You may remember the recent case of Cristiane Serruya, a Brazilian romance author who was revealed to be a plagiarist. Now, unfortunately, plagiarism is a tad too common in our self-publishing and Kindle Unlimited gaming days, but what Serruya did was lift from other authors on a massive scale. She took from some of the biggest authors in the genre, from Courtney Milan to Kresley Cole to Tessa Dare, and lifted passages from cooking websites, articles on gardening, and even The Guardian newspaper! By the end of February, one blogger had found Serruya had plagiarised from no fewer than 51 authors. Serruya eventually responded, claiming she had worked on her books with a ghostwriter she hired from Fiverr and was seeking to rectify the situation, but many remain cynical about that claim given the sheer scale of the plagiarism. One person did come forward to Milan claiming to be one of Serruya’s ghostwriters, alleging that ‘Her work, when given to me, was a number of mishmashed scenes that needed “expanding”, as she said. I took for granted that these were her own words, and embellished as she requested, as this is how I work’.
Several books by Nora Roberts, the queen of romance and one of the best-selling authors of all time, were included in the list of everything #CopyPasteCris lifted. You come for the queen, you best not miss. Roberts, of course, is not taking this lying down and just filed papers in Rio de Janeiro this week, where Serruya lives, suing for copyright infringement.
According to Associated Press, ‘Roberts called Serruya’s romance books “a literary patchwork, piecing together phrases whose form portrays emotions practically identical to those expressed in the plaintiff’s books.” Citing Brazilian law, Roberts is asking for damages at 3,000 times the value of the highest sale price for any Serruya work mentioned in the lawsuit.’ She also told the AP: If you plagiarize, I will come for you. If you take my work, you will pay for it and I will do my best to see you don’t write again.’
Roberts also called out Amazon for their lack of vigilance in dealing with obviously plagiarized books on their site. Serruya continues to insist she would ‘never intentionally plagiarize anyone’ and that she was ‘fooled by some “mentors” and “coachers” who told me that “More, more, more, fast, fast, fast.”’ And then there was this.
I can’t believe that Cris Serruya surfaced, blinking, into the bright spotlight of public opinion, to clarify that she was not a donkey. pic.twitter.com/Oh5cB7GKkL— Courtney!!! Milan 🦖 (@courtneymilan) April 25, 2019
Apparently, the word for ‘donkey’ in Brazilian Portuguese is colloquially used to mean dumb or stupid, although I would personally say you’d have to be IMMENSELY stupid to ignore e-mails from the mega-rich, universally beloved plagiarism hater you stole from.
Also, Nora Roberts is the coolest.
So uh… this arrived at my door.— Claire Ryan (@aetherlev) April 16, 2019
From Nora Roberts. pic.twitter.com/hi6pH2aWk8
me whenever i see nora roberts trending and see that y'all tried it AGAIN pic.twitter.com/y3YExHsxp8— sierra elmore (@SierraWritesYA) April 24, 2019
How people haven’t learned not to fuck with Nora Roberts, I’ll never understand.— Summer Heacock (@Fizzygrrl) April 24, 2019
She will BURN you. To ash. And then burn the ashes. https://t.co/sfJ5pb5rMs
If successful, Roberts plans to donate any damages from the lawsuit to a literary program in Brazil.
Bring it on, Nora!
Header Image Source: Getty Images.