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Cephus said:
All of which is... opinion. It's all subjective. But Hollywood makes money by catering to the lowest common denominator. It's how they make money. They give the greatest number of people what they want in exchange for a buck. It's why all Hollywood does today is remakes and sequels. There is no originality. It worked once so it will work again. There's a difference between popularity and quality. It's because most people going to the movies aren't looking for quality. They're looking for popcorn entertainment. They're looking for something to do for an hour or two a night. It's why the vast majority of TV shows are filler. They have 20 episodes to fill and only about 6 episodes worth of plot. This is not good writing. Any author who tried that would rightfully get their books ignored.

They don't have to steal from authors, they steal from each other. Every movie that makes any money immediately has a ton of copies made. Every TV show that looks like it might be successful produces a glut of near-identical versions. They don't need authors. They have each other.
Everything you say here can be said of authors. It sounds just like the "write to market" advice, which in the end comes down to writing the same books everyone else is writing (as long as those books are selling). And series. Write several books in a series, even though there's barely enough story for one book. Because that is what all readers want. More of that same world they loved.

Amanda M. Lee said:
Because she wants money and attention. That's almost always the point of stuff like this.
This.

I agree with Patty. There's little to be gained by worrying over someone stealing ideas. Actual work, yes. You need to be vigilant and take action against actual plagiarism and copyright theft, but ideas are so common it's like we're all tapping the same well. Which some theories indicate actually happens. We've been telling the same stories for millennia. The details change, but down at the root they all have the same plots, over and over.
 

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T S Paul said:
Right now, in some of the groups I'm in, I can get a cover, a blurb, a concept, and a chunk of text. If I could write fast enough I could maybe put the book out before "you" or whomever. Its the business.
:eek:

T S Paul said:
if you don't want "your Idea" taken don't post about it.
(Nods in agreement) ;)
 

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Ultimately, I would say ignore it, and then write it in a way that satisfies YOU.

I had a former author "friend" steal a plot from me. I am in a niche genre (Jane Austen variations), and there is a lot of overlap in plots and tropes used. I LOVE plotting and I'd told her this interesting plot bunny I had, I think we had a short discussion about how to work out the direction I wanted to take it in--but overall it was an overview of the plot, and it was a two-minute conversation. I am not someone who thinks my work is unique and I am a fanfic reader and lover of pop culture who finds most of my basic plots from stuff I get angry about while watching tv or a film (seriously, I angry plotted three potential books to "Indecent Proposal" a few hours ago because I thought it was stupid that Demi Moore left Robert Redford to go back to the fool who got them into the financial situation they found themselves in).....so if she'd said "oh hey I love that plot, I'm going to "steal" it", then I'd have laughed and said let's release at the same time!

Nope.

What instead happened was I bought her book, read it, and could not believe what I was reading. My exact plot.

The friendship dissolved, not due to that, but it was certainly an indication of the lack of respect this author had for me as a person and a supposed friend.

Meanwhile, I still have not written the plot. However, I thought on it some more and I've significantly expanded it to be a six-book series, instead of the one-off I'd planned for it to be, and it will (should!) have a broader appeal than my niche genre. We shall see. So waiting helped and I know I'm going to write it better than she did. (I forgot if we were not? allowed to curse on this board to I've significantly reworded my insults  8)
 

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Amanda M. Lee said:
Because she wants money and attention. That's almost always the point of stuff like this.
That's very trite to immediately come up with that being the only assumption. "She just wants money and attention", when that's not true. She's trying to bring awareness that her ideas were stolen, (which yes she could be fibbing about that but still), when she provided IMO more than enough proof her ideas were stolen.
 

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Patty Jansen said:
My aliens lived in the forest and had tails long before Avatar. The book was published two years before the movie came out. Maybe I should sue them.
hehe. The VFX alone were in development for more than two years (VFX are done after early editorial, early editorial is done after principle shooting, principle shooting is done after pre-vis, pre-vis is done *mostly* after script development...you get the idea). Maybe they should sue you!

Also just to be clear, I know you were joking
 

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Bixso said:
she provided IMO more than enough proof her ideas were stolen.
Zero proof is more than enough?

She provided some opinion that ideas were similar. (Which is equally true of thousands of other stories. Similar ideas are not on that basis along plagiarized.)

She provided no proof that the other creatives copied her ideas or were even aware of them.

And even if she had, that alone is not enough for a plagiarism lawsuit as ideas can't be copyrighted. Only the execution. So beyond proving these other creatives were aware of here ideas, then copied her ideas, she'd further have to prove the copied her execution of those ideas.

For example, Alex Haley didn't lose the Roots plagiarism lawsuit because he wrote a book about slavery (idea in many books), nor for having slaves sing songs about their situation (idea in the specific book considered plagiarized), he lost it because a research assistant copied and exact song passage from another book and Haley mistakenly(?) included that passage verbatim (execution in plagiarized work) in his book. If he had simply written a different tune it's a near certainty he either wouldn't have lost, or wouldn't have been sued in the first place.

This author has no legal claim because nothing about her execution is similar to what appears in the other works. She's suing because she wants money.

And there's no reason to go on a show that's clearly nothing more than conspiracy theories to discuss a claim like this other than gaining attention.

She may not be lying. She might truly believe her ideas were stolen. But she's misguided in her actions surrounding that belief.
 

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Ideas and concepts can not be stolen, thinking along those lines is delusional, destructive and depressing. Above all, it is counterproductive.

