Sunday, April 3, 2011

The King's Throne .. and a question!

DO you ever worry about accidental plagerism? There are common threads thoughts, trends, and themes, in TG captions and a lot of people surf same or similar sites for inspiration and pictures... I always worry that I'm going to create something not like

Well, Joseph Campbell talks about a “monomyth” in his seminal book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” where story archetypes follow certain patterns. There are only a finite number of plots to go around, most people suggest seven (person vs. nature, person vs. person, person vs. the environment, person vs. machines/technology, person vs. the supernatural, person vs. self, and person vs. god/religion) while some would suggest only one, which is a person against conflict. Most stories/movies, etc .. mix and match as needed.

Everything is going to be recycled. Just watching a sitcom will make you aware of that. I’ve mentioned before that I could predict my daughter’s Disney Channel shows with such a degree of accuracy, she wanted me to stop watching them with her. Bewitched is a perfect example of a formulaic show .. Darren has some sort of presentation, insults Endora who puts a spell on him, he struggles with it, then Samantha saves the day by incorporating the issue that Darren has, and they make the sale, with the drunk boss happy once again … never mind that Samantha seems to be the only one keeping McMahon and Tate alive in a business and creative sense.

I am more concerned with switching up enough in my captions where people won’t be able to predict what I am up to next. That goes for both the actual caption AND the sequence of captions I make. If I make a silly one, do I follow it up with another silly one, or a sultry caption instead? If I make a sweet caption, do I then get sadistic and dominating for the next three that I create?

Pictures are a bit more problematic, though with Google image search, there are lots more photos to sift through now. A number of years ago, it was difficult to aggregate pictures by what you were looking for, so people tended to all fish from the same few sites, which could lead to redundant images. There are a few shots for me that are iconic, in that I’ve seen them used at LEAST three times in captions (I believe I’m the first to use the picture up above in March of 2009, and seen it used at least twice since.) I’ve even been reluctant to use famous pornography actresses / website stars because they could pull someone out of the story in seeing them. However, even using the same pictures can lead to hugely different captions, as seen in my experiment a month or two ago with five captions all using the same image and background.

I guess the whole point of plagiarism is knowingly copying someone else’s work. I guess there are degrees in what people would consider copying. Picasso is quoted as saying, “Bad Artists copy, Good Artists steal.” I think that Caitlyn is a great captioneer, and once, I saw something she created and I said, “Wow, it is a lot like a caption I made,” but after reading it, there was a unique spin on it. Whether she had read my original or not, there was a different overview to it that attacked the plot from a different perspective. In fact, she probably hadn’t read my caption, but came to the same realization that I had when I made mine. When Nirvana stole (and pretty much admitted to doing so) “More Than a Feeling” from Boston for "Smells Like Teen Spirit," they spun it into something totally removed from the original. They used the chords as a starting ground and expanded it to a different entity of its own.

What I do have a problem with is when someone lifts paragraphs straight from someone else’s work and does nothing with it. It can be glaring, especially when they are using source material that is quite distinctive. I know one captioner that straight up pilfered a picture from a caption that Petra made. How do I know? It was a trade caption made for me that had the “Playin Petra” tag she used to use at the bottom of the picture. That is just bad form!

I wouldn’t worry too much if you aren’t cut and pasting your captions from other people’s works. Since it seems like your question was cut off due to Formspring having that 140 character limit, I’m not sure where your question was heading. Feel free to PM me at Rachel’s Haven or post the full question in multiple boxes on Formspring if I haven’t fully covered what you wanted to talk about. Lastly, you could also post in the comment section.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: How do you go about making sure you aren’t copying someone else’s work when making a caption? As a reader, do you care if you are reading something that has been plagiarized? Since I mentioned both Campbell and Picasso in this post, how many dick and fart jokes do I have to add in the next post to balance the blogs intellectual factor?


  1. You covered it.... I'm sorry I'm just learning to use your site and obviously keep screwing it up! I'll try to get better and not be a distraction while I learn!


    Oh and no I NEVER pull pics from anyone elses work or lines but I do surf the web like everyone else and probably pull from some of the same picture repositories... Also one note on your answer... I agree that caps with known entities such as Celebs or Porn stars can "take people out of" the realm and story you are tying to spin but not being a big porn authority I sometime have no clue who is in the picture.

    Thanks for answering my question


  2. I never intentionally copy someone. That is the first barrier I set up to make sure I don't copy someone. If I ever come to the point where anyone sees me copy someone intentionally, just find me and shoot me in the head. And I have something that helps me in that regard... I have a fairly bad memory. What I take away form really good caps is the 'feeling'. I couldn't quote direct lines out of caps without it sitting right in front of me.

