plagiarismOK, so the Shia Labeouf thing just went from stupid to maybe a little bit interesting. I don’t know if I’d go quite so far as to say “brilliant,” like Techdirt has, but still, it’s proof that intentionality matters. Turns out Shia wasn’t plagiarizing his apologies for plagiarism out of stupidity or not knowing any better; he was doing it intentionally to make a point.

Techdirt sums up Labeouf’s defense and explanation of his plagiarism, which were in turn plagiarized from Larry Lessig among others.

The problem begins with the legal fact that authorship is inextricably
bound up in the idea of ownership and the idea of language as
Intellectual property. Language and ideas flow freely between people
Despite the law. It’s not plagiarism in the digital age – it’s repurposing.
Copyright law has to give up on its obsession with “the copy”
The law should not regulate “copy’s” or “reproductions” on there own.
It should instead regulate uses – like public distributions of copyrighted work –
That connect directly to the economic incentive copyright law was intended to foster.

To which I would say, yeah, it’s nice that you’re standing on principle about this and making a stand for what you believe in, but I don’t think it’s exactly going to help your defense when the people you plagiarized take you to court. In fact, it’s probably going to be used as evidence of your “nonrepentance” to get them to crank the damages.

But then, having been Spike in the Transformers trilogy and the son of Indiana Jones, you’ve probably got more than enough money banked to pay even the harshest possible damages for ripping off a comic book for a short noncommercial movie. So you just go right on being you, Shia.