Whose Line is it Anyway? or Teens and Plagiarism Within Creative Works

The past month has brought us two stories from the publishing world that highlight just how little most people understand copyright law.

The’  more widely-publicized story came to us from Germany. Seventeen year old Helene Hegemann became a literary star when her first novel Axolotl Roadkill came out in January to rave reviews. But it wasn’t long before blogger Deef Pirmasens discovered several long passages of the book were copied word-for-word from the pages of another German blogger known only as Airen. You can read the full details of the story on Time’s website, but Hegemann’s response has essentially been that what she was doing was not plagiarism but a technique often used in experimental literature sometimes called intertextuality. Continue reading