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The Tearoom Debates I: Inspiration v. Infringement

Journal Entry: Wed May 27, 2015, 2:49 PM

Welcome to the first installment of CRLiterature's new article series, The Tearoom Debates! We've shamelessly ripped off Mrs-Durden and CRPhotography, who currently run a bi-weekly series of opportunities for group readers to debate both sides of questions like "film or digital?" and then, in the next article, spotlight the input of the previous week's commenters.

Our format will be a bit different though. We'll still be keeping the biweekly frequency, and each article will feature your comments from the previous week. We're adding a touch of our own - some CRLiterature admins and the occasional guest lecturer will offer our input in the body of the articles, to give you food for debate right out of the gate! (Oops, in-rhyme. This isn't a poem, I promise.) Easy enough concept, right?

So, with no more fanfare--

-- let me announce the first question:

At what point, for you, does a piece inspired by another work cross the line into plagiarism?

With all the recent lawsuits about music "inspired by" other pieces, and the trendiness of found poetry in the small presses, it seems like the perfect time to be debating this. There are no wrong answers. Speak your mind. One random commenter will get a one-month premium membership for participating, so grab your nearest keyboard and let us - and everyone else - have it!

Our Input:

The accessibility of the internet has meant boundless sources for anyone to pick up “inspiration” and use it how they must. Whether this is creating Pinterest boards or copying and pasting extracts that speak to you- there is no issue and actually something I’d encourage writers to do. However, it's what you do with your source material that determines where the line is. How much of what you are taking is too original, and how much of it is sparking your own creativity? If you are relying heavily on the former, then you are probably getting to a point where you are just copying and not creating something new.  You should always credit the sources you use and on dA make use of your artists comments as you can discuss the inspiration point- and don’t be offended if people say the likeness is too close, use it as a source of redraft improvement. - BeccaJS 

If you're using a quote, you have to cite it. If you're writing something derivative as a writing excerise, you need to say so, and let folks know what you're using as inspiration. If you're working on a piece for future publication, or are publishing a derivative piece, your work needs to be transformative. You can't just put in linebreaks and call it found poetry. You can't replace a few words and say that you've recreated the piece as yours. There has to be a sense of your voice and your story in the new work, or else you're pretty much stealing. - PinkyMcCoversong 
Personally, I think anyone who's saying they don't draw inspiration from other works is full of it, or full of themselves, or something - everything is derivative to some extent, even if it's just in passing. And even full derivation is a great learning exercise, respinning a piece into your voice or deconstructing it. The line, for me, is what the creator of the derivative work, any derivative work, intends to actually do with it. If you're keeping it private, or showing it on a personal blog like DeviantArt, as long as it isn't a verbatim copypaste it's fine in my books. If you're selling it for money without paying the original artist a licensing fee, or publishing it in a small nonprofit press without crediting the author? That's a dick move. We all want notoriety, we all want credit. Even if the original artist has more money and fame and houses in Malibu than you, they still want people knowing their work exists and is out there. Be considerate. God. - tiganusi
The difference between inspiration and infringement is easy: It all depends on how litigious the owner of your inspiration is. In more detail, the difference between infringement and inspiration is still a very blurry, thin line. The legal standard is of course "substantial similarity" which is pretty much as ridiculously vague as possible. After that you get into specific case law, but there are no "original" ideas any more. Everything is an iteration off an older idea, to an extent. And come on, even if I'm inspired by a movie about robots and triple-boobs, and make a movie that is, in my mind, inspired by and substantially different to, Michael Bay is still going to sue me for my actress's triple-boob. - haldron 

Your turn! Leave your thoughts in the comment section. Where is the plagiarism/inspiration line for you?

Skin by SimplySilent


Artist | Professional

[The above is a found poem biography/artist's statement made of animated gifs. Oops.]

I'm C "Mark" Perry, the picture-taking former Gallery Moderator for Photography who proselytized about pringles, pandas and polaroids. In meatspace I worked as a designer and staff photographer for several years, then swapped into marketing management; I still freelance, show and sell my work but I don't like to talk about it. I'm a once-upon-a-time lit kid who's had a poem/editorial published here and there. I paint too. P is not my favourite letter, but you'd never believe that based on this paragraph.

I was around the site, dAmn and IRC on a few other accounts on and off since before dinosaurs had feathers, most notably on the account `IBinsanity, where I probably left you with a very [un]favourable first impression.



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Riemea Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist General Artist
I could have sworn I added you to my watch not too long ago. :stare:
Calyptra Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
I was here bitch <3
Danium Featured By Owner May 22, 2015
you have whatsapp? :evileye:
tiganusi Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Professional
i do :stare:
Danium Featured By Owner 1 day ago
yellowroseart Featured By Owner May 22, 2015  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
:| (Blank Stare) CURSE YOU! :happybounce: La la la la :) (Smile) 
JenFruzz Featured By Owner May 21, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for being amazing at seniormentors and helping me gain the confidence to push the project forward. Being there all the way through to bounce ideas off of, vent to, promote the project through, and countless other things have been more help than I can ever express. You're fucking awesome. Never forget it.

tiganusi Featured By Owner May 21, 2015  Professional
No u.
JenFruzz Featured By Owner May 21, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
No us. 

since same brain, etc.
hosagu Featured By Owner May 19, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Merci Buddy :)
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