Malcolm Gladwell wrote “Sometheing Borrowed: Should a charge of plagiarism ruin your life” in “What the Dog Saw: And other Adventures.” Gladwell’s main point in his story is that plagiarism is unfair and dishonest. He then goes on to discuss the many facets of plagiarism; like melodies in songs and picnic tables. Gladwell wants people who are interested in the arts and humanities to read this because he pulls pieces of music, art and literature to use as examples since plagiarism is a key component in these areas. This is because people change up others work and make it into their own for the world to develop and grow. Malcolm Gladwell explains that when an idea goes public, people are allowed to copy it and make others work into “a grander cause.” Overall I think Gladwell was trying to focus on why ideas are plagiarized and their reasoning behind it, rather than just focusing on the fact that it was plagiarized.
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Later on Lavery does admit that it was wrong and apologizes for what she had done. Throughout the story Gladwell brings up examples of pieces of art, literature and music that have either been plagiarized or transformed. He does this because he wants the reader to understand the difference between plagiarism and borrowing.
Malcolm brings up one of his friends who’s in the music industry. He starts off by telling us how he’s in his friend’s apartment on the Upper East Side going through CD’s after CD’s. He begins to realize that these songs that his friends playing are very similar to each other. “He played Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and then Muddy Waters’s “You Need Love,” to show the extent to which Led Zeppelin had mined the blues for inspiration”(Gladwell 234). Music is the universal tool for transforming, tweaking, and borrowing of others melodies. This starts to become difficult when identifying plagiarism from borrowing or tweaking another person’s work. One incident that was brought up was when the Beastie Boys copyrighted “a six-second sample taken from the 1976 composition “choir,” by the jazz flutist James Newton”(Glawell 228). Even after the Beastie Boys paid the copyright recording fee of his notes, Newton was still not satisfied and sued. Lawrence Ferrera was an expert witness for the Beastie Boys, he played those same three notes that Newton had wrote which was C, D-flat, C. He then says “That’s it! There ain’t nothing else! That’s what was used. You Know what this is? It’s no more than a mordent, a turn. It has been done thousands upon thousands of times. No one can say they own that”(Gladwell 229). Gladwell was trying to explain that notes couldn’t be owned which makes it unable to be plagiarized or stolen.
Overall Malcolm Gladwell writes a well-articulated piece of work. It
helped strengthen his story because he himself was a victim of plagiarism. He
spoke about how he felt towards plagiarism and the differences between stealing
someone’s work, and borrowing it. He even explains that inventions, music, art
and literature are tools for artist and inventors to grow and expand to create
something that is even better. Gladwell tells about how