Paying for [another’s] plagiarism


I assume you all remember Rachel Nunes’s 2014 epic collision with a plagiarist. I recently was in touch with her for an update:

Most of the major details of who committed this crime and her resultant barmy attempts to coverup-slash-intimidate the truth have been public for a few months now. What’s not as widely known is what it takes to go beyond public shaming. In other words: the legal system. How did you find a lawyer and what is your lawyer’s usual specialty?

I found my attorney through another attorney who contacted me on Goodreads. She was helping me get the books off Goodreads and was watching for negative reviews put out by Rushton under her aliases. She was also instrumental in tracking down my copyright. Clinton Duke works at her law firm, and she recommended him. His specialty is copyright, patents, and litigation.

But unfortunately, he estimates 30,00 to 120,000 more to resolve the entire case, and I don’t have that kind of money. So at this point, I’m considering using him more as a consultant, which would still cost thousands, but would help me control the costs a little better because right now they are threatening to bury me. I’ve put out queries about other options, but no attorney has stepped up to the plate to do this at reduce cost (and really, why should they?) because they don’t expect to ever receive money from Rushton. (They are completely okay with me going into debt for it, though, lol.) Honestly, I’m not sure where to go at this point, but I am absolutely proceeding. We are entering discovery and I am working now with a few people to come up with a plan. I have an appointment with another attorney in a week to get his take on the case.

I wish I knew how to find more support from people or from law enforcement, but unless she starts shooting at me or I commit suicide or something, people have other more pressing things to support and think about. Again, I don’t blame anyone. I’m very grateful for the handful of authors I know who have been supportive, and others I don’t know who have come forward. I am way short of what I will need to finish this case, and I think it says something very telling about the current legal system where good folks have to mortgage their entire future to stop something that is supposedly against the law to begin with.

For me it’s never over. For instance, I spent countless hours this past week gather stuff for the case, and on Wednesday when I received another three thousand dollar bill from the attorney, it kind of ruined the whole season, you know? The impact on my family continues.

But my motto is upward and onward, so I’m focusing on that, but I will be very grateful when it’s all behind me.


To help Rachel with her ongoing expenses, click here.


8 thoughts on “Paying for [another’s] plagiarism”

  1. .

    Rachel sent me a followup:

    I do have some advice after going through this, and that is not only to take screenshots of everything, even if you think it might not be worthwhile, but to save all emails and anything related to the case. Gather a few people to help you track down information and save everything they send. Also, consider consulting with an attorney and doing a lot of the legwork yourself instead of getting one to represent you completely because attorneys, I’ve found, often take hours to research something you think they should know after their years in school but of which they really have little clue. Consulting an attorney instead of hiring one for everything, is really the only way you can get through a drawn-out copyright lawsuit without endangering your entire financial future. Because unless the person who stole from you is rich or a company, you won’t see any payback even when they are convicted. Being awarded the money is one thing; getting it is another story. Every attorney I have dealt with has charged far more than they quote and I end up having to question everything.

    Authors and readers need to be more involved and look out for each other. I’ve been fortunate to have the support of many wonderful authors I know and many I don’t know, but at the same time there have been many, many authors who I have known for years who have been noticeably absent during this battle. You’ve heard the saying before that when bad things happen, you find out who your real friends are, and in a very real sense that is true. There has also been at least one author I know who has publicly taken issue with the fact that I filed a complaint and tracked down Rushton’s real identity. He knows little of the real aspects of the case, of course, but he managed to drum up quite a bit of criticism of what I was trying to do before deleting his posts (he’d probably feel a lot differently if his book had been stolen). I guess the idea is if you are religious, you should lie down and let everyone steal everything from you and then forgive them even while they continue to stab you in the back. I don’t agree. I think of Jesus putting to rights the temple when the moneychangers had overrun them. He didn’t back down from doing what was right but boldly pointed out the evil taking place. If good people don’t stand up for what is right, there will soon be nothing worth standing up for.

    I’ve actually heard of several people who openly condone what Rushton has done by stealing my book. But stealing is stealing, not matter how you try to cloak or excuse it. With the increase of electronic publishing, I feel we will see this more and more unless Amazon and other venders crack down on plagiarizers, which they really have no reason to do because they make money regardless of whose names are on the books. They have the technology, however, and could very well do it. Maybe that’s a lawsuit in the making, but given the lack of funding I’m facing, you can bet I won’t be heading that up. Authors are not united enough, and I don’t know what needs to happen to see that they become so. I predict we will see more and more of these cases. Religious works will be a particular target because they are easily changed for a new audience by adding sex and swearing, and in general religious publishers are small and really indifferent about the intellectual rights of their authors (which isn’t very surprising, especially if you’re talking LDS publishers–every single one of them steal their authors blind when it comes to rights). In fact, I’m really surprised more people haven’t taken other Utah authors’ works and copied them. Maybe they already have.

    I might also point out that a litigator in the MoLit community saw this post and has signed on to help.

  2. ::fist bumps Shawn::

    And that’s a very interesting follow-up Rachel. The whole idea of using clean romance as a ground for acquiring work to plagiarize, spice up and sell is diabolically pseudo-genius.

  3. I chatted with Shawn this morning and we’re looking into having him pursue this. I am so grateful to Eric for contacting me in the first place, and for Shawn for trying to help. He brought up several things in our discussion I hadn’t even thought of, and he certainly has the drive and knowledge to take this case to a jury trial. We’re looking into logistics now, and I’ll let you guys know if it’s a go. Thank you!

  4. Rachel, I wish I had more to put into supporting you, either in terms of expertise or financially. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    It’s a strange legal system we have, where certain kinds of crimes rely (essentially) on private pursuit of justice in order for justice to be served. It’s also disconcerting that costs have wound up higher than prior estimates. Shouldn’t the person who made the incorrect estimate have to cover at least some of the cost of that?

  5. .

    I’m hopeful that Rachel’s nightmare will result in some blazed trails for further victims. Onward, onward, pioneer.

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