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Thread: Why Plagiarism is Wrong

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluehound View Post
    There also seems to be confusion between stealing something outright and changing it for the purpose of homage satire or parody.
    I am not sure of the legal implications of these things. But I think they have a place in society and art, seeing something familiar and yet wittily altered is good. I would hate to see laws tightened to the point of choking such expression, I recently enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

    But no one should copy exactly someone elses work and call it their own, the trouble is that if the original work is not famous enough in its own right any plagiarists can get away with it. We are reliant on folk being honest and unfortunately not everyone is.
    So until the human race evolve a better moral gland , don't put anything you truly value up on any forum - sad but true.

    On the flip side we should remember , before getting uppity, that how ever clever we think we are.....
    To quote the Bible "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

    For example : Vampire stories existed well before Dracula and they will be recycled for as long as there are people around to write I would bet.



    I was thinking something similar because I realized that I enjoy the story Dracula and also Nosferatu. However, Stlukes gross picture of Charlie Brown bothers me. I've always loved Peanuts and Charles Shultz.

    A lot of the work on this website has a freshness to it, and it won't ever become famous because it doesn't appeal to that lowest common denominator.

    If your work isn't famous enough (if it isn't the property of a corporation) then it will be ripped off and probably altered in uncomplimentary ways, that could end up making you feel somehow ashamed of your own creation. It occurs to me that someone could adulterate your work in ways you can't even imagine.

    No laws will be put into effect to protect you.

    When I first came to this site, one of my first thoughts was, as I read some of the poetry, "I can't believe this person would put this here! I'm really glad they did, but I don't think I would have put it here if it had been mine."
    Last edited by Vonny; 05-09-2011 at 01:46 PM.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluehound View Post
    There also seems to be confusion between stealing something outright and changing it for the purpose of homage satire or parody.
    I am not sure of the legal implications of these things. But I think they have a place in society and art, seeing something familiar and yet wittily altered is good. I would hate to see laws tightened to the point of choking such expression, I recently enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

    But no one should copy exactly someone elses work and call it their own, the trouble is that if the original work is not famous enough in its own right any plagiarists can get away with it. We are reliant on folk being honest and unfortunately not everyone is.
    So until the human race evolve a better moral gland , don't put anything you truly value up on any forum - sad but true.

    On the flip side we should remember , before getting uppity, that how ever clever we think we are.....
    To quote the Bible "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

    For example : Vampire stories existed well before Dracula and they will be recycled for as long as there are people around to write I would bet.
    Yes, of course. Dracula is pretty much born under copyright care, since Stoker wrote some chapters before, to grant him the copyright for plays, before anything else. It is a weird story, but many can see similarities between it and Lord Ruthveen from Polidori's Vampire, which would cause enough questions today in a court.

    Anyways, the homage or paradoy is not easy. Not only because, unless the artists claim it, we cann't tell if it is either for sure. And, what if I do not want to be target of a homage or parody? The plagiarism does not draw the line well here.

    As the copy and paste, any teen can change a text enough to avoid the complete copy and paste from a text, imagine a well trainned writer. It must be similar, not the same.

    That is why for example ghost-writers survive. After all, they are not illegal (as copyright is not about the author, but however owns the right to copy the material) and they are a sittuation when someone claims to have write the material of someone else. Accusations such as those fall over bright heads (falsely, but well) such as Mary Shelley and Emily Bronte. And it's without a doubt a "sin" of Alexander Dumas.

  3. #48
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    Since I started this argument with AuntShecky, I thought I should respond. But since I haven't been on this site for several days, I haven't read this thread thoroughly (although I've glanced through it). I'll make a couple of points:

    1) The entire concept of copyright is based on technology. Homer never worried about "plagiarism". The entire concept would have seemed ridiculous to him. Of course the Iliad and the Odyssey are "plagiarized" (by modern standards).

    2) In addition to StLuke's examples of modern and postmodern collage art (the elimination of which would surely be a restriction on free speech), I'll give another example. I know a woman who produces and directs High School plays. Some are copyrighted. She has to get approval (and sometimes pay) for the production. In addition, some authors don't want the director to alter their play at all. This is ridiculous. A play is a collaborative work of art -- the playwright is one of many artists that work on the production. Elia Kazan was as influential as Tennessee Williams in the final version of "Glass Menagerie", and dozens of other artists were involved. The notion that the playwright "owns" the play in some sense other than the financial sense is not only illogical and ludicrous, but is a hinderance to artistic creativity.

