Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Television dramas illustrating a hard way for plagiarism victims to get credit for the work copied by others

Long before the series "Big Bang" started, there was an episode of Law & Order which first aired on March 2, 1994 which was titled "Big Bang." A central plot line concerned a higher-up (a professor) stealing the work of a subordinate (a grad student). An irony of the story (in which the grad student (inadvertently) caused the death of the professor's (separated) wife) was that by confessing to the crime, the grad student finally got credit for the work stolen by the professor.

See earlier discussion in the IPBiz post Story of professor stealing work of student reprises the "Big Bang" episode of "Law and Order" , other IPBiz posts and an article in "Intellectual Property Today."

Of the ironic twist (finally getting credit by confessing to a crime), an episode of Perry Mason, broadcast in 1964 (thirty years before the "Big Bang" episode) titled "The Case of the Tragic Trophy" has actor John Fiedler (later in Bob Newhart) playing the role of a screenwriter whose impressive story is stolen by the producer played by Richard Carlson (earlier of "Black Lagoon"). In this case, the plagiarism victim (Fiedler) kills the thief, but finally gets credit for the authorship in providing the motive for his crime.

[In the Mason episode, the Mason client had struck Carlson without killing him, and Fiedler took advantage of the situation to finish off Carlson knowing that Mason's client would be suspected; the double-attack theme appears in other Mason episodes. In the "Law & Order" episode, the grad student did not intend to kill anyone, but the result of his actions actually threw suspicion for the death onto the separated professor.]


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