In “Something Borrowed,” Gladwell describes his own experience in which his work and the work of a psychiatrist are plagiarized in a Broadway play. Bryony Lavery wrote the Broadway play “Frozen,” and directly copied it off the experiences of the psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis. The entire plot of the play was identical to the life and work of Lewis. Coincidently, Lewis had copied some of her work from Gladwell, and so his pieces of his work are copied into the play as well. He also discusses some of the issues of plagiarism in the music industry. Hundreds of songs contain similar beats and patterns of notes, but the way in which they’re copied dictates whether or not its plagiarism. Borrowing something because it gave one inspiration is acceptable, while borrowing because one lacks creativity is wrong; he claims that this is the same for literature.
This piece really made me question exactly what constitutes as “plagiarism.” The thought of owning words seems a bit ridiculous to me, and because of that, I’ve never had a clear definition of what plagiarism really is. I understand the taking someone’s thoughts word for word is wrong, but if someone simply changes one word, does that make it his or her own? Well, technically yes, but its still stealing someone’s idea. This is where I become confused on what really defines plagiarism.