7 Spooky Copyright and Plagiarism Stories for Halloween

Should be enough Halloween spirit to last a week...

7 Spooky Copyright and Plagiarism Stories for Halloween Image
This is awesome! I can feel it in my bones!

 As many long-time readers likely know, every year around this time I take a short hiatus from the site to focus on my charity haunted house.

Obviously, work on the haunt has been going on for months but, as we enter the final crunch, I need to step away for a bit to finish everything for opening night. I will continue to work with clients and to answer emails, but the site will be a bit quiet for a while.

However, as is also tradition, I’m going to leave you with some of my favorite Halloween-themed copyright and plagiarism-related stories we’ve covered on this site.

Now, we recently revisited four of the stories last week as part of our 7 Works with Bizarre Copyright Histories post. There you can learn about Nosferatu, Night of the Living Dead, Frankenstein and Metropolis among others.

However, there’s still plenty of other great Halloween posts on the site, including:

1: Copyright and The Rocky Horror Picture Show

7 Spooky Copyright and Plagiarism Stories for Halloween Image

I won’t leave in antici… pation too long. The copyright history behind Rocky Horror is actually fairly mundane. Sure, it might be a cult film that’s spent longer in theaters than any other, but its rights and copyright history is surprisingly ordinary.

The film that started life as a musical doesn’t have the issues that plagued many earlier Halloween classics. Still, it’s interesting to learn where you can license your own screening of the film (with shadowcast I hope) or put on your own performance of the Rocky Horror Show

Also, as you read the post, have fun going through and finding all of the callouts. There are over 20…

2: Repo! The Plagiarism Opera

Repo the Genetic Opera Still

Speaking of cult films, Repo! The Genetic Opera is one of the most divisive films I know and also one of my personal favorites.

However, in 2010, two years after Repo! was released, a new film entitled Repo Men was making its debut. With similar themes of organ repossession and dystopian futures, fans of Repo! began to cry foul. 

However, a quick investigation quickly showed that the two works were independent creations with similar themes. Simply put, it was impossible for anyone to have plagiarized anyone else.

Furthermore, both films wound up being very different movies, unified only by some overlapping themes and similarly poor box office performance. 

3: Plagiarism in Pop Culture: Re-Animator

7 Spooky Copyright and Plagiarism Stories for Halloween Image

From suspected plagiarism of a movie to attempted plagiarism in a movie, earlier this month we took a look at Re-Animator, a 1985 horror film based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft.

However, what many people forget is that the plot of the first two movies was driven largely by plagiarism, specifically the plagiarism of Dr. Hill.

But how realistic is this plagiarism and would or could this kind of plagiarism happen in the real world? The answer is probably not. However, it shouldn’t be shocking that a film with such a loose interpretation of biology would have an equally loose one with plagiarism…

4: Brains! A Story of Missed Attribution and Missed Opportunity

7 Spooky Copyright and Plagiarism Stories for Halloween Image

In 2002 goth musician Aurelio Voltaire thought he had just found his big break. He had been tapped by Cartoon Network to write a song for the show Grim and Evil (which would later be split into two shows, Evil Con Carne and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy).

This meant that his music would be in front of millions of people and, when the song was cut into a music video, they would know his name and be able to seek out more of his work.

But when the music video debuted, not only was the title of the song wrong, but his name was completely omitted. Having relied on standard practice and not his contract, Voltaire never got the attribution for his work he needed and, though he was paid well for the song, it wasn’t the launching pad for his career he had hoped. 

5: The Shape of Non-Plagiarism

The Shape of Water Poster

The Shape of Water faced several plagiarism allegations but, in this article, we take a look at the overlaps between it and an earlier student film entitled The Space Between Us

Though the similarities are interesting, the story ends up being somewhat moot as it is physically impossible for The Shape of Water to have plagiarized from the work. Simply put, the film was being worked on well before The Space Between Us was released.

Though the story isn’t really a plagiarism tale, it is a story about how some amazing overlaps can lead to allegations of plagiarism, regardless of how impossible said plagiarism is.

6: Creating a Fake Plagiarism Story

7 Spooky Copyright and Plagiarism Stories for Halloween Image

Speaking of creating a fake plagiarism story, in this article I attempt to “prove” that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a plagiarism of the Star Trek episode Catspaw.

While it’s obviously not true, it does show just how easy it is to claim a work is a plagiarism when you focus just the similarities. It gets even easier when the two works involved are pulling from the same tropes and will have a lot of overlap regardless of how independently they were created.

It’s a story meant to serve as a reminder that not all similarities indicate plagiarism and that not all overlap is copying.

7: 10 Great Public Domain Horror Movies

Night of the Living Dead Poster

Finally, if this isn’t enough Halloween fun for you, then here’s a list of 10 great horror movies that all happened to be in the public domain. 

Whether you’re wanting to see Vincent Price in one of his classic roles, Christopher Lee as Dracula, watch the original Night of the Living Dead or take in the classic Nosferatu, you can do so without paying.

As a fan of old, b-movie and low-budget horror, this list includes many of my favorites and all are good films. So, if you’re looking for a free film to watch tonight, maybe you can find something here.

Bottom Line

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope that yours is a great one and I will see everyone on November 1st with a very special (and perfectly timed) Plagiarism in Pop Culture. 

You’ll may even go Coco for it…

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