Daily Fare

This Day in History

Quote of the Day

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Harry Potter Plagiarism Again?

J. K. Rowling has once again been slapped with a plagiarism lawsuit.  I fully expect that it will be summarily dismissed based on a comment on this description of the legal action.  "The plagiarism allegation concerned the story plot rather than the words."  But what is copyrighted in every case is the words, their placement and usage, their accumulation into a work.  You cannot copyright an idea, not even an idea like an entire plot.  If not, then we would lose a substantial part of the world of the Romance Novelists--there are limited permutations and combinations of events and incidents.  Plots--a wizard challenge (for example) are the structural backbone of writing, but I'm willing to bet if one went to the Index of Folklore and mythology, such a challenge of witches and wizards would be a fairly common theme. 

3 comments:

  1. I agree. General plot themes can't be copyrighted. Otherwise, no stories could be written today.

    For example, Ursula Le Guin's "Earthsea Trilogy" begins with a young boy who has magic powers and is sent to a wizard's school to learn how to develop, use, and control them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Fred,

    Gosh, I guess Ms. Rowling stole from Ms. Le Guin too, huh? If we prosecuted every case of such "theft" we'd have no literature left. Add that to draconian and idiotic copyright laws and let's see how fast we can take down the thriving world of literature. Shakespeare--sorry can't be performed, he stole from Pyramus and Thisbe. Oh, and we can forget West Side Story. _Ran_ get that right out of here we need only one Lear. And so forth--you get my drift, as shown in the comment. Thanks.

    shalom,

    Steven

    ReplyDelete
  3. Steven,

    And I wouldn't be surprised if someone had published a story about a school for wizards before Le Guin wrote her series.

    Along with _Ran_, one could add _Throne of Blood_ and to reciprocate, _The Magnificent Seven_ too, or _Star Wars_.

    ReplyDelete