Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Great Pretender

I figured that I will do my small part in getting the word out about somebody plagiarizing stories in our on-line community. Most of you will know this already but perhaps some have not.

Mercedes Yardley last night posted on her blog about a person by the name of 'Richard Ridyard' who attempted to pass off a story as his own, but was actually written by the horror master Stephen King. Fortunately, the people at Shock Totem recognized it for what it was and called him up on it. You can read her full story here. She also mentions that horror writer Angel Zapata has had one of his stories plagiarized. I read this morning that our own Aaron Polson has also had his story "Communion" plagiarized by this person. You can read his comments about this at his blog here.

Angel does an amazing job of building a case against this fraud on his most recent post. Do yourself a favour and read his well-researched story exposing this person here. There are numerous comments from folks at his blog, updating information on the story.

There's not more I can add to what others have said about this person. When on-line publishers accept stories there is a certain amount of trust assumed. I somehow doubt this was done for money because, as we all know, there isn't a lot to be had by publishing short stories on e-zines. I think that it's more of a sick joke by someone who has carefully placed stories for some time, knowing that eventually they would be discovered. I also think that this person is getting off on the amount of attention they are receiving. Sort of their '15 minutes of fame.'

There will always be people who try to scam the system, but it is comforting that when a person like that is exposed for what they are the rest this community can rally together. In a matter of hours people all over the world have gathered and shared information on this fraud in an attempt to expose him/her more quickly the next time. I have no doubt that Richard Ridyard will surface again in another persona, but at least everyone will be watching.

15 comments:

Laura Eno said...

Thanks for posting this, Alan. I can't imagine what his motivation was, but if Valentine Publications was indeed legitimate he may have knocked their legs out from under them.

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Good to know, Alan. Some people spend more effort stealing from others than it would take to do the job themselves!

K.C. Shaw said...

This just gets weirder and weirder. I do wonder, though, about plagiarizers before the internet. It would have been pretty easy to pass off lesser-known writers' stories as your own back then and harder to spread the word when you caught a plagiarizer. Thank goodness for the internet.

(Also, I totally thought Angel Zapata was a girl. Now I'm embarrassed that I think I referred to him as a "she" in a comment to Mercedes' blog earlier.)

Aaron Polson said...

Fifteen minutes of shame, more like.

I have to second K.C.'s point about the 'net. Heck, I wouldn't even continue to write without the internet community.

Cate Gardner said...

It makes me so mad.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I fail to understand why anyone would do this. If it's an attempt to crow "Aren't I clever?" it fails dismally in my opinion. It's not clever, it's just sad.

Elspeth

Anton Gully said...

Curious. At least Angel and Aaron are in good company.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Laura-Sadly, those that were doing wrong will probably disappear and emerge as something new.

Syvia-You're right about that. I just can't see any monitary gain here. It seems more like somebody playing a massive joke.

KC-That's so true...he would have been much harder to expose had there been no Internet. (psst...I thought Angel was refering to a girl too, a few months back when I first read his stories on EDF). I found otherwise when I visited his website.

Aaron-Shame, indeed, my friend. This community is a benefit to all. Sort of an all-encompassing safety net and watch dog.

Cate-Me too...

Elspeth-That seems about the only plausible reason for doing it.

Anton-I suppose it would give one a special feeling to be lumped in as a victim with Mr. King.

Natalie L. Sin said...

It's always said when someone pulls something like that. The idea that he might have done it just for shits and giggles makes it even worse : P

Danielle Ferries said...

Some fifteen minutes of fame, huh. Remember karma, Dick.

abrokenlaptop said...

Thanks for posting this, Alan. I think everybody should go and do a quick plagiarism scan on their work to see if it popped up under a different name. I know that I did!

And KC- I'll zip in there and change your "she" to a "he"! All better! :D

K.C. Shaw said...

(Thanks, Mercedes! I don't want to insult him, and when I went back and looked at his blog, he's got his picture right there that I don't know how I missed.)

Angel Zapata said...

Took me awhile to get here, but thank you, Alan for posting this.

K.C- Don't worry, I'm not offended *he grunts as only a man can.*

katey said...

Totally pathetic, innit? I mean, whether he did it as a scam or just for a laugh, it's pretty much equally sad. Good god. Yay for the 'net though, and a community that looks out for itself. <3

Alan W. Davidson said...

Natalie-Yeah, it is really sad. "ahits and giggles", that's a hilarious expression I've never heard of before. Guess we spend far too much times in our igloos and log cabins up here!

Danielle-Right on. I'm a big believer or karma too!

Mercedes-that's a good idea...I think that my few stories out there were probably way down the pecking order for RR.

Angel-You are welcome, sir. You did a good thing in 'outing' that guy.

Katey-You're right. It is nice to see the 'net used for good instead of evil...