    3) AuntShecky said:
    Elsewhere on these forums a member stated that he (or she) believed that not being able to quote another's work infringed on one's "free speech." The countries which hold personal liberties sacred (such as the one in which I proudly reside) allows self-expression with very few limits (such as the famous admonition against a false shout of "fire!" in a crowded theatre.) For the most part, I can say or write anything I damned well please, as long as I am willing to take responsibility for what I say and that the words I use are my own.

    Free societies which make a point of civil liberties aren't all one-sided. Other citizens have rights as well, among them the right not to have their intellectual property stolen out from under them.
    Since I’m the member who stated that I believe that copyrights impinge upon free speech, let my reiterate that all too obvious point. Intellectual “property” impinges upon freedom because ALL PROPERTY impinges upon freedom. This is obvious – and it’s a point that AuntShecky apparently fails to recognize. She talks about words being “my own”. How can words be “her own”? Unless she invents them, like Lewis Caroll, NO words are her own. The only question is the extent to which her use of particular sequences of words should be limited by law. If one borrows an Oscar Wilde witticism in conversation, is one morally required to attribute the witticism to Wilde? I certainly don’t think so.

    Obviously, claiming that you wrote a poem that somebody else wrote is a lie, and to the extent that lying is immoral, it is immoral. However, most people don’t think that lying is immoral per se. It is immoral if and only if it confers some undeserved benefit to the liar, or some undeserved harm to the listener. Mark Twain said, “Show me a man who don’t lie, and I’ll show you a man who ain’t got much to say.” Tall tales, embellishments of fact designed to make a story more entertaining, fiction, etc. etc. are not immoral.

    Finally, the cult of the “author” or “artist” may be losing sway. Romanticism in particular (and the Enlightenment in general) emphasized the “individual”. However, critics like Foucault (who refuses to even use the word “author”) see works of literature as “dialogical” – part of a discourse that answers previous works, and anticipates future works. Just as post modern collage questions the notion of plagiarism in the visual arts, this approach to literature questions the notion in literature (see also St.Luke’s discussion of T.S. Eliot, whose views anticipated Foucault’s).

    I'll try to answer in more depth when I've had a chance to read the thread more carefully.

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    I started this thread because a member posted lyrics by a singer/songwriter without credit or attribution, and presumably, without permission.

    The opinions expressed in the opening of this thread had little to do with "corporations," which, if you really want to hear what I think of them, I'd be here all afternoon ranting against their abuses and oppressive capitalism. In my native country, however, the corporations are irrevocably
    linked to politics, discussion of which is forbidden on this site.

    No, I have not taken nor am not taking the side of corporations or the conglomerates running the publishing and music business. Instead, I was trying to stick up for the individual --including yours fooly, as well as this poster:


    Quote Originally Posted by Delta40 View Post
    I already mentioned the offence caused by seeing my poetry on another poetry forum by a name I couldn't remember. I cannot imagine how I would feel to flick through the pages of a book in a bookshop and see my work there under the name of a person other than myself.

    I have thought about how to protect my work while it is online. I know I can get the mods to delete it all - esp if I want to get published. The point is, there is alot of discussion about the concept of publish. At uni, it is agreed that once you click submit on the web, your work is published, which is a pain when asked by mags and other publishing areas if the piece has been published elsewhere. It does include the net. I can get rid of it all but once somebody has cut and pasted it, I'm doomed.
    Life is already hard enough for unpublished, struggling writers. Having some selfish loafer steal our work is just one more strike against us. Why can't we catch a break?
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 05-09-2011 at 04:19 PM.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    I started this thread because a member posted lyrics by a singer/songwriter without credit or attribution, and presumably, without permission.

    The opinions expressed in the opening of this thread had little to do with "corporations," which, if you really want to hear what I think of them, I'd be here all afternoon ranting against their abuses and oppressive capitalism. In my native country, however, the corporations are irrevocably
    linked to politics, discussion of which is forbidden on this site.

