LegalEagle v. MatPat?

Now, I wrote about the whole Fortnite dance thing [Carlton v. Fortnite] a while back. My own analysis was drawn mainly from two sources, both linked in the original article, Press Start Legal‘s comments on reddit, and a YouTube video from LegalEagle. Apparently, about a week later, there was a Game Theorists video about the same topic. I mean, not a surprise right? It was getting a lot of attention.

Well, nothing like a little drama to drive views for everyone, right? Well LegalEagle has just put up a video discussing whether or not MatPat plagiarized his own video.

As an outside source who has absolutely no background in copyright law, unlike LegalEagle himself, it really didn’t seem that way to me. MatPat’s isn’t really taking taking his video word for word like some of the other stuff I’ve seen. This led me to ask myself though, what’s the definition of plagiarism anyway? Well, google’s built in dictionary had this to say:

the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.

In theory, then, it’s possible that he did so. We’d have to know the source of the information he used in his video though, which I don’t believe he states. It’s entirely possible he also took those from other locations or a combination of sources. In a way, one could argue that this entire post is, since it’s sort-of based on the LegalEagle video, or at least inspired by it. One of the main differences is that I’ve made the effort to include links to all the relevant bits. It also helps that my post isn’t monotized in any way, so I’m profiting from it. That doesn’t make it not infringement, though, just helps keep it in the derivative work category? I dunno, I certainly never claimed to be a lawyer or legal expert. That’s why I watch channels like LegalEagle to begin with.

I went so far as to ask MatPat for comment, thought I haven’t received any response and really don’t expect to. If he has responded at all, I’m not aware, but haven’t gone out of my way to find one either. Here’s both videos if you feel like checking them out yourself:

I just found it somewhat amusing. If the LegalEagle video wasn’t so aggressive I’d even go so far as to think that the controversy here has been manufactured to drive views for both channels and isn’t really a controversy at all.

But that’s just a theory… a dumb theory. Y’all take care, try not to accidentally plagiarize anyone, I guess?

4 thoughts on “LegalEagle v. MatPat?

  1. Last year my wife had an accounting class. She had to write a 5-6 page paper covering a topic. It was very similar to experiences she has had in the past. So she wrote the whole thing, had included 4 references with citations and submitted it to a program the school offers that will scan it against thousands of papers to see if you were plagiarizing any parts. 95% of it got flagged up. It took her a few hours to reword entire paragraphs and phrase things differently to get it below 23%. There is nothing you can do if it flags the title page, or your citations. But she wondered. How the hell did someone write another paper almost the same as hers. Then we realized, it was looking at every sentence against thousands of papers. It’s the monkeys at typewriters. No one student wrote the same, but thousands wrote a sentence the same. Was it plagiarizing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I think there should be different standards for different situations, but that’s how we end up with super complicated bureaucratic regulations.

      Unfortunately, intent is somewhat important here. By definition, you cannot plagiarize a citation because you have provided credit to the original source. As such, they really shouldn’t consider citations when looking at this. Unfortunately that would also allow me to write a paper on anything I want by citing every single sentence and saying it’s not plagiarism because rules.

      The very nature of academic essays, particularly properly cited ones, seems to lead to this result. If you have thousands of papers on a specific topic then by random chance, some of them are going to resemble others.

      Kinda my point in the actual post here, as well. Sure, there are some similarities between the YouTube videos, but just because LegalEagle feels as though he’s been ripped off, doesn’t necessarily mean that he was.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve written blog posts that have similar views to others because I may have had a similar train of thought. I did not write my post as a result of reading theirs. If there was a point they made that I used as an impetus, then I credit them.

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