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Plagiarism - craig cornish's Blog

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Blog Posted:6/30/2018 3:50:00 PM

Okay, what say you. In what we do as writers, don't you think the worst sin is to have our art copied. Please comment on whether or how offended you would be if you had written the poem High Flight in 1941 and soneone wrote the poem Wings over 20 years later. This should be fun. It's okay no matter your opinion. The first poem is High Flight.

"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds -
and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of -
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I've chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.

"Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God."

This poem is titled Wings

Oh, to catch the winds of flight, and soar where eagles go,
To leave the woes of troubled souls, behind me far below,
I’d listen to the song of doves, and sail in endless flight,
Then chase the sun through cloudy paths, and play with stars at night.

The boundless heavens for my home, the breeze to lift me high,
To rise my mortal bonds and never truly die.
Knowing I had found the way, to trails where angels trod,
And when my wings could fly no more, I’d take the hand of God.

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Date: 7/3/2018 1:06:00 PM
Following up on Leo's comment below and Suzette's follow-up! He alluded to the fact that we love certain writes and ideas through our lives and therefore can inadvertently copy them in our art ("imitation is the most sincere form of flattery") and Suzette added a perfect word to describe that thought - "crytomnesia" LOVE it and that may be what happened here!
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cornish Avatar
craig cornish
Date: 7/4/2018 3:09:00 PM
I truly think it's an interesting thought Robert, don't you, or is everything silly and not worthy of consideration and therefore must be made fun of,
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Robert Lindley
Date: 7/3/2018 5:17:00 PM
Wayne- ** They are not going to please ya, when they write with "cryptomnesia"! Let not copynesia, enter and seize ya, if truly caught plead foggy amnesia..** Wayne, tis a fine line sometimes between admiration and inspiration and "cryptomnesia" methinks..
Date: 7/3/2018 5:22:00 AM
The first poem is obviously beautiful and the person who wrote the second was inspired by it. I do not see this as plagiarism but inspiration. There are only so many words in the English language and there are bound to be repeated words and even phrases in poetry.
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cornish Avatar
craig cornish
Date: 7/3/2018 12:53:00 PM
Thanks guys, more valid thoughts, but again, it can be a knife's edge that one doesn't want to slip upon. Think of songs like Keith alluded to earlier, both words and melodies. I imagine the courts would be inundated if the margin of copied art was too inflexible. I think then that we must leave it to our own consciences to live with what we write and certainly we are all a product of everything we've read and heard.
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Dear Heart
Date: 7/3/2018 10:17:00 AM
In art famous painters works are copied by other artists who are now famous also. They all hang in galleries around the world with the same theme and positioning of subjects but with the artists own touch that makes it the same but different.. how many Christ on the cross are there all similiar but different.. how many madonnas .is poetry not the same? Who can own a theme or a word?
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Robert Lindley
Date: 7/3/2018 6:56:00 AM
I agree. Are we not inspired by poetry, especially famous poets and their poems? Does any one poet have a monopoly on any one subject, scheme, idea, emotional,spiritual/artistic expression? I did not see plagiarism, but I did see inspiration. Which begs the question yet again-- Are poets not allowed to be inspired by an idea,a theme, when the English language is so limited such is not copying, IMHO. Who has sole ownership of words written on love, life, beauty, flowers , Nature , heartbreak, death, grief, sorrow, mythology, dancing, romance, artistic expressions, etc., etc,, etc.? Unless far more is quoted word for word, in this case it is not- then plagiarism should be ruled out, imho.
Date: 7/2/2018 9:35:00 PM
(3) So, for me, if it's not the exact same phrasing every-other-word, I'd be very reluctant to quantify it as "plagiarism", (depending on context, as stealing a clear IDEA is crossing the line as well, and that's where this comes the closest). I enjoyed the first one more, though it bothered me that the author used the word "sun" repeatedly in similar context, the second one was nice as well, but clearly not as sophisticated or substantive. A very fun discussion, Craig - and some great banter here! :-)
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 7/3/2018 7:13:00 PM
Not always a good thing, Craig, lol ... although, did you notice my recent poem (The Gristmill, Life) where I did NOT capitalize the enjambments?? That was YOUR doing, my friend! (Thought it would ensure me a 1st, haha, but I was pleased with 4th, too!) :-)
