Plagiarism, where is the line?
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Thread: Plagiarism, where is the line?

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    Plagiarism, where is the line?

    As I often read books I regularly come across scenes that strike a cord and completely fit with the sort of paintings I would one day love to do. The thought occurred to me that this might be considered plagiarism, since you are in essence using someone else's idea.

    Wikipedia has the following on plagiarism:
    Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries. The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement, while in the previous centuries authors and artists were encouraged to "copy the masters as closely as possible" and avoid "unnecessary invention."

    On the other hand noone can really have ownership of a pose, a lighting angle or some such, but the author of the book has had to put effort towards putting this scene together.

    If you take the technical parts of the scene (pose, lighting, clothing, mood, energy, props even, ...), but leave out the context (character, story, ...) is it still plagiarism?

    Surely your painting would be inspired by the book/scene/author, but would you need to officially have to give credit to this source of inspiration? When are you far enough removed from your source of inspiration to be able to fully claim a work as your own?

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    From www.copyright.gov/help/faq:
    How do I protect my idea?
    Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Kweckduck View Post

    Wikipedia has the following on plagiarism:
    The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement, while in the previous centuries authors and artists were encouraged to "copy the masters as closely as possible" and avoid "unnecessary invention."
    You realize Wikipedia entries are written by, you know, just folk?

    But to address the question on where is the line...pretty much when you use someone else's creative work directly in some fashion and claim it as your own.

    It gets a little tricky with homage and satire but is usually pretty obvious which side of the line somehting is on.

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    So you have a story idea about boy meets girl, boy and girl fight, boy and girl fall in love, then get married and live happily ever after.

    That describes about eleventy billion books. Add in the vampire element and you still have about a million books. Add in sparkles and a teenage girl in love with a hundred year old vampire masquerading as a high school student and you're getting original enough that a lot of people could give a title to the book.

    I go with stories because I've been dabbling in writing fiction for forever whereas drawing is very recent, but the gist is the same. Ideas are not protected. Original executions of an idea are.

    Giving credit for inspiration? Only if you want to.

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