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Thread: Why Plagiarism is Wrong

  1. #61
    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    I posted a short story here recently and then another Lit-Nutter Pm'ed me to let me know that they were actually writing a book on the same theme. Of course there were differences they said but they did not want me to think they had stolen my idea if I ever see it in print.

    This is a courteous thing to do of course.

    But what happens if I read a great story here and decided 'Hmm I could write a book on that plot' and so PM the poster to let them know I already had a similar idea and I don't want them to think I'm stealing their ideas?

    Then again, how many stories are there about love? I think I've missed the point on plagiarism completely so I'll stop now
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

  2. #62
    Registered User jocky's Avatar
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    Here we go again, why is plagiarism wrong ? Without plagiarism there would be no art, no science, no music, nothing. Did Shakespeare not plagiarise, was Constable not following Claude, did Dylan not folloiw American folk-blues? If by plagiarism you mean copying someones art word for word that is cheating, but there is no word that can describe a total original. We are " standing on the shoulders of giants " but they plagiarised as well. Perhaps a precise defenition of the difference between plagiarism and copying should have been utilised. " It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" is that copying or plagiarising? Humbug.
    " There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make. "

  3. #63
    riding a cosmic vortex MystyrMystyry's Avatar
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    Not sure about anything anymore

    When Jimmy Page stole the opening guitar chords and fingerpicking for Stairway to Heaven from Spirit's Taurus it was a case of a small American band versus a large Brit band and Spirit's guitarist just let it go - until much later when he was down on his luck and asked politely for a bit of acknowledgement and maybe some cash to get him through

    Well Jimmy proved to be a prick about it and hid behind the fact that it was a Led Zep song, therefore a collaborative effort, shrugged it off with a nothing he could do about it unless he chose to sue the whole band

    No American lawyer would touch it, no British lawyer would touch it

    Why? Because Stairway was never released as a single, therefore trying to determine how much the song was actually worth was impossible, added to the international hassle it was just overall more hassle than it was worth to anyone

    I played Stairway last night because it was once a weekly staple, and I was curious whether my opinion would have changed beyond just general boredom knowing of the theft

    Didn't matter - it was boring (I blame the radio stations that thrashed it to death) but it still contained nostalgic memories

    This though is perhaps the point, are you a writer for the money, the enjoyment, the purpose of trying to change the world, personal satisfaction, entertainment - what?

    Should I track down the Spirit guitarist and give him some money for indirectly entertaining me at certain periods, or perhaps start a charitable collection agency for all artists been/being/felt/feeling ripped off?

    Jimmy Page probably feels ripped off for his own old white-haired reasons - but it's a good thing playing Stairway badly on electric guitar in a music shop wasn't charged a fee/compensatory price - imagine!


    When did the world change? The day Michelangelo decided to sign his sculptures? Before that artistic production/expression was done for the common good. But we know of someone named Chaucer from earlier than the adoption of the printed word, just like we know of someone named Homer

    And what's in a name anyway? We know Orwell as Orwell (not a name I would have chosen - nor Saki for that matter), what if we knew William Shakespeare as Fred Bloggs - would that alter our opinion? What if someone produced an authentic document stating that this F.B. was in fact the author and Shakespeare had ripped him off?

    Where permission is sought and granted perhaps a young Spirit guitarist gave Page permission - this happens quite a lot - so did he rip himself off?

    But regardless of it all ignorance is no excuse, at some point someone ripped someone off and the 'concept' of music was born, much as the concept of art, photography, television, computers, home invasion, organised warfare, and even copyright

    I've said it before - get to the artshop to buy some materials, and produce something truly unique to you, because everything else is a brown area amid muckied waters


    I seem to recall the Australian (conservative) government deciding that the best way to tackle illegal downloads was to scrap all laws trying to stop it - the amount we all save by having access to everything for free makes us all the more richer
    Last edited by MystyrMystyry; 05-10-2011 at 11:17 PM.

  4. #64
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Ecurb-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?

    While I am questioning the current copyright laws that favor wealthy corporations and that do not deal intelligently with current realities of digital reproduction, the problems of international piracy of intellectual "property", and the viral nature of the internet and spread of information... nor the issues of derivative art forms such as collage, montage, parody, etc... I am not calling for throwing the baby out with the bath water. The notion that artists should not make a profit from their artistic endeavors is simply absurd... or more likely naive. Art involves a great deal of labor and the individual expects to be compensated for their labor... whatever that may be.

    Vonny- 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.

    And when was that? The Renaissance painter, the medieval sculptor, the Kappelmeister who composed and scored music for the town cathedral, the Greek or Roman architect... all were paid. Until the Renaissance, most artists were paid as skilled craftsman at the going rate established by the guilds (which were essentially unions). This was equally true of musicians/composers. Writers commonly held positions as scholars, tutors, professors, courtiers, or court poets that afforded them the time to explore their writing. With the onset of the Renaissance the arts increasingly became a competitive business... rather than being supported through commissions, the artists competed with each other for sales in the open market.

