5 comments
  1. Your article came up as a recommended post after making my poem called “Originality Isn’t Dead”. I’ve actually read that same book a while ago. I understand that humans are influenced by different people which I totally get, but I feel that people use that mindset as an excuse to steal and plagiarize things. About the Star Wars thing, George Lucas has admitted that he based characters and parts of the plot on the Japanese movie The Hidden Fortress. That was fine and I appreciate him giving credit where it’s due.

    What I don’t like is where people shamelessly rip-off things and denying the original creators. You have Benjamin Bradley who was denied a patent for inventing the steam engine because he was Black and a slave (this was an actual law in America), and people haven’t talked about his innovations. There’s Led Zeppelin who plagiarized several musicians and have even lost in court multiple times in their career. You even have The Lion King which ripped off several characters, scenes, and plot points from the 60s Japanese animated series Kimba the White Lion and Disney still hasn’t owned up to it to this day despite the evidence. It also brings a double standard like if all those situations were reversed, then people would be infuriated and call something cheap rip-offs.

    As a creative individual in multiple disciplines, I do my best to be original and unique in whatever I do. Whenever I base something on someone else’s work, I give credit like how I did an adaptation of “The Green Serpent” by Madame D’Aulnoy with my book “Sylvain: Serpent King”. I believe that creativity is possibly without resorting to copying everything. Researching is fine, but I would never just copy someone else’s work.

    • I hear you. For sure and I think Austin Kleon makes it clear that when you borrow or create from something else, you acknowledge the creative line. I think there is a difference between appropriation (like Led Zep — or frankly Elvis on down in white rock n roll — or Lion King) and inspiration. I do my best to be original, too, but none of us can help but be influenced by the work that we know and love that has come before, right? And exactly as you say, don’t copy and try to pass it off as yours.

      • Thanks. He did say something about acknowledging others whenever you create something. Appropriation is quite problematic and I could rant about all of those examples even resorting to cultural appropriation, but that’s a story for another day. Inspiration is a good thing especially used for the right reasons. I’m certainly not denying the people who’ve influenced me. That’s good. I wish more people would appreciate innovation instead of imitation. Thank you.

  2. Absolutely. I’d be right there with you with the rant. 🙂 And I find it inspiring when I see artists building on the genius that inspires them. With full acknowledgement. Always. Thanks for reading and for commenting! ❤

    • Sorry I didn’t see your comment until long after the fact. It was certainly mind blowing researching those examples and the last one even more so when I saw the Netflix Documentary The Lion’s Share which deals with how the original songwriter of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was swindled out of his royalties and his daughters sue the licensing company who swindled their dad and Disney. It is great when people build on the genius of others. No problem, Susan!

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