Follow Up from Penguin re: Cassie Edwards Splodestravaganza

Part of a series: Cassie Edwards 1: The First Post | Cassie Edwards 2: Savage Longings | Cassie Edwards Part 3: Running Fox | Cassie Edwards Part 4: Savage Moon | Cassie Edwards Part 5: Savage Beloved | Follow-up: Penguin (Part 1?) | Official Statement from Signet | AP Article Contains Response from Edwards  | RWA Responds to Allegations  | A centralized document for the Cassie Edwards situation


I heard this morning from Penguin. It was a canned response. Now, keep in mind that a) I didn’t know people at Penguin I could contact directly, so I used their all-purpose “Hi, I’ve found problems with something in one of your books” e-mail, and b) these things take time to work through. If somebody wants to email me (candy @ smartbitchestrashybooks.com) a better contact at Penguin/Signet to forward on all our findings, do it, do iiiiiiiit.

So here, in its entirety, is the response I got from Penguin:

Dear Candy,

We appreciate the many questions, comments, suggestions, and ideas that are submitted by our readers and are happy to share them with our Editorial, Publicity, Sales and Marketing departments. Because of the volume of mail received, we cannot guarantee that you will receive a personal response, however, we will certainly forward your comments to them for review.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

I may or may not hear more from them.

Dorchester, on the other hand, hasn’t written back yet. If they haven’t replied by tomorrow, I might try sniffing around for another e-mail address to send this material to.

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  1. 1
    Marta Acosta says:

    Thought I’d see who this person was whose work got ripped off.  And he’s pretty dang impressive.

    “Charles Alexander Eastman (1858-1939), or Ohiyesa (“victor”), was born to a Sioux father and a mixed-blood mother on a Santee Sioux reservation in Minnesota. According to the philosophy of the time, Eastman received his education among whites, attending preparatory school and then Dartmouth College, and later graduating from medical school. He became an agency physician for the Indian Health Service and worked on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where he cared for the wounded after the US Army’s 1890 attack on Lakota chief Big Foot’s band at Wounded Knee. Eastman moved to Washington, DC, in the late 1890s and lobbied the government on behalf of the Santee Sioux. He then held a succession of government positions; President Roosevelt assigned him in 1903 to revise the allotment of tribal lands and to assign the Sioux family names to protect their land titles. Author of the autobiographical Indian Boyhood (1902), Eastman helped to found the Boy Scouts of America in 1910.”

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/1900/peopleevents/pandeAMEX38.html

  2. 2
    Teddy Pig says:

    OMG! Cassie Edwards caught ripping off the Boy Scouts of America!

    Oh, that headline just is so shiny!

  3. 3
    Laura says:

    Forget the publishers. Let’s email Cassie. See what she has to say for herself.

  4. 4
    C says:

    Oh my. If you go to her website and simply google the new blurb about her Dreamcather series… the blurb is on ANOTHER website selling dreamcatchers… huh?

  5. 5
    Lor says:

    If you really want to reach those with the power at Penquin, try going through a sales rep. They get very little email and will pass the message on up the line. You’ll likely hear back.

  6. 6
    NkB says:

    I like the e-mailing Cassie Edwards idea, even though the chances of her admitting to being too lazy to put another person’s research in her own words is unlikely. 

    I do have a question, though:  are all the books (SAVAGE LONGING, RUNNING FOX, etc.) with copies in them from the post-google age, and has anyone looked at books she wrote before the internet made all facts available all the time?  She must have some books from the early nineties….  I was just wondering if this is a recent phenomenon or not.

  7. 7
    monimala says:

    Stupid question, but has anyone even SEEN Cassie Edwards?  Does she exist?  And even if she does exist, what if she’s a front or a sockpuppet?  Maybe she’s a computer program that automatically generates romance writing from some kind of algorithm and randomly pulls content from the Web to supplement?

    Sort of like the room full of monkeys on typewriters generating Shakespeare plays?

  8. 8
    Gannet says:

    @monimala: Oh I love that idea. I just love it. Writing robots for the win!

