Tuesday, February 5, 2013

W.D.S.: Something Borrowed or Stolen?

Haley Scholars Spring 2013 Reading Groups 

By Cindy Lyles

In his essay “Something Borrowed,” Malcolm Gladwell describes how British playwright Bryony Lavery scripted a play using life details and quotes from psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis, as well as sayings from Gladwell’s previously published articles, as creative inspiration. Although Lavery contacted and cited Marian Partington as a source of inspiration for her hit play "Frozen," she somehow did not feel the same course of action was necessary for either Lewis or Gladwell.

In regards to not citing her sources, Lavery informed Gladwell that she “thought it was OK to use it. ... It never occurred to me to ask you. I thought it was news/” (238). Even if she felt justified in using the words and work of Lewis and Gladwell because it was just “news,” Lavery faced devastating effects for her actions. Accusations of her plagiarism left her disgraced and perhaps, publicly shunned after newspapers around the world learned of her “careless borrowing.”

As Gladwell points out, there is a lot of accepted, or at least tolerated, borrowing among musicians, but in writing, borrowing without attribution is policed down to the "level of the sentence." Aside from plagiarism being viewed as wrong and borrowing in certain artistic realms seeming less troubling, what do you think about the differences between the two and how they are viewed?


Sandra said...

Plagiarism, whether in music or in writing, is still plagiarism. The fact that it is more accepted in music may stem from the fact that some artists share music between industries. They write songs and music for other artists and do not always tell the fans. Writers, on the other hand are mostly independent. When writers collaborate it is usually made obvious to the public. There should not be discrimination between the two professions. When someone else's work is being passed of as one's own, there should be consequences.

joshua jones said...

The differences in plaigarism in writing and music are a little unfair. With music you are using another person's idea with little to no creative input from yourself when using the piece from the producer. With writing you can take people's ideas you agree with and basically make it your own and add to it.

Ajeenah Johnson-Brown said...

Plagiarism is plagiarism whether it is in music or writing. You must give a person credit for his or her work. In albums there is a whole pamphlet stating the producer and songwriter of each song. Therefore, a paper should always include the same. It is not fair for someone to do all the work and another person to take credit. Writers and musicians should have to follow the same rules.

Unknown said...

I agree with Sandra. Plagiarism is the same for music and writing. Before a song can be classified as a song, lyrics must be written. When a artist takes lines from a previous song without permission, it is the same as not citing a quote from an author. There is no difference in the two and a person should be punished for taking someone else ideas.