“There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands. By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.”
The article discusses in great detail about the history and modern examples and implications of plagiarism and influence or inspiration. In literature we often see repeating themes, the same plot line just in different context or era. There are authors like William S. Buroughs who incorporates snippets of other writer’s texts into his work. In art we see movements and popular styles or the use of iconographic images. In music we see remixes, samples and covers. There are musicians like Girl Talk who’s creations only use small samples of other songs and clips (legal under fair use law).
In such a litigious society like our own, intellectual property is a very touchy subject. Everyone wants full ownership and commercial profit for his/her work and the laws currently supply that. Piracy currently carries the same criminal offense as steeling a car or a handbag. The author makes a good argument here. He states that once a car or a handbag is stolen, it is no longer available to it’s owner but the acquiring a piece of intellectual property does not disturb or change the original.
But what about the works that rely on borrowed material or cultural icons (i.e. Gone with the Wind, Disney characters, Band-Aid, Campbelles, etc…) for inspiration? Can culture be considered property? The author mentions the likes of The Simpsons or The Flintstones as such examples that draw inspirations from earlier shows and cultural icons. “Animation is built on plagiarism!”
How far can the current laws sustain this model of ownership especially in the digital age? On the other side of things, there is the Creative Commons license, which allows the distribution of copywriter material to use and to build upon or the open hardware license, which publishes all aspects of a design for personal and commercial use. We as future innovators will have to take careful consideration when deciding how to publish and protect our work because we will inevitably take inspiration from other works and we will definitely get ripped off.