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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The LaBeoufening Continues

Posted by on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Shortly after I posted Shia LaBeouf's non-apology for plagiarizing his short film almost wholesale from a Dan Clowes comic last night, the news broke that LaBeouf seems to have plagiarized part of his apology from an old Yahoo Answers post. How low can you get?

And the plot thickens: BuzzFeed says that Clowes is looking at legal action, according to Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds.

Shia LaBeouf may need to prepare for a legal battle over his short film that plagiarized the work of artist Daniel Clowes. According to Eric Reynolds, the artist’s long-time editor and the associate publisher at Fantagraphics, Clowes is pursuing his legal options.
“His apology is a non-apology, absolving himself of the fact that he actively misled, at best, and lied, at worst, about the genesis of the film,” Reynolds wrote to BuzzFeed in an email on Tuesday. “No one ‘assumes’ authorship for no reason. He implied authorship in the film credits itself, and has gone even further in interviews. He clearly doesn’t get it, and that’s disturbing. I’m not sure if it’s more disturbing that he plagiarized, or that he could rationalize it enough to think it was OK and that he might actually get away with it. Fame clearly breeds a false sense of security.”

Reynolds is a Seattle treasure, and this Fantagraphics-vs.-LaBeouf fight is hands down my favorite literary feud of the year.


Comments (23) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Are all movies and acting not a form of plagiarism?

Is Avatar not plagiarized from Fern Gully?

I'm not commenting on whatever Shia Lewhatever did, I'm just saying intellectual property is a truly funny part of our society.

Posted by michael bell on December 17, 2013 at 12:05 PM · Report this
Mattini 2
This is so bizarre I keep thinking it's performance art.

I guess the simple explanation is that it's easy for an A-list actor who's never known another life to have a god complex.
Posted by Mattini on December 17, 2013 at 12:07 PM · Report this
Is there a link or place to see the original pice of work though, it actually sounds interesting.
Posted by michael bell on December 17, 2013 at 12:13 PM · Report this
@1 there is a stark difference between derivative work and full-on plagiarism. Sure it's impossible to ignore the similarity Avatar had to Fern Gully, Dances With Wolves and Pocahontas (to name a few) but the art direction, cinematography, dialogue and setting were all drastically different in each of those films. It's not plagiarism to use common movie tropes or basic, cliched conflicts.

It IS, however, a completely different beast when the pacing, dialogue, blocking, setting and characters are all identical or near-identical to a piece that came before it. Shia's little film wasn't plagiarism because it dealt with the same subject as Clowe's graphic novella- it was plagiarism because it WAS Clowe's graphic novella. Without any acknowledgement of its source material.

Intellectual property may be murky, and made all the murkier thanks to the likes of Disney's crack team of IP Lawyers, but there are some things about it that are fairly clear and easily understood. You want to make a word-for-word re-creation of someone else's work in a new medium? Get that person's permission and provide proper credit.

Shia stole Clowe's work and tried to pass it off as his own. That is disgusting and NOTHING like the example you provided.
Posted by AedanCRoberts on December 17, 2013 at 12:25 PM · Report this
@3 Here is a link to the buzz feed article that has both to compare to:…
Posted by AedanCRoberts on December 17, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
Peteykins 6
LeBeouf basically used Clowes' comic as not only a script, but as a storyboard.

I can't help but think that there must be union rules he broke, too. I mean, Dan Clowes must be a member of the Writers Guild, right? Them and the DGA must surely have sanctions for this kind of thing.
Posted by Peteykins on December 17, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Peteykins 7
...and by "them and the DGA", I mean, of course, "they and the DGA."
Posted by Peteykins on December 17, 2013 at 12:31 PM · Report this
TacomaRoma 8
Maybe it's assigning too much credit, but look at all buzz this is generating for the film, Clowes and his comic. LeBueff (sp?) can easily settle this, but why rush into that when all this press is being generated for free?
Posted by TacomaRoma on December 17, 2013 at 12:39 PM · Report this
@4 "I'm not commenting on whatever Shia Lewhatever did,"
- #1

So, your long examination was slightly unnecessary. My reasoning for saying what I did was that maybe this plagiarism of Shia LaBeef's is a consequence of being a shitty actor, constantly trying to imitate as part of their work.
Thanks for the link though I just read the comic. Literally no interest in seeing that guy act.
Posted by michael bell on December 17, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Report this
I watched the first like 20 seconds of the video and yeah that's fucking ridiculous. All I needed to hear was "a critic is a warrior..." OK now I see what the fuss is about. but
@8 makes a good point.
Posted by michael bell on December 17, 2013 at 12:42 PM · Report this
"my favorite literary feud of the year."

You're a piece of shit Paul.
Posted by velour on December 17, 2013 at 12:46 PM · Report this
Shia LaBeouf isn't a literary entity, and there's really no feud. He thought he could get away with plagiarizing, but he got busted. Now he has to suffer the consequences.
Posted by Amanda on December 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 13
For God's sake, everybody. This is America. His name is Shia the Beef.
Posted by MacCrocodile on December 17, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
fletc3her 14
This whole case seems over-the-top brazen. Graphic novels are the preferred script treatment these days. But the lawyers will straighten it out and due credit or big check will be issued.
Posted by fletc3her on December 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 15


The Coen brothers were exposed the day that Netflix opened its website.

In fact, all of the 1990s were derivative.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on December 17, 2013 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Why, this sounds like a case for David Shields!
Posted by Ryan Boudinot on December 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM · Report this
@9 you asked if Avatar was plagiarizing Fern Gully, then commented on the hard-to-understand nature of Intellectual Property.

I'm sorry if it came off harsh or unnecessary, but I was trying to point out the myriad ways that your example was not plagiarism and easily distinguished as not such. I wasn't calling you out for dismissing Shia's wrong-doing so much as pointing out that by however indirectly comparing Avatar's lack of originality with Shia's complete copy-and-paste of the entire work you are doing the situation a great disservice.
Posted by AedanCRoberts on December 17, 2013 at 1:48 PM · Report this

You're walking in the woods.
There's no one around and your phone is dead.
Out of the corner of your eye you spot him: Shia LaBeouf
Posted by the other one on December 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM · Report this
eustaceia 19
@8 Come on...his name is right there in the title of the comments window. Just a quick look could save you an "(sp?)"
Posted by eustaceia on December 17, 2013 at 1:58 PM · Report this
@15 Because video stores and film reference books didn't exist where you lived? What the hell are you talking about?
Posted by Jakechad on December 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 21
@19 Maybe @8 thought copying the correct spelling from the headline would be plagiarism?
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM · Report this
I saw him (Shia LaBarf)at a light today in Hollywood. He was driving a $400,00.00 + Mercedes SLS Gullwing. Get your money Daniel Clowes...
Posted by Rickklu333 on December 17, 2013 at 5:20 PM · Report this
The French word for "beef" is a masculine fucking noun!

Did we ever need more proof that this guy's a fraud?

Posted by d.p. on December 17, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this

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