Chapter 700: Who Exactly Plagiarized Who？
Translator: Yunyi Editor: Yunyi
'The Lost Relative' was about to be released and people from all walks of life paid close attention to it with much anticipation. Tangning had plenty of box office appeal and the action film was a big production, so the 30-second trailer was already enough to amaze everyone, let alone a 2-hour feature film.
Everyone looked forward to April 21st, while fans showed their support through various methods. However, the day before the official release...
...an online post titled, ['The Lost Relative' confirmed as plagiarized material. All those in support of the film are accessories to the crime!'], attracted everyone's attention.
With the growing public awareness of copyright, most people now had a zero-tolerance attitude towards plagiarism. In the post, there was clear evidence that the 'The Lost Relative' copied a novel called 'The Tracker'. From the main storyline to the general structure of the story to the plot setting, everything was frighteningly similar. So, as soon as this post was written, it attracted quite an uproar.
"I can't believe it was plagiarized! How hateful! I originally wanted to watch it because of Tangning's acting, but the anticipation was all in vain."
"Plagiarism is a shameful act. Get rid of this film right away and don't embarrass yourselves!"
"Sorry, we have zero-tolerance towards plagiarism."
"Was Tangning aware of the plagiarism or not?"
"But...why have I never heard of 'The Tracker' before?"
According to online data, 'The Tracker' was a web novel that was last updated 3 years ago, with a total of 540,000 characters. Perhaps due to its performance, the author only wrote this one novel and never appeared again.
But, the oddest thing about the novel was, why did no one take notice of such a great story? And why was there so little information about it online?
Either way, the novel was indeed released earlier than 'The Lost Relative', so it was more convincing.
"Did they plagiarize it because it wasn't famous?"
"What a shameful plagiarist!"
Regarding this, Hai Rui immediately provided a response and declared that they would begin an investigation and disclose the facts.
Afterwards, Hai Rui contacted the screenwriter. The screenwriter was angry and felt wronged, "This is a complete insult to my character. I've already written many scripts in the past and have won multiple awards. Why would I plagiarize someone's work and ruin my reputation?"
In the end, fearing that Mo Ting did not believe him, the screenwriter produced all his creative material as proof.
"President Mo, although I don't know what this is all about, I can guarantee that I did not plagiarize. Please investigate this matter in detail and help me get justice. I have no idea where 'The Tracker' came from."
The claim indeed had its flaws.
But, the public did not care to look for the truth. All they knew was, if someone plagiarized, then they would boycott it - it was that simple.
The consequences of plagiarism were severe. Tangning had experienced it in the past when the script of 'Stupid' was leaked and Mo Ting released a book to secure the copyright. But, the current film was one step from release, yet something like this happened. So, were they still to release it or not?
Logically speaking, the average person would go ahead with the release schedule and start screening the film as normal while telling the public that they'd investigate the matter. But, in reality, they would take advantage of the publicity created by the scandal to sell out at the box office.
However, this matter involved Hai Rui and it was the first time they dealt with a matter like this, so the higher-ups attached great importance to it. Hence, Mo Ting personally declared, "Until the truth is revealed, the film release will be postponed indefinitely. Hai Rui will never pollute the eyes of the public with plagiarized material and Tangning will never use it to prove her strength."
"Please wait for us to unravel the truth."
The majority of people agreed with Hai Rui's reaction. After all, Hai Rui was the leader in the entertainment industry and its status was as powerful as ever; postponing a film was no big issue to them, nor did they need to worry about losses.
However, there were some people that believed that Hai Rui were avoiding responsibility. By doing what they did, they could still maintain their dignity.
To take the investigation a step further, Mo Ting directly invited the screenwriter to his office. For the sake of his own reputation, the 50-something-year-old middle-aged man brought all his manuscripts with him to Hai Rui, "I'm not sure why it is so similar. 'The Lost Relative' was indeed written in the last two years, but I never plagiarized anyone."
Mo Ting did not say a word as he exchanged glances with Tangning.
In the end, Tangning gave the man a definitive response, "We trust you."
"I actually think that this 'Tracker' person copied the framework of my script. After all, the test screening has been done and the storyline is no secret," the screenwriter explained.
"In that case, are you familiar with the platforms used for web novels and how they work?" Tangning asked.
"I have friends in that field. I've heard that they update daily according to a fixed number of characters, and then they earn money according to the number of views," the middle-aged man replied.
Tangning fell into deep thought as Mo Ting explained, "We need to look into 'The Tracker' to find answers."
"But, it was indeed written before my script."
This was the crux of the problem!
If they could prove who came first, the roles could well be reversed.
The film had been postponed and the public were in an uproar; this was exactly the result that Song Xin wanted to see.
How did she manage to arrange something like this? It was probably because she was also a part of the writing industry. Generally speaking, authors weren't as ambitious as screenwriters, so they were happy to accept new and interesting things within the industry. As a result, she was familiar with web novels and understood how they worked.
Since Tangning wasn't going to make things easy for her, she could also make it so Tangning's film remained locked away and never released.
She wanted to see how Tangning was to ever win the Fei Tian Award for Best Actress if she had a history of appearing in a plagiarized work.
She wouldn't be able to even think about it!
They were talking about plagiarism! Everyone hated plagiarism!
However, Tangning did not suffer a blow as Song Xin assumed. After all, she was already accustomed to multiple twists and turns. Plus, she had faith that the screenwriter did not plagiarize and there were other reasons behind the scandal.
She simply needed a bit of time to get her head around an unfamiliar industry and to seriously find answers. She too wanted to know the truth and to solve the mystery behind the timing.
Who exactly plagiarized who?
How was she to prove that Elder Wu did not plagiarize anyone?
"That's enough. You're about to give birth. Can't you rest for a couple of days and leave the investigation for Fang Yu to handle?" Long Jie couldn't stand watching Tangning handle the matter personally.
"I can rest for a couple of days, but the person that is attacking me from the shadows won't be resting," Tangning replied as she looked at 'The Tracker'.
"But, it's obviously plagiarized. The novel was released a few years before the script."
"There's definitely a problem. I will definitely find it," Tangning said as she flipped through the information in her hands. "Long Jie, tell me, do you think it's possible to alter the release date of a web novel?"