Plagerism from Discworld Books

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Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Sataa3a » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:48 am

So, I was reading a work in an old high school literary magazine on the internet, and it seems to me to be taken from one or more Discworld novels. I know the work in question is seven years old at this point, but it is bothering me. Could anyone here help me figure out which novel/s it was taken from? I have them all mixed up, I'm afraid. I do know that the title reminds me of the proverb "the new day is a great big fish", from Monstrous Regiment.
http://www.pvpusd.k12.ca.us/penhi/orgs/litmag/Beard_Full_of_Butterflies_2006.pdf
The work in question is the last one, on page 46.
Thank you for any help you may be able to provide!
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Dotsie » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:59 am

The idea of Death isn't new, but there is a line in there that's definitely Pratchett. Can I ask if there was any personal gain involved for the author? If not,then it's fanfic and not plagiarism.
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Sataa3a » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:00 am

I don't think there was, although I don't know how the magazine in question was run in 2006. I do know that this magazine now doesn't want anything that is explicitly fanfic, although if no one can tell, (including other fans) they obviously don't mind. I just remember reading a book with Death having almost the exact same conversation with a recently-deceased character, and so this struck me as a bit too close to that sort of thing for a publication that is supposed to show off the work of possible emerging writers and whatnot. An editor also told me a piece was rejected once for being too close to fanfic, so... long ramble over, there was no personal gain, but fanfic is not something the organization allows.
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Dotsie » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:13 am

Ok, not really fanfic, but there is a paraphrased line from one of the novels. I was just being coy because it isn't really enough to be plagiarism, but the line is definitely Terry, and I wouldn't want a student to get into trouble because they've passed one joke off as their own!
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:33 pm

It's derivative and most definitely 'in the style of' so it's fine for what it is and where it's placed. :P It's not strictly fanfic as it's not significantly Discworld, but I would say comes under 'class assignment' type territory, as a sort of 'A moment dies' essay or simply 'pen a short story your favourite author might have written at your age'? Maybe? Not original and not too well tweaked away from where the acorn fell from the tree - liked the squirrel though. And the beach hut :lol:
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby AgProv » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:51 pm

As much derivative of Douglas Adams as of Terry Pratchett, I think... that bit in the radio series where Arthur and Zaphod encounter the most important man in the universe, who lives in a tin shack by the sea... I guess the most important thing here is not so much the borrowed ideas and concewpts as what the author chooses to do with them.
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby =Tamar » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:40 pm

I have read three books with the identical plot, written decades apart by writers who clearly never heard of the other books. None of them was plagiarized. The Pool of Story, as Sir Terry calls it, is wide and deep, and many people come up with independent ideas and even phrasings that are similar. Even the comparison of falling angel and the rising ape was thought of by somebody else independently.
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Dotsie » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:51 pm

Yeah, but this

“THE BLOODY SEAFOOD IS NOT IMPORTANT!!” He added, “FOR YOU, THERE IS NO MORE SEAFOOD, THE SEAFOOD IS OVER, YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF SEAFOOD"

did not happen by chimps tapping randomly on typewriters ;)
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:13 pm

Do chimps even like seafood? :P

I suppose they'd eat fish though - little buggers'll try anything once unless they can sh*g it... :whistle:
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Sataa3a » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:34 am

Thanks, everyone. I suppose I was more bothered because this particular high school publication does tend to feature works that, while they may not be (and aren't) original ideas, are at least written in a way that one author doesn't immediately come to mind. And the student will in no way get in trouble. He graduated from the high several years ago, and I see no reason at all to bring this up now. I probably could have titled this thread better, but hey, that is why I should not write stuff at midnight. I was simply curious where it came from, because it seemed to me to be very Discworld. Thanks again to all who replied.
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Dotsie » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:44 pm

OK, then the seafood line is originally about cake, and it's from Nightwatch :)
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:46 pm

Dotsie wrote:OK, then the seafood line is originally about cake, and it's from Nightwatch :)

I always got the feeling that line was a reference to something else, but never worked out what. :?
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Dotsie » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:43 pm

Is it a reference to the 'promise of cake' plot device?
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:58 pm

When does homage become plagiarism? :?

I've often found that Terry writes homages to other book and films in his stories, but I don't see them as plagiarism.

For example: I've often thought that some of the plot of Mort is an homage to Dickens's 'Great Expectations', with Mort playing a sort of reverse Pip. And Death as a sort of anti-Miss Haversham character.

In Great Expectations, Miss H employs Pip in a needless task essentially so that her ward, Estella can learn to be cruel to a male of her own age (as part of Miss H's revenge on men). Death on the other hand employs Mort to pointlessly learn to be his apprentice while his real motive is to give companionship to Ysabelle of a male of her (sort of) age.

I could be totally wrong about that - but if I'm right, I would call that Terry stealing a plot from Dickens. :)
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Re: Plagerism from Discworld Books

Postby Dotsie » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:44 am

In science, you can steal ideas. You snooze, you lose, first to publish wins. But you can't paraphrase too closely, and if you quote or discuss others' published work you have to reference it (even if the published work is your own).

Any book copying a plot will always be sufficiently different to avoid plagiarism. To lift passages directly (or almost) is not OK. So fanfic for personal gain would breach copyright (as all the names would be the same).
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