a wide spread and comprehensive campaign.

At this point, as addictive as reading about this is for me, - and I'm scooping up every new piece, but I'm highly disappointed that none of the companies have thought about this.  Where are the corporate PR people in all this?  Why aren't they advising them to do this?  I know I would in their position!!!


-P
#222 - April 28, 2006, 05:04 AM

lurban

Guest
You all heard that LB is pulling the books, right?
#223 - April 28, 2006, 05:39 AM

Paulahy

Guest
Yup, we heard.  There's a link somewhere on page 8 to the Yahoo story about the book being pulled.

Step 2 - education campaign on plagirsim.

Sorry, total broken record on this issue.  ;D

-P
#224 - April 28, 2006, 05:46 AM

steph

Guest
Hmmm.... how much less, though?  For a 2 book deal, assuming William Morris got the standard 15% and Alloy got half of the remainder... that still leaves just about $100,000 for KV for OPAL.

So unless the real advance was SUBSTANTIALLY less than reported... say, $475,000 less... I'd say she still makes out pretty well.

Regardless of what money she is left with (considering it was a 2 book deal and I think it's doubtful # 2 will be written).

This is so not about money.  I think she would pay double what she received as an advance to restore her reputation.

So KV's  punishment, book removed, most likely no second book, problems at Harvard, can't begin to know the damage to reputation (time will tell), possibly having remaining money removed. 

This was an initial run of 100,000 books. I'm curious to know how many books were actually left to be removed. Based on that I'm not sure how much monetary damage was done to  the publisher.

What about Alloy/17th Street Productions - did they keep their share of the advance?


Forgot about the agent (you know the one that connected her with Alloy ) should she have to return her fee?
#225 - April 28, 2006, 06:28 AM
« Last Edit: August 12, 2006, 07:38 AM by steph »

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region intlcentral
  • SCBWI PAL
They do say though that KV is rewriting those passages in question. So it seems as if they will re-issue the book at some point.
#226 - April 28, 2006, 06:36 AM
A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT (Philomel)
ME WITH YOU -- (Philomel)
MINI-RACER -- (Bloomsbury)
SURFER CHICK -- (Abrams)
http://kristydempsey.livejournal.com

steph

Guest
You're right, I read that in the original blurb about standing by the author blah, blah and that they would correct in the next run.

Yesterday eve when they announced they would pull the book (funny though late last night it seemed you could still get a copy at Amazon) I didn't read it as 'we will scrap first edition and get second edition to stores asap'.

But, I think you're right, like I said above who knows how many books were left to pull, could be a 'collector's item' in the future (I know sad but true) and the next edition will be MM free.

I think it will be interesting to see what's left in of the 40 or so disputed excerpts. I know there are clearly excerpts that were ripped from MM but there seems to be some disagreement on how much was MM's and how much is just how teens naturally talk.
#227 - April 28, 2006, 06:45 AM

Jaina

Guest
"New Coke," anyone?
#228 - April 28, 2006, 06:59 AM

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midatlantic
Steph,

You said it could be a collector's item.  They're already selling them on eBay.

AM
#229 - April 28, 2006, 07:03 AM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Athena529

Guest
MM has made a (gracious) statement regarding the scandal (excerpt taken from NY Times article):


"Ms. McCafferty, who until now has remained silent, also issued a statement last night.

'In the case of Kaavya Viswanathan's plagiarizing of my novels 'Sloppy Firsts' and 'Second Helpings,'  she said, 'I wish to inform all of the parties involved that I am not seeking restitution in any form.

'The past few weeks have been very difficult, and I am most grateful to my readers for offering continual support, and for reminding me what Jessica Darling means to both them and to me. In my career, I am, first and foremost, a writer. So I look forward to getting back to work and moving on, and hope Ms. Viswanathan can, too.'

Ms. Viswanathan, reached last night, declined to comment."

#230 - April 28, 2006, 07:12 AM

almarrone

Guest
 think it will be interesting to see what's left in of the 40 or so disputed excerpts. I know there are clearly excerpts that were ripped from MM but there seems to be some disagreement on how much was MM's and how much is just how teens naturally talk.

There were definately a few spots that I thought were plain old teen speak.
#231 - April 28, 2006, 07:13 AM

steph

Guest
Really, are they just offering 'Opal'  on  E-bay or are they offering 'Sloppy' as well.

How many books do you suppose are left today to 'remove'.


