Of Creativity and Plagiarism- Reflections on #TheBookBlogTrain

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Of Creativity and Plagiarism

Recently, I participated in the #TheBookBlogTrain hosted by Vidhya Thakkar and Siddhi Palande, sponsored by Penguin India and RedWolf. My posts are:

  1. Haiku on the poetry prompt “Books, Read, Love, Coffee”
  2. 5 Things to Keep in Mind When You Unhaul Books

Writing a reflections post was optional for the participants. I had no plan to write one but recent events have made me want to pen my thoughts.

BLOG TRAINS:

Let me tell you a little about blog trains, in case the concept is new to you. Essentially, it’s a blogging competition, where participants write on topics provided by the hosts. Each participant dons their creative cap and produces innovative content in order to stand out.

My blogging journey began in 2017, but I awoke to the rich Indian blogging community late last year. Since then I have participated in a few Blog Trains and Challenges and have walked away with some prizes, a lot of fresh insight and many friends.

#TheBookBlogTrain was no different in that aspect, despite being my first foray into the world of “Book Blogging”. I have always loved reading books and have even reviewed many books, but my blog has never focused solely on books.

CREATIVITY:

My biggest takeaway from this Blog Train was discovering a wealth of good writers that share my passion for books. I was amazed to see the sheer talent in the Indian book blogosphere. Where the topics were somewhat limited in scope, each writer managed to give their own unique spin to them. I am now aware of multiple different ways to combat reader’s block, have learnt a plethora of methods to induce a love of reading in children, have gained knowledge of the best way to unhaul/donate books, and walked away with a long TBR list based on the suggestions of the participants!

I really pushed my own creative boundaries by trying my hand at Haiku– an ancient form of Japanese poetry. The result may not have been the best example of Haiku, but I’m thrilled that it has been received so well! I’d like to give a special shoutout to Dixita of HillStationReader and Deepika of MyAspiringHope, for their special mentions of my Haiku.

My second post about unhauling/donating books stemmed from the recent experience of decluttering my personal library. It is hard to part with loved books, and I learnt some unique organisational tips that may help others in a similar boat.

PLAGIARISM:

As fulfilling as the creative aspect of writing and reading was, there was also a nasty aspect that reared its head in the end. A couple of participants were caught plagiarising entire chunks of articles from other publications on the web, and in one case, even from a fellow participant.

For those unaware, I am a Copyright Lawyer and I know that plagiarism is rampant on the internet. I have dealt with similar cases in a professional capacity but as a writer, I was very upset. Plagiarism is a serious crime, which unfortunately, people don’t take seriously. Merely inscribing “inspired by so-in-so” at the end of the article, does not entitle you to copy paste someone else’s work. If you must use their language, then it has to be used with quotation marks and given due credit. If, however, you are very keen to use an idea expressed elsewhere, you must change the language to your own. The person who was caught attempted to defend herself by saying she had given credit, which made me realise that people don’t realise they are committing a cyber-crime by copying.

Plagiarism can just as easily happen to you and I. Hence, I urge you to share this post to make people aware of the rights in their own work, as well as the remedies to deal with the theft of their work.

The wrongdoers were fortunately disqualified from the blog train; and this is where the hosts deserve an extra round of applause. It is not easy to keep track of a large number of entries, and even harder to play the tough cop and remove plagiarists. Hats off to you Vidhya and Siddhi- I hope you continue to spread the love of writing and of books!

That’s all from me folks. Do follow my blog for regular updates. Every once in a while, you’ll find an opinion/ awareness piece like this one crop up.

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*This is not a sponsored post.

**Copyright belongs to nooranandchawla.

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