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Young literary star Hegemann counters plagiarism claim

DDP/DPA/The Local · 9 Feb 2010, 15:34

Published: 09 Feb 2010 15:34 GMT+01:00

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The 17-year-old shooting star of the German literary scene admitted she had taken “in total, about a page” from the underground author Airen’s novel ''Strobo,'' but insisted she had not stolen the material but rather simply neglected to properly acknowledge it.

“I myself don’t feel it is stealing, because I put all the material into a completely different and unique context and from the outset consistently promoted the fact that none of that is actually by me,” Hegemann told the daily Berliner Morgenpost.

The creation of her novel had to do with her “displacement of this whole copyright excess through the laws on copying and transforming,” she said.

For the first edition, she had not “fully understood” the process for acknowledging borrowed material and this had been changed for the second edition.

In early February, blogger Deef Pirmasens highlighted parallel passages in Hegemann’s novel and ''Strobo.''

The book's publisher, Berlin-based Sukultur, announced Tuesday it wanted an amicable settlement.

“We have no interest in bad-mouthing the book by Hegemann. It is a good book – that is not what this is about,” said Frank Maleu, head of Sukultur. “But when you take things from others, you have to name your sources and at least ask beforehand.”

The author Airen, who was born in Bavaria in 1981, did not want to get involved publicly or have his named used, Maleu said. He was checking how much Hegemann had taken from his own book and previous blog entries.

“We hope that we would get a clarification this week,” Maleu said.

Ullstein, the publisher of ''Axolotl Roadkill,'' has announced it is seeking a settlement with Sukultur to get permission for further printing.

Story continues below…

Before publishing “Axolotl Roadkill” the precocious Hegemann also wrote a play, “Ariel 15,” which debuted in Berlin in 2007, and a screenplay for the film “Torpedo,” which showed in German cinemas in the summer of 2009.

Her most recent work is told from the perspective of a 16-year-old Berlin girl following the death of her mother. The girl, Mifti, and her wealthy friends lose themselves in the city’s drug-infused club scene, questioning their parents’ failure to care for themselves and their children.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:45 February 9, 2010 by OldNSlow
Interesting. No one noticed that Axolotl was a term first mentioned in Frank Herbert's Dune series? Clones, or gholas, were grown in axolotl tanks. Guess that doesn't count.
10:27 February 10, 2010 by Portnoy
New to the literary idea, old? Where do you think she got the word? Why do you think she used it? Allusion, maybe? That's not copying. Literature is all about using loaded words. When you use hundreds in the exact same sequence someone else did, then you're plagiarizing.
14:27 February 12, 2010 by papercranes
Actually, she probably got the word 'axolotl' from the species of salamander. The same place Frank Herbert got it.

16:03 February 13, 2010 by lordwilliams629
The beauty of the net, you know I have to even admit I palgiarized in college once or twice when was fighting for time in getting things done, of course I never wrote books.
20:33 February 13, 2010 by esbrown
I read in the New York times:

"Although Ms. Hegemann has apologized for not being more open about her sources, she has also defended herself as the representative of a different generation, one that freely mixes and matches from the whirring flood of information across new and old media, to create something new."

That is exactly what is wrong about our generation. Because of the internet we're lowering the integrity of writing/journalism because we're simply "mixing and matching." It doesn't matter what it is-it's still plagiarism.
06:15 February 19, 2010 by threepounduniverse
They should sue the toddler and have her read a little about copyright law, intellectual property law and the text of a typical compelling document she'll no doubt be reading soon... by being legally served at the behest of someone with the b*lls (or ovaries) to stand up for every artist's right to have their work universally protected from thieving idiots like Hegemann... and after enduring the reading of 'her' work, such as it is, the jury would probably find that as well as being guilty of artistic theft that her writing s*cks, too. To say that he's a 'writer' is a s daft as saying that a house painter is Picasso- just because a monkey can put a pen to paper doesn't mean he's capable of writing.
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