    No, I have not taken nor am not taking the side of corporations or the conglomerates running the publishing and music business. Instead, I was trying to stick up for the individual --including yours fooly, as well as this poster:

    Originally Posted by Delta40
    I already mentioned the offence caused by seeing my poetry on another poetry forum by a name I couldn't remember. I cannot imagine how I would feel to flick through the pages of a book in a bookshop and see my work there under the name of a person other than myself.

    I have thought about how to protect my work while it is online. I know I can get the mods to delete it all - esp if I want to get published. The point is, there is alot of discussion about the concept of publish. At uni, it is agreed that once you click submit on the web, your work is published, which is a pain when asked by mags and other publishing areas if the piece has been published elsewhere. It does include the net. I can get rid of it all but once somebody has cut and pasted it, I'm doomed.



    Life is already hard enough for unpublished, struggling writers. Having some selfish loafer steal our work is just one more strike against us. Why can't we catch a break?
    This is a good example of how two people can see the same event in completely distinct ways. First, AuntShecky uses the word “steal” to describe publishing poetry on a web site. By the same reasoning, Homer was a ‘thief”. If someone wants to share something they’ve written (rather than wanting the money or glory they can get from having written it), why would they object? Personally, I wouldn’t object to someone cribbing one of my posts. I’d see it as a compliment.

    Second, the notion that people SHOULD be able to profit from their artistic endeavors is problematic. Although it is true that in some capitalist societies people DO so profit, the early artists (story tellers, cave painters) probably did not. Why should people EXPECT money from entertaining their fellow humans? I tell funny stories all the time (or, at least, I think they’re funny), and I don’t expect to get paid for it, nor do I mind if someone repeats the story.

    Third, the internet is more like a conversation than a publication. If (as above) you tell a joke to someone, you can hardly complain if he repeats it (unattributed) to someone else. Why whine about it?

    Fourth, I don’t buy the notion (which AuntShecky has not explicitly stated, but which seems implicit in her posts) that if you sing a new song to someone who remembers the song and sings it to someone else, the song “belongs” to you by some sort of natural law. Why would it? Any art is shared by several people. The artist and the audience both participate. Why always take the side of the original artist?

    All this being said, I’m aware that we now live in an economically specialized society and that we want to encourage artists by allowing them to make money. I don’t object to all copyright laws – I just want to point out that they are arbitrary (as opposed to “natural”) and that I think they should be narrowly interpreted.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    I started this thread because a member posted lyrics by a singer/songwriter without credit or attribution, and presumably, without permission.

    The opinions expressed in the opening of this thread had little to do with "corporations," which, if you really want to hear what I think of them, I'd be here all afternoon ranting against their abuses and oppressive capitalism. In my native country, however, the corporations are irrevocably
    linked to politics, discussion of which is forbidden on this site.

    No, I have not taken nor am not taking the side of corporations or the conglomerates running the publishing and music business. Instead, I was trying to stick up for the individual --including yours fooly, as well as this poster:




    Life is already hard enough for unpublished, struggling writers. Having some selfish loafer steal our work is just one more strike against us. Why can't we catch a break?

    Sorry AuntShecky, I'm always trying to figure out what is considered political or not.


    Point is, as individuals, don't copy anything from this website.

    Don't figure out a way to interpret or manipulate the laws, whether "arbitrary" or "natural." Don't try to find a rationale for taking another person's work.

    Got that Revolte?? I don't know why I'm always picking on that guy!

    You know, I'm not sure what we're going to do about Revolte. He says he's going to copy whatever he wants.
    Last edited by Vonny; 05-09-2011 at 08:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vonny View Post
    You know, I'm not sure what we're going to do about . . . He says he's going to copy whatever he wants.
    Really?

    My advice to anyone who might be entertaining notions of plagiarizing someone else's work is that he or she should retain a good attorney and a hefty bankroll:


    I have "copied" the following quote from this U.S. Government website:
    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html
    (The boldfaced sections have been added by moi.)


    "Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights.

    "Whether or not a particular work is being made available under the authority of the copyright owner is a question of fact. But since any original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium (including a computer file) is protected by federal copyright law upon creation, in the absence of clear information to the contrary, most works may be assumed to be protected by federal copyright law."

  8. #53
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    “Protection by federal copyright law” doesn’t mean much. I remember when VCRs first hit the market. The networks panicked because they thought people would tape TV shows, and then fast-forward through the commercials. The networks tried to make the entire process of taping TV shows illegal (based on proprietary copyrights). However, it didn’t work. The technology trumped the law.

