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Author Topic: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?  (Read 799 times)

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Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« on: February 16, 2012, 08:05:38 PM »
Were I to use the phrase "It was written that Paris was a woman..." in a written work I would fancy be published in some fashion in the future, would it amount to plagiarism?

'Paris was a woman' is a name used for a book, and a movie based on the same book. While what I am writing is not about the book specifically, it does so happen to be about the era generally speaking (Belle Epoque, Paris).

Paris was a woman: Portraits from the Left Bank
Paris was a woman

But I also find some reference to the same phraseology used much earlier on Google Books.

The Spectator (1871) - Paris is like a woman

Offline GothicFires

Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 08:11:07 PM »
It takes more than a few words to classify as plagiarism. Now if the characters in your story experience similar circumstances then you would be in trouble. But if those words and time period are all that connect them you are good.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2012, 08:21:08 PM »
Since Paris was a man, I don't think there's much chance that you're using it in remotely the same context as that book. To even begin to claim plagiarism on a phrase short enough to already be considered de minimis in many cases, the meaning would have to be shared too.

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 08:23:58 PM »
Since Paris was a man, I don't think there's much chance that you're using it in remotely the same context as that book. To even begin to claim plagiarism on a phrase short enough to already be considered de minimis in many cases, the meaning would have to be shared too.

The reference is to Paris the city, not Homer's Paris. Both in my case, and in the book and movie.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 08:26:15 PM by Zeitgeist »

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Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 08:27:49 PM »
Although the Homeric meaning sounds like an RP in the making.  ;D

But yes, that's too short to be plagiarism.  I'm pretty sure that people have been describing the City of Lights as feminine for a long time.  Some were probably being more flattering than others.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2012, 08:32:30 PM »
...or to put it more bluntly, there's a certain tongue-in-cheek quality to that sort of statement and why it fits for the title of a book, namely, a collection of female artists influencing a part of the cities' artistic and cultural development. If your reason differs then there's no reason to worry about it.

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 08:39:50 PM »
Thanks Oniya!

...or to put it more bluntly, there's a certain tongue-in-cheek quality to that sort of statement and why it fits for the title of a book, namely, a collection of female artists influencing a part of the cities' artistic and cultural development. If your reason differs then there's no reason to worry about it.

Well, it's similar.

The more complete sentence would be along the lines of:

"It was written Paris was a woman, and no one embraced her more fully than Natalie."

That alludes to Lesbianism, and a person of the same era the book covers in fact. She isn't the subject of the book in question, nor was affiliated with the phrase even indirectly.

But as Oniya says, the phrase is unlikely genuine or uniquely used by the writer of the book.

Offline Vandren

Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 06:36:04 AM »
Speaking professionally, I would say the phrase counts as "commonly used" and therefore does not fall under plagiarism.  The length of the phrase doesn't really matter for plagiarism purposes, so long as the phrase is "unique".  Intent of usage and interpretation don't really matter either

That said, the question of plagiarism is, in this case, the wrong question.  Since you're considering the work for future publication, copyright is the appropriate concern.  But, I would say you're safe there too, under U.S. copyright law at least.

(Clarification: plagiarism = ethical/professional concern and is enforced by employers/academic institutions; copyright = legal concern and is enforced by the federal govt)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 06:37:08 AM by Vandren »

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 07:33:16 AM »
Thank you Vandren!

Offline Vandren

Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2012, 10:27:33 AM »
Anytime.  It's been on my mind lately as I just dealt with a major plagiarism case a couple weeks ago (3/4 of a student's paper was word for word from a professional book review posted online).  Ironically, the plagiarized paper was turned in just after a 30 min. lecture on . . . plagiarism (and copyright).  :)

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Paris was a woman - plagiarism?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2012, 09:35:36 AM »
The reference is to Paris the city, not Homer's Paris.

Aww...cause that's the first place my mind went when I saw this thread title! Now I have all these delightfully gender-bendery Trojan war notions.

As to your question I don't think that you have anything to worry about. Even if it were a direct allusion to the other work I think you would be safe.