Are 'Plagiarism' and 'Influences' synonymous?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

As I was seeing the movie “Rock on” I couldn’t help but notice its similarities to “Dil Chahta Hai” (Farhan Akhtar's involvement in both certainly din't help!); note the similarities in this Coke advertisement; alternatively, look around and you will observe many influences in different creative’s and different marketing campaigns. So are advertising and media companies just looking to snatch the idea or are they really being creative (read: innovative)?

Every area has its shades of grey and creativity lurks in some parts of the shades itself. Innovation can be both a radical idea or else an application of an old concept well weaved to suit the modern product/service. But some call the latter plagiarism.

Plagiarism is a concept that has grown rapidly over time especially with the characteristic World Wide Web boasting about information-sharing, interoperability, and collaboration. Jargons like CCP (cut-copy-paste), copyright issues are only common. This is true not only for a published copy or a public marketing strategy but also extends to personal blogs and the next due assignment! These days pictures, content, names, movies can all be given copyrights where the owners can sue the defendant but will fake labels, smart alterations, and freakish similarities be charged under the radar?

When we are exposed to infinite media, concepts, ideas it is probable that we seek to be influenced; one cannot also rule out chances of creatives overlapping in two parts of the world when we are breathing the same air and living in the same century. With technologies and easy information access, probabilities are that these issues will only grow with time. A big influence in this regard can be our education system where one is compelled to think new rather than influenced, ideas are rewarded rather than just presentations, and radical concepts gives you more brownie points rather than extensions.

According to Wikipedia, “Marketing is used to identify the customer, keep the customer and satisfy the customer.” With a million products and services being produced and marketing since times memorial isn’t it a little unreasonable to expect a “Zoo-Zoo” or “Hutch Pug” campaign everytime? Maybe. But, then again is it possible? Maybe. The area is still grey… But the important question that remains is if the chord has successfully produced the desired sound.