    This makes sense. Artists can make money from their work only if the medium in which they work is conducive to making money. Before recordings were developed, songwriters made money by selling copyrighted sheet music. Now that copies of CDs are easily made, monetary gains from recordings may become more difficult to realize. Of course that’s a bummer for recording artists – but the extent to which it is bad for society is dubious. In addition, the extent to which placing legal limits on freedom of speech in order to allow writers, singers, or painters to profit is NOT self-evident. It is reasonable to argue about it, and discuss it (although AuntShecky appears to think the issue is black and white). There are two issues worth discussing: first, what IS protected by law; second, what SHOULD BE protected by law.

    All laws are violent and coercive (by their very nature). All copyright laws limit free speech. Given that violence and coercion should be avoided whenever possible, and that free speech should be protected whenever possible, we should be certain that those copyrights we offer are sufficiently worthwhile to merit the violent and coercive limitation on free speech.

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    AuntShecky

    You can't get blood out of a turnip. I doubt that Revolte has that much money.


    I think Revolte is confused. Revolte is intelligent and can write well, but I have a little difficulty interpreting him. For instance, I don't know the meaning of the word "upped." I'll need to google that. But I think he was saying that he belongs to the Aryan Nations even though he feels that racism is completely wrong. (I could have that wrong.) I think he feels a bit of an outsider because he can't fully express himself in the world and so he copies other people's words. It's significant to me that he calls himself "Revolte" and he worries that people don't like him.

    But I guess we can always put him in jail and throw away the key.

    I have a brother like Revolte. In 2nd grade the school principal called my mother in and told her that Mark had a mental block and needed to be put into "special education." The mental block had to do with the fact that my father called him a "sissy," but also Mark always felt different from the other boys. In special education, where he had one-on-one teaching he flourished. My mom has his report cards which state, "In my career, I have never seen a child make such rapid progress as this child." Mark needed that attention in school. Today he reads very well. However, Mark still feels deeply ashamed of the fact that he was put into special education in 2nd grade! And the fact that he has always felt different from the others has damaged him. But I think the fact that my mom embraces him has kept him from joining the Aryan Nations.

    It makes me think of Dickens Ghost of Christmas Future, where he opens his cape and says, "Beware of these ..." I know I didn't quote that exactly right.

    It feels very strange to be outspoken, although I feel that what I'm saying is fine. I feel that I must continually say, "I hope this is okay." I'm not like Revolte, but in my life, I haven't really been able to speak too much. In person, I can't do it.


    In addition, I think this thread is about plagiarism, about the theft of people's work on this website. Are we really talking about someone who burns a copy of Madonna? I personally wouldn't have too many qualms about that, but the thing is, I don't want a Madonna CD. I feel differently about the poetry on this website. Stealing that would feel much more personal somehow, a violation of a person. Not stealing it stems from my conscience. And people either have a conscience or they don't. And some people have a conscience but they can't really access it... maybe they're focused on their own hurting more than someone else's.

    I shouldn't have said that Mark feels different from other boys. He feels different from everyone.
    Last edited by Vonny; 05-10-2011 at 03:24 PM.

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    Is Lit-Net American and if it is, does that mean its copyright laws apply to everyone who plagiarizes from this site? What about a site with different laws. My concern is that American copyright infringements are somehow being applied as the universal norm.
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

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    I suspect that is why they give the warning with US law. This is a first and necessary protective measure, because in those sittuation, the first contact is usually friendly.

    Now, net laws are complicated, but even if a Brazilian like me post here, Litnet would answer the law of the country where it's based, but they cann't (as they should not) be accused of me getting a text here and publish in brazil.

    Obviously, one of the hot topics in the NY digital fair in january was the international law and e-books. There is many considerations because there is not an international law and there is a potential international market. The consumist pressure is breaking down the first barriers of e-book legal protection, so countries will need to re-adapt their laws.

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    If I could do it, I would put a great poem up and hope someone stole it. "Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed."


    About this:
    "Second, the notion that people SHOULD be able to profit from their artistic endeavors is problematic. Although it is true that in some capitalist societies people DO so profit, the early artists (story tellers, cave painters) probably did not. Why should people EXPECT money from entertaining their fellow humans? I tell funny stories all the time (or, at least, I think they’re funny), and I don’t expect to get paid for it, nor do I mind if someone repeats the story."

