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Gumby
July 19th, 2011, 05:57 PM
I am curious about the take others have on a situation that a dear friend and I have recently discussed.

What do you think when you come across a poem posted online that is obviously a rewrite of a famous, or published poem? If the poster of the poem acknowledges that it is a rewrite or inspired by so and so's (insert famous name here) poem, then I don't have a problem with it. But what if the poster doesn't give any acknowledgement whatsoever, do you think this is a form of plagiarism, coincidence, or a case of imitation being the most sincere form of flattery?

Baron
July 19th, 2011, 06:06 PM
I am curious about the take others have on a situation that a dear friend and I have recently discussed.

What do you think when you come across a poem posted online that is obviously a rewrite of a famous, or published poem? If the poster of the poem acknowledges that it is a rewrite or inspired by so and so's (insert famous name here) poem, then I don't have a problem with it. But what if the poster doesn't give any acknowledgement whatsoever, do you think this is a form of plagiarism, coincidence, or a case of imitation being the most sincere form of flattery?

This depends very much on how it's treated. We have a member who quite frequently mimics the style and form of other poets but decidedly puts his own stamp on them. This is acceptable. If someone is simply paraphrasing the work of another then it isn't acceptable unless credit is given to the original.

Squalid Glass
July 19th, 2011, 06:08 PM
Inspiration is certainly to be encouraged, and as long as proper credit for inspiration is given then there is no problem. Blatantly ripping off another work, whether famous or not, without making it ones own and without giving proper citation of inspiration is no different that plagiarism, in my mind.

Cran
July 19th, 2011, 08:19 PM
As Baron pointed out, paraphrasing (even parody) is not a means to avoiding due citation or reference to source, despite the alarmingly popular belief otherwise. At the very least, an acknowledgment should be added (a few words; how hard is that?); if it's intended for publication, then permission from the copyright holder is the safest course.

alanmt
July 19th, 2011, 08:43 PM
Definitely seems like an issue which has to be judged on a case by case basis. if it is something randomly encountered on internet ramblings, I am not sure it is worth much effort of consideration. Here on a writing forum, a different standard ought to apply, and those charged with the integrity of the site ought to make a little inquiry or offer direction. I have found that ill intent is much rarer than negligence. I also believe that a writer who immerses himself in a genre, reading prolifically, must be extra careful not to be misled by one's brain into mistaking memory for inspiration.

Baron
July 19th, 2011, 09:28 PM
Definitely seems like an issue which has to be judged on a case by case basis. if it is something randomly encountered on internet ramblings, I am not sure it is worth much effort of consideration. Here on a writing forum, a different standard ought to apply, and those charged with the integrity of the site ought to make a little inquiry or offer direction. I have found that ill intent is much rarer than negligence. I also believe that a writer who immerses himself in a genre, reading prolifically, must be extra careful not to be misled by one's brain into mistaking memory for inspiration.

Ignorance is no excuse in law. If something is a paraphrase of another's work then it will get pulled when discovered. It will also be discussed with the member posting.

Gumby
July 20th, 2011, 12:33 AM
I do think that we all need to be mindful of this in our own work. As alan has said, we are influenced by what we read and sometimes they can stick in our subconcious without our realizing it.

Squalid Glass
July 20th, 2011, 03:55 AM
I'm wondering what brought this on now.

Gumby
July 20th, 2011, 04:00 AM
It's something I've wondered about for a while now, SG. I've visited lots of online poetry forums and it's not unusual to come across a poem from time to time which is very reminiscent of published works. :)

candid petunia
July 20th, 2011, 05:22 AM
I do think that we all need to be mindful of this in our own work. As alan has said, we are influenced by what we read and sometimes they can stick in our subconcious without our realizing it.

This has happened with me. I had helped my friend write a poem in 9th grade (yeah--helped. Sounds weird now). I'd just finished the last stanza for her, the rest she had written it herself in front of me in a class. A year later, I came across that same poem--with a few minor changes--in a magazine written by a famous author (don't remember either the poem or the poet's name). I was surprised, my friend was shocked. Maybe she'd across the poem in her younger years and it had stayed in her subconsciousness. Worries me every time I write something.

