Sunday, October 30, 2011


In "Something Borrowed," Malcolm Gladwell tells his personal story involving plagiarism in a Broadway play, along with other cases of plagiarism throughout the music industry. Gladwell explains how he was shocked to find such similar quotes, references and scenes in the Broadway play, "Frozen" with the works of himself and Dorthy Lewis on serial killers. Gladwell says that words belong to who wrote them but also that words can have different meanings and contexts behind them. He asks the question of when somebody's work no longer belongs to them and where the line should be drawn with taking ideas, words, clothing styles, or music rifts. In some ways, someone copying another persons work can be a form a flattery and a compliment to ones' ideas. Gladwell also questions whether it is plagiarism if the same words are used but they are used to tell a different story. He considers taking ideas or music notes and twisting them to make them your own, a form of art creativity.  Plagiarism is quite a complex issue because there are so many people out in the world that it is highly unlikely that you are the only one that ever thought in a particular way, or played some notes on a piano, or wrote a freshman English paper on a controversial issue. There will always be a hazy line.

I enjoyed reading this piece. I actually looked up the songs that were referenced to see the comparison in the music. It blew my mind.  I realize that it would be very upsetting to see someone using all of your personal life stories or works of writing and research without asking your permission first, because you worked so hard on that research and findings and finding the write ways to word everything perfectly and then someone just comes and takes it as their own, after you did all the hard work? It would annoy me. I actually had someone in high school that would always ask me where I got my clothes or shoes or accessories and then the next week would come wearing something almost exactly as I just had. In a way, it is flattering because obviously someone likes the way you dress, or think or whatever. On the other hand, suddenly what you wore is no longer unique, or the idea you had for a Halloween costume, now suddenly everyone is wearing it. It is a very frustrating thing but in most cases, there is no way to say that YOU were the first one to ever have the idea.

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