Plagiarism response: "There are different rules for me"

Poet Laureate of the
"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
Plagiarism response: "There are different rules for me" Plagiarism response: "There are different rules for me" Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, September 13, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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, and Michael Gray's blog at and other postings. When Bob said "There are different rules for me", I think he might have been talking about his attitude to copyright.


All comments must be moderated by a member of the IPKat team before they appear on the blog. Comments will not be allowed if the contravene the IPKat policy that readers' comments should not be obscene or defamatory; they should not consist of ad hominem attacks on members of the blog team or other comment-posters and they should make a constructive contribution to the discussion of the post on which they purport to comment.

It is also the IPKat policy that comments should not be made completely anonymously, and users should use a consistent name or pseudonym (which should not itself be defamatory or obscene, or that of another real person), either in the "identity" field, or at the beginning of the comment. Current practice is to, however, allow a limited number of comments that contravene this policy, provided that the comment has a high degree of relevance and the comment chain does not become too difficult to follow.

Learn more here:

Powered by Blogger.