Monday, October 18, 2010

Cold Iron: David Boyer, Plagiarist

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

I hear often from writers worried that their work will be stolen. Especially among new writers, it's a major fear. However, theft in the book and short fiction world is extremely rare. (Really. Reputable agents and editors will not risk their reputations by stealing, and disreputable ones aren't interested in your work at all, only in your money). Despite the hundreds of questions I've gotten about theft, I can count the actual incidents on one hand.

Which is why, when plagiarism does occur, it's especially noteworthy.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been getting complaints about "Iron" David Boyer (he also goes by numerous aliases--see below), publisher/editor of, among others, New Voices in Horror Magazine, NVH Books, and Darkened Doorways Magazine. Iron Dave has reportedly been soliciting submissions, and then publishing others' books and stories under one of his several names. He has also allegedly used cover art without the artists' permission, published stories under authors' own names without their permission, refused to pay royalties due, refused to provide promised contributor's copies, and failed to provide books to people (including authors) who ordered them. One writer, Ferrell Moore, is planning to take legal action.

Thanks to the blogosphere, word of Iron Dave's exploits has spread. His online footprint is considerably smaller than it was a couple of weeks ago--infringing material has been taken down, and many of his websites have been de-activated (though he still seems to have a substantial presence on MySpace). Even so, he's still out there soliciting submissions...so be careful.

Alleged Names/Aliases

- David Boyer
- Iron Dave Boyer
- Dan Boyer
- Doc Boyer
- David Byron
- Iron Dave Byron
- Dan Byron
- Doc Burton
- David Brookes
- Leo Wolfe
- Jack Burnett

Publications

- New Voices in Horror (ezine)
- New Voices in Films (ezine--formerly New Voices in Fiction)
- NVH Books (book publisher. Known anthology titles: Darc Karnivale, Deadly Dolls [as David Byron, also as Jack Burnett], Fright Flashes)
- Fiction Prodigies and Legends (ezine)
- Darkened Doorways Magazine (ezine and publisher--currently soliciting submissions for an anthology called Sweet Jayne)
- Horror Prodigies and Legends (book, published by--wait for it--Whitmore Publishing, one of Writer Beware's Thumbs Down Publishers. Horror writers might want to check the table of contents.)
- He's also involved in film. Kind of.

Writers' Experiences/Warnings

- Warning from Aphelion
- Discussion and warnings at Shocklines
- Dave Boyer/Iron Dave/Dan Byron/Dave Byron-A Warning
- Beware David Byron and NVH
- He Can't Write So He Stole My Story
- The Sincerest Form of Flattery?
- A Comic Strip About Pirates
- A Plagiarist, a Thief, and Definitely NOT a Gentleman
- Electrocute This Clown
- Learning Hard Lessons
- A list of cover art allegedly used by Boyer without permission.

Some Commonsense Suggestions About Plagiarism

- Despite this blog post, don't fear it unduly. If you're a book or story writer, it truly is very rare.

- Thoroughly research publishers, magazines, etc. before you submit. Avoid startup publishers/magazines until they've put out a few books or issues and have demonstrated some stability (this also gives time for complaints, if any, to surface). Stay away from obviously amateur ventures, especially if you've never heard of the publishers or editors.

- Do occasional websearches on your book or story titles, character names if they're distinctive, sample sentences, and the like. Google Alerts can be very handy here. Plagiarists are not usually very smart (or they wouldn't plagiarize)--for instance, Boyer didn't bother to change the titles of some of the stories he stole.

- If you post your work online, embed your name and a link in the post. If the plagiarist is simply re-posting, he or she may be too stupid to strip this out. I've found a number of improperly reproduced posts from this blog that way.

- If you do find that your work has been stolen, and if it has been published online, try directly approaching the plagiarist, or, if that's not possible, whoever owns the venue where your work was posted. Plagiarists don't expect to get caught; just the fact that you sussed them out may be enough to scare them into taking the work down. And if they have any vestige of professionalism, publishers, magazines, and websites understand that their reputation suffers if it's proven that they've published stolen work.

- If the plagiarist refuses to back down, or the venue isn't helpful, a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice sent to the hosting ISP may do the trick. DMCA notices must follow a very specific form (there are instructions here), and need to be sent to the proper recipient (you can usually find that information in an ISP's Terms and Conditions or Copyright Policy. Or Google "ISP's name" + abuse).

