RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#2
Plagiarism only occurs if you literally copy someone else's works word for word, sentence for sentence.

If you're using a similar concept or idea, then it's fine. Ideas are not copyrighted. Concepts are not copyrighted. Intellectual property usually refers to very specific stuff such as characters, titles, names - and unless you actually lift whole paragraphs or sentences off works, then you shouldn't have any problem.

RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#4
The thing is this... What is considered 'specific' enough? Going to the context of RRL, nearly everyone is plagiarizing each other which oddly most authors would never say so.

But to use an academic term of plagiarizing towards a professional settings would be confusing. For example, what is considered 'common knowledge' in professional settings might be a novel idea in other settings. In the creative industries, this line is even more blurred. More often than not, we could see for example, many a movie that use ideas from other movies as the base.

For example, a student might need to cite a 'common knowledge' of a certain idea/practice that is considered a norm within an industry. Why? Because by large, he/she is a still a student and and thus, the knowledge is not common. But for someone who had been in that industry for quite some time, the knowledge is common and does not need to be cited

When it comes to creative writing, most authors would say, this idea is a 'common knowledge', so it is not plagiarizing. But how could we judge that? A common knowledge to you might not be to me and vice versa. It is easier to determine plagiarism in other media though.

As a basic understanding, what Tanaka said is correct. Is it accurate enough? Perhaps but depending on the context. Is it perfect description of plagiarizing term? Maybe yes, maybe not.

That's my take on it.

RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#5
Of course there is always a possible debate on what is specific enough. But you never want to enter that debate, because once you entered it, it will be settled not by you or the writing community, but by a judge of law. 

Even under the most charitable interpretation about stuff being common knowledge or "inspired on" other stuff, the assertion that plagiarism only exists when you lift literal pieces of other works and put them in yours verbatim is absolutely incorrect. Let's not spread disinformation. I can rewrite Star Wars changing every noun, adjective and verb, and I will still be subject to a plagiarism lawsuit.

RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#6
Putting aside precise definitions...

I don't think OP needs to worry. As long as they haven't read a story like this (and they probably haven't, or why post?) whatever they come up with is surely going to be different enough from any similar works, it wouldn't be an issue. The idea as posted is vague enough it shouldn't step on anyone's toes; someone starting from even a three-paragraph synopsis of Star Wars, with no previous knowledge, is very unlikely to come up with anything similar enough to cause problems.

I'd say go for it.

RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#7
3/13/2018 7:42:16 AM Wrote: [ -> ]Putting aside precise definitions...

I don't think OP needs to worry. As long as they haven't read a story like this (and they probably haven't, or why post?) whatever they come up with is surely going to be different enough from any similar works, it wouldn't be an issue. The idea as posted is vague enough it shouldn't step on anyone's toes; someone starting from even a three-paragraph synopsis of Star Wars, with no previous knowledge, is very unlikely to come up with anything similar enough to cause problems.

I'd say go for it.


As he said, OP need not to worry. Write and post it. I'd waited 23 years to post my first chapters. Don't take too long, alright :).

Everyone has a point here, but the decision falls on you.

RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#8
3/13/2018 7:28:09 AMChipMunster Wrote: [ -> ]Of course there is always a possible debate on what is specific enough. But you never want to enter that debate, because once you entered it, it will be settled not by you or the writing community, but by a judge of law. 

Even under the most charitable interpretation about stuff being common knowledge or "inspired on" other stuff, the assertion that plagiarism only exists when you lift literal pieces of other works and put them in yours verbatim is absolutely incorrect. Let's not spread disinformation. I can rewrite Star Wars changing every noun, adjective and verb, and I will still be subject to a plagiarism lawsuit.



You're misinterpreting what I said. When I said similar ideas and concept, I don't mean literally rewriting an existing idea or concept by paraphrasing it. You probably missed my second paragraph altogether, but that still falls under the definition of "lifting" even if you paraphrase or change the words.

