We've had a few very interesting articles on rethinking plagiarism lately -- with part of the point being that just about all new creations and ideas are built on the work of those who came before them -- and it seems silly to prevent all of that with overly aggressive worries about copyright and plagiarism. In the Jonathan Lethem article we linked to earlier he discusses (or, rather, he plagiarizes a discussion) on how there were concerns when cameras first came about, as to whether or not taking a photo of a person or a building was stealing from them. Luckily, people realized this was kind of silly... but it seems that the matter isn't totally settled yet. Slate is running an online slideshow questioning whether or not photographs can be plagiarized. Apparently there's a bit of controversy, as an art exhibit includes a bunch of photographs by a pair of photographers that look quite similar to ones taken by a different photographer (who says the pair had asked for advice on "exposures, film, and vantage points"). The photographs are clearly different -- but of the same composition. If anything, they are an homage to the original, and it seems silly to accuse them of plagiarism, especially since they are absolutely different shots. And, if you could claim plagiarism on shots from a similar vantage point, just think of all the fights over family photos at various tourist locations?
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