  9. 9
    mandy says:

    Wait… is this the same Charles Eastman that the HBO special was based on? (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee)

  10. 10
    R. says:

    *Ahem*

    I have in my possession a paperback copy of Eastman’s ‘Indian Boyhood’, with an intro by Frederick W. Turner III, U. of Mass, which states thusly:
    ———————————
    INDIAN BOYHOOD

    A Fawcett Premier Book

    This book contains the complete text of the original hardcover edition.

    Introduction copyright (c) 1972 by Fawcett Publications, Inc.

    All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or any portions thereof in any form.

    Printed in the United States of America
    November 1972
    ——————-

    Srsly, does it *have* to be any clearer?  So much for this source possibly being out of copyright. 

    [verification: next23—yowzah.

  11. 11
    Charlene says:

    R, hold on: that’s the copyright of the introduction, not the text. An introduction’s copyright has no influence on the copyright status of the body of the work.

  12. 12
    Gina says:

    I hope that in addition to sharing your email with their “Editorial, Publicity, Sales and Marketing departments” they also share it with their legal department.

  13. 13
    R. says:

    Whoosh.  Then that bit about:

    “All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or any portions thereof in any form.”

    …was just impotent noise?

    Damn.  Color me enlightened.

  14. 14
    RfP says:

    There’s an article on plagiarism in yesterday’s Inside Higher Ed.  It’s based on a meeting of the American Historical Association, and it focuses on academia, but this seems relevant:

    Confronting—and Not Confronting—Plagiarism

    however much plagiarism may offend scholars and make professors look silly to the public when famous authors are exposed, the law takes a different approach. “From the point of view of the law, defamation of character is a very live issue, but plagiarism is really marginal,” said Alan Lessoff, professor of history at Illinois State University and editor of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

    If that’s so, it may explain why not everyone sees the problem.  Everyone knows about slander and libel, but perhaps there’s insufficient education on plagiarism because it’s often not pursued (legally, at least) and doesn’t crop up in the news often like accusations of defamation.

  15. 15
    Charlene says:

    Anyone can put out an edition of Pride and Prejudice. But they cannot simply photocopy or scan the Penguin edition and sell that, because Penguin owns the formatting, typesetting, pagination, etc. *That* is what the book means by “no unauthorized copying”.

    Just because the word “reserved” or “copyrighted” exists on one page doesn’t mean that all the content of the book is automatically copyright. You have to read what specifically is being copyrighted.

    And there’s a huge, enormous, massive difference between “copyright violation” and “plagiarism”. It may be plagiarism but it might not be a copyright violation.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    DS says:

    It’s in public domain in the US—at least as the law now stands—who knows what it will be after the copyright law gets overhauled again. 

    Original publication date of 1902 prior to watershed year of 1923—although there are some specific exceptions in a few western states, all are after 1902. Author died in 1939. 

    We need Jane from Dear Author to make this make sense.  Sorry, I’m too tired to explain this properly.

  18. 18
    Chrissy says:

    Photo of Ms. Edwards followed by an article noting she has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award, which she should have to bloody well return.

  19. 19
    monimala says:

    Chrissy – Duly noted that there is photographic proof of her existence!  But here’s the part that REALLY caught my eye:

    Each book she writes is well-researched and authentic and she is striving to write about every major Indian tribe in America.

    Bwahahahahahaha.  Also, any tribes she has overlooked should breathe a huge sigh of relief.

  20. 20
    jadan says:

    Teddypig, you kill me, please pass the cowbell.

  21. 21
    rebyj says:

    http://www.myspace.com/cassieedwardsromance 

    here’s cassie edwards myspace which lists her at 71 years old. It also had a brief bio of her family.

  22. 22
    Anna says:

    Concerning the copyright of Indian Boyhood, my understanding is that the text can be copyrighted as well as the typesetting.  As someone else commented, you can print Pride and Prejudice but you can’t do it the same way someone else has printed it.  In the same way, if you have the rights to something you wrote and published, you can sell the second publication rights to someone else but not the precise format and layout in which it was printed the first time, because the first publisher still owns the copyright on how they published your text.