    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.

    That is true... but only in the sense that the artist is essentially a businessman... an independent contractor. He or she offers a product for sale but will only make money if their is an interested audience. This, off course, is quite different from suggesting that if an artist does create something that sells well and there is a demand, that anyone should be able to steal his or her art and offer it up to the audience as his or her own work.

    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.

    This, of course, makes no sense, outside of a communal system of economics where everyone's needs are met. Obviously, the artist deserves to be compensated for his or her work no less than the doctor or the laborer. If you are suggesting that artists need to somehow keep themselves free on moral grounds from the taint of money, then that is completely absurd. Artist are no different than anyone else in moral terms.

    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?


    The problem with your example is that it ignores the basic question of motive. Why would a company continue to invest millions into research and development of a product if there was no money to be made? Why would an artist continue to labor for years to perfect his or her skills if he or she knew for a fact that there would never be any compensation? Where is the motive?
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vonny View Post


    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.
    First, I think we must point the creator is not necessarily the owner of copyrights of anything. He may not be. And there is no difference. If I have intelectual material that is good, implying can lift ignorance, i am doing an evil by not allowing all the benefict of using it. If I have an invention that provides light using 10% eletricity, therefore reducing the demand for energy, preserving nature, etc. I am doing a evil by protecting it. Just like the same medical companies (which actually abuse of the concept of ownership, a great deal of druggs where found in laboratories, but by natives, just copied in laboratories by a different process, literary stolen under legal concepts from their real "creators").

    Ecurd does not raise a notch in my understanding if copyrights, etc laws have their use in society, but the justification that plagiarism is wrong because it is illegal is not necessarily ethical. Plus, it goes to the ridiculous of believing people has to follow the american law for something as universal as intellectual process.

    Very sad the story of your brother. Much sadder when Bayer company has stolen from brazil amazonia several species of vegetables, etc, build a world wide empire can come to sell us back their discovered with species which only exist in amazonia, but they grow in germany and allierata smallia became allierata smallia bayer and very funny when Brazilian governament in the 90's listed several product which would no longer be under protection of international laws and could be copies and produced by laboratories without problem to save people. Those stories have sad and happy stories , in both sides.

  6. #66
    Registered User billl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunninglinguist View Post
    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.
    I'm not sure if it's nitpicking or not, but I didn't mean to suggest that Faiery "[stands] in a moral gray area" for that reason.

    For me, in the case of the Obama print, it would seem reasonable that the photo (and the photographer) receive credit, as well. It isn't a case of Fairey choosing to show a man in profile because other men have been in profile, at that angle. It is a case of Fairey using a photograph of the same man, in the same pose, etc.--it's a duplication of the photo, basically. It isn't a sample inserted into a song. It is a compostion the relies almost completely on the photo (or could I even say "completely"?). The coloration, the borders and outlining, and the addition of the word HOPE don't seem quite enough to me to make the thing any more than 50% Shepard Fairey's.

    Anyhow, in January, Fairey agreed to share rights for the image with AP, and there are planned collaborations for the future, in which Fairey will work with more AP photos.

    The agreement: http://www.ap.org/pages/about/pressr...01122011a.html
    Last edited by billl; 05-10-2011 at 11:36 PM. Reason: added a word, and then added final link

  7. #67
    Registered User jocky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MystyrMystyry View Post
    Not sure about anything anymore

    When Jimmy Page stole the opening guitar chords and fingerpicking for Stairway to Heaven from Spirit's Taurus it was a case of a small American band versus a large Brit band and Spirit's guitarist just let it go - until much later when he was down on his luck and asked politely for a bit of acknowledgement and maybe some cash to get him through

    Well Jimmy proved to be a prick about it and hid behind the fact that it was a Led Zep song, therefore a collaborative effort, shrugged it off with a nothing he could do about it unless he chose to sue the whole band

    No American lawyer would touch it, no British lawyer would touch it

    Why? Because Stairway was never released as a single, therefore trying to determine how much the song was actually worth was impossible, added to the international hassle it was just overall more hassle than it was worth to anyone

    I played Stairway last night because it was once a weekly staple, and I was curious whether my opinion would have changed beyond just general boredom knowing of the theft



    Jimmy Page probably feels ripped off for his own old white-haired reasons - but it's a good thing playing Stairway badly on electric guitar in a music shop wasn't charged a fee/compensatory price - imagine!

