Artwork created by humankind must be inspired in order to exist. This may sound cliche, but it is a scientific fact; we cannot form an entirely original thought solely with our mind. Each and every thought is stimulated through personal experiences, learned history, or even other pieces of artwork. To expect someone to mentally create something entirely new with no reflection of former works is impossible.
However, blatant plagiarism is a crime that should never be excused. When approaching one’s work as a basis for one’s own work, he/she must question, “at what point do I cross the line between inspiration and plagiarism?”. If one were to use a former idea to adapt an idea of their own, they would be using the former idea as a muse; even if one were to adapt or modernize a former idea into an updated version from a new perspective, the line still would not be crossed. Combining an outdated idea with a fresh perspective creates a new idea, making one’s work inspired but original, not plagiarized.
Once an idea is copied with little to no thought in the process, one has crossed the line into plagiarism. When writing a report, it is expected of students to research a topic and create concepts of their own from their readings. However, if a student were to copy and paste the research directly, they would have committed plagiarism. If there is no formation of a unique idea, it is plagiarism (summations included). If mankind began repeating ideas, our progress would become circular. We technically would not be progressing at all, considering we would be going nowhere with our ideas.
By analyzing former ideas, one can be inspired to form new ones of their own. We need former ideas to spark others in new ways because a completely original idea based off nothing is impossible. One can think of an idea from a personal experience, but there are only so many experiences mankind can come across. Eventually, everyone would just be writing their perspectives on different experiences with no further insight, stunting progress for mankind. Yes, plagiarism is wrong, but it is always good to get inspired.
LINK TO ARTICLE: http://harpers.org/archive/2007/02/the-ecstasy-of-influence/