    And yes, Charles Eastman was the main character of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

  23. 23
    Teddy Pig says:

    Eachtribe is unique in its own copywriteded way. Let the Cassie show you her cutz and pazt skillz has she clips her way through almost every Native American academic manuscript known to mankind while giving each and every buckskin wearing hero stilted dialog and a heap big haired white woman.

  24. 24

    I wanted to leave a comment on her page asking for any reaction from her about this, but alas, you must be someone’s friend to comment on their page.  Dammit.  I’m not sure I want to be her friend, actually.

  25. 25
    Nikki says:

    NkB said:
    I do have a question, though:  are all the books (SAVAGE LONGING, RUNNING FOX, etc.) with copies in them from the post-google age, and has anyone looked at books she wrote before the internet made all facts available all the time?  She must have some books from the early nineties….  I was just wondering if this is a recent phenomenon or not.

    Today I tracked down one of her books published in 1992 called WILD ECSTASY. Not because I’m a glutton for punishment but I can’t help wondering how long this has been going on.  Found my answer.  I’ll be sending another report to the SBs tomorrow once my brain fully recovers, but the short answer is this is NOT a recent phenomenon. 

    In this particular book, the copying isn’t as extensive as the examples I located in SAVAGE BELOVED but it’s there nonetheless.  So Google or the ease of copy/paste cannot be used as an excuse.  For me, this just proves the blatant copying of research materials is a standard practice for Ms. Edwards.  I’m tempted to track down her first book and see what gems—or lumps of coal—that book contains.

    Of course, now I’ve got that damn song stuck in my head.  You know the one. Come on, everybody.  Sing along with me!

    “How long…has this been goin’ on?
    How long…has this been goin’ on?

    Well your friends with their fancy persuasions
    Can’t admit that it’s part of the scene
    But I can’t help but have my suspicions
    ‘Cause I ain’t quite as dumb as I seem

    HOW LONG…

    Seems rather fitting, doesn’t it?  And for those who don’t know, that’s a song performed by the band Ace, written by lead singer Paul Carrack.  (See?  Attribution isn’t *that* hard.)

  26. 26
    Poison Ivy says:

    So technically she is not plagiarizing because the books from which she lifts whole passages are out of copyright. That still doesn’t make it morally right to use somebody else’s words without crediting the source.

    C’mon, Cassie. Give credit where credit is due. Otherwise your epitaph is going to be “She loved to steal from other writers who were dead and couldn’t fight back.”

    Obviously, she thinks her readers are too stupid and too indifferent to read or care about an author’s note citing sources. And, you know, she could be right.

  27. 27
    Anna says:

    Poison Ivy, it’s still plagiarism if the copyright on the original has expired.  It’s no longer copyright infringement because the copyright no longer exists.  There’s a big difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement – namely that copyright infringement is actionable and plagiarism is not.  As it happens, there are a wide number of cases which are both – the Janet Dailey plagiarism of Nora Roberts comes to mind – but if no one has exclusive rights to the text anymore it’s no longer copyrighted and therefore not protected by copyright law.

    For example, if she were passing off the plot and dialogue of one of Shakespeare’s lesser plays, it’d still be plagiarism despite the fact that Shakespeare’s works are public domain.  It’s still morally bankrupt even if it can’t be taken to court.

    (Please note: I am not a lawyer.  I don’t think I’ve misrepresented anything here as far as the system works in the US, but don’t take my word for it.  Read up on it yourself.)

  28. 28
    Chicklet says:

    I know you were all waiting for this…

    That’s it—Teddy Pig won the internet, contest over for all eternity.

  29. 29
    Peaches says:

    If everything she lifts from is in public domain, that must mean she takes care to only lift from public domain, and therefore that means she must know what she’s doing is morally wrong and has taken precautions against legal responses.  Now, imagine if she put all this effort into improving her writing, or at the very least her punctuation.

  30. 30
    Miri says:

    The Cassie Edwards site link with her picture? About 30 seconds after you go there she SPEAKS! Scared the tar out of me, I thought it was my Nanna! : )

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