- Writers whose work has been stolen can pursue legal action for copyright infringement (note to US writers: you must previously have registered your copyright to be able to do this), especially where the infringed work hasn't been placed online and the DMCA remedy isn't possible. However, the costs can be prohibitive, so this is not an option to be undertaken lightly.

- Last but not least: contact Writer Beware! If someone has ripped you off, we want to know.

39 comments:

Paul Mitton said...

Thank you, Victoria and Writers BEWARE. Always good to read this sort of stuff in time to avoid costly mistakes.

Rick said...

Fortunately, Victoria, we have Boyer's old web sites screen captured already!

Joanna St. James said...

Wow he is going to be in a whole lot of trouble.

L'Aussie said...

Hey this is great advice. Umm, how do I embed my name in my writing on the net? I'll look into it. I publish a lot online..:)

Joe Clifford Faust said...

You posted this just in time. Boyer approached me about being interviewed for one of his book projects. I did a cursory search but hadn't turned up these details.

I can only guess what his next step would have been had I completed the interview. A plea to help finance the book, I suspect.

S.M. Carrière said...

Thanks so much, Victoria. Again! I'll post a link to this post on my blog so others can read it.

cussedness said...

I have posted links to it on facebook and on the Daverana site.

I turned down his request for an interview for cinemassacre, his book on Forrest Ackerman.

Victoria Strauss said...

Umm, how do I embed my name in my writing on the net?

Check this post: at the top, in italics, I've placed my name and a link back to this blog. You can also put this info at the end.

Scooter Carlyle said...

Gee, his aliases are so clever that I'm sure NO ONE would ever be able to figure out that it's the same guy.

:-)

Edward said...

Embedding your name sounds like an interesting, not to mention effective tactic. You're right, people who are dense enough to steal usually aren't bright enough to make sure they're stealing "correctly." Fiction isn't my primary writing medium, but I'm horrified by the idea of someone stealing my work and just slapping their own name on it, whether it be a short story or article.

Elaine said...

It is naive to think that DCMA will protect you. In my case AOL hijacked my website containing artwork for children in 2001 and disseminated it to porn sites. My copyright was duly filed years before this incident. AOL's lawyers took the case out of Texas to a Virginia judge that let them use the portion of DMCA that lets survice providers off the hook for copyright infringment. AOL also made outrageous claims, making me responsible for my 31-year-old adult emancipated son's signing me up for their internet service so they could get the case dismissed. AOL had the high powered lawyers and money. I did not. AOL's Texas lawyer admitted to my lawyer that they were in the wrong, but their money, power, and taking the case to Virginia got it dismissed.

Elaine S. Abramson
Thursday's Child
The Searcher
Deadly Masquerade, Deadly Consequences, Deadly History, Deadly Kisses, Deadly
Deals
Creative Entrepreneur business workshops for artists and authors

Email: AAAuthor@aol.com
URL: www.ElaineAbramson.com

Victoria Strauss said...

HWA weighs in on Iron Dave.

Victoria Strauss said...

Elaine, no method is infallible, but I've had a good deal of success with DMCA notices where my blog posts or excerpts from the Writer Beware website have been stolen.

Jeffrey A. Carver said...

Well, this is interesting. Like Joe Faust, I received a request for an email interview, and responded. Boyer actually sent a draft of the collection of interviews to the participants, which included Greg Bear, Terry Bisson, Mike Resnick, Allen Steele, and me, among many others. Aside from a somewhat slapdash approach, nothing in the project set off any alarms in terms of honesty. It didn't involve any of my fiction, just answers to the usual kinds of questions, a bio, and a photo jpg.

I'd like to know more about this.

Jeff Carver

Glynis said...

Thank you for this information, Victoria.
I found out a writer friend of three years was a plagiarist. The website writers were shocked, and extremely saddened to be deceived.

Author Glynis Smy

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Victoria, Do you mind if I repost this verbatim on my two blogs to help spread the word?

cussedness said...

It isn't always easy to catch plagiarists. I recall reading, roughly twenty years ago, about a group of college students who decided to do a study on it by copying and submitting to every single publisher (and there were a lot more of them back then) a classic then 40 year old novel. The results were that less than 10% of the editors recognized it. I wish I could remember more details. But it was astonishing at the time.

Victoria Strauss said...

Rebecca, please contact me at beware@sfwa.org. Thanks.

Angie said...

Love the idea of including a byline at the beginning. I always have a little copyright symbol at the end of mine, but they still turn up everywhere.

For a while I had 'text select' disabled on my blog (I tracked some code down on the Internet) and it pretty much stopped the theft; however, I've just changed my layout and haven't been able to find the place I had copied that particular code from before (yikes).

