Charles Butler hannibal at
Wed May 14 18:00:52 EDT 2003

> I have never been quite sure anyway where the line is drawn between
> re-using an idea that has been around for a while, and plagiarising.  I
> mean, Alan Garner took a chunk of the Mabinogion for *The Owl Service* --
> so is anyone else who uses the same Welsh story to write a book round
> simply using the same source material, or are they plagiarising Garner,
> who decides, and how?

Or indeed are they all plagiarizing the Mabinogion? And should Blodeuwedd
sue for defamation?

Personally I'm extremely sceptical of all claims of plagiarised ideas,
plots, characters, etc, especially when there's some kind of ur-text in the
background to muddy the waters still further. Unless I had video footage of
Author A ransacking the notebooks of Author B and cackling I'd be inclined
to  let it pass, irritating as it may be. Neither story will entirely
original, you can be sure: inventing a brand new plot is about as likely as
inventing a brand new primary colour.


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