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04:02 pm: Tying Up Rainbows -- Who Gets the Credit?

There is a phenomena that has happened to  me several times in my life, where one person copies something from another and then finds out that the first person did not make up it up after all.

Example: I misremembered the rainbow line from Sunshine Superman to include the line: "while I tie up rainbows you can have for your own" as if  the guy were tying them in a bow for the girl on her velvet throne. I then used the idea of tying rainbows in a bow in my Prospero novel. It is one of the outlandish things Astreus Stormwind, the elf, offers to Miranda at Santa Claus's House.

So, my question is: who gets the credit for the idea?  Can't be me, I borrowed it. It isn't the guy who wrote the song, his song doesn't actually say that. The Muses, maybe?

Any thoughts?


[User Picture]
Date:February 10th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
The Muses, definitely. I vaguely recall reading somewhere that there are only about seven actual ideas, and everything else is a variant on them. I have not, however, researched this. *grin*

It's the way you used the idea that is yours and yours alone. The same way two characters with eyes that change color can still be completely different.
[User Picture]
Date:February 10th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
And they are, aren't they? ;-)
[User Picture]
Date:February 10th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
I disagree, I think you get the credit, because you did think it up. You just thought someone else did. But the concept really didn't exist until you formulated it.

Here's what I mean: If you drive south on the Garden State Parkway in NJ, shortly after passing the exit for Newark Airport you'll see an exit sign that reads "Elizabeth Garfield Goethals Bridge." (I could be wrong about the middle name...but it doesn't matter for what I'm saying.)

First time I saw it, my brain asked "Who was Elizabeth Garfield Goethals, and why did they name a bridge after her?" Except no, she doesn't exist and never did. The sign indicates the exit for the city of Elizabeth NJ, the city of Garfield NJ, and the NJ-to-Staten Island Goethals Bridge (which turns out to be named for one Maj. George Goethals, and not a woman at all).

But what have we got as a result of the mis-read? A name for a character, from a road sign.

The person who made the road sign didn't invent it. I'd say that between me and the sign maker, I'd be the one who invented the character.

You took a Mondegreen and turned it into a visual image. I took a road sign and created a name.

Inspiration comes in many forms.
[User Picture]
Date:February 10th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
I'll take credit for it!
[User Picture]
Date:February 10th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
Very good! That solves a lot of problems. ;-)
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