May 11, 2006

Happens unconsciously

A musician charged with composing music for a Hindi film uses a tune from Mozart's 41st Symphony. Another uses the tune of the old American folk classic, "The Yellow Rose of Texas". Another uses the tune of another folk classic, "Clementine". Another uses the tune of the 60s hit by Tommy James and the Shondells, "Mony Mony". Another uses the tune of the '70s Abba hit, "Mamma Mia"; over two decades later, that Hindi song is remixed and becomes a hit all over again. Another uses ... well, you get the idea.

I have no idea if requisite permissions for any of these were taken; I don't believe any of these originals was credited in the respective films.

***

One journalist tells a second journalist about an incident he once wrote about. The second journalist promptly writes an article based on this incident. It reads as if it was his experience. He doesn't mention the first journalist. He doesn't do the journalistic basics like calling people involved in that incident to check the story.

***

A first-year college student gets an enormous contract to write a book. In the book, she uses dozens of passages from books by two other authors, passing them off as her writing. When, inevitably, she is found out, her first response is to say it happened "unconsciously."

Dozens of passages, "unconsciously."

***

We attend a concert held as part of one of the mushrooming city festivals. Several singers on the bill, belting out Bollywood and other songs with great gusto.

One is a woman with a somewhat coy manner between songs that gets mildly irritating after 5 seconds. But what's more irritating is that we very quickly realize she's lip-synching to recorded music, her own songs. This is obvious because frequently, the singing starts a split-second before she brings the mike up to her mouth, before she opens her mouth; or other disconnects like that.

But what really takes the cake is when, just before her last song, she announces: "Just one more song, OK? My voice is really tired after singing all these songs for you!"

In the audience, we splutter in disbelief. Then the slight disconnect again as the next lip-synched (lip-sunk? lip-sung?) song begins.

***

So what is plagiarism and dishonesty, really? What does it mean, really?

3 comments:

barbarindian said...

I thought you said merit is left to rot. Isn't it better for it to get copied instead?

Also, if there can be no absolute standard to judge "merit", then how do you prove plagiarism?

What do you feel about Dalits/OBCs getting practically free passes into schools?

By the way, why are all reservation supporters suddenly so vocal about Kaavya Viswanathan? Is it merely coincidence or there is some sort of a suggestion here? If yes, why not come out in the open and say it?

zap said...

hmmmmm.. as usual.

But on Kaavya Vishwanathan - She was only a 17 year old kid when she started writing the book that got her into trouble. Leave her be.
I know i escaped being caught on such a large stage only cuz i'm more than a decade older and did not have technology to fuel my grand plans when i was her age.

nidhi said...

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