Plagiarism In The Creative Industry

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we live, work and communicate, and has had a profound impact on many industries. Digitization have opened up myriad possibilities for the creative industry, and enabled people to create and distribute their own content. It has also developed issues for the creative industry which becomes challenging for them.

The most common issues faced by people in the creative industry are plagiarism and copyright issues. Clarke (2005) stated that “Plagiarism is presentation of the documented words or ideas of another as a person’s own, without attribution appropriate for the medium of presentation.”  It usually occurs when there is no copyright protection for that idea, however sometimes copyright infringement can still occur. An example is Zara came under fire for replicating an indie designer, Tuesday Bassen’s designs on their clothing, treating it as their own.


Screenshot from @tuesdaybassen Instagram. More information can be found here.

Sometimes not everything is copyrightable as well. For example, there is no copyright protection in a game mechanic or the functionality of a game, which allows other parties to produce a game with similar mechanic (Parkin, 2011). Hence, people can still plagiarise through “loopholes” like this.

Further information on plagiarism can be found in the video below which addresses the issues & solutions to plagiarism.

The concept of plagiarism can also be debatable. Which brings me to my next question – To what extent is the work considered “plagiarised”? There is a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism, and trying to distinguish them is often difficult. We are all influenced by our experiences and daily encounters, hence it is unavoidable that we may be “inspired” by them subconsciously (or sometimes deliberately). Novosedlik (2014) pointed out that Picasso’s works were often inspired by famous works of artists who came before him. Picasso was able to ‘steal’ the original idea and make it his own, thus presenting the viewer with something new. Thus with the free availability of works online, it benefits not only the people in the creative industry, but also inspire individuals like us to influence our ideas/works.


Despite all the issues artists faced, many still feel that the pros outweigh the cons. By publishing their works online, they can gain a group of community and clients that support them. It serves as good publicity for them and enhance recognition, through which the community will also help to protect their works (Mellow, 2012). They believe invisibility is a bigger problem as compared to their works getting stolen (Art of Hustle, 2012).

The bottom line is that all of us, regardless as consumers or businesses, should respect the effort content producers put into their works, and always practice ethical measures when using their works.

(440 words)


Featured Image:  Austin Kleon – Show Your Work

Art of Hustle. (2012). The Pros and Cons of Publishing Your Work Online. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov 2016]

Clarke, R. (2005). Plagiarism in Creative Literature: The Case of the Unsquared Circle.  Xamax Consultancy. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov 2016]

Mellow, G. (2012). How Do Artists Protect Their Work Online? Scientific American. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov 2016]

Novosedlik, W. (2014). Inspired or Stolen? MISC Magazine. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov 2016]

Parkin, S. (2011). Clone Wars: is plagiarism killing creativity in the games industry? The Guardian. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov 2016]



10 thoughts on “Plagiarism In The Creative Industry

  1. Hi Liting,

    “It serves as good publicity for them and enhance recognition”
    In reference to your statement, we can both agree that the real benefit to all content producers alike, be it in the creative industry or researchers, is gaining recognition and acknowledgement for the work produced. (1)

    However, it is evident from the Zara and Tuesday Bassen drama that reality is cut-throat, bigger companies will not hesitate trample over smaller individuals. To have EVERYONE recognise and respect the work you’ve created is a painted picture of an ideal situation.

    In this particular scenario mentioned, this further supports that content producers should not make their work freely available online. It is completely irrational for original creators to produce content, only to spend all their money defending what should be theirs when it could have been avoided, saving her the emotional burden and mental fatigue she has to go through. Your thoughts? 🙂



  2. Hey Liting, I have discussed similar issues in my topic 4 reflective post. Albeit under the term ‘imitation’. My conclusion was that the ‘fine line’ between plagiarism and inspiration should firstly be defined by lawmakers. And laws should be introduced and revised to reduce loopholes by which ‘legal plagiarism’ can occur.
    I would like to question the effectiveness of charging premiums for produced contents in generating revenue. With the issue of piracy on the rise ( Should producers just make their contents free to view? And adopt an advertising-revenue business model? Will this drive down piracy?
    I would also like to question the ability of free access to drive improvement in quality of media contents. I feel that this benefit is only applicable to research content and not media content as I have not found any studies to support free access for media.


  3. Hi Liting!

    I love how you touch on the issue of plagiarism with regards to the topic because this is an important factor that keeps content producers from going open! I would love to see the advantages of having free online material though as there is always a flipside to things.

    The ZARA example was extremely true and relevant in this case. The designer might be a small fry in the industry but it does not give ZARA the rights to rip his designs as their own. If this could happen to an indie designer who is supposingly well known enough in Instagram according to his likes and followers, it could happen to any one as well.

    I came across this article from where it goes beyond the sole reason of plagiarism you stated in your blog. It mentioned this: “The size of journals increases, the quality of journals declines, the papers become less widely readable, the job of editing becomes less rewarding.” In your opinion, how much do you think open access will affect the jobs of the people in the media industry, especially journalists and writers? Would love to hear your thoughts!

    With regards,


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