Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Roundup

The Smithy Code

Three weeks ago, a judge in London ruled on the The Da Vinci Code plagiarism case. From the Times:

Justice Peter Smith's 71-page ruling in the recent "Da Vinci Code" copyright case here is notable for many things: the judge's occasional forays into literary criticism, his snippy remarks about witnesses on both sides, and his fluent knowledge not only of copyright law but also of more esoteric topics like the history of the Knights Templar.

But there is more to it than that. Embedded in the first 13½ pages of the ruling is Justice Smith's very own secret code, one that when partly solved reveals its name: the Smithy Code.

The full text of the ruling is here. Maybe it's just me, but I appreciate that this judge actually had some fun with what one would think is a normally boring process, writing 71-page copyright rulings.

Kaavya, Again

Maybe it's just me, but I enjoy reading about liars and plagiarists. In this instance, the case of Kaavya Viswanathan, it's even worse, considering that the end product of her plagiarism is something typically found in a colostomy bag.

Viswanathan's latest excuse is also reported in the Times:

Some of the plagiarism may have happened because she has a photographic memory, Ms. Viswanathan said. "I remember by reading," she said. "I never take notes." In a profile published in The New York Times earlier this month, Ms. Viswanathan's agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, said the plot and writing of "Opal" had been "1,000 percent" Ms. Viswanathan's.

Photographic memory? Anyone who has even slept through an Intro to Psychology course knows that photographic memory is a myth.

Also, a particularly great graf from the article:

The similarities in language between Ms. Viswanathan's books and Ms. McCafferty's is striking, with numerous passages in "Opal" echoing the earlier books. But Ms. Viswanathan insisted that despite seeming similarities in the plot — Ms. McCafferty's book is also about a girl who lives in New Jersey, wants to get into an Ivy League school, has three close girl friends, falls for a scruffy musician and makes a triumphant graduation speech — the story was her own. "It's my plot, my characters," Ms. Viswanathan insisted.

That sounds original enough.

Horrible 'Tween Novels

Maybe it's just me, but I'm fascinated about the publishing world. Here's another article about 'tween novels and how they are created.

In many cases, editors at Alloy — known as a "book packager" — craft proposals for publishers and create plotlines and characters before handing them over to a writer (or a string of writers).

Drunk and Lost

From, you guessed it, the Times:

Two hundred and forty hours of community service or jail and a $500 fine? That was the choice that confronted Michelle Rodriguez, a star of ABC's "Lost," when she appeared on Tuesday in Kaneohe District Court in Hawaii, where she pleaded guilty to drunken driving, The Associated Press reported. Ms. Rodriguez, who plays the hotheaded ex-police officer Ana-Lucia, chose five days in jail and surrendered later in the day to begin her term. "I kind of have to get back to my life, go back to making some money," she said outside the courtroom. Her lawyer, Steven Barta, said Ms. Rodriguez had made a "personal choice." In 2004 Ms. Rodriguez pleaded no contest in Los Angeles to three traffic violations, including drunken driving. She completed a three-month alcohol program and is serving three years of probation.


I'll be back on the other side of next week...


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