Anyone worried/bothered/angered that someone seems to have taken your idea and re-done it... ask yourself this: how many wild west stories are similar, how many romance stories are almost identical, how many sci-fi space fleet epics go along the same story-line and even use similar terms and phrases, how many mystery stories explore the exact same scenarios, how many blockbuster movies all build on the original James Bond, etc etc?

Most stories target very specific tropes.

Write your story and do it with prose that is so good (for the target audience) that the competition can't compete and package it in such a way that potential readers (of the specific trope) buy your stuff instead of other junk.

To anyone concerned:
Write more, move on, don't fall for the copycat drama pitfall. Trying to stop plagiarizing is like trying to combat a fire by spitting on it. You will lose, become angry and give up what might have been a great career.

VanDyke said it best:
"Often it takes just one twist to elevate a trope."

David VanDyke said:
Often it takes just one twist to elevate a trope.

I did it with my first series. I'm not saying it was the best thing since the bread slicer, but the series has sold in the six figures of paid copies and helped launch my career.

The trope? The apocalyptic plague.

The twist? The plague heals people.

Then I ran with it. How to make something that seems good into something that tears the world apart? How would governments and militaries react?

Well, how does money or fame or success tear people and institutions apart? How do medicines become abused drugs? Etc. etc. Everything proceeded from there.

As you say, though, this trope was solidly in my experiential wheelhouse. I wouldn't expect to write a good romance, especially first time out the gate.
 

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Emphasis mine:
atree said:
To anyone concerned:
Write more, move on, don't fall for the copycat drama pitfall. Trying to stop plagiarizing is like trying to combat a fire by spitting on it. You will lose, become angry and give up what might have been a great career.
Was with you until you said this. Plagiarism is a scourge and it should be rooted out, and demonized at every opportunity.

Recycled or similar ideas with different execution are not in any way, shape, or form, plagiarism.
 

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Guy Riessen said:
hehe. The VFX alone were in development for more than two years (VFX are done after early editorial, early editorial is done after principle shooting, principle shooting is done after pre-vis, pre-vis is done *mostly* after script development...you get the idea). Maybe they should sue you!

Also just to be clear, I know you were joking
Wow. You learn something new everyday. :)
 

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Stealing literary ideas is really kind of a trumped up rumor. It is not done as it is so widely claimed. The exception to this rule might be Hollywood production studios who will come across or latch onto a very unique premise or pitch. You will have to watch it there, me thinks, because the first things a producer and director, before they laid eyes on my project, was to give them the official copyright registration numbers so both of our rears were covered against any legal wrangling. Authors have filed huge suits against the movie industry for "stealing ideas." Nobody owns an idea.

Truth be told, there is enough ideas out there that will never see the light of day in the book world. I'm sure we all have more than enough of them to handle.
 

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I steal ideas all the time. I don't limit myself to stealing one or two ideas; I steal them in job lots.

Then I throw them all into my mental blender and blitz them until something interesting comes out. My Doc Vandal series is clearly "a takeoff on the bronze fellow" as one review put it, but it's also sufficiently distinct that an RPG company has paid me real money for the use of the IP.

Ideas are nothing, it's what you do with them that counts.

 

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J. Tanner said:
Emphasis mine:
Was with you until you said this. Plagiarism is a scourge and it should be rooted out, and demonized at every opportunity.

Recycled or similar ideas with different execution are not in any way, shape, or form, plagiarism.
This is the heart of the confusion IMO. The worriers think "stealing" an "idea" is plagiarism. Legally, it's not.

In fact, the "idea" they think they had originally is certainly not entirely original. Everything builds off something else. They could be accused of "stealing" everything they ever wrote, because there is nothing new under the sun. There are only new arrangements of ideas and words and situations, and ever those re-use and recycle pieces and parts, endlessly.
 

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Lorri Moulton said:
Story ideas and even entire plots can be copied...but characters, banter, unique voice not so easily.

ETA: To use TV as an example, if it were easy we'd have more shows like Firefly. 8)

Hell and damnation--I rewrote Firefly without even knowing it existed. I can't even be accused of channeling it. I later found out what Firefly and Serenity were about. I was dumbfounded. Happy accident.
 

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DCRWrites said:
I steal ideas all the time. I don't limit myself to stealing one or two ideas; I steal them in job lots.

Then I throw them all into my mental blender and blitz them until something interesting comes out. My Doc Vandal series is clearly "a takeoff on the bronze fellow" as one review put it, but it's also sufficiently distinct that an RPG company has paid me real money for the use of the IP.

Ideas are nothing, it's what you do with them that counts.
Yeah, Baby!
 

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D. A. J. F. said:
Ideas are important.
Ideas are nothing until they're written. Ideas can't be copyrighted, the execution of them can be.

Worrying over someone "stealing" my ideas is about as high on the list as... well, it's on the bottom of the list.
 

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I wonder if academic norms muddy this picture at all for people. In scholarship, ideas do belong to their originators. Even in situations where a person uses their own unique words to describe someone else's idea, the idea doesn't lose its original ownership. My students must cite the sources of the ideas they use, even if they're summarizing or paraphrasing those ideas, rather than quoting. Not doing so would be academically dishonest. Perhaps this is why theft of ideas (as well as words) is part of most standard definitions of "plagiarism," so far as I know. But lawsuits don't have to do with plagiarism. They have to do with copyright, and ideas can't be copyrighted. So outside institutions that have systems to punish it (such as academia), plagiarism of ideas becomes a legally unenforceable moral wrong, I guess?
 
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