Right of a budding writer.

Ganga Bharani
Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

Hello all,

This is my story. I sent the first few chapters of my manuscript to Grapevine 2 years ago (Early 2013). I received a reply from Nikita Singh, who was an editor of the publishing house. The mail said that the editors enjoyed reading my manuscript and would like to take a look at the entire manuscript before making the final decision. I sent the entire manuscript. A few months later another editor replied saying they are not taking it up. 

Then I met with Tales4 publications and they published my book in December 2013. 

6 months later Nikita published a book titled 'Right here, Right now' with penguin india. I saw some of the posters released before the publishing date. The plot sounded so similar. I mailed penguin and grapevine asking for a copy to be sent to me as I doubted it to be my story. They did not respond, I am not famous enough to be taken seriously, right. 

Then, the book got published. I bought it, helping her raise her royalty, read it and found the plot, narration and the first chapter to be very similar. 

Isn't it too much to be coincidental? She read my book in march 2013, published a book with same plot, same first person narration, concept and same first chapter but a changed story in mid 2014.  How can I not call it plagiarism? 

To clarify- I had posted just the first chapter because photographing the other pages of her book and posting it online is not the right thing to do. First chapter was taken from samples Amazon site has. Secondly, the similarities don't stop with first chapter. It's just an example I had given. There are a lot more similarities. I have a list which I won't post here for obvious reasons.

I have all proofs. I have shared it on twitter ganga_bharani s my handle. I have also shared it in Facebook. 

All I want is to prove to them that they are not free to copy from struggling writers who are not as famous as they are. I don't want them to take us for granted assuming we wont become a pain by voicing it out. 

 

If X makes a short film, uploads in youtube. say some famous director makes a movie with same plot we can't question. But say X was the famous director's assistant. He showed the movie to famous director to get a producer. Then if the famous director makes a film quickly in the same plot with the same opening scene is it acceptable? When this X makes a feature film, people will say it's just like the famous person's film. Also, the impact will be lost. People will say they have already watched a film with similar opening, wont they?

Edited 4 years ago
Reason: Clarification
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Saru Singhal
Saru Singhal
from Toronto
4 years ago

It is too much for a coincidence, Ganga. Your work is plagirised and you should stand against them. We are with you. 

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Thanks sari.. ūüėĄ gives a lot of strength..
Parul Thakur
Parul Thakur
from Bangalore
4 years ago

If your work is plagiarised, I stand by you! Please don't stop following this up till you get the answers you deserve. 

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Thanks for your support.
Ganga Bharani
Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

Thanks guys! One editor from USA says using someones idea is not plagiarism.. using someones word is. :( Seems i cant even take legal actions..

There are ways to prove them guilty and book them. Consult a good lawyer and send a pleaders notice to both, this nutty publisher and author as well. Get them to use strong words. It clearly comes under fraud as she had read your script for publishing. And another thing, if that book contains even same line you had written, you get the cake. The publisher has to shell millions to settle the case. It is an irony I didn't appear for my las semester of law exam, or I could have fought your case free,( indi buddies) still, keep the fight on.
Deepti Verma
from Mumbai
4 years ago

Copying an idea is also plagiarism..Fareed Zakaria was nabbed because of copying an idea and writing similar thing based on it. (His words were not exactly the same but similar) ... Spinning an article/story passes plagiarism detection, but it is still plagiarism....Many people fail to understand the actual meaning of plagiarism, they believe lifting the same words is plagiarism, but spinning is also plagiarism....However, you need to have proper evidence, which you do have...So, I think you are fine to quote her as plagiarist.....Getting inspired from a story is totally different....This is the case of plagiarism, and with evidence of lift up you can sue her...

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Rio, that's really sweet of you to say so. Thanks buddy. Deepti, thanks for those words. They help me understand how it's not just my imagination to consider this plagiarism.
Sulaiman Sait
Sulaiman Sait
from Chennai
4 years ago

This is unfair to see an author from leading a publication house do such a thing..... Im with you GB....

