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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > December 2016 > Writing life: Copy protection

Writing life: Copy protection

Even the accusation of plagiarism can ruin a writer’s career. With a cautionary tale, Patrick Forsyth suggests how to guard against the possibility and defend yourself if the worst does happen

It was the late Alan Coren who wrote: Sometimes I just don’t know where the next 500 words are coming from. Inspiration is a mysterious thing, but there are some places where words should certainly not come from... someone else’s writing. There is no greater threat to writing and selling your work than an accusation of plagiarism. This is not something that one often thinks about. I am just starting this article and aim to write 1,700 words, all of which must be original. No problem, well hopefully not as a result of any plagiarism.

It happened to me

To set the scene, let me go back in time. The first things I had published were books about business skills and early on I drew on the corporate material of a management training company for which I worked.

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The UK's bestselling writing magazine • Beat writer's block: Busting the myth and dealing with the reality • Revealed: WM's books of the year • Star interview: Stef Penney – intimate emotions, epic landscapes • 20 packed pages of Writers' News: win £50,588 in writing prizes; opportunities to get published; insider know-how and much more...

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