AL Librarian Catches Plagiarist
By Staff — January 15, 2006
In October, Margaret Butler, a librarian at the Tuscaloosa Public Library (TPL), AL, chose for her collection Brad Vice’s short story volume The Bear Bryant Funeral Train (Univ. of Georgia Pr.), winner of its publisher’s Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. But Butler, an avid reader in Southern literature, noticed similarities between Vice’s text and Carl Cramer’s Stars Fell on Alabama (1934; reprint. Univ. of Alabama Pr., 2000) and notified TPL’s assistant library director Elizabeth Bradt. They contacted both publishers, and Georgia agreed to recall all copies, pulp the book, and rescind the award. “I’ve lived here a long time and read most everything about Tuscaloosa or Bear Bryant or Alabama that I see,” Butler told LJ. “I just had a feeling that [Vice] felt nobody would’ve read Cramer’s book.” While the remaining copies of Bear Bryant are now collectibles, several libraries around the country still have it. Said Butler, “We pulled them off the circulating shelf, but since it’s local history, we’ll probably keep them.”
My take. Perhaps Vice is practicing remix culture which is legal in the eyes of copyright, but by not crediting his sources he was also practicing plagiarism. Unlike say Pound or Eliot who also borrowed, he borrowed heavily and directly enough without crediting his sources and influences.
Harry Shearer’s Le Show for Jan 15th notices that military bloggers are being shutdown unless they toe the line. No surprise there. Newday reported the story earlier this month. While everyone sees a need for information control in a war zone especially, the Newsday writer notes: a complete milblog blackout may never succeed.