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#1 24moon100

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:01 AM

Hello all you fantastic MCMBers! :) Here we are going to talk about a common problem we might sometimes face when writing. Copying.

Is what your writing copying what someone else has already said, thought of, or done?

Sometimes ideas are hard to some by. What makes it okay to take what someone has already thought of or written and make it your own? Do you think its frustrating to see a good idea fly by but know its already been claimed? What are some ways to make that idea still available to us? Anything else on this you'd like to give some thought or reason to?


I personally would like some insight on this.


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#2 starberry

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:24 AM

Sigh. Ideas in general aren't going to be original, there's no law protecting them in intellectual property law. It's the specifics of someone's work that is copied. Say that I decided to write a book about a princess who lives in New York city and the plot follows Princess Diaries almost exactly, save for a few differences even though I'm using my own words etc.. That's copying. Just like if I copied passages from the book and put them in my work. However, if I write a story about a princess in New York but otherwise the story is completely different from Meg's then it's not copying. Because I'm only using general ideas princesses and New York city. At least this is the general idea I got from when we studied it in law school. But there's a fine line to what is copying and what isn't copying. Also I should mention that old books that are in public domain are free game. That's why you see all these rewritten versions of classics such as Jane Eyre and Jane Austen's work. On a sour note, I have had the displeasure of being plagiarized before when writing fan fiction and it hurts. Bad. The sad thing is people often don't know what their doing is wrong. They think that taking someone's plot and only making one or two changes isn't copying because they're using their own words. But it is. It's paraphrasing. Your literally using someone's idea only changing it to fit your means. Sorry but this whole topic is pretty passionate for me. And this is only my opinion on it.

M
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#3 24moon100

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:19 PM

Sigh. Ideas in general aren't going to be original, there's no law protecting them in intellectual property law. It's the specifics of someone's work that is copied. Say that I decided to write a book about a princess who lives in New York city and the plot follows Princess Diaries almost exactly, save for a few differences even though I'm using my own words etc.. That's copying. Just like if I copied passages from the book and put them in my work. However, if I write a story about a princess in New York but otherwise the story is completely different from Meg's then it's not copying. Because I'm only using general ideas princesses and New York city. At least this is the general idea I got from when we studied it in law school. But there's a fine line to what is copying and what isn't copying. Also I should mention that old books that are in public domain are free game. That's why you see all these rewritten versions of classics such as Jane Eyre and Jane Austen's work. On a sour note, I have had the displeasure of being plagiarized before when writing fan fiction and it hurts. Bad. The sad thing is people often don't know what their doing is wrong. They think that taking someone's plot and only making one or two changes isn't copying because they're using their own words. But it is. It's paraphrasing. Your literally using someone's idea only changing it to fit your means. Sorry but this whole topic is pretty passionate for me. And this is only my opinion on it.

M


Yah I agree. Just because you use your own words doesn't mean its yours. And even if i am going to write something for fun and post it I like to give full credit to the inspiration. I honestly hate when people copy me too.

Usually, however, its an idea I've been playing around with in my head for a while and then some other person posts a story or I discover a book that is kind of the same. Its frustrating because I didn't actually claim it before yet I honestly had the idea going. Its sad because you just want so badly to come up with an original idea that hasn't been put out there already...Sigh.
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#4 starberry

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:33 PM

I know the feeling. But in class when we were talking about my professor said basically there have been no ideas since the beginning of time. Just your take on the idea itself, hence that's what is protected. I mean, if ideas were protected then innovation wouldn't happen. For example, , look at Shakespeare as great as his stuff is those ideas were used before he even wrote those masterpieces. Like a lot of his plays are based off of ancient Greek tragedies. He just made it his own. You could even say that about Meg's book Abandon. It's her own idea, her own story-but the myth of Persephone the thing that was the foundation for the story existed way before Meg ever came up with the idea.

It's just when take a story and don't give your own fresh spin to things via copying directly or indirectly is where the problem lies.


I honestly, sort of find the thing fascinating and frustrating. Must be the law nerd in me. I sort of want to take a class that offers on intellectual property. Alas, they do not offer it at my school during the day.

M

Edited by starberry, 01 November 2011 - 06:33 PM.

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#5 Jcrazy

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 08:22 PM

Ayy, so I saw something on Twitter the other night. It was pretty much an awesome story idea. So I wrote a little snippet thing and I know it could be a cool story :P But this is like the copy catting to the extreme. Sigh.
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#6 Jcrazy

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 08:32 PM

The thing I saw was this:

It's December 31, 2011.
The clock hits 12:00 AM.
All of the sudden, it's 2011 and you have the chance to redo everything.
Would you?


Ayy, PERFECT STORY IDEA.
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#7 24moon100

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:45 PM

Jamie, actually it isn't.

I'd say its more of an inspirational thing. If they were to have made a story about it first then it would be theirs. But that was only a harmless tweet.

-MEG
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#8 StrawberryPrincess

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 10:01 AM

There are only about 21 original plots out there, actually. ^_^ I forgot where I read that but I didn´t make it up. :P Every single one of them has been used about a million times and still we sometimes find really original novels now and then, don´t we?

