Thursday, February 17, 2011


As a writer, I have a serious problem with plagiarism.  I mean, if we're gonna have a prison system in this country, we might as well throw plagiarists in there with the drug dealers and thieves.  Perhaps my deep hatred for plagiarism is rooted in guilt; you see, when I served as Editor of the Tulane Review, I published a plagiarized poem.  Of course I had no idea that the "poet," whose name by the way is emblazoned in my head, had plagiarized her lines right out of a well-known short story that had been published in the New Yorker.  Suffice to say that when I was alerted to this situation, I furiously tried to hunt down the "author" of this poem and give her a piece of my mind.  But she dodged me well.  

Universe, I am so sorry for this wretched error!  I still carry guilt from it!

Which brings me to pop music plagiarists.  I'll start with the most minor offender (albeit still annoying):

Miss Jordin Sparks

Her song:  Battlefield
Lyrics in question:  "Why does love always feel like a battlefield/ a battlefield/ a battlefield?

Original song:  Pat Benatar--Love is a Battlefield
Lyrics in question:  "Love is a battlefield . . ."

I mean seriously, girlie, that metaphor HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE!  And not only has it been done before, but in one of the standard 80's hymns.  Why on earth did you rip it off???


Baby Bash feat. E-40

His song:  Go Girl
Lyrics in question:  "California face with a down south rump"

Original Song:  Sir Mix-A-Lot--I Like Big Butts
Lyrics in question:  "LA face with a Oakland booty"

Baby Bash, you may be kinda cute, but this is clearly a rip off.  Sure, you're broadening the scope a little (California/south vs. LA/the bay), but nonetheless, you're a copycat!  Well, I mean, your songwriters are copycats.


And the worst of all . . . although it pains me to say it, cause I love me some Brit Brit . . .

Miss Britney Spears

Her song:  Hold it Against Me
Lyrics in question:  "If I said I want your body now/ would you hold it against me?"

Original song:  Bellamy Brothers--If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body
Lyrics in question:  "If I said you had a beautiful body/ would you hold it against me?"

Sorry Marianne, I know she's your girl, but damn!  That is one unoriginal pun.  I just don't understand why singers (and/or their songwriters?) think it's okay to straight up steal someone else's lyrics without so much as a nod to the original song.  All it does is remind me of the grave error I committed when I published that godforsaken poem eight years ago.  Geez.


Megan said...

And then you have Lady Gage who might as well just start calling herself Madonna...

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I've never even heard of the Baby Bash feat person, seriously that's his name? I'm annoyed with that as well. Claire, I think this would be a very interesting project. I'm sure this is much more rampant, would love to see longer lists like this.

starnes family said...

I can totally see you still frustrated with the editing issue from Tulane. You sweet girl!

I agree with the copycats......but so many lyrics sounds similar, no? I guess I just don't respect music like I do writing.......doesn't bother me as much.

Micaela said...

UGH i can imagine your outrage as editor!

i have to laugh at Brit only cos my twinkie is SO blind to it. lol

Mrs.B said...

I loathe plagarists...I am in no way defending any of these artists, BUT the BB line was a line...long before it was a song--so who owns it?

I don't consider the Baby Bash line a rip-off at all...and Claire, really?...the picture of Brit from her lowest moment in showbiz. (The buzz cut was more on the personal side...and she was being drugged...LOL.)

However, my hubs says the same things that you are saying--all the time. My argument is simple: Poe probably owns Annabel Lee, but copying PPL's "Amie, what you wanna do?" is not really copying...because we use those words so often.

This, of course, is just my LAopinion...LOL.

Marz said...

I can only imagine how horrified you must have felt after publishing a plagiarized poem! Ohhhh if only you had found that copy cat and exchanged words with her!

Although it pained me to see the love of my life Brit Brit on your offenders list, I did enjoy reading your list :)

I agree with Megan on Gaga. She tries to be so ground breaking and innovative, but in fact she's a copy cat of the Queen Bee Madonna!! Completely!!

Farah said...

I know how you feel! Since I'm still studying, there are lots of presentations which have been done by others who just plagiarize everything off the net and then they proceed to call it theirs! It really makes me mad because there are so many of them doing this and even though the university has given lecturers the right to fail them, these plagiarists get away with it! Yeah, you can see that I feel strongly about it! LOL

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

I hate it when you listen to a few cords of a song and it sounds similar to another song.

J. said...

Yet another reason I am anti-Britney. Team Bellamy Brothers all the way! :)

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

The Love is a Battlefield song bugs the heck out of me, too! Her songs in general bug me though lol.

OK how would a writer have the balls to plagiarized?! That's journalism 101! Besides being WRONG! our teachers scared me enough to never even think about it! I still follow the five word rule: the max of someone else's work you can use, in order, is five words.

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

P.S. I'm hosting a giveaway, be sure to check it out :)

Gracie said...

Oh my that would have been a horrible experience with the poem!

I too don't understand why lyrics would be similar. Sometimes I wonder, do they think they just made up the lyrics or did they intentionally copy the lyrics. You know when you think you made something up but then realise that the reason you thought them up was because you have read them before (or maybe that's just in my brain).


Kara said...

OoOoh.. I'm telling! Good detective work on that, I'm shocked that I didn't notice the battlefield one on my own, since I know both of those songs.

the chirpy bird said...

Copy cats... Can't come up with their own stuff! It happens aaaalll the time. I say booo to that! Then there's the reverse where artists try to take credit for stuff that clearly they had nothing to do with.!
xx tash

Leesh said...

To me Britney's new song reminds me of one of her other songs, Shattered Glass. There's no copying of lyrics but it has the same beat.

Miss Caitlin S. said...

haha yeah, ugh, that picture of brit makes me cringe haha, not her best moment... y'know who copies like every song is the Black Eyed Peas. I think it's cute you have such a stance against plagiarism based on your bad experience- what an honest gal!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Not cool, EVER.

My blog was partially plagiarized once. I actually thought it was funny because they were short fluffy posts about wedding gowns and chicken (2 separate post, though wedding gowns and chickens could be a potentially hilarious post)

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

p.s. I want chili!!!

Holly said...

i also think jordin sparks has a song called beautiful disaster or something and thats a 311 song.

Summer {athena in the middle} said...

did someone yell at you?????

H. Gillham said...

I should come over here more often -- I could learn a few things.

BTW: How on earth do you know of Pat Benatar? In the early 80s, I sang live with a band "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" for a fundraiser at DCHS for a teacher who was very ill.

I have no idea who those other people are.


I kind of do -- but it sounds better if I don't.

Katie W. said...

Ditto on the Gaga comment. And since you opened with a confessional tone, I must admit that I yanked a bluebird pic from your blog. (thank you Google, searchterms "bluebird image"). I'll consider it serendipitous since you seem a good soul, engaging writer, and we both claim Georgia as home.

P.S. I'll mess with the post html to link to you from the pic. Peace.

Lexi said...

Hilarious, and so true. Gaga's new song kills me, because ALL I hear is "EXPRESS YOURSELF." And Vanilla Ice stealing a David Bowie beat ... also lame.

Lexi @