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First Discussion - The Fandom Psychiatrist
September 28th, 2006
04:50 pm


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First Discussion

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[User Picture]
Date:September 30th, 2006 03:42 am (UTC)
Gosh. There are a lot of reasons why someone might plagiarize. In grad school, there was a large population of brilliant students who were faced with doing grad-level work in a second language. A lot of these students turned to plagiarism, and it was...sad. They did so to save face, because the work was already hard, but even harder for them because they were parsing complex material and constructing complex arguments in a language they did not know. Lazy these people weren't, but pride made them use the materials of other authors and students.

Some of the people who plagiarize in the fandom seem to do it for the instant friend factor...but I think pride/ego can be a factor as well. My old classmates wanted to get A's, and this was important enough to them that they felt a need to steal. CC wanted reviews, wanted popularity...wanted to be thought brilliant. Who doesn't? So she plundered her favorite books in order to wow her audience with the things that wowed her. No chance she didn't know what she was doing, or she wouldn't have made her plunderings so un-google-able. There's no copywrite on plot lines, but there's certainly something ethically wrong about passing off a plot line as your own when it isn't.

but how can praise for something that they had no hand in producing help prop up their own egos?

The thing is...I think that, when some people who do this hear the praise, they believe it. They might know that this or that line wasn't their own, or that this and that plotline wasn't their own...but they still believe in their own brilliance. They steal because they believe they are that brilliant. If CC's reviews said something like "Your dialogue is OMG witty!", how easy it must have been to assume the reviewer meant her original dialogue.

(Glad you started this comm, J. :)
[User Picture]
Date:September 30th, 2006 04:20 am (UTC)
But that's in a school enviroment for the grad students; their gamble could have paid off. The question was: what is it in a fandom enviroment that people will try and plagiarize? Still you summed it up fairly well, and I think that the false attribution factor certainly has something to do with it--the plagiarizers hearing the praise as being for their own original material, no matter how little of it there is.

And I would, at this time, like to state that all of the Babylon 5, Star Trek, Star Wars, Dune, Monty Python and others that I add minor references to in my own far are just that: references, meant as tribute and for my own private amusement.
[User Picture]
Date:September 30th, 2006 08:40 am (UTC)
But that's in a school enviroment for the grad students; their gamble could have paid off. The question was: what is it in a fandom enviroment that people will try and plagiarize? </i>

Yeah, I understood that was the question - just thought the stakes, desperation, and motivation to appear as she/they envisioned themselves seemed the same.

And I would, at this time, like to state...

And references are great. Resonance is one of those things that makes us like (or dislike) a certain author. Published authors reference Shakespeare, Austen, pop culture... Honestly, CC's references to Buffy didn't bother me much - it's like quoting Star Wars or Monty Python in this culture. Most people in our corner of the net-verse is going to get it. If Snape ends up saving the day at the end of Book 7 and someone writes a story where characters sing a song with the line: "The hero of Hogwarts, the man they call Snape," a third of the fandom will say, "Firefly!"

It just boggles the brain that someone would equate references/tributes with lifting huge sections from relatively unknown and out of print books.

(Heidi's is the plagiarism that fully baffles me. How can someone claim to regard intellectual rights so highly and yet steal - boldly, boldly - from two of the most beloved childrens books? On a dare? In belief that everyone's too stupid to cotton on?)
[User Picture]
Date:October 4th, 2006 05:40 am (UTC)
Heck, I have references liberally sprinkled throughout my own WIP--Star Wars, Babylon 5 (especially), a little bit of Star Trek, Dune, a few others. But those were included for my own amusement, and to see if anyone would notice them (which, thus far, I have been disappointed on the majority), but I didn't actively steal anything: I aknowledged that I got the initial idea for the story from a Star Trek DS9 episode called "Distant Voices" which I then took the concept from and expanded it in my own direction, and the title is a direct homage to a Babylon 5 episode which is a favorite of mine, but I freely aknowledge that I put those in there--mostly for my own amusement, and the fact that my imagination insisted.

But trying to pass off someone else's work as their own isn't a tribute--it's theft, nothing more, nothing less.
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