    Oh! Stairway to Heaven, you name dropper you. I will give you the biggest rip off of all time. The Eagles ' Hotel California ' Plagiarised, or politely, copied from Jethro Tull's ' We Used To Know '

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgO7MamJnqM

    So let us get back to plagiarism, rip off.
    " There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make. "

  8. #68
    Registered User jocky's Avatar
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    Art is available to everyone and not the self proclaimed chosen few. Just because some self proclaimed critic thinks he knows the iconography of the 'Death of Marat' it does not give he, or she, the last word. Here is an interpretatation of ' Hunters in the Snow' by Breughel in a musical fashion. Bet you have never seen this before.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qcPS-J0HTg
    " There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make. "

  9. #69
    riding a cosmic vortex MystyrMystyry's Avatar
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    They're a couple of good examples of appropriation Jocky, but similarities within simple chord progressions are as common as cowshi t on a dairy

    The thing with Stairway is they were uncommon chords and directly discernible - at this point it becomes a question of whether Stairway was the better overall song - subjectively yes (for what it's worth)

    Ballad form incorporating minor chord progressions, lead guitar break within a specified scale(s), tempo rhythm - all may be excused in the realm of pop music (by which I may mean what 'becomes' popular - one cannot 'know' exactly what will become of their creation after it's been released - which is why J.K.'s 'books' became larger after the unexpected success of the first - an attempt to increasingly remove herself from the source)

    There is a thanks due for posting some JT though, something about their music tends to immediately alleviate feelings of anger/frustration

    On plagiarism: you'll get caught, so watch yourself if you do, and you're not just ripping someone else off - you're ripping yourself off!

  10. #70
    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    I have cut and pasted this from http://www.fairwagelawyers.com/most-...fringment.html meaning, these are not my own words and I take no credit for them!

    Vanilla Ice vs Queen & Bowie

    Vanilla Ice became a household word for a while, not because of his talent, but because of the copyright infringement that occured in 1990 when it came to light that he had sampled Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” without consent or license. Ice Ice Baby hit number one on the charts in the United States and Vanilla Ice became the one ‘under pressure’. Vanilla Ice altered the rhythm of the baseline thinking he would thereby avoid any question of credit, royalties, license or even permission. This case never went to court as it was clear that Vanilla Ice had stolen the sample without permission. He settled out of court with Queen and David Bowie for an undisclosed but very likely very high amount. Ice Ice Baby has been released in many different versions, since then, with all of the legal procedures followed.
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

  11. #71
    riding a cosmic vortex MystyrMystyry's Avatar
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    Yeah there was quite a lot of sue/countersue going on in the sampling arena for a while, until someone wised up and observed that it was all advertising and popular musicians are all a bunch of thieving untalented ratbags anyway, so it really doesn't matter who's stolen the most millions with the least talent

    A particularly interesting one was Huey Lewis and the News' Need A New Drug vs Ray Parker Jr's Ghostbusters - rythmically the similarities were beyond remarkable and it was obvious that Ray Parker had done a dirty - until 'M' of Pop Musik appeared claiming they'd both stolen from him - and won!

  12. #72
    Registered User jocky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MystyrMystyry View Post
    They're a couple of good examples of appropriation Jocky, but similarities within simple chord progressions are as common as cowshi t on a dairy



    On plagiarism: you'll get caught, so watch yourself if you do, and you're not just ripping someone else off - you're ripping yourself off!
    cowshi't in a dairy. Excuse me that is so,.....so un-European. I did think for a moment I was engaging with empty space, but I made my point and you responded perfectly. The thing is I enjoy art as well, but I am not sure I can comprehend it satisfactorally. History I can live with as you just fill in the dots and if you are wrong no one can prove otherwise.
    " There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make. "

  13. #73
    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    here is another example. J K Rowling

    http://www.thestar.com/entertainment...for-plagiarism
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

  14. #74
    riding a cosmic vortex MystyrMystyry's Avatar
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    I think it's that if something is sufficiently old and well-known enough then you can't sensibly claim infringement of copyright, as in the case of an icon like the Mona Lisa or Breughel - not even if the artist was still alive

    They can be parodied, copied, photographically manipulated, anything except forged

    It's just that if the artist stands to lose money/face from the theft/misappropriation of their words/works, their case is clear - but they'd still have to go to quite some effort to prove that they'd had their work used in a fashion untoward

    Here's a case in point - Hitler's Mein Kampf was a blatant plagiarism from beginning to end - from columns in working class newspapers dating back to even preceding the First World War - he merely codified it as a political treatise

    The ideas of the Third Reich, Sudetenland and Final Solution etc, were neither new nor his own, but he adopted them, and the few intellectuals who read his 'book' and may have mocked it were summarily dealt with in due course - ever read a chrono-current criticism of it? No - because the plates were all destroyed


    Stomp on plagiarism today lest history repeats!

  15. #75
    Registered User jocky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delta40 View Post
    here is another example. J K Rowling

    http://www.thestar.com/entertainment...for-plagiarism
    Yes, but it does not resolve the point in question. What is the difference between copying and plagiarism ? Everyone would like to play football like Lionel Messi, but he based his style on Maradonna. This brings us back to the point, individuals have their own style, but it is always based on what has gone before. English Cathederals were designed on the basis of Chartres in France. Medievil plate armour was developed in response to the longbow, chainmail did not work. Paint was developed by artists as red ochre had it's day. My point being it is a blurred line between copying and plagiarising. It seems only headmasters and teachers can draw the distinction.
    " There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make. "

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