For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Plagiarism response: "There are different rules for me"

Poet Laureate of the
Confederacy
"Bob Dylan rejects 'plagiarism' claims" is the headline of this BBC piece which some readers of this weblog may have missed.  This Kat did not fail to miss it, though, partly because he is always sensitive to cat references in the context of IP and partly also because his old friend Ruth Soetendorp (katpat!) sent him the link.  According to this item:
"Bob Dylan has responded to suggestions he has plagiarised artists in his work and failed to credit his sources properly. "Wussies and pussies [hilariously rendered as p******s by the Independent Online here] complain about that stuff," the veteran musician told Rolling Stone magazine. "In folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. It's true for everybody but me. There are different rules for me." ...

The singer was accused of borrowing from Henry Timrod, a 19th Century poet who died in 1867, on his 2006 album Modern Times. Another album, 2001's Love and Theft, was claimed to have passages similar to lines from Confessions of a Yakuza, a gangster novel by obscure Japanese writer Junichi Saga.

"As far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him [someone must have, since an online search for "henry timrod" produces 104,000 hits]? Who's been reading him lately? And who's pushed him to the forefront?" he told Rolling Stone. "If you think it's so easy to quote him and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get."

"These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history!" he continued, referring to the controversy over his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home. ...

Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941 and began his musical career in 1959, playing in coffee houses in Minnesota. He took his stage name from the poet Dylan Thomas....".
The IPKat isn't clear whether this is a rejection of the plagiarism claim -- which he is not in a position to judge -- or a justification of it.  Merpel wonders whether Judas is indeed the most hated name in human history, rather suspecting that, even outside the European Commission, there must be many other candidates for that title.

Bob Dylan: voice 'plagiarised' here
Fake Bob Dylan band here

3 comments:

Peter Smith said...

I know I'm being pedantic but I can't help feeling that the Kat did fail to miss the piece, having in fact found it!

Jeremy said...

The Kat didn't miss the piece. He just hadn't quite finished looking for it when it was handed to him on a plate.

Peter Groves said...

And last year he was criticised when people noticed the resemblance between a series of paintings he'd made and earlier photographs. See for example http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylan-accused-of-painting-plagiarism-20110928, and Michael Gray's blog at http://bobdylanencyclopedia.blogspot.com/2011/09/that-bob-dylan-asia-series-again.html and other postings. When Bob said "There are different rules for me", I think he might have been talking about his attitude to copyright.

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