That all said, I can't imagine the level of outcry there is going to be now that Twilight Saga creator Stephenie Meyer is being accused of plagiarizing scenes of her fourth and final entry in the series, Breaking Dawn.
Here are the facts: Yesterday news gossip website TMZ broke a story claiming that Stephenie Meyer's publisher, Hachette, had received a cease and desist letter from the lawyers of a 21-year-old musician/author named Jordan Scott, who claims that scenes of Breaking Dawn bear too many similarities to her own book, The Nocturne, which was supposedly published in 2006 - two years prior to Breaking Dawn. You don't have to be a math whiz to figure out that Scott would've been in the 15-16 age range at the time she allegedly wrote the book.
Now, according to MTV News, Scott isn't even looking for a payday out of this, per se - she simply wants public acknowledgement that the theft took place and an immediate end to the circulation of the massively popular Breaking Dawn. Yikes.
Naturally Meyer's lawyers are all over the case, immediately dismissing Scott's claims as "frivolous" and adding that the girl is simply trying to "ride the coattails" of Meyer's success. On an amusing note: I haven't been able to find copies of The Nocturne for sale just about anywhere online (little help?) and reportedly, Scott has been unable to provide copies of the book to either Meyer's lawyers or Hachette. Must be a real popular title.
Not to be outdone by the big-shots, Scott's lawyers have put out their own statement regarding the accusation. Said copyright attorney Craig Williams, the man who filed the cease and desist order:
It's very close and highly unlikely that it's a coincidence...Jordan has asked that we draft a complaint and a motion for a preliminary injunction [against Meyer's publisher]...We also want to stop them from making it into a movie and profiting from her [Scott's] work...
Wow, so they're even going after the recently-announced film adaptation of Breaking Dawn. This could get REAL ugly.
Now, in regards to WHAT Meyer is actually accused of stealing: While the plots and characters of the two books are different enough, certain scenes seem to bear some similarities. These scenes include:
- A post-wedding sex scene
- A scene about a woman who's sick because she's carrying a child with "evil powers"
- A scene with the death of the main character's wife
MTV News has even gone so far as to do a side-by-side comparison of the 'pregnant with demon-child' scenes:
"Her face was so pale, it was frightening; and there were beads of sweat pouring down her forehead. She couldn't even stand, she was so weak. ... She was violently ill, vomiting and scarcely able to catch her breath."
And from Breaking Dawn:
Most of her dark hair was pulled away from her face into a messy knot, but a few strands stuck limply to her forehead and neck, to the sheen of sweat that covered her skin. There was something about her fingers and wrists that looked so fragile it was scary. She was sick. Very sick.
Wow, two versions of the same vamp/human love-tale and not one word of quality writing between them! Awesome. Either ways this goes, the literary community is still going to be the biggest loser in the end. And really, when you think about it, how "exclusive" is the idea of a woman having complications from an inter-species pregnancy? I could name you five films and/or books off the top of my head that deal with very same issue in a very similar way. IT'S NOT THAT ORIGINAL.
Still, I'm not going to even ATTEMPT to judge whether this accusation has any merit or not. Hugely successful authors almost always have to face down some kind of plagiarism charge by those seeking the limelight themselves - but then again, just as many successful authors have been caught dipping their pens in somebody else's ink. However, let's not forget that Stephenie Meyer was already accused of narrative theft earlier this year, but that accusation was ultimately revealed to be a hoax.
For now, we'll keep an eye on this developing story and let you know how it unfolds. Meanwhile, drown your legal worries in these two New Moon posters featuring your favorite inter-species couple:
The Twilight Saga's second installment, New Moon, hits theaters on November 20, 2009.
The film adaptation of Breaking Dawn is currently aiming for a Fall 2011 release.
New Moon Poster Source: E! Online via Bloody-Disgusting