cornish Avatar
craig cornish
Date: 7/3/2018 12:42:00 PM
Love your analysis Greg and also that your poetry is perfect proof that you adhere to your own advice.
Date: 7/2/2018 9:34:00 PM
(2) But I take pride in that, because you can't just throw words around in unusual places for their own sake, whatever you're trying to SAY with them has to still make SENSE to the average person. Let's face it, most people who read our poems are not terribly sophisticated or expert in word usage/phrasing, etc., so without being able to make things appeal to everyone, why bother writing? Anyway, language being the limited medium it is, not only are we bound to write similar things in similar ways, but we are also INFLUENCED by similar poets, and learn this craft from those who did it before us, which also lends itself to reproduction. (continued)
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Date: 7/2/2018 9:33:00 PM
(1) I enjoyed both for very different reasons ... certainly similarities, and some quite close, but not plagiarism, in my humble opinion. There's a limited amount of ways that any one person can phrase a certain subject, and by the nature of poetry alone, we're going to come up with very similar ideas as poets, phrased with the limited number of words available in language. This is a very serious thing for me, because I've come to discover that creating new ways to phrase things is not only very difficult, but extraordinarily fulfilling when successful, and very rewarding, even when I'm the only one who notices, lol. (continued)
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Date: 7/2/2018 5:58:00 PM
I agree they don't flow the same though they're both written in iamb. It's because the flow of the first is superior not only because of the way the content is expressed in perfectly structured pentameter but because the second struggles more with both flow (in some ways) attempting heptameter but the issue with poem #2 is that it's more sophomoric in its expressions. Yes, trod and god are common but in exactly the same place with the same inflection and to start off with Oh? Remember that clichés are born from those who first make them famous - prior to that, they were not clichés. Again, legally, I don't see plagiarism but I do see some uncomfortable comparisons. LOVE the input here!
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Date: 7/2/2018 4:57:00 PM
I don't see any plagiarism here. The poems are very different. Sure, they share some ideas and words, but there is a reason cliches are cliches: too many people have written about eagles soaring. And there are very few words that rhyme with "God"; "trod" is very common.
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Barry Stebbings
Date: 7/3/2018 4:18:00 PM
I agree Agnes, I don't see any plagiarism either. I think we have to be careful making accusations without giving the accused the right to reply.
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Agnes Krampe
Date: 7/3/2018 1:05:00 AM
Oh my, Andrea, I hope I didn't plagiarize you. Btw, I used the God/trod rhyme in a poem once myself. ..
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 7/2/2018 5:13:00 PM
Agnes, I said basically the same thing as you did here the other day!!
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Agnes Krampe
Date: 7/2/2018 5:11:00 PM
but yes, direct stealing of lines IS plagiarism and annoying
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Agnes Krampe
Date: 7/2/2018 5:10:00 PM
But I don't even see similarities in structure or flow. The second one is a very basic song, reads like a hymn, with little complexity. Absolutely no comparison to the first, and I don't see it trying to be similar.
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Lyric Man
Date: 7/2/2018 4:58:00 PM
I don't know enough about the law, but it seems to me if you steal the structure, the flow, and you just swap out some words but basically your saying something identical.. that you could get nailed for Plagerism. It's always interesting when I go on another site and see my lines word for word with another name at the bottom. I always feel violated. They know exactly what they did.
Date: 7/2/2018 11:27:00 AM
Is Plagerism copying a thought (done often) or flat out copying key words and or phrases and in rare cases copying word for word. I've had both poems and comments I've written copied word for word. And it was very irritating.
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craig cornish
Date: 7/2/2018 3:21:00 PM
David, how are you my friend. There is a fine line with the matter. Obviously the thoughts of flying have been written millions of times but how many other common words and phrases to express it is the sticky part. Now with a well known and oft used poem it should become more obvious--I think, also these writers made money on them, once posthumously and the other is still alive.
Date: 7/1/2018 11:55:00 AM
There are way too many uncomfortable similarities for him to call it his own inspiration. IMHO
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Date: 7/1/2018 11:54:00 AM
