Plagiarizing?

Joe Joe.Nankivell at ucd.ie
Fri May 16 10:49:06 EDT 2003


Aimee:
> Just to add to the debate, what would happen if you took an original idea of
> an artist and wrote a story for a series of pictures that they did? 

Fire and Hemlock, anyone?

How far
> removed would that story have to be so as not to infringe upon copyright?
> I wonder because I am toying with an exciting idea at the moment that is
> obviously from some paintings I found by a current painter... annoying,
> really, to think that I have to avoid going with my first inspired idea and
> change it, even though it will probly never see the light of day... I like
> it the way it is! [The plot and characters are mine, but the scenery
> depicted is distinctive to the artist.]
> Bummer.
That sounds like legitimate cross-fertilization to me since you're 
switching media. Even if you described the paintings in minute 
detail, it still wouldn't be a _copyright_ infringement, surely? Do art 
historians have to ask the Prado's permission before they publish 
articles about Velazquez? 
Besides, don't landscapes fade into the background in stories until 
they become useful to the characters or plot? I'm thinking of that 
remark DWJ made where she was advising against exhaustively 
describing anything - something like, once you've _imagined_ a 
scene in detail & with integrity in your head it'll filter through into 
your writing regardless of what you actually put down - and the 
reader will recreate it just as you imagined it. I'd say that lets you 
off the hook :)

Joe

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