What makes me nervous at times is when I'm working on something big or exciting and I'm afraid someone else might get that same idea, and people might later call it plagiarism. How many times have great inventions or discoveries been made around the same time by two people in different parts of the world? Scary, really.

Squalid Glass
July 20th, 2011, 05:32 AM
In all honesty, everything has been said. There aren't really any "original" concepts left. It's all about how you say what you're saying. If you write about things that are personal, then your chance of such a mishap are unlikely. Now, expressions might be a little harder to figure out. Metaphors and similes, I think, are the easiest to accidentally copy.

When thinking of this, I'm always reminded of Paul McCartney. I remember him telling a story about "Let it Be". He said he thinks he might have subconsciously stolen the song from something he heard before, even though the inspiration for the song came from a dream.

Cran
July 20th, 2011, 03:29 PM
Definitely seems like an issue which has to be judged on a case by case basis...
Which is exactly how it is treated in law - the only rigid requirement is the reference to source*; the rest is a mixture of grey lines and motives.

*Even if the source is "unknown", hence attributions like "Anon.", or "Found at ..."

It remains clear that ideas are not subject to copyright, only the substantive representation of ideas can be protected.

Martin
July 20th, 2011, 04:16 PM
I don't see the quality of poetry as something coming solely from the poet. The poet is but a medium of perceptions and feelings, as with the reader has for him or herself to make out the quality of any poem.
We live in a world where egoism and egocentricity are highly accepted in many ways; laws are based on it, habits, socializing, identity, etc. I'm sure if someone plagiarized or copied me in their publications without any reference to me, my ego would feel hurt. If I was trying to live off of my poems, I think even I would have felt someone else's hand down my wallet. And I don't think we can escape this conceptual ego of ours.
But fundamentally, I want to believe that what poetry should be, like with paintings, music, any art really, is about something more than what we as single individuals can claim a right to. It's a habit that we always praise the artists, but if we're able to find meaning in the art, we should definitely also praise ourselves. If we convey it on, the meaning we found, we're only being sincere about our feelings in an artistic way.
When someone intentionally seeks praise by plagiarizing or merely rewriting others work, it's their egos taking charge. Personally and idealistically I will try not to let my own ego judge them.

Sorry for the philosophical take, I hope I made sense...

Bloggsworth
July 20th, 2011, 06:40 PM
After having one of my poems read at a Masterclass the audience was told that I must have read a lot of Matthew Arnold. It was written 5 years before I'd even heard of him and then read Dover Beach. It is possible to independently write a poem which may be "Like" someone elses purley by chance.

feralpen
August 21st, 2011, 01:31 PM
One growing problem of today is that we are a visual society. So few now bother to read traditional literature and therefore have no clue as to the huge impact and influences it has on our every day life. Such folks might hear a convoluted phrase in a 'fluff' movie and it could inspire us, consciously or unconscioulsy and be the inspiration for a poem/story/lyric etc. In many cases I feel that ignorance is more detestful than out and out plagarism. At least with intentional plagarism the copycat usually picks something good to copy.

If we only read 'modern' literature we will never know how closely a large portion of it paralles the classics like Treasure Island, Little Women or works of the even older masters like Chaucer or Shakespeare.

Often when we read examples of the topic of this discussion we KNOW it has been plagarized. If we have contact with the author, that author SHOULD be called out. To emulate a style is acceptable if the material is original. Your question is valid and you already know the answer. If some cannot support the positive advancement of individual creativity with the right to expect a certain degree of honor in any group, forum or even in society, then we may not need to encourage their behavior.

Just a thought ...


fp

xlwoo
March 4th, 2012, 05:12 PM
I agree with Baron. Sometimes if sb changes a few words in another's poem and make it have a total different meaning, that is funny.

jeffrey c mcmahan
May 13th, 2012, 03:04 PM
My policy as a writer is to not use material in any way that I have discovered in others work. Yet, I have on occasion crossed that boundary. In all cases I use quotation marks, and cite the reference, by work, sometimes, but always by author. They say artist's take liberties. I think this discussion falls under that classification. But, there is no excuse to omit honour where honour is due. Quote, and cite, is the only way to defend a copyright allegation.

