On the originality of ideas

A friend sent me this the other day and it made me laugh.

 

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I was googling to try and find out who wrote it, and it turns the out the original was by a French cartoonist called Kadey. Whoever did the English version, as well as pasting out the French and replacing it with English, also deleted Kadey’s signature. Naughty.

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Not giving credit where it’s due is rather a sore spot with me, as anyone who followed the story of Ross Ashcroft and Four Horsemen will know, hence this post now.

But, of course, it may be that Kadey got his idea from Gary Larson – he of The Far Side.

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There’s no such thing as an original idea, we all know that. Ideas evolve. Great thinkers are often just product of the collective conscious at that time, while IP, copyright and patenting laws, designed to protect, are often subverted for the purposes of rent-seeking. But there is a fine line between directly nicking something – as happened to Kadey – and taking an idea and moving it forward (as happens all the time in film, literature and music – especially sampling). Quite what that line is, I’m not sure.

For more on sampling and the originality of ideas this Marc Ronson Ted Talk is excellent: