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Brazilian romance writer accused of plagiarizing from Courtney Milan, other novelists

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Courtney Milan took to Twitter to accuse writer Cristiane Serruya of lifting passages from Milan’s 2012 novel “The Duchess War.”
(Jovanka Novakovic)

A Brazilian romance novelist is under fire after it was alleged that portions of one of her novels were lifted from other authors, including bestselling novelist Courtney Milan, who made the accusation on her Twitter account Monday.

Milan took to Twitter to accuse writer Cristiane Serruya of lifting passages from Milan’s 2012 novel “The Duchess War” for Serruya’s book “Royal Love.”

Milan posted a link to a blog post, which appears to reproduce identical passages from “The Duchess War” and “Royal Love.” Several of the portions from Serruya’s book appear to be word-for-word reproductions of Milan’s writing.

Milan said a reader alerted her to the wording issue in Serruya’s book, and tweeted, “I’m not exactly sure how to proceed from here, but I will be seeking legal counsel.”

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Milan is a lawyer who used to teach intellectual property law at Seattle University.

Then the story became much larger. On Twitter, Milan and other authors and readers began posting passages from Serruya’s work that appeared to be lifted from other sources, sometimes using the hashtag #CopyPasteCris.

On Tuesday morning, Serruya initially seemed to deny the charges, tweeting at Milan, “Good morning, @courtneymilan I just woke up to this and I am astonished. I would have never, ever, done this. I am in this writing for a few years now and I am also a lawyer. Could we perhaps talk?”

Shortly after her first tweet, Serruya tweeted that her book did, indeed, contain plagiarism, which she blamed on a ghostwriter she had hired through Fiverr, a service that matches freelance creative professionals with those who want to hire them for gigs.

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Serrya tweeted: “I just woke up to distressing news that my work has plagiarism from other authors. I am taking down all the works I did with a ghostwriter on Fiverr—who btw has closed the account—until I have made certain this is solved.”

Serruya later deleted her own Twitter account, making her tweets unavailable. But Twitter users captured screengrabs of her tweets before they were deleted.

As of Tuesday evening, “Royal Love” was no longer for sale on Amazon except through third-party sellers.


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