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Thread: Tribute.... or plagiarism?

  1. #1 Tribute.... or plagiarism? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    If i take names of people, places etc from other fiction into my own as a tribute will it be called plagiarism?


    In the Bioware game neverwinter nights theres a Draco lich named Vixthra, i loved the name and the game and im a huge bioware fan - if i name a doctor in my book "Dr. Vixthra" as an easteregg and tribute to NWN will it be plagiarism?

    As a second example, should i call a secret research lab "Black Mesa" for the same reason, the original being a secret research lab in the game "Half life" is this really a tribute or plagiarism?

    Im unsure about how it is defined.

    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    East Anglia - England - Moving
    Hmmm - bit of a Question.

    I am running a long-running Sci Fi Game - I am the G.M. and also one of the Players

    This is a PLay-By-Post Game on a Forum Site - and as I Run this - I am effectivley Writing
    a lot of the Stuff -

    New Discoveries, New Inventions, New Developments.

    I just recently lifted the idea of the "Kedy Brains"
    from the E.E. 'Doc' Smith collaberatio Novel "Masters of Space".

    The original is a "living" Silicon AI device - with all of the stored knowledge
    and experience of Tactics stored in it, and the ability to Learn.
    There are loads of identical Copies of this as "Kedy Units" used to power
    Drone type Small Space Warships, Frigates and Destroyers ( 800m and 500m long ).
    Because these Units are all Identical Copies or exact Clones of ther original - they
    all share a common consciousness and instant Telepathy.
    So, as well as each individual Unit being able to learn by its Combat Experience,
    all of the Kedy Units will learn the same things.
    Even if one of more Kedy Units is destroyed in Space Combat - all Knowledge and
    Experience will be preserved, and also stored in the original Kedy Unit.

    Yes - I lifted some of the idea - and also the Name KEDY from the "Masters of Space" Novel.

    However - to copy a Name or part of an Idea - Names are just Names.
    From my experience - lots of Sci Fi Authpors seem to have "borrowed" concepts or
    ideas from each other - so long as they don't just copy the Story.

    Copying the STORY, even with Different Names - that WOULD be Plagiarism.
    However - even that would sometimes be difficult to prove,
    unless it was extremely obvious.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman
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    Oct 2011
    Good question... If it WAS plagiarism then one could argue that the 80's band "Duran Duran" are also guilty of the same offence as they have named their band after a character in "Barbarella"
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  5. #4  
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Hum. I would think that it depends on context and depth. A good example is "hammond side" for starboard or right side of a ship and "Treblin side" for the opposite. Farscape used both terms, but since hammond was a homage to Don Sinclair Davis/George Hammond, the name was used much more frequently.

    The same would stand for the classic robots that appear in/around the Jawa sandcrawler in Star Wars. No name was given to them so they got a pass.

    If you find that you like a name and it isn't too specific you should be fine. If you like a specific name like "Skywalker", that will not fly unless it is used in some other context such as an object/vehicle name. Now completely copying a character is just not going to work, especially if the character is really well known. James is fine; Bond is fine; it would be a really bad plan to try and publish story about a spy name James Bond. On the other hand, you might get away with a klutzy sanitation worker named James Bond as satire. Especially if the spy was specifically referenced for comedy.

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