Thanks for sharing this - as always, great read.

Nancy Curteman said...

Great piece. I learned a lot of new information. I will follow your excellent tips. Thank you

Anonymous said...

I gave him an interview. Hard to see how it can harm me. I give interviews away for free just about every week. But should he propose any serious project, I'm on my guard, for which much thanks.

Mike Resnick

P.N. "Pat" Elrod said...

What a moron.

Horror is just about the smallest genre of genre writing. Everyone KNOWS everyone else.

I'm just surprised it went undiscovered for so long.

Kellye Parish said...

Thanks for the tip-off Victoria, I'm a young and fairly inexperienced horror writer so it's nice to know who the scoundrels are in the industry.

Since I am publishing my first novel online for free in order to stir interest and get some feedback on it while I work other projects, it is always nice to hear about copyright issues and how they apply to online materials.

~ Kellye Parish
parishkl@yahoo.com
http://kellyeparish.wordpress.com
http://jointherebelcollective.wordpress.com

Nickolaus Pacione said...

Is there some way for me to get a hold of the original writer -- I am thinking have the original writer take over the plagiarizer's pen name. I wish I knew this sooner, and I am fucking pissed. have the original creator e-mail me so I can get this fixed as soon as possible. Have the original writer of the story e-mail me at npacione@gmail.com and I will see what I can do to get this resolved. You know the original creator can take over the pen name.

Cher Green said...

This is terrible. Thank you so much for posting. Will add link to my blog for others to find.

Cher

~Sia McKye~ said...

I just heard about this article today. You have some great info in here especially embedding links.

I do think it's important to unmask and share especially alter IDs of those known to plagiarize.

Thanks.

William Malmborg said...

Thanks so much for this warning. I'm reading it a little later than most but it is still incredibly helpful. I am now checking all my recent submissions to see if I have anything that went out to him. If so it might explain the lack of replies I have gotten on some things.

Anonymous said...

He has a story in the latest issue of Dark Valentine magazine

http://darkvalentine.net/

Anonymous said...

Victoria,
He's still listing Electrocuting the Clowns as a Stoker-nominated story of his in his credits/bio on myspace.com (Iron Dav from Vincennes, IN). Steve Burt HWA

thehorrorzine said...

Hi Victoria. Just want to update you about some new David Boyer aliases:

Dylan Cook, Tobey King, Jack Sawyer, Christian Loche, Kelli Kelso, Kelli Ross.

Anonymous said...

Now he's claiming to be a "Christian writer"

christianwriter.webs.com

davidltamarin said...

I've worked with Anemic Dave before and I'm worried he plagarized some of my material.

Does anyone know if someone has compiled a list of every story he has published or submitted, or at least a partial list?

My info: davidltamarin@gmail.com

Thanks!

Glynis said...

He plagiarised Dean Koontz! http://b-thoughtful.blogspot.com/2011/03/david-boyer-plagiarized-dean-koontz.html

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

He's been out there soliciting for quite some time. There have been previous warnings, but he changes his alias.
What's more common than straight up plagiarism is cherry picking - getting inspiration from another author and then picking bits and pieces out of their work - not enough to be flat out plagiarism, but enough that an author can recognize his or her own sweat equity when he or she reads it.
Much, much harder to find and impossible to prove.

thehorrorzine said...

New David Boyer alias: Leland Gaines. But he has been caught at that alias so I am sure he has reinvented himself once again.

Cristopher DeRose said...

Today I have been the recipient of a series of emails insisting I am the lastest of alias of Iron Dave. They will not listen to reason and I am very interested in trying to get my side out to the somewhat sane people out there and let them know that specifically my work Scribes of Speculative Fiction is indeed MY work.

Anyone willing to discuss this problem tyhat is growing by the minute for me is free to contact me at fivebyfivecd at yahoo.com

Cristopher DeRose said...

I have recently been accused of being David by at least three people. I am trying to clear the air, but the level of anger I'm met with is frankly disturbing, especially given the fact that I am indeed... well, me.

Best to all,

Cristopher DeRose

cknarr said...

I was contacted and interviewed for the book Indiana's Got Talent. His communications were valid and legal. No money was exchanged. I had nothing stolen and had no problems with this author. Of course, I don't know about all of his dealings, but I did not have a negative experience...to my knowledge.

Elizabeth Massie said...

Add "Sean Killian" to the list of aliases for David Boyer.