1. wolverine
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    wolverine New Member

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    plagerism question

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by wolverine, May 29, 2011.

    Hello, i am new. this is the first forum I have ever joined and this is my first post. My question is this: let's say I watched a movie or read a book a long, long time ago that takes place in a big land, secluded from all the world by a big fence of mountains. It was impossible to get in or out of the land because of the mountains. Well, lets say I subconciously remember this and an image of the land pops into my head and I slightly base the land in my book on it. The similarity is one they are both secluded by mountains. Now, I know whoever came up with the idea first doesn't own the idea, but I did losely base my land on the image I saw of their land. It was sort of subconcious and I didn't realize it until now. My question is, If I see an image of land from a picture or a movie and while I am writting I accidently imagine that my character is in that same land, the land in the picture, is it plagerism? Okay, just to clarify. If while writing my story and my character is running through the woods, I accidently imagine him running through the exact same woods as in the movie, but describe the woods diffrently with only a few similarities. that's ok. Sorry, i'm just a bit worried about plagerism. From what I've gathered its really easy to accidently plagerize. Sorry, the post is long. I wanted to make sure you could understand what I mean.
     
  2. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, it's not plagiarism. Writers borrow ideas and images from others all the time, and a book can't be considered plagiarism just because of what went on in your head when you wrote it.
     
  3. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Well the first movie that pops into my head is Last of the Dogmen. Great movie, btw. The answer though is no. Last of the Dogmen isn't the only one to have used the premise that a community could exist entirely outside of us, in our world, and us not know it (which I assume is what you're talking about). Now if you made it exactly like Last of the Dogmen (just using it because that's my ref point) and had the whole storyline the same, that would be different. But the premise? No. Unless you've put it in the same exact place and used their words and descriptions I don't see how it's an issue. Maybe someone else will disagree but I think you're fine.
     
  4. wolverine
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    wolverine New Member

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    k, thanks
     
  5. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    The point is, I suppose, that it's nearly impossible NOT to if you're going to paint it with such a broad stroke. By that theory everytime I make a character cry I'm plaigiarizing every author who ever made a character cry. If I make my character run from a killer, I'm plaigiarizing every author who's ever done that. If I make my character go for a swim... there it is again. Just breathe. It'll be alright.
     
  6. wolverine
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    wolverine New Member

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    thanks:)
     
  7. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Why did you take out your whole second response and change it to just "k, thanks."? Was there a point to that? I was answering your further question so that post served a purpose.:confused:
     
  8. wolverine
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    wolverine New Member

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    Yes, that post was to clarify, but i thought it probably should have been up there with origional question so I moved it and left a thanks there
     
  9. Baron
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    Baron Contributing Member

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    There's no copyright on ideas, only on actual works.
     
  10. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    They can't really fry you for what's in your head, now can they? Odds are the reader won't get the exact same image anyway.
     
  11. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Plagiarism would be to highlight a paragraph from someone else's piece of writing and copy-paste it into your own and take credit for it.

    Using similar ideas is not plagiarism.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Basing your own work on someone else's work can also be considered plagiarism... for example, if someone would write an entirely new novel using the settings and characters in Harry Potter. If it's presented as fanfic, it's okay, and even encouraged by many authors, but to do it commercially would likely lead to a lawsuit.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Also, introducing an idea that you took from someone else, and passing it off as your own, does constitute plagiarism.

    "Plagiarism occurs when a writer duplicates another writer's language or ideas and then calls the work his or her own." - The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.

    Generally this is considered more seriously in an academic setting, though it does arise in other areas as well. The "duplication" does not have to be a verbatim reproduction.
     
  14. wolverine
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    wolverine New Member

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    Here is kind of a better example of what I meant. Harry Potter has done the whole wizarding school idea already, but let's say that I decide to make my main character go into a magical castle. I think to myself "What would this castle look like?" I go on to describe this caslte in my book, the whole time I am writing it, an image of the school in Harry Potter pops into my head. The problem is, as I am typing and lose a little consentration, I forget what my castle is supposed to look like and accidently go on typing as if my character is actually in Hogwarts instead of my own castle. But I do this accidently without realizing it, because the hogwarts image is stuck in my head. I never actually type anything to leade the reader to beleive the character is in hogwarts and no one would ever even get that impression, but there may be very small similarities such as knight armor scattered throughout the halls because I sort of subconciously based parts of the castle on Hogwarts. Now, the readers would never realize I lost the image of my castle and replaced it with hogwart's by mistake for a few sentences because I did not describe as Hogwarts or anything extremly close.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't see the problem there, wolverine. Much of that wasn't new when Rowling wrote it. These sorts of standard fantasy descriptions of castles, etc. are fine for anyone, though if it is too close to Hogwarts, people are going to realize it and it may look bad - like you're copying details from Potter.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, it all depends on how detailed your description is... if it's too close to that in another's work, you could be infringing on their copyright, or committing plagiarism...

    if you can't tell whether it is, ask a literary attorney to take a look at it and let you know if you've stepped over the line, or not...
     

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