Rewriting Star Wars is one thing, and yes, even if you change every noun, adjective and verb, that is still subject to plagiarism. But it is not plagiarism if you write about a farm boy on a desert planet fighting against a galactic empire by using magic powers (unless you lliterally paraphrase the paragraphs in the story word by word).

RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#9
I know of similar stories (both robots or virtual games) out there but I wouldn't think much about looking for them. There are only so many frameworks and genres for stories and chance is high that you'll never write something truly original in your life. Most stories are 80-90% the same, because their framework exists and works in the genre. "The Hero's Journey" is something you can find nearly anywhere. Don't look for stories that have the same 80%, concentrate on your 20% and make them your own.

So think more about why nuclear powers throw their weapons away and go full game wars. Was there a war before? if so, how did the landscape change and what are the new superpowers. How do countries train their virtual armies, how do you prevent "cheating" or bots, how do the people in the fought over cities/nations feel if they have new rules after someone lost a game of pong?

Try to build your own world, find your own answers and write your own conflict. And you have a story of your own story. Don't look for over stories because you'll read them and change your own story because you find things more intersting, too similar, better paced, etc. The more you compare and search, the easier you change your own story. Just think about how Star Wars would have turned out, if they had feared to plagiarize all those classical "boy becomes hero and saves the princess". What makes it special are the 20% "Let's throw it into space, chance some names and put nice effects on it".

So... don't bother and just write =)

RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#10
3/13/2018 7:57:44 PM Wrote: [ -> ]Rewriting Star Wars is one thing, and yes, even if you change every noun, adjective and verb, that is still subject to plagiarism. But it is not plagiarism if you write about a farm boy on a desert planet fighting against a galactic empire by using magic powers (unless you lliterally paraphrase the paragraphs in the story word by word).

Oh, but it can be. It can totally be. 

I haven't misinterpreted you. I'm just telling you that if your story is similar enough to another story, even if not at the prose level, you can still be plagiarizing. And whether or not you did it will be decided by a judge when George Lucas sues your ass, not you, not me, not the RRL community.


Edited to add that the OP doesn't need to worry anyway, because (taking their words at face value, of course) if their story ends up being too similar to another story that is already out there, it would turn out to be accidental plagiarism, and you can't be punished for accidental plagiarism. It's good that they are asking, though, because "not being punished" is not the same as "not being sued", and being sued is a terrible headache even if you aren't found guilty.

RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#12
"As a matter of fact, we authors in SF are more or less friends; we inhabit a small, specialized world in which we are comfortable, and the general feeling is that ideas are common property: if one SF writer thinks up something which is very useful, another may put it into his own words and use it freely. Nobody in SF is going to accuse any other person in SF of using his ideas; in fact, we borrow so generously that there's no way of telling whose idea it was originally. For instance, in my novel The Caves Of Steel, it was very important to the plot to have moving sidewalks, with an elaborate system of side strips that enabled you to work up to the speed of the sidewalks or to work down to the surrounding, motionless medium. This had already appeared some years before in Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll." Well, I borrowed it without any worry at all. I'm sure that Heinlein in reading my novel would have recognized his system, but who knows where he got it from? He never said anything. It'd be different if I used the details of his plot and worked up a story that was so like his that nobody could fail to see it - that's plagiarism. But just to use the idea and build your own plot or story about it - why, we do that all the time. And they do it from me, too - you know, they use the three laws of robotics - and they're welcome. I have no objection."~From the book Conversations With Isaac Asimov

RE: Is there a story with a plot like this? I don't want to plagiarize someone.

#14
The idea that the original poster wrote down is, at best, general background world building. It doesn't list any characters or what those characters will be doing in the world or what kind of equipment they might have. You can have a fantasy story with elves, dwarves, orcs, wizards, haflings, and magical weapons without ripping off Tolkien. A female heroine fighting for her freedom in a dangerous dystopian future describes The Hunger Games, Ghost In The Shell, and Divergent  yet they don't plagarize each other. The adventures of a crew of a spaceship in a galactic empire could describe Firefly, Star Wars, Buck Rogers, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica. The OP would have to be far more specific before plagiarism became a problem.
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