Monday, October 31, 2011

Something Borrowed...

In Malcolm Gladwell's "Something Borrowed," Gladwell looks at plagiarizing as a question of whether plagiarizing is just about stealing someone's work or if its what and how much you steal. He gives a background story on Dorthy Lewis' first hand experiences with plagiarism, as her life is essentially plagiarized in the play Frozen written by Byrony Lavery. Gladwell tries to figure out why Lavery took parts of Dorthy's life and his profile, and after a discussion with her, realizes that she only thought of the information she incorporated as news, not parts of their actual lives. After the explanation, Gladwell felt both flattered and irritated. He also tries to further his understanding of plagiarism by talking with some music producers who explain to him that many artists "steal" each others works, but nobody owns sole custody of a music note. At the end of the piece, he realizes that old words put into new ideas aren't the problem, but if you're stealing with the intentions of putting them out as your own ideas, then that is what creates the issue.
At first I thought Gladwell was very anti-plagiarism. But then as the article went on, I got the sense that Gladwell became more accepting at not necessarily the idea of plagiarism, but with the concept of sharing ideas. I think that Gladwell and I share similar ideas on the act of plagiarism. It's not right to copy another person's ideas as your own, but if you are using them to help create your own ideas, then I think that is okay. I see why Lewis was upset about her life being copied and somewhat altered, but I don't understand why she didn't just go to talk to Lavery directly.

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