    The examples that you use, of people outright taking a picture from another cap (with the watermark) I think is sad... but at the same time if they write their own story I don't think it is ALL bad. I don't do it... I really cement the picture with the cap I read it with. But if someone has a hard time finding an inspiriting picture, then I say go for it. BUT that applies to the picture only. If you intentionally lift a story from a cap, then you deserve a slow and horrible death. My thinking is that I didn't make the photos I use, so I can't exactly call 'dibs' on someone elses work. But I DID write the story. In that case you are stealing from ME, or some other hard working cap artist. If you just can't cap... then don't.

    And I would guess that you are going to require at least a half dozen dick and fart jokes to make up for Campbell and Picasso.


    I agree with you on the 'fishing from the same pond' point. I have found (well after the fact) that several of the images I've used, had been used before. I just hadn't seen them. And I think using some known celeb or porn star is always a relative exercise. Just because you as the artist knows them, doesn't mean that your readers will. And just because your readers know it, doesn't mean that you did. I have found several times that people knew the model I used, when I just found it as a random image.

  3. There are a few ways to answer this. I try not to take images that I think might have been photomanipulated. (And thus represent real work for the artist). Other then that I will keep any image that strikes my fancy. Sometimes for years before I get around to using them. But I DO try and keep any identifying markings on the image so that they get credit for it. (I think of it as free advertising).

    I agree that there is a limited number of story concept out there. So repetition among artists is to be expected but I NEVER take some elses intellectual work and transfer to to my own. I consider that the worst kind of plagiarism. (That said I DO keep a copy of their work for myself to view again later. They are stored away in little file folders like "Gender swap: nice sequential", or "Occupation: Schoolteacher, non sequential".

    There is another way I beat the monotony. I very my caps not jest by naughty and nice but by different themes, like super heroine in distress, gender swap and angry girlfriend.

    And the fart jokes are not necessary to keep things even. Now low brow Tom and Jerry jokes...

  4. This is an interesting question Dee...

    You say that Disney takes already told stories(i want to believe they take someone artwork and give a different feeling for the watcher in their shows or maybe they stole it and said that is completely original :3)

    We all know that coming with a story can be sometimes difficult, in my case i find it easy to make new stories, but that i find it good and bad for a reason, i could post a lot of stories but i know that they aren't good(i have some in my hard drive that are quite bad, and i try to search for errors in them whenever i find myself stuck with a new cap), that's why i practise with my writing skills and i try everyday to hone my skills, i don't know if i reached the point where you can say i have an unique style, but i try my hardest to make my stories different from what you saw before.


    I wouldn't go that far, i think i would tie you up from the fingers :3

    Sometimes my role characters help in that manner, i got asked by some people why i them, and i give the response to them...
    They are what they are because i chose them to be what they are, i mean i find more easy to write a story with characters, not just some (insert male name) becomes (insert female name) note that i'm not saying that's bad but i don't feel right doing that, i tried and it didn't work, i want my characters to feel alive, i set them in their own universe and i make them have their own traits and skills, so that why i created them, but i'm falling out of the question here.
    What you explain here Dee about stealing someone other's work like copying outrageously lines from another story i find it bad, nor just bad i find it lazy, i dunno why someone would start to make a story and then unable to continue would steal someone's other lines, i would see unfit for the story and i think i would catch it fast like you said, when you start to create a story you have to set up first what you want to tell to the other person, what reasons brings the characters to do what they do in the story (seriously i've encountered some stories, that are like: josh became Joshie because he felt like it) where is the plot?, where is the reason that drive the story?...

    To summarize:

    If i were to steal someone's artwork or stories then i would end doing caps, but if i would have to stick with an already told story i would take it and try to make it completely different from what it was...

  5. Damn I hate Blogger. I can't count how many times I write up a response and then click the post button only to have it f#*$ up and delete everything.

    I had a big long comment here, but it got lost in the Blogger machinery. Basically it said, copying a phrase, or sentence or paragraph from someone is not good. Taking a concept from someone else and building on it to make something new and unique to you is the artistic process.

    Oh and ha, I had no idea someone used a pic I had in a cap for one of their own. I have no problem with that, it wasn't mine to begin with *shrug*

  6. @ Pea

    Well, it was removed anyway, because it had an implied incest as well. I can't imagine how someone thought I would like the caption to be honest.

    And I understand that the original pictures aren't always ours, but I tend to crop and alter the pictures, and I know that Caitlyn often does the same thing. Posting THAT manipulation to the same place that had the "original" seems a bit tacky to me at least.