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Thanks for your support.
Deepika
Deepika
from Bangalore
4 years ago

Something is really fissy.. see her book releases.. in a year, 2 books are getting published. Same with Ravinder Singh too.

 

  • Love @ Facebook (2011)
  • Accidentally in Love‚Ķ With Him? Again? (2011)
  • If It's Not Forever‚Ķ It's Not Love (2012)
  • The Promise (2012)
  • Someone Like You (2013)
  • The Unreasonable Fellows (2013)
  • Right Here Right Now (2014)

This thought came to my mind once. do they really write stories or publish the book which comes to thier publishing house with thier name Cry 

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
But none of the budding writers can go and ask ppl like her about this. They ll say we didn't copy the entire story.
Some people have the cheek to get away with their misdeeds because of lacunae in the law. But they can be booked. Patient mind is needed to trap and show the world what they are cooking. It is clear treachery and crime. If strong words can be used this is as heinous as rape.
Preeti Chauhan
from Delhi
4 years ago

No idea how they can churn so many romantic novels one after another , I go fed up writing about V-day proposals that too only about  400 words long .

Vaishnavie K
Vaishnavie K
from Chennai
4 years ago

Read the synopsis of both books and as you say it is too much to be a coincidence. You should stand up against it!

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
I will. That's why I felt bad. It was too much to be coincidental...
If your manuscript is copied word by word, then your side would have been stronger. There is no written rule that only one book should be published on a specific theme. As a book reviewer, I have come across such coincidental books sometimes. I recently reviewed a book which had exactly the same story line as another book I had reviewed three years before. So I doubt if you can make it a legal issue. However considering the moral side, this shouldn't have happened. You have all the rights to explain your situation in all social network. How far your voice will be reached or if you will benefit by it is a question, but don't remain quiet. No big money or reward can compensate the agony of stealing ones creativity. And unless people like you bring it up, authorslike her will not value creativity. I dont think Penguin can be blamed since they would not have possibly known what that author did.
Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Very true ... If it was word by word I can at least make it legal.. Now she can easily defend herself
Sreesha Divakaran
Sreesha Divakaran
from Bangalore
4 years ago

Oh God! This makes me so angry! Don't worry, Ganga! We support you completely! Let's make some noise!

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Thanks for your support.

And on the positive side, it is a good opportunity to populrise your book. It might not be the right way to do it but definitely the wisest way in your situation. Anyway the law od dharma is on your side.

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
I didn't look at it that way..but a good positive way to look at this..thanks for the positivity.
Tanishq
Tanishq
from Mumbai
4 years ago

If it is plagiarised, you have all the rights to, no matter if you are big or small, famous or un-famous. but I have a question, why suddenly now? The book was published last year April right? What made you wait so much?

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Simple. I was scared that her fans will abuse me. I didn't know so many of u will stand by my side.. Also I blinded myself saying it might be coincidental.. But too many similarities and events for this to be coincidental. I didn't have the courage to voice it up..
Tanishq
from Mumbai
4 years ago

Anyways, better late than never. Do have a sound advice from people already been through it before going on in with this! :) We support you, no worries :)

Ganga Bharani
Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

 This is my only question.  If i am an editor, I read submitted manuscripts then I write a book with the concept I like the most from those, will it be accepted?

Editors that publishers employ should not be allowed to write and get their work published. It ought to be mandatory for post of editor. Because this way no writer's work is safe. They will keep using inspirations and flaunting them. This is criminal.
Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
I think that's a solution that will put an end to such things.
The Sorcerer
The Sorcerer
from Mumbai
4 years ago

Penguin India and the author will only respond only when it hits their public image. Contact newspaper journalists, but present every detailed information you have in that single image, with photographs and proofs. 

