‘Thief!’ or ‘Thief?’

Where does the line between being inspired by something and copying go?

I remember when I first started doing graphic design. I said something like “I am not going to copy or use anything made by people from the internet. I’ll make all the graphic elements my self..” There is probably no need to say that this didn’t get me really far.

It is so easy for us today to go online and get inspired, find resources and learn from tutorials. And with everything available by just a quick google search, it is also so easy for us to just copy what we see and make it “our own”. I mean, who is going to find out if I use a design for something?

Or what about filmmaking? There are lots of movies out there that build on the same concepts, and even comes close to the same story. Are they just inspired by the same thing, or did something think they could “copy” something, tweak it a little bit and make it work? In my “Storytelling” class at my college we learned about the concept of “Reinvention”. It is basically taking a story and putting it in another setting. Our assignment in that subject was to write a short film, based on a bible story. This was a great exercise, and I loved writing the script. But it raises the question if I was just copying and tweaking, or actually being inspired to tell a story in a different way.

I guess this could be an endless discussion. I just thought I’d ask the question.

What do you think? What separates copying and being inspired, and where do you draw the line? Would be great to get some comments on this.

– Morten

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2 thoughts on “‘Thief!’ or ‘Thief?’

  1. Guess it depends on weather You fell You have “copied and pasted” or wether You took an idea that worked for Your project and applied it. For me (web design) I know I´m not going to invent something new. Everything has been done before, and one of my mentors once said to me “Everything is a remix.” – this liberated me a lot. I feel if I took an idea and applied it to my project without copying and pasting every bit I created something myself.

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    1. Yes! Great thoughts. Love the line “Everything is a remix”. At the end of the day, I guess it’s hard to be a 100% original, because somehow you can trace ideas or concepts back to something you have seen a long time ago.

      Like

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