That does sound like a gracious statement from MM.
#232 - April 28, 2006, 07:14 AM
« Last Edit: April 28, 2006, 07:17 AM by steph »

Pickles

Guest
I saw Opal going on ebay for over $35 a couple of days ago. Sloppy firsts was also available. But so are a lot of books. I briefly searched for other relatively recent titles off the top of my head. You can find Storky on e-bay. So it's not unusual to find books on ebay, but it did seem odd people were willing to pay over double and this was a couple of days BEFORE the yank was announced. I'm guessing, people anticipated the yank.

-k.
#233 - April 28, 2006, 07:53 AM

Jennie_1551

Guest
Sorry if these have been posted, but I found them very informative, and entertaining, too!

How Kaavya Got Packaged and Got Into Trouble: Plagiarism and the teen-marketing culture.
By Ann Hulbert
http://www.slate.com/id/2140683/

I Coulda Been a Pretender: How I didn't end up like that Harvard sophomore accused of plagiarizing her novel.
By John Barlow
http://www.slate.com/id/2140620/

J.
#234 - April 28, 2006, 07:55 AM

fuego80027

Guest
I have been reading this thread now for a few days and I do have to wonder if KV does try and publish another book will she have an extremely hard time in doing so or will it be looked at with heavy scrutiny?
#235 - April 28, 2006, 08:27 AM

Uber Sparkly Poster
Poster Plus
PW is reporting that the movie deal has been scratched, and that it's unclear whether the book will be reissued...
#236 - April 28, 2006, 09:06 AM

NDM

Guest
Thanks, Jen.  Anyone else read the Sara Nelson article in PW?  Great read on the role of marketing and packaging in the publishing world.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6329232.html?display=breaking
#237 - April 28, 2006, 10:03 AM

Paulahy

Guest
OMG, why can't I stop reading this thread?  Why can't I stop blogging about this thing?

I don't know about anyone else.  But I think it's because it touches my buttons on so many different levels - the way the business works, the unlevel playing field, the deceit that rolls so easily off the backs of big business, the whole dang train wreck in progress of it all.

Watching a young author's career de-railed over a week has not been a pleasure.  I wish Kaavya only good things for the future.  This is a tough, public lesson.

Yet, I cannot help but look back on my own journey to become published and think - we all make choices and we have to live with them.

::Sigh:::

This has touched me way more than the whole James Frey thing...guess cause it's YA.

-P
#238 - April 28, 2006, 10:05 AM

NDM

Guest
I agree, P.  I guess, for me, it's because I feel that could have been any one of us at nineteen.  I remember the stupid mistakes I made then, and the desire to be published, acknowledged, appreciated, recognized, rewarded . . . heck, LOVED, was so painfully intense then.  Who knows what decisions I would have made, had a publishing giant waved a half-mil check in my face, a packager offered to help me write the whole thing, and dreamworks wanted to make a movie out of it (while at the same time having to stay on top of my schoolwork at harvard)? 

Hard to say. ::shrug::  I just know I'm in no position to moralize on this one.  And, yes, it has affected me deeply as well.  It's like seeing the ugliest side of the business we're in as YA writers.  Sara Nelson's words from her PW article really hit home for me:
Realizing that a major house is willing to pay major money for a book that executives knew was going to require major work smacks of something majorly disturbing. It suggests that even the most well-bred publishing houses are not as desperate to find promising writers and great novels as they are to find attractive authors (preferably with interesting backstories) with whom they can match up test-marketed, packaged stories. And then they can take all the credit.

Or blame, as the case may be.
  :feelbad:

(emoticon not part of original quote)
#239 - April 28, 2006, 10:39 AM

DerekJ

Guest
Watching a young author's career de-railed over a week has not been a pleasure.  I wish Kaavya only good things for the future.  This is a tough, public lesson.

A "young author" would have blown us away with her own material--
Intentional plagiarism, OTOH, is the writing equivalent of stuffing a cucumber down your pants (or tissue paper down your sweater, depending on gender metaphor), and "unintentional" plagiarism, if that's the story she's sticking with, is just plain sad.

I repeat that a writer can read many favorite authors, but a real author should know they're out there to drive up alongside those favorites, shout "What's that jalopy you're driving, Grandpa?", step on the gas pedal, and leave them behind in the dust...  :writing3:
Which seems to be the complaint we've raised about other "teen prodigy" authors so far, who seem to be very good at "assembling" their books from all the parroted material they've read...But at least Christopher Paolini and Flavia Bujor managed to rearrange their material differently.
#240 - April 28, 2006, 11:02 AM
« Last Edit: April 28, 2006, 03:28 PM by DerekJ »

Members:

0 Members and 13 Guests are viewing this topic.