Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

June 17, 2013

Some Famous Examples of Plagiarism

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 1:41 PM

An author caught plagiarizing someone else’s material can ruin a reputation and be the end of a career. Not so for some, though. Here are some famous plagiarists who got off relatively easy.

T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, written in 1922, contains lines lifted from other writers’ work, including Edmund Spenser.

During his bid in the 1988 Presidential election, Joe Biden admitted using plagiarized material for a law school paper. But his admission didn’t hurt his career. After all, he became Vice-President.

George Harrison used the same melody from the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine.” But George didn’t stop there.  The beginning of “I’m Looking Through You” has been said to be the same as the end of “End of the Line” from the Traveling Wilburys, a group that he belonged to.

Alex Haley, author of Roots, was accused of plagiarizing parts of the book from another book titled The African by Harold Courlander.

James Cameron makes the list was sued for plagiarism by writer Harlan Ellison, who claimed that The Terminator was based on two episodes of The Outer Limits Ellison had written. As for me, I think he also lifted his plot for Avatar by from Dancing with Wolves. Perhaps the title should have been ‘Dancing with Wolves in Space’!

Plagiarism is wrong. But then, it’s how you look at it. As the old saying goes – “Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery“.


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