A good essay on plagiarism by fantasy author Mercedes Lackey. It explains quite simply why it is next to impossible to plagiarize ideas, and one can only plagiarize sentences and paragraphs.
Required reading for anybody who thinks an author or screenwriter has stolen their ideas.
Though I do recall Mercedes, at a convention I attended this past weekend, laughing about a fan who once said, in a completely serious tone, they couldn’t stand JRR Tolkein because all he did was rip-off Terry Brooks. (This in turn reminded me of a story a college professor once related about a student who couldn’t stand Shakespeare because it was full of cliches)
Of course, somewhat related, there’s the problem I had with Shakespeare and Joseph Heller I mention in the essay that inspired the title of this blog.
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