Listening to the Past

So I have found the series of podcasts called Dead Robot Society. It is a group of writers that do podcasts about writing. It is apparently weekly, but they haven’t posted since early December.

So I have been going back to the beginning blog posts to listen to older podcasts. While I wait for new posts to be uploaded.

The problem is that the podcast is 8 years old. With completely different hosts. I don’t see anyone from the beginning that is currently active with the podcast.

The have been talking about topics like genre and ideas and such.The problem with it is that I disagree with most of there talking points and with the blog being 8 years old, I have no way to have a discussion with them to tell them that they are wrong.

Normally, I have no issue with listening to there 8 year old pod cast. It re-affirms my point of view on writing and how it is supposed to be done.

Now, is there a different way to write books? Yes. There is. Will they be wildly different from each other? Yes. I know of many authors that write there fiction differently than me. It is okay.

The thing is that I can gleam some type of truth from there podcast. Sometimes, there is a piece that teaches me a little on writing that I didn’t know before.

This podcast, however, was particularly bad. It was so bad that it was almost hypocritical. It talked in circles, saying things that conflict with each other.

This podcast was about intellectual property. It didn’t get into the topic of plagiarism or actual stealing. It talked about the idea that you can steal ideas. That if I go and tell people my story ideas, that I should feel bad if someone takes that idea and makes a better story out of it.

I call bull on that concept. That concept is coming from someone who doesn’t understand the concept of copyright. If someone lifts passages from one of my books and puts it in theirs, then that is stealing.

If my main character is a samurai sword welding woman who wears a black duster in a science fiction story and someone takes that idea of her and runs with it, that is not stealing.

If I call the location of my setting, “Lucy’s Pub”, and someones takes that. It is not stealing.

If some one takes my idea that the samurai sword talks to her and is very bitter at being a sword. It is not stealing.

If someone took all three of those ideas and put them into a book. Then that could be called stealing. Maybe.

But if all three of those ideas originally found from three or more places, books or not. It is not stealing.

You see, there are no new original ideas out there. Everything has been done before and often. Even that grand idea that you have that is, like so original.

To help prove my point, I will break down James Cameron’s Avatar. More specifically where some of the ideas and concepts may have came from. Now I won’t do the whole movie as it is a long movie, but I will a couple few ideas and concepts.

First. The story is roughly from the story of Pocahontas and the story of Moses. Main character is brought into a different society to eventually decide to join that society and to fight against the society of his childhood.

Second. The concept of having the rider control the animal that you are riding mentally. It can be found in David Eddings Belgarion books. Not a new idea.

Third. Alien planet that air can kill you. Not a new idea. Standard science-fiction trope.

Fourth. Evil corporation that only wants there product and damn the consequences for anything that gets in its way. Another standard trope. You can find it anywhere from the Umbrella Corp of Resident Evil to the Company of Aliens. It is not anything new.

Every idea and concept of Avatar can be found elsewhere. No single idea of the movie is original.

Should the authors and writers of those ideas start claiming plagiarism to James Cameron? No. Unless a vast majority of the movie has been done in a single source, then it is not stealing.

Is there the possibility that something may be close and is so by dumb luck? Possibly.

Should an author be afraid that someone might steal his work? Work, yes. You have to be careful. Don’t put the full work online without taking steps to justify your copyright. Keep original drafts of the work on your computer. That sort of thing. Talk to a copyright lawyer or visit there websites if you want some real advice on copyright law in your jurisdiction.

Should an author be afraid that someone may lift your story idea? No. A single idea taken from a book is inspiration. Not theft. By being inspired by single ideas all over the place, you create a single work that together as a whole is original. Even if the building blocks are not. Like the kid building a Lego masterpiece. (With out instructions of course) Each block and piece are not original and are a dime a dozen. The masterpiece together is original and unique.

If you are so disheartened that you can’t stand the thought of someone using an idea of yours in there work that you throw the fiction away in disgust, then you need to rethink some of your choices that you have made. Maybe get into something less creative.

Just a though.

Cheers.

N. A. Pedde

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