A case in point, I have a poem over on the main poetry board let uses direct quotes of another writers work, the cite was short, and served only as a intro, and the poem only used it as a springboard into my expression. See it here:

http://www.writingforums.com/poetry/129594-grace-land.html

I hope my shameless promotion is not in bad taste

regards

jeffrey

Don V Standeford
December 4th, 2012, 10:07 AM
If someone borrows from another poet they need to change the new work considerably if they take credit for the poem. There should be undisputed evidence of fresh imagination being pumped into the new work of art.

Nee
January 19th, 2013, 09:05 PM
I would have to read the poem to be able to tell if the intent of the poster was to deceive or not.

Nee
January 21st, 2013, 01:05 AM
I do think that we all need to be mindful of this in our own work. As alan has said, we are influenced by what we read and sometimes they can stick in our subconcious without our realizing it.

I sure making subconscious references to someone else's work is not a problem.

In fact, making allusions to another's work is not only done all the time but, is very much encouraged by publishers. Koontz for one, makes around 5 or 6 allusions in every one of his novels.

So when you suddenly realize that you are close to another's idea, just make a straight out allusion to it, and everything will be just fine.

bajmahal
March 16th, 2013, 12:41 AM
I think that that some themes and styles tend to repeat through time, so the likelihood that someone would seem to be plagiarizing when they are simply walking down the same well-worn path is great. I also agree with Martin that the ideas are already out there and we are merely harvesting or channeling them. Didn't JK Rowling get sued for ripping off Harry Potter, except the man who sued lost because even though he had written about Harry Potter - Boy Wizard first, his work was a short picture book with no more than 40 words on a page. Clearly she didn't plagiarize, yet the superficial similarities were eerie. This doesn't just happen with writers - philosophers, inventors, artists, musicians all experience this phenomenon. Darwin and Wallace both coming up with the same theory independent of each other after each had read Malthus' essay on populations. Confucius, Buddha, and the golden age of Greek philosophy all taking place around the same time.

Also, there's subconscious plagiarism. You can't expect someone to give proper credit if they truly think that the idea is their own. The new student on fire with ideas, excitedly running home to tell the rubes all about The Way Things Ought To Be - it's practically a cliche.

Nee
March 16th, 2013, 01:27 AM
I just freaked the other day when I saw that someone wrote a novel with not only the same title as one I have been working on for a few years but it is roughly about the same thing and takes place in roughly the same time period--but, as I'm flipping through it, it's not written all that well and it seems only tangentially similar to my plot.

That'll teach me to take too long top write a novel, eh...?

bajmahal
March 16th, 2013, 02:57 AM
I just freaked the other day when I saw that someone wrote a novel with not only the same title as one I have been working on for a few years but it is roughly about the same thing and takes place in roughly the same time period--but, as I'm flipping through it, it's not written all that well and it seems only tangentially similar to my plot.

That'll teach me to take too long top write a novel, eh...?

Well that goes back to the limited number of themes issue. Remember in the beginning of the movie Shakespeare in Love, where Geoffrey Rush is talking up a new play of Shakespeare's and the man he's talking to recognizes the title and basically says - bah, I've seen it and it wasn't very good - and Rush says, "Ah, but this time it's by Shakespeare!"

Lewdog
March 16th, 2013, 03:09 AM
Heh I'm kind of scared to post in this thread with the number of banned people, but my feelings are pretty simple. Try to make things as original as you can, but if you are indeed a very well read person, chances are at some point or another in your life, that subconsciously you'll write a piece of work that is pretty similar to someone that you have read before. This is especially true in shorter pieces like poetry. I remember studying this phenomenon in college. I can't remember if it was in a psychology class or more poetry class.

lordzden
April 11th, 2014, 08:41 PM
I think if the author copied then claimed it as his own. Then he is just fooling his own self. For me, I cannot attain self fulfillment.