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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 28th, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC)
Ironically, I was just reading about the whole Cassandra Claire debaucle about five minutes before I stumbled upon here.

It's been said by others so far, but I pretty much have to agree - people plagarize for the attention. However, I think in the case of fandom, there is often a very specific motivation:

The ever-present desire (in most fandom members) to become a BNF or to at least earn some recognition for it. Reaching a BNF status doesn't happen to everyone because not everyone can be fortunate enough to get passed around and find themselves a specific niche or styling within a fandom. But that won't stop people from trying. I know you decided not to bring up Ms.Scribe but I can't help doing so here as she's a prime example of the sort of things people will do in order to build up their own popularity.

But not everyone has the "skill" or self-confidence to effectively mass-produce sockpuppets. Therefore others, who are perhaps not very confident in their ability to contribute to fandom (therefore craving recognition and status all the more as a form of praise and confidence) lift things from other people that they believe to be "witty" or "profound" and present it as their own.

As for why this sort of thing probably continues? In my experience it is the loudest people who know the least. Underlings and rabid fans will loudly promote and praise a piece of work long before someone more alert and wise comes along and recognizes the plagarism. As such, while it may be short-lived, some people believe that any attention is better than no attention at all.
[User Picture]
Date:September 28th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
It's interesting, however, how so many of them either ignore the consequences, or don't think it through to the end result--like what happened to gunderpants last spring--or just simply don't care. AS you pointed out, they want the attention, or, as redcoast said, Munchausen's Syndrome, but the bare fact is, their desire for attention outweighs the fact that what their being praised for, they aren't responsible for producing.
[User Picture]
Date:September 29th, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)
Exactly. But I did some more thinking today (I've no idea why) and I came to something interesting. We've all been discussing WHY people plagarize but exactly WHAT constitutes plagarism? Using something without permission? Without acknowledgement of outside creation or inspiration?

I was just mulling over the idea that perhaps plagarism and tribute/inspiration run a lot more closely in fandom (a world with no copyrights) than in the published world.

I'm speaking especially about the incident with the LotR Very Secret Diaries (again, Cassandra Claire). They were incredibly popular but Cassandra Claire decided she didn't want to write them anymore and quit. Because the idea was interesting and entertaining, someone else decided they'd write their own to keep the trend going. I'm sure people know what happened since it made Fandom_Wank but if not I'll explain it away anyway. These new diaries (given a different name... so essentially were a different and original fic) became popualr and when Cassandra Claire found out she went on a tirade about people stealing her idea and that no one was allowed to write any super secret diary fics because they were her's.

She essentially claimed plagarism? But is it? In the world of fandom you can't exactly lay claim to a certain styling of writing. The diary fic isn't exactly new and I've seen dozens written that way. Obviously the person was directly influenced by CC's fics, but I wouldn't say they were plagarism.

Would you?
[User Picture]
Date:September 29th, 2006 04:54 pm (UTC)
This is true, but anytime you start discussion anything that has to do with a BNF (and the aspects of that moniker will undoubtedly provide fuel for several discussions) as you said, true inspiration and plagiarism run very close in those areas. But what we're talking about here is:
taking someone else's art, and changing it a bit, or not at all and putting it up as your own
C&Ping a fic and maybe changing a few words, or even just rewriting it nearly entirely
Or, to put it more simply, the type of plagiarism that you see every day in the fandom, the kind that get's reported to stop_plagiarism instead of Fandom Wank (BTW, stop_plagiarism has a very good definition in their userinfo.)
[User Picture]
Date:September 29th, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC)
Yes but I think art is a lot trickier to look at than fic when it comes to plagarism. Look at The Shoebox Project for a moment. Since its creation I've seen a lot of artists draw Remus Lupin much like he appears there. If the creators were really irate they could probably raise a plagarism wank.

Especially when it comes to character designs, artists who are just starting out are probably going to have character images that look very similar if not identical to an artist's they enjoy or admire. I'll use my own example here: I look at fan art a lot and sometimes I'll come across a picture that makes me think, "Yes! That's so-and-so right there!" For a long time if I sat down and drew a picture of Remus Lupin he ended up looking a lot like the Remus Lupin of mon_starling because I really enjoyed her art and found that her image was exactly what I had in mind. My Remus Lupin drawings have since "evolved" from that initial stage (probably from me watching the latest season of Doctor Who), but I do think that even though I was only inspired, if I posted Lupin art there could be someone out there who would turn around and accuse me of plagarism.

I think that this then relates to what someone else said in the comments about some plagarists not realizing what they're doing. Perhaps there CAN be innocent plagarists even if they are found far and few between.
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