    It's true that art and literature creations were richer back in the days when artists created solely for the purpose of their art and were starving to death.

    However, today people do have to support themselves. Telling a funny story or a joke is different from a person who has invested a great amount of themselves into their work. People have different gifts, some as mechanics, some as artists. Also, what appears as simply a gift may have required an education that has resulted in student loan debt. And, a person who writes may not be able to spend 40 hours per week earning a living as a mechanic.

    As a different kind of example, my oldest brother (not the one mentioned above) created a state of the art piece of sporting goods equipment. He wasn't interested in becoming wealthy from his device. He only wanted to earn a reasonable living. And he had spent years learning metals analysis. (I won't tell the story in depth, because his identity would be revealed through an online search.) He had put many hours into his design and making a small business float... this isn't the same as a written creation, but still I know the devastation when an inferior copy turns up elsewhere, which is blatantly your own design, with someone else's name on it.

    And someone who puts their name on someone else's creation is misrepresenting himself/herself. That's different from repeating a joke or a little story you heard.


    It may be easier to sue for copywrite than for patents, but I know my brother had spoken of getting a patent and whether or not it was worthwhile. When you're violated it isn't a matter of, "Oh okay, I'll just sue and get compensation." Fighting "someone" bigger than you is not easy or brief. My brother's product did still sell, because it was superior to the copy, but this gradual takeover dragged on for a very long time and wore him down miserably, along with his marriage, until he gave up. He was somewhat despondent and suicidal for a very long time, and today he is the one member of my family who has no health insurance. But he says now he will become healthier than ever, now that he's finally cut his losses and walked free of that devastation.

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    Surely the amount of time and effort one spends creating either a work of art or an invention is irrelevant to whether he should make money from it. Obviously, not everything we spend lots of time and effort on pays off. If it did, I’d be a professional athlete.

    We all want to “earn a reasonable living”. So what? The people who knocked off your brother’s invention wanted to earn a reasonable living just as much as your brother did.

    As a society, we want to encourage inventiveness and artistic creativity. That’s why we sometimes limit freedom by offering patents and copyrights. However, the interests of JUSTICE are not necessarily served by such limitations on freedom. The notion that an artist somehow DESERVES to make money, or that an inventor DESERVES to make money is precisely what I am inveighing against. That’s why my example of telling a joke IS relevant – it’s an example of offering entertainment to other people with no expectation of compensation. The relevant difference between that and writing a novel is NOT the effort and time (some people might spend lots of time planning out jokes). Instead, it is simply in the culturally constituted expectation of cashing in.

    My point is simply this: if people expect to cash in and then don’t cash in – that’s too bad, but it does not mean the system is unjust. There may be reasonable expectations about cashing in on intellectual property based on current law – but there are no such reasonable expectations based on any extralegal view of “justice”.

    Here’s an example: Drug companies can produce HIV drugs that save lives very cheaply. However, patents that limit competition allow them to sell the drugs at a huge profit. In Africa, where AIDS is rampant, millions of lives could be saved by distributing these drugs at an affordable price that would still be profitable for the Drug Companies (and the Drug Companies currently make no money at all, because Africans can't afford the inflated prices). However, some of these drugs would be “diverted” to the U.S. and European markets, where people would buy them instead of the premium-priced patented drugs. So the Drug Companies would lose profits.

    If you were an African parent, would you let your children die of AIDS, or buy black market drugs? Does “justice” demand you honor the intellectual property rights of the drug company? If not, why should you honor other intellectual property rights? Shouldn’t “ideas” be free? Mightn’t there be a value to society in allowing a freedom of invention and ideas, instead of regulating it?

    We are all invested in our own systems -- but systems of intellectual property rights are far from universal.
    Last edited by Ecurb; 05-10-2011 at 07:44 PM.

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    First, I want to apologize for an originally crass post which was written in haste, while I was tired, so that I would not miss the new episode of River Monsters (which, incidentally, is also why I never finished the post). Mind you, it was a good episode.

