Tuesday July 12, 2011

Joginder Tuteja and Bollywood Hungama’s passionate plea for plagiarism

Posted by Karthik

I really do not want to accord this Bollywood Hungama piece by Joginder Tuteja any respect since I believe it doesn’t deserve any. But, after sleeping over it, I felt that it deserves at least a rebuttal. And I’m not going to add specific sentence by sentence and add my thoughts on it – that is so not worth it. Instead, here’s the gist of what this piece completely misses.

Yes, I agree that as movie-going public, we tend to jump on the plagiarism alleging bandwagon and blame movies even with the promos. Yes, we do go overboard and paint all filmmakers with one broad black stroke. And yes, it is far easier to plagiarize now given so many influences all around us. Even more tellingly, as this website/video explains, everything does seem to be a remix.

But, here’s the catch – these reasons only explain the other side of the story. Plagiarism (or remix) is first a creator’s story. It is nothing but the creator’s intent. And that intent comes across in the form of him (or her) not crediting the source. Sometimes, it is an operational issue – ‘If I credit, do I need to pay royalty?’. But most of the times, it comes down to a choice – ‘Who the F cares? What’s the worse that can happen?’.

It is distressing to see a mainstream, film-based website like Bollywood Hungama ofering such a passionate plea for plagiarism. Simple question: if someone flicks generous dollops of text from that article and uses it in another publication – without any credit whatsoever – would Bollywood Hungama’s argument still be this? (to use a quote from the article)

For me as a reader, all that matters is whether the article published has captivated me enough or not. If there is someone who should actually be breaking his head over what to create (or copy) next, it’s the author of the piece, not me!

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