 

 

 

 

I am not sure if this exists in India, but there are a lot of experts who can vouch accurately that it is a re-written content/ plagiarism.  If not, getting authors to analyze both the books and say it is plagiarism helps. You can always mention in the email that you'd be sending it to journalists. It will be easier for them since there are other authors who also say that it's plagiarism. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third, contact known book store brands- Flipkart, Crossword, etc. Send them the similar email, except in the end request them not to sell the books until Penguin has given an appropriate answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth- give a legal notice to Penguin India. Its not a big deal. Its just a notice. But take that notice and post it in Facebook, Twitter, etc. Ask Indiblogger if they can post this in their blog that they do. I think you would need to send it via registered post where you get some paperwork saying that it was accepted by some penguin india employee, whoever it is. Similarly, send the copy of the notice to the journalists, so that they would be open to post a follow-up article. Fifth. Have a public letter where you can post it in your blog, or have fellow bloggers quote you. Send the link of that to other book publishers- IBH, Rupa, etc.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am assuming Tales4 publications knows about this. They probably could do something as well, considering that it would affect their business. But getting a vote of confidence from fellow authors who don't mind getting quoted by the media is what will make a difference. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its a good thing that you kept a copy of the email. But in certain situations they will want to speak via phone. Put an automatic call recording app in this scenario. I do the same in my line of work. 

The Sorcerer
from Mumbai
4 years ago

Also, I think there is some media group out there (the international one- or atleast US/UK) that reports on plagiarism. Be in contact with them as well... 

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Thanks a lot for the ideas. I'm not sure how to contact book stores regarding this. And you were right they had asked for a phone call which I have politely refused. You seem to read their pulse better ūüėĄ
Salman Ravoof
Salman Ravoof
from Bangalore
4 years ago

This is so bad. Writing a book is no joke, especially one based on an original idea. There is a group called "Free Legal Advice" on Facebook. Put up this exact same query there. Only lawyers are allowed to answer posts there.  

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Thanks salman. I will do that.
Arvind Passey
Arvind Passey
from Delhi
4 years ago

If this is true... then it is a rather shameful incident.

Editors play the role of a protector for authors and ideas and everything creative... and if they stoop to such a blatant swindling of ideas and plots, can ordinary mortals like me ever trust conventional publishing? 

Go ahead and seek explanations from the publisher themselves.

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

Arvind Passey, this is exactly the reason why I raised my voice and came up with questions. It's not about amnesiac story being common. The only reason why I argue here is the intention which is very clear from the first chapter. Are we protected? 

My question here is, if I am an editor of a reputed publishing house I get to read manuscripts of budding writers and strugglers every day. Am I allowed to pick the concept I like the most, reject it and then make a book with the same plot in my name? Will this not question the way we need to feel protected in sending manuscripts to publishers?

 

 

 

Another question I have is, if a infamous writer has a concern of plagiarism which involves a famous writer, will it not be taken seriously by the publishers? My mail was not replied to.

 

If this is the case, editors are free to reject good concepts and make use of it quickly in their book. They will obviously get it published before the struggling writer approaches another publisher, in my case it was luckily quick. So, this will make the editor have an edge over the writer to get appreciated for the concept. The pain for the other writer doesn't stop there, when she/he publishes the original work, people will say it's similar to the famous author's book. How are we, writers, protected today? 

 

Arvind Passey
Arvind Passey
from Delhi
4 years ago

I will suggest you publish the chapter that you have mentioned, on your blog... with scans of documentation proving that it was written much before the said book with plagiarised content... and with scans to show that the chapter was submitted to the publisher. Only after this must you try and approach anyone for a redressal of your complaints.

Parichita
Parichita
from Mumbai
4 years ago

Hey, Ganga. I have come across your post in FB as well. I am just presenting my opinion as a reader of the book.

I haven't read the Nikita's book or your book, but honestly I think the plot that you used is fairly common. There are movies based on that plot and many other first person POV written on the same. You yourself said that while your book was thriller, hers is a romance story. The only thing, which might support you in the whole case, is that first chapters are same. Again I haven't read the chapters, but if she picked it up exactly, then you can complaint. Otherwise, memory loss or amnesia is  not really that much of novel thing to be constituted as your copyright.

 

 

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

My question is not about amnesia as a background of the story Parichita. If you read the first chapter of both the stories even the details are the same like beeping, ECG to the right, oxygen mask related scene. Considering she has already read my story and the first chapter being same the only conclusion  I can come up with is that similarities are not coincidental.