    In any event,

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    As someone who spent several years working with collage I spent a good deal of time researching the copyright laws and their implications for the visual arts.
    Part of the problem is that the government has not spelled out where the line is to be drawn. How much can you "borrow" before allusion or appropriation becomes plagiarism? According to the strict interpretation of the law the answer is nothing. A work which draws upon another work in any way is considered in legal terms "derivative" and only the original artist or the owner of the copyright has the right to create a derivative work of art. With the exception of that which is spelled out in the "fair use" laws, the very act of appropriation... regardless of the intention or purpose is illegal. By this strict interpretation, virtually the whole of collage, montage, Joseph Cornell, Andy warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and the jazz pieces that "quote" well-known popular standards would be deemed illegal. Because the law is so broad, there have been endless ridiculous lawsuits brought about. Without clear defined limits, the only way to test what is or is not illegal is through the courts.
    Well, the October 2009 copyright law in America (which I have partly read through myself), and all hitherto copyright laws, have never dealt with the concept of "plagiarism." The word never appears in any of the legal documents; it is purely a moral concept.

    As such, it is understood as the appropriation of someone's intellectual property and the presentation of it under the pretense that it is ones own. It is the inclusion of this second stipulation that makes it plagiarism, and in almost all the cases you have given, the artists are not trying to do the latter, and therefore would not ever by any reasonable person's standards be construed as plagiarizing. How the law would deem their actions is another story. Fairey might stand in a moral gray area because, as suggested by billl (I think), he does not have a reputation preceding him, unlike Warhol or English, which makes his own personal advancement in the wake of his "borrowing" suspicious. There are perhaps other reasons, but I don't know if it's worth nitpicking into this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Obviously Dante faced no such problems (as is the case with most of the artists I cited) for the simple reason that he was working prior to copyright law. If we take things into the present, however, do you honestly think that a contemporary writer could get away with employing characters out of a Disney movie or from the Harry Potter novels without the very real possibility of facing legal action? How is this different from Shakespeare using characters of the Montagues and Capulets?
    On moral grounds, I don't think anyone can/will ever rebuke Dante or Shakespeare. As I'm sure you know, these artists are recognized and understood as great to the extent that they followed and borrowed from models...here is a quote from Royal Shakespeare Company (2007) p.215:

    "while we applaud difference, Shakespeare's first audiences f[avo]red likeness: a work was good not because it was original, but because it resembled an admired classical exemplar, which in the case of comedy meant a play by Terence or Plautus"

    Shakespeare, then, (and Dante, Virgil, Picasso, etc. and Warhol, as you suggest) would have been doing himself a disservice if he deliberately and successfully plagiarized material. As you said the artist "most assuredly wants the viewer to recognize his source."

    To state the obvious, the idea of "original work" is highly incompatible with art. Of the few, perhaps the most notable example of an artist actually creating good "original work" is Pollock.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    There is no question as to whether simply taking another's artistic creation and presenting it as one's own without any real change amounts to plagiarism. But that is not what current copyright law stipulates. Take, for example, this instance (gleaned from ArtBusiness.com site: http://www.artbusiness.com/reprosuit.html)
    Again, the law doesn't realize plagiarism as a concept, and I think mixing the two beclouds the situation. In a culture that is obsessed commercialization the copyright laws have become somewhat of a necessary double-edged sword. But ultimately I do not think the copyright law is what makes the situation less than favorable...it's a culture that necessitates it, drunken on the commercialization of art. And sure, without it, the art history texts would be a lot richer but the exceptional artists who will never make it into them, who are simply trying to make ends-meat from day to day, would be intellectually pilfered by the avaricious in a heartbeat.


    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    A concept itself is not generally open to copyright protection. In other words, if we were living in the Gothic age, no architect would be able to copyright the idea of the "flying buttress". The specific design of a given buttress would be afforded protection, but not the idea of the structural element. Such would be akin to giving copyright protection to a color, or a technique of applying paint.
    I think a flying buttress would be understood as a "device" instead of a "concept." The law never clearly defines "concept," either, though section 102.b states:

    In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship
    extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is, described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.


    Unfortunately, taking someone's concept design is still theft.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    ...In this instance, however, we have a large corporation smelling money and willing to test the case through the courts. The ability of those with the deepest pockets to take such action... or only threaten to do such... effectively acts as a means of censorship.

    By the way... what d'you make of these?













