...when you copy someone's original work.
I'm sure you all know about Kaavya Viswanathan and the copying of Megan McCafferty's books.
And since as of this post Kaavya has said that the borrowing was "unintentional and unconscious" but did exist; and the publisher has said that future editions will be revised, I feel safe saying that copying was done. As others have pointed out, over 40 instances of copying. Which means that it's not one mistake; it's over 40 mistakes.
I've read a few "I feel sorry for Kaavya" type things recently. And guess what? I don't.
Kaavya got paid $500,000. She is a sophomore at Harvard. She's grown up enough to get paid a half million dollars and to be at an Ivy League school; so she's old enough not to copy another's work.
Kaavya told Katie Couric that she is "profoundly sorry", per the Katie Couric interview? And "all she can do" is change the book?
Let's see.... perhaps the book should be taken off the market? Perhaps it shouldn't be highlighted on her publisher's website? Perhaps money should be paid to the person whose work was stolen? Perhaps Kaavya shouldn't be let off the hook with "I'm sorry but I didn't meant it"?
Is there also responsibility from her publishing house? Hell yes. McCafferty is well known; and I am very disappointed to think that those working at the publishing company are so unaware of these current books that no-one in-house picked up on this. When I checked the publisher's website, it was still promoting the book as if nothing had happened.
The victim here is Megan McCafferty, a hard working, talented writer who is at the heart of a scandal that she didn't create.
So, in my humble opinion, I'm sorry is not enough.
Edited to add: link to the 45 instances. It's a PDF file from Publisher's Marketplace. And my latest pet peeve? The defense that all teen lit sounds alike anyway, so how can someone copy something so generic?