Plagiarism As An Artform

from the is-it-all-bad? dept

A year and a half ago, we discussed famed author Malcolm Gladwell’s realization that plagiarism isn’t necessarily as bad as everyone makes it out to be. In that article, he looks at a variety of cases (including one that involved his own words being used without his permission) and notes that, while jarring, it often isn’t such a bad thing. The plagiarist, in many cases, is taking the original work and doing something different with it — and sometimes that something different is better, while taking away nothing from the original. That’s why it’s been interesting to read the reactions to the Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarism case. However, by far the most interesting article on the topic may be the discussion in New York Magazine: Thanks to Kaavya Viswanathan, Everyone Is a Plagiarism Suspect. Why so interesting? Practically the entire article is plagiarized from other sources.


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Comments on “Plagiarism As An Artform”

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13 Comments
Danno says:

Because the Great Artist collects in his mind all the brilliant things he has seen and read and thought about and when he goes to do his work, these all come pouring out of him.

The mediocre artist sees something he likes and apes it, he tries to borrow the work to put into his own, but it just comes out looking like a Xerox.

I think Gibson has the right idea about intellectual property’s future. In the future we won’t have a chance in hell of protecting the ideas. They’re just bits that a perfect copy can be made from. Those people that come up with ideas are what corporations are going to fight to protect and control.

For the sake of all the technical wizards in the world, I hope we can protect ourselves from being totally dominated.

PopeRatzo says:

I know this isn’t the post to discuss this, but something said above has made me think about it again:

I’m becoming convinced that intellectual property should only belong to the creator, and only for his or her natural life. No selling or licensing patents or copyrights. As soon as the artist or inventor dies, it becomes public domain.

And before you tell me it will kill innovation, I’ll tell you that I believe it will increase the level of innovation because people won’t be able to sit on new developments while trying to leverage it. People, even companies, will have to strike while the iron is hot (or the originator is alive). Oh, and either no corporate IP or max it at 40 years.

Tad Davis says:

Re: the natural life of the creator

It may not kill innovation, but I can see a few murder mysteries where it plays a role in the plot. 🙂

The novel Ulysses by James Joyce is a good example of what you’re describing, and the absurd lengths to which the process sometimes goes. Ulysses was first published in 1922, and falls under a 75-year copyright provision. So it should have become public domain in 1997.

But in the USA, it’s still protected. Why? Because it wasn’t legally published in the USA until 1934 — it was banned as obscene until then.

I’m all in favor of great artists being able to provide for their family’s future. But for how many generations?

anonymous coward says:

of course malcolm gladwell would defend plagarism. that asshat hasn’t had an original idea in his whole life. every article and book he has ever written is simply a collection of scientific articles that he plagarizes. people that aren’t smart enough to read the actual paper or journal submission think the guy is some kind of genius. he gives fair use a bad name.

Intergalactic Hussy says:

Everything has been done already

There are only so many things that one person can do to another… and that’s what all stories boil down to. The artform is making new characters and how this happens, etc. If you knowingly take from somewhere else without credit…

Well I wouldn’t but I studied communications and writing. “I know; it’s phony major.”

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