1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    What do you do in this scenario?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Alesia, May 13, 2013.

    You write out a paragraph and months down the line you discover the opening line in someone else's work (dated before yours) you never even knew about is almost identical to yours?
     
  2. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's never happened to me with writing fiction, but with composing, yeah. I've written melodies or riffs, even performed them with my band and then I've heard some famous band's song with the same exact melody/riff/chord progression, composed after mine. We're unsigned, still on grass roots-level, so the songs aren't protected by copyright laws to the extent that I could sue the other band or anything. Not that I'd do that anyway. It's a bit annoying, but usually I just modify that part a little so it doesn't sound like a rip-off anymore. I'd probably do the same with my stories if the situation came up.

    In a way, it's a confidence-booster because then it means I'm not on a totally wrong track: someone else had the same idea and managed to get it into widespread circulation, people like it, which means a lot of people might also like my material.
     
  3. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Unless it's a cliche. :x
     
  4. Jared Carter
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    Jared Carter Member

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    Yeah, that's true. If your work starts out as "It was a dark and stormy night" you might want to consider touching it up a bit.
     
  5. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I agree with all of the above!
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto the ditto!
     
  7. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd invent time travel, give them a free working time machine, and then use it as proof that they ripped off my work.
     
  8. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's always possible, at least with my music since, to quote Beck: "I tend to get into stuff that's either inappropriate or corny." :D
     
  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    If the line was written by someone famous, modify yours a bit. If the person isn't famous, don't worry about it. :p
     
  10. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    It seems unlikely, but given the limits of language and the amount of people in the world, then factor in history, this sort of thing is bound to happen more often than one would think. If it were me I'd try to come up with a better line. If that wasn't possible for whatever reason I wouldn't worry too much about it.
     
  11. Amin
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    Amin Member

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    It depends on what the paragraph is about and what it's in. If it's in a book of an entirely different genre, the chances of it being picked up are slim. If it's in a similar book, such as both are romance novels or science fiction then it's more likely to be spotted near the beginning or if it's a memorable paragaph. Even so, if it's a random paragraph, readers are unlikely to notice.

    If it's going to be a copyright issue then look into it, possibly change it. Otherwise, I would personally be proud that I'd written it and be reluctant to change it unless I had to or it was going to have a bad impact on my work.

    I have experience of this, to a degree. In one of my fantasy novels that I'm writing, the name of a creature is used as a character's name in another fantasy novel. It's not a best seller and I don't even remember the title. My tutor at Uni said not to worry about it. I didn't change it in any way because it's mine ^.^
     
  12. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Honestly, so long as its a different genre or the story is completely different, i don't think it really matters. I've seen books that are so similar all on one shelf, I am baffled as to why no one got sued! (Ever read East, that one story about a cursed boy who is stuck as a polar bear and he drags off a girl into the arctic to break said curse?) pretty much just a rip-off of the old Greek legend about Cupid. There are two other books I've read that are just like it, only the girl ends up being raised in a different time/setting. Plot and personalities are exactly the same otherwise, which i find very annoying.
     
  13. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    There are many ways a sentence can be phrased.
    Rewrite the sentence and move on.
     
  14. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    There are over 3,000,000,000,000,000 books in existence. The mathematical probability that you could take no less than one sentence directly from any one of them and create and entirely new work is VERY high. so the odds that you created another sentence EXACTLY as someone else. is also very high. ...this also concerns me.....do you run EVERY paragraph you write through google? ...I was wondering why google has been slow recently.
     
  15. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I do alot of the time, but that stems from a situation I had a long time ago I posted about on another thread. In short, some unpublished author threatened to sue me over a cliche' line that's been use 100,000 times, but he was damn set that it was HIS and harassed me for months. Looking back, I should have just had the nads to tell the dude to get bent and prove there was any wrong doing. Not only that, but since NEITHER party had a copyright nor was gaining financial compensation, no court would have taken him seriously. But hey, I was 16 at the time and naive on the law. Mainly these days, it's because I don't want the damn headache of some random weirdo popping up and calling plagiarism.
    But when you see it put this way, it's alot easier to say "go away" to said people.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Better yet, ignore them. But first, make sure you aren't actually lifting their writing.
     

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