Girls Horse Club Blog

Inspiration vs. Plagiarism

Published by • Jan 27th, 2007 • Category: LeadMare Tales

It’s been on my to-do list to write a post about the difference between inspiration and plagiarism, and this week that task moved to the top when we discovered something in a story submitted to the Loft Book Club that was taken from dialogue in a recent horse movie. Oops!

At Girls Horse Club, we believe all great art and media is inspired by something or someone. But inspiration and perspiration go hand-in-hand — it’s not enough to be inspired, you also have to DO THE WORK to take that inspiration and express it in a form that’s unique. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.”

So what is plagiarism? According to Wikipedia:

Plagiarism is the practice of claiming, or implying, original authorship, or incorporating material from someone else’s written or creative work in whole or in part, into ones own, without adequate acknowledgment.

In other words, if I quoted Wikipedia without acknowledging the source, that would imply I authored the work and might be considered plagiarism. Fortunately I took the time to familiarize myself with Wikipedia’s copyright, which allows anyone to copy and redistribute the work under certain conditions described in their Copyrights.

The line between inspiration and plagiarism is not always black and white. Ideas are not protected, only the expression of those ideas, and that’s where things become gray. We don’t claim to be experts on copyright law, but try to educate ourselves and respect the original work of those who inspire us.

There are various levels of protection for original works. Some do not allow any duplication without permission, others are all about sharing, inspiring, and collaborating. Here are a few Wikipedia links to help you learn the basics.

We respect the original work of all authors who contribute to the Loft Book Club. Your work belongs to you. We appreciate that you want to share it with horse girls around the world, and hope you appreciate having a free forum for expression and inspiration (not to mention your own personal editor and illustrator).

As LeadMare, I’m very protective of the Girls Horse Club herd. If we discover someone plagiarizing, whether knowingly or not, we certainly won’t publish the story and may take additional steps. If YOU think something has been plagiarized, please speak up!

P.S. Even if you’re on the right side of respecting the original work of others, it never hurts to recognize and give back to those who inspire you!

7 Nickers »

  1. I totally agree with this. Someone has already worked to come up with whatever you use, and it’s not fair to just take the info without crediting them. It’s justlike stealing.

  2. This is very smart.

  3. I think you are right LeadMare, no one deserves to have the credit of their hard work taken away from them! That woould be totally UNFAIR!

  4. I completely agree. Plagiarizing just means you are too LAZY to be original.

  5. Now it says this under every story ‘he author of this post has generously given the right to publish their work. Please do not duplicate any portion (including images) without permission.’ That is very smart!

  6. I hope that I haven’t used anyones ideas in my story! {:D} {:D} {:D} {:D}

  7. Cassie, don’t worry about that. We see tons of stories that have similar themes and ideas. What makes each unique is how the author expresses that idea in their own voice. Keep up the great work!