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

The point I am trying to make is that she has read my manuscript, which is clear from the mail she has sent. After a few days she publishes a book with a very similar plot. How often do two people, who write a story with an amnesiac protagonist, start with the same hospital scene. Okay, let's say this is common. But how often do they write about just the same details in almost the same style? Considering that she has read my manuscript already, this can't be coincidental but intentional. 

 

Parichita
from Mumbai
4 years ago

I am not questoning your claim because you as an author know better. I did say I haven't read the book.But I'm trying to tell you that maybe (a slight chance) that you are wrong. We all love our work as our baby, and it's possible that you're being too attached to your storyline.

 

It's equally possible that author did get inspired from your story, but again it won't be a copyright violation as she used a different language. Or maybe she she wrote it before you, but published afterwards because of not getting the right contract.

But both the things are possible.  Most of the amnesia books do start with hospital scene. I recall one romance (I don't remember the name!) I read few years back. Even Dan Brown has that similar hospital in Inferno. Foreign authors and all same things, except probably the oxygen mask.  Even movies start their scene from the same thing.

 

You might feel that I'm taking sides, but I'm not. Both of you are unread by me. Besides, you might get to hear this (or similar) reply from the publishers as well. 

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

I know. Hospital amnesiac is common.. But I waited till a lot of people read the two first chapters and confirmed the intention behind it. I waited for more than 8 months before I even raised a question on social media only because I didn't want to simply blame someone just because I feel it was not coincidental. 

But as you say I will share the chapters with you guys. You all please let me know if what I am doing is wrong :) 

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

I would have been happier if the two publishers did the analysis and declared it not being plagiarized. They did not bother. 

They were not even aware of this till so many voices came up. 

1. Editor reads the manuscript. Publishes a book with similar plot. "Coincidentally" has the same start and plot. 

2. Publishers did not respond to mail with the doubt of plagiarism. 

 

My fight is not against Nikita. My fight is for the right of budding writers who send manuscripts and wait for years to see someone, who evaluvates it, publish a similar story.

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
To clarify- I had posted just the first chapter because photographing the other pages of her book and posting it online is not the right thing to do. First chapter was taken from samples Amazon site has. Secondly, the similarities don't stop with first chapter. It's just an example I had given. There are a lot more similarities. I have a list which I won't post here for obvious reasons.
Ganga Bharani
Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

Thanks guys! Penguin India has responded. They have asked me to mail my concern to them. 

 

Blog Buddy
from New Delhi
4 years ago

Atleast they replied i hope you get justice

This is a shameful act and, we're with you. But I think, as there is no hard and fast rule in India (as far as my knowledge goes) regarding stealing of an 'idea', little could be done legally.Frown If someone copies ad verbum, only then it's regarded as plagiarism in our country. But I would advice you to spread the word more and more in social media so that they actually become compelled to respond. 

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

True :( I will

Ganga Bharani
Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

I have posted all I have here..the first chapters.. mail..

http://scribbledbygb.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/for-your-reference.html

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago
Parichita
from Mumbai
4 years ago

Ganga, I read both the excerpts, but I'm sorry to say that I don't find it plagiarized. It can be called inspired, but that's also a long shot as it is only the setting and the amnesia thing.  Your chapter is better written though.

As I said earlier also, there are many books with similar first chapter.

 

 

Ganga Bharani
from Bangalore
4 years ago

I would have been happier if the two publishers did the analysis and declared it not being plagiarized. They did not bother. 

They were not even aware of this till so many voices came up. 

1. Editor reads the manuscript. Publishes a book with similar plot. "Coincidentally" has the same start and plot. 

2. Publishers did not respond to mail sent with subject 'doubt of plagiarism' even before the book got released.

My fight is not against Nikita. My fight is for the right of budding writers who send manuscripts and wait for years to see someone, who evaluvates it, publish a similar story. Even when we are doubtful the publishers don't bother unless we are famous or so many people ask them together.

 

The takeaway should be never to send your manuscript to Grapevine. As such, no one buys or reads their stuff except their friends and followers on facebook Smile


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