I think it´s not about having an "original" idea. It´s more about what you make from it. I mean "girl loves vampire" has been done so often it´s nearly dead. But sometimes I still find books with that subject that are really, really good, because the author added their own little twists to it. :)

I guess, it´s only coyping if you go and say to yourself: "Hm, today I will write a story that´s exactly like Meg´s Abandon, only with other characters and in my own words." If you want to write a story about Persephone it´s not copying. It´s taking a general idea and making it your own.
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#9 24moon100

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 12:43 AM

I'm been really really wanting to do a story about a topic that has been already done by a few people. Even someone on this very board, maybe even a few people on this board actually. And a few people on Fiction press. Who knows what novels have been done on it. Could I still make the topic my own even though someone has already thought of it? I have a completely different plot but some details are the same. I don't know what to do. I'm tired of feeling like I'm copying the ideas of others.
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#10 Gee{or}jah

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:35 AM

I think it would be okay for you to do it Meg:) expecially if you have your own twist and and way of creating the world. Look at how you did 'All the Fishes.." you said that you were inspired/used my story as a starting point for yours and you managed to do this without it being anything like copying from mine. And trust me, I've had someone copy a story of mine before. x If your really unsure about it, maybe even just mention it to the author of the stories on this board and fiction press like you did with me and make it clear that your not copying, but you were inspired by what they did. I'm sure that's how alot of books are written:)

Georgia. x
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#11 24moon100

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:04 AM

Haha. Yah okay. I mean I guess I'm just being a little paranoid about it. I've always been the kind of writer who never magically pulled a story idea from the hat without having something influencing it. Like another's story or a tv show/movie. It frustrates me sometimes that I seem to need those things as a crutch because then I feel like the idea is not mine. But I'll really try to make my story original as best I can without taking away from someone else. I honestly just want to see what I can do with it since I've tried to read those other stories but never really liked how they went. :P

Thanks for your help, Georgia!

By the way, I'm glad you let me use the breakup scenario for All The FIshes. I know it was a lot similar to yours. That was really nice of you and I'm happy you don't feel like I'm a total copy-cat. ^_^
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#12 Delly99

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:03 AM

I totally agree with what everyone has said! :)

If you don't use the plotline exactly, you can make an already used idea original. Usually when I write, I take maybe a place from one book, a personality from another and blend them with my own ideas, then at the end, It's completely different from the books that have been used for inspiration.

It's kind of annoying though, not necessarily on here, but quite often on a fanfic website I go on, when people get angry when people use some of their ideas, when in actual fact, they've used the ideas of an author. It's fanfiction! I saw someone that did that and then wondered why they went on a fanfiction website!

Taking stories and making them your own is great fun/practise until you get an original idea, that's probably blossomed from all the previous stories wrote! :D
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#13 starberry

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 07:31 PM

I totally agree with what everyone has said! :)

If you don't use the plotline exactly, you can make an already used idea original. Usually when I write, I take maybe a place from one book, a personality from another and blend them with my own ideas, then at the end, It's completely different from the books that have been used for inspiration.

It's kind of annoying though, not necessarily on here, but quite often on a fanfic website I go on, when people get angry when people use some of their ideas, when in actual fact, they've used the ideas of an author. It's fanfiction! I saw someone that did that and then wondered why they went on a fanfiction website!

Taking stories and making them your own is great fun/practise until you get an original idea, that's probably blossomed from all the previous stories wrote! :D

I disagree big time about the fan fiction thing. Even though it's not publishable worthy (well, even that's debatable now see Fifty Shades of Gray), having someone take your work is so wrong on these sites. While it's true that the foundation of the story is set by it's original author, the fan fic itself is property to the fan fic author. Copying that work isn't only tacky but it's plagiarism. Pure and simple. Many of the sites have anti-plagerism policies and will ban you if you copy (trust me, I know I had to report a person this year for taking my story) . And plus, how would you feel if someone took the story you had been working on for over a year, changed a few things and then claimed it as their own? It doesn't feel good. The reason I published fan fiction was I wanted to share my stories with my fellow fans and wanted some feedback. Not because I was going to be compensated. Having someone take my work hurt beyond belief and I can't believe anyone would be condoning this behavior. I'm sorry but I am very passionate about this subject matter.

M
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#14 Delly99

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 12:45 PM

I disagree big time about the fan fiction thing. Even though it's not publishable worthy (well, even that's debatable now see Fifty Shades of Gray), having someone take your work is so wrong on these sites. While it's true that the foundation of the story is set by it's original author, the fan fic itself is property to the fan fic author. Copying that work isn't only tacky but it's plagiarism. Pure and simple. Many of the sites have anti-plagerism policies and will ban you if you copy (trust me, I know I had to report a person this year for taking my story) . And plus, how would you feel if someone took the story you had been working on for over a year, changed a few things and then claimed it as their own? It doesn't feel good. The reason I published fan fiction was I wanted to share my stories with my fellow fans and wanted some feedback. Not because I was going to be compensated. Having someone take my work hurt beyond belief and I can't believe anyone would be condoning this behavior. I'm sorry but I am very passionate about this subject matter.

M


No I don't mean, like that! I mean when people write similar fanfics, that's based on the same author and people get angry when stories turn out similar. I mean it's the same author, the end result is probably going to have some similarities. I totally agree about the stealing work, that makes me really angry too - didn't someone try to do that to Meg Cabot? I'm just trying to say, that sometimes people complain about people stealing their stories, when the plot is different, but the ideas are similar. I seriously don't condone plagiarism. I find it wrong, and unfair to the original author. I don't mean taking ideas, say like yours, I mean like using a book and writing fanfaction!
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#15 Delly99

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 01:24 PM

I'm not sure what I was trying to say really came across there. What I meant was, I don't condone plagiarism, or stealing peoples story ideas, I meant using the ideas from books - as in fanfiction from the original book.
I'm trying to say, that some people don't realise that you're using the same book, so your ideas could be similar. Stealing stories is just stupid, how can you get CC or praise on something that basically in sense has nothing of your own in it. :)
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