    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5222/...47639207_z.jpg
    From my, albeit limited, understanding of the work of Mr. English, it is partly a reaction to corporation rights and not the copyright law, per se. It's an answer to the the question: should (copyrights held by) corporations enjoy the same rights as (ones held by) individuals? The question English addresses opens up a new and important vein of discussion, where I pretty much agree with his "no." However, in my opinion, a law that protects an individual artist's property beyond the threat of plagiarism is more or less necessitated by our commercialized culture, which removes the question of the applicability, cause, and necessity of copyright laws from the table. And as long as the capitalist culture continues its course, there will always have to be measures taken to protect intellectual property. Moreover, with the internet, and the ease wherewith the information can be copied thereon, these laws have become more important now than ever.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    my views are informed my my research on the topic of copyright law as it effects my own work as a working artist. I agree that photographers, film-makers, and recording artists... anyone who makes use of modern mechanical reproduction... is facing a challenge with regard to protecting their work. On the other hand, one must recognize that any medium has its inherent strengths and weaknesses. If one wishes to take advantage of mass production and the potential of the internet, one must also be aware of the potential problems. The question still remains as to just how we can enforce outdated ideas of copyright while still preserving all that we love about the internet, downloads, streaming music and film, and all our digital gadgets. The obvious answer is that we can't... we can't put the genie back into the jar. As such, we must rethink the whole means of financing and compensating artists.
    Then I'll suggest, let's focus on that question, instead of presenting ambiguous cases that might or might not exemplify a disobedience of this-or-that moral concept or current legal stipulation. As said above, I think removing copyright laws (at least without installing new measures) is quite beyond question ... and while they smell, and have been (ab)used by certain individuals (in anomalous cases) and corporations (in more routine cases), I haven't really ever come across a suitable alternative.
    Last edited by Cunninglinguist; 05-10-2011 at 09:33 PM.
    Dare to know

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    Ecurb, I can't really answer your question completely because we're not to talk about -- you know, what AuntShecky said..

    "So what? The people who knocked off your brother’s invention wanted to earn a reasonable living just as much as your brother did."

    The amoral "people" were not aiming for a "reasonable living."

    "The relevant difference between that and writing a novel is NOT the effort and time"

    Each person has an area of speciality. One person might be a dental hygienist - that's something that can't be stolen. Another person could be a designer. Both are probably burdened by student loan debt.

    "As a society, we want to encourage inventiveness and artistic creativity."

    I don't think we do. I think we encourage shoddy products at the lowest cost that can be sold for the maximum profit.

    What happened to my brother didn't encourage inventiveness and artistic creativity.

    If you were an African parent, would you let your children die of AIDS, or buy black market drugs? Does “justice” demand you honor the intellectual property rights of the drug company? If not, why should you honor other intellectual property rights?

    There's a difference here, which, if you can't see it, I can't explain it to you. There's a difference between obtaining a drug for a sick child and stealing my brother's invention. I'm not really thinking in terms of law, all of the law talk makes my head hurt.

    But I'll tell you, of the devastation that happened to my brother, the financial aspect, although it was significant, was the least of it. He was emotionally devastated. It was the way these "people" went about what they did.

    And the thing my brother designed... I'm sure no one would believe from his dummy sister telling about it here... it was something extraordinary, for anyone who would use that kind of thing. But it's something that you'd have to be very involved and proficient in that sport in order to fully appreciate the "edge" of this "thing." (The story of this invention and how all of this went down would make a good book actually, but it won't be written.) In fact, there is a very famous, rich man's son, (whom if I told you the name of this man you would all know), who bought 2 of these items from my brother and had them custom made, and that was the very last order that my brother filled. By that time, my brother didn't even want to save his design anymore. My brother has an undiagnosed bipolar disorder, or something, that made it very difficult for him to deal with this. It is an incredible story that if someone just told to me, I wouldn't believe.

    In fact, that's not the only thing my brother has designed. He designed something else before that that he managed to actually sell to another company, because it was too cumbersome and involved for him to produce himself. And that "thing" is out there. If I told you the name, you could go buy one. My brother used the proceeds from this first design to start his next business, which he subsequently lost in bankruptcy.

    And for this summer my brother is working on a ranch in Wyoming, as far from people as he can get. He's even out of range of a phone signal.
    Last edited by Vonny; 05-10-2011 at 09:42 PM.

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