The Great Plagiarism Fuckup of Late 2013, in which Transformers star Shia LeBeouf openly and obviously plagiarised word for word and frame for frame Daniel Clowes‘ graphic novel Justin M. Damiano (without crediting him) for his latest directorial offering, the short film HowardCantour.com, then plagiarised his apology for said plagiarism from a Yahoo! Answers forum, continues into 2014 as LeBeouf hired a skywriter to etch the words “I AM SORRY DANIEL CLOWES” into the New Years Eve sky.
At first glance, it seems that maybe this grand skywriting stunt, although perhaps a little over the top, was genuine, with LeBeouf posting a picture to his Twitter and accompanying it with this definition of “cloud”.
– vapor floating in the atmosphere
– remote servers used to SHARE DATA
– to make LESS CLEAR or TRANSPARENT pic.twitter.com/jw9JlEi791
— Shia LaBeouf (@thecampaignbook) January 1, 2014
But, as we delve deeper into the rabbit hole that is Shia LeBeouf’s lengthy series of apology tweets posted over the holiday season in the wake of the initial mid-December controversy, the skywriting stunt looks to be more tongue-in-cheek than the product of genuine remorse, as LeBeouf appears to be mounting a complex and increasingly ironic criticism of intellectual property laws and the concept of plagiarism itself.
LeBeouf appears to have lifted dozens of apologies from from various high profile apologists like Val Kilmer, Lars Von Trier, Tiger Woods, Kanye West and Vietnam War “architect” Robert McNamara, among others, suggesting that LeBeouf is using the whirlwind he’s stirred up to challenge notions of exactly what plagiarism is and isn’t, completely missing the point of what everyone’s mad at him for, and effectively extended a middle finger to all those siding with the guy who actually came up with the thing he stole in the first place (ie. everyone).
A few hours ago, LeBeouf tweeted a link to Nine Inch Nails’ song Copy Of A, which opens with the lines “I am just a copy of a copy of a copy / Everything I say has come before”. LeBeouf’s controversial twittering certainly brings up some interesting arguments about the fluid definitions of things like creation and inspiration, particularly in an age where we have instantaneous access to almost every piece of art created in any medium, ever, but the fact still stands that there’s a clear and solid difference between being inspired by something, and simply ripping that something off, word for word, giving no credit to the original source. We don’t know who came up with it, and if we did we’d credit them, but Shia, you are a total LeDouche.
Via The Hollywood Reporter