Published: 13th March 2021
Don’t be a copy-cat! Here's the difference between plagiarism and inspiration
The Coach explains the difference between plagiarism and inspiration and how the former should never be anyone’s choice
I’m sure you’ve all seen messages, declarations, title cards that usually say INSPIRED BY or something similar in many movies and TV shows. Even in print or magazines, the source is generally mentioned. Why is it so? What’s the big deal?
This column is inspired by the recent accusations against Levi’s advertisement featuring Deepika Padukone in which the set shown in the ad was allegedly plagiarised from the film Yeh Ballet directed by Sooni Taraporewala. She accused the brand of plagiarising her set to the very last detail and even vented out her frustration on social media by asking the advertising team if they had gone “Creatively Bankrupt”.
IPR — what many don’t know
When we make PowerPoint presentations, we casually just head to Google, download the pictures that we like, and use it. But did you know that we’re actually plagiarising? IPR stands for Intellectual Property Rights and it’s a very vast field that revolves around how intellectual property is protected. Intellectual property can be anything that is a UNIQUE thought, idea, process of an INDIVIDUAL. It might be lyrics, photographs, scripts, music and so on.
Why is it a big deal?
For one, there is a lot of thought, effort, time, money and many other sacrifices of an individual that goes into creating something from the ground up. Simply put, it just isn’t fair to just blatantly COPY someone else’s work without giving them the credit they deserve. This is exactly why large corporations copyright their logos and patent their technologies. Secondly, each individual deserves some form of COMPENSATION or ROYALTY when their work is used. It is a reward that they get for their creation being used for somebody else’s benefit.
Is everything paid?
Well, not everything! There are a lot of good samaritans out there who allow people to use their work without being paid. But still, it’s required by law in most places to credit the author or the license that applies. There are even websites that offer royalty-free resources, but you’ll have to credit the original creator or author.
The thin line
Most people fail to understand the difference between getting inspired by and plagiarising. Getting inspired by is taking someone’s work as a base and building upon it more creatively which is still okay as long as the due diligence is done. But plagiarising isn’t just plain copying, it takes it up a notch into notoriety by someone else claiming the already copied work as their own.
How not to be thieves!
I’ve trampled on this thin line too and have simple steps that I’ve formulated to ensure that I don’t end up plagiarising, even unknowingly.
1. Always empathise and understand how you would feel if someone stole your work. Think about that for a bit?
2. It’s not just morally wrong, but it also makes us develop these fiendish traits that affect our personality.
3. The simple question of asking ourselves whether we deserve to become a thief or a better human being by learning to do the same on our own has proven to bring in a lot of clarity in my sessions. Not only do people realise that they’re actually not learning anything, but also realise what they were truly interested in to begin with.
Adarsh Benakappa Basavaraj