Monday, August 31, 2009

Response to "Rise of the Plagiosphere" and "The Ecstasy of Influence"

I found both articles rather interesting. I enjoyed the knowledge that I am not the only one who thinks that the lengths at which people go to to prove their rights over and idea are a bit extreme. In "Rise of the Plagiosphere," there was an interesting point: "The problem here is that while such rigorous and robust policing will no doubt reduce cheating, it may also give the writers a sense of futility." This made me smile because there have been countless times where I have been given an assignment where I felt I had no originality and that every sentence I wrote needed to be cited with a different source. I feared turning in assignments to college professor's wondering if they would find something in my writing that I had thought was a idea all to myself, but in reality was something written years before and wasn't profound at all. With giant search engines, like Google, it's become easier for people to access ideas in a sort of common domain, but at the same time this domain is not "The Common's" like it is defined in "The Ecstasy of Influence," but rather a "Common's" for cited information. But, we new aged surfers of the web come across this information all the time, and commit it to the vastness that exists in our minds without citation or credit to the originator, only to reproduce it as common knowledge, later, to our friends. This point is brought up in both articles. People borrow and are influenced by the things they see, read, hear, or observe; but it never is the case where these things are their ideas first and then when these borrowed things are reproduced in a new way, is it really plagerism or is it as Thomas Edison theorized (which I read in "The Ecstasy of Influence" and am placing here...).

I feel that Ideas being copyrighted and kept for ones own gain is very curious.

1) Everything influences everything.
2) No one idea can be fully completed at one time. There are new technologies and information that is discovered day by day that changes and manipulates a single idea into something far deeper then it originally was. How can someone own and idea that needs to be expanded by other developments they have nothing to do with. It limits what the idea can turn into and delays the development of the human conscience.
3) It is ridiculous that someone can own something so non-tangible. Can you touch and idea? Can you store it away on a shelf? Can you file it away? Ideas float in space. They exist as electrical pulses in your brain that slowly leak out as energy that is expelled as you speak of it/act on it. How can you own energy? Energy is truly dynamic as it changes places and can you copyright something that is always changing and developing into something new?

Multimedia, I think, creates a public common of information. Multimedia is everywhere and incorporated in everything. How can things so public be owned when, because of the public nature, it become "common knowledge". How can things so ingrained in society, as a part of a whole, be separated out to be owned when as soon as it is thought, it is there for the taking by anyone? Think of Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter..each have status updates where people put what they are thinking at that moment up online for everyone to see in the domain. Are their thoughts owned by the individual...can I not think the same thing without mentally citing a Twitter update and turning myself in for plagiarism?


  1. Katie: I also am glad to know that I am not the only person who thinks that the lengths people will go to prove their rights over an idea are a bit extreme. I mentioned this same thing in my post. I think it is so important for people to realize that with the excess and access of information these days that people are bound to cross an idea they may have thought their own, when in reality was not their own at all. Especially now more than ever with the invention of social networking sites and blogs where people can openly state their ideas, thoughts, and opinions in this public domain, no original or profound thought or idea is safe without a copyright or trademark. The day they start trademarking blogs and Facebook profiles will be the day i throw my computer out the window.

  2. These thoughts are similar to mine about this subject. It just seems like there is nothing new out there and whether you were conscious of it your thoughts and ideas have already existed in the mind of someone else. If they wrote it down first, why does yours get to be any less because of that?

  3. I like this idea! Yeah, how do you copyright a literary concept? An author should be impressed by how the work is imitated, and, although it is their livelihood and they need to reap all benefits, couldn't one of the best benefits be others referencing their work? I would be flattered if someone told me that they liked my stuff so much that it inspired them.

  4. I agree and share your concern for this topic of common knowledge. I have had the same anxiety about turning in papers to professors all the time while having the plagiarism lecture from the previous day running through my head. I strongly agree that owning an idea or thought would probably inhibit its changing and growing into something further developed or pleasantly different than what came first. Such ideas or thoughts could be the seed needed to grow an entire new outlook or innovation.