Thanks, interesting and I agree with everyone in some way. The poem High Flight was written by John Gillespie Magee Jr. and is the most famous poem ever written about flight and has been adopted by the USAF. Read John's story, it's captivating. The second poem was written many years later by C. David Hay who is also a published poet and a Doctor of Dentistry. There is no doubt that Dr. Hay knew the poem High Flight well and while he probably couldn't be sued for plagiarism, I believe we all have a moral responsibility (especially published poets who have been honored) to be cautious about infringing on others ideas and thoughts.
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Date: 7/1/2018 10:38:00 AM
It's very common for people to rhyme God with trod or to write of playing with stars or soaring with eagles. The first poem is much more original and eloquent sounding to me, so in the end, it does not really matter because they still end up being very different poems to me. The older poem seems written by someone very good with language! The other writer was not bad. I just don't like when people feel they need to put doves into their heaven poems. I do not believe the second writer plagiarized. (He or she should have written "raise" my mortal bonds instead of "rise.")
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Date: 7/1/2018 7:36:00 AM
I don't think this is plagiarism either. There are only a finite number of words a poet can use and often a specific word is required to give the expression a poet requires. Inevitably the same words must be repeated by different poets. The sense of the two poems is different. The first expresses the joy and freedom of flight; the second is about mortality.
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Date: 7/1/2018 12:00:00 AM
I agree with Taai, so I would not be offended if I had written 'High Flight'. If the author of 'Wings' knew of the poem 'High Flight', it may have been the case that 'High Flight' was the trigger of 'Wings', not the focus. By posting online, I am at peace with my poems potentially being plagiarized, even if the thief was to make money off of them.
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Date: 6/30/2018 9:05:00 PM
Keep it up guys---I'll comment near the end--love you opinions!
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Date: 6/30/2018 8:20:00 PM
I don't see plagiarism here at all...they are similar themes and I'm sure there will be more writes related to flight and playing with stars etc...anyone worried about their works being copied best write in secret in this digital age where so many amazing talented writes and acts are displayed - does one create to share or fight over ownership? It's entirely possible for several people to share the same thought at the same moment in time and more so at different times...but when someone totally copies word for word and feels content receiving 'empty' glory...well, what is one to do about it? Those with connections usually get away with it anyhow and that is education.. :)
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Date: 6/30/2018 6:52:00 PM
I remember hearing this poem on a TV show many years ago and loved it but could never find it again. I'm glad you posted it, Craig. I believe in coincidence but what I don't accept is a series of coincidences. Another mystery is whether Hotel California by The Eagles is a rip-off of We Used To Know by Jethro Tull.
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Date: 6/30/2018 6:37:00 PM
had I written the first poem a beautiful poem by the way I do believe I would have felt violated...there is a rule in building a house about drawings and plans...there must be a least 7 different changes for a builder to use the prints of another builder...I see way to many words expressed in the second poem that are to close to the first...just my thought
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Date: 6/30/2018 4:53:00 PM
Although real plagiarism bothers me greatly, I'm not sure I'd identify the second "poem" you list as plagiarized.....In my opinion, although specific verses/sentences (and, of course, copyrighted phrases and ditties, etc.) when not identified as written by their original authors are definitely plagiarized, ideas and very similar constructs using differing words and varying though similar concepts are not "plagiarized" but, rather, suggested by and imitative of any original works/authors. (Only my own opinion.)
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craig cornish
Date: 7/3/2018 12:59:00 PM
Perfect Suz---hope you don't mind if I reference this above (but I will credit you LOL)
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Suzette Richards
Date: 7/1/2018 12:08:00 PM
I agree with you, Leo. I think that the phenomena of cryptomnesia is at play here.
Date: 6/30/2018 3:57:00 PM
Yeah it can be really upsetting coz no matter hoq many poems we write, they are always from the heart and alot of affect had been done in order to write them, I once post one of my poems on fb, and a guy copy the exact poem, and in the end change the name of poet from mine to his, since then I have never post any of my poems on fb, but it sure made me really angry
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