Plagiarism in Fiction

"If you copy from one author, it's plagiarism; if you copy from many, it's research."
Wilson Mizner

Plagiarism is essentially taking the work of others and attempting to pass it off as one's own, almost always considered an unforgivable sin in academia. There is a lot more to it than that. If you care about that, look it up on Wikipedia, WestLaw, or this page. Around here, we're more concerned with plagiarism showing up as the topic of a story. The more complicated plots may involve Time Travel, with somebody discovering that William Shakespeare has been earning acclaim for years for the play he accidentally left in the past. A more common plot involves a Ridiculous Procrastinator trying to pass off a straight-A older sibling's report or assignment as their own, eventually getting busted because the teacher recognizes it.


Examples

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    Advertising 
  • In an advertisement for chocolate chip Eggo Waffles, a man calls to complain that what he thinks is a chocolate chip waffle (really, actually covered in mud) tastes terrible. The complaints clerk says they don't make chocolate chip waffle...yet. As a result for suggesting the idea, he gets a promotion.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Billy Bat first starts off when the maker of the titular character (an anthropomorphic bat detective in an American comic) realizes he may have accidentally plagiarized it from a character he saw while in Japan. The origin of the character turns out to be far more complicated than he'd ever imagined. Notably, there's also one scene where the cartoon character come to life, or a hallucination thereof, actually questions the concept of plagiarism, stating most of what humans regularly do had to have been copied from someone at some point.
  • An episode of Pokémon is about someone who needs actors for a film. When asked what it's about, the director pretty much sums up Romeo and Juliet. After listening, Brock and Ash are moved to tears, but Misty asks, "Hasn't this already been done?'
  • In Puella Magi Kazumi Magica, one of the main characters, Umika Misaki, had her first novel stolen by her editor, who published it under another author's name and actually had the nerve to ask Umika for more work. Because of this, she made a contract to become a magical girl and used her wish to meet an editor who would recognize her writing talent.
  • In Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Yozora does this in a rewrite of her screenplay for the club's movie in episode 9 of Season 2. While Maria mentions at the end of episode 8 that the story seems familiar, its not until episode 9 and after they've already shot some scenes that Kate points out to Kodaka the similarities with an obscure movie. He then checks the movie and finds out their film was a shot-for-shot remake of that obscure film. Yozora is forced to kneel while wearing a sign saying she plagiarized, and the club goes with Sena's script which she wrote as a backup just in case Yozora's script didn't work out.
  • In Ojamajo Doremi, the backstory for Hazuki's mother, Reiko Fujiwara, involved a man by the name of Yoichi Sakuragi, who passed himself off as a fledgling poet by stealing previous poems. His motive? To marry her and get her family's fortune. When she confronted him after finding out, Sakuragi revealed his true Jerk Ass nature and basically told her he tried to sucker her for For the Evulz. Reiko was heartbroken.
  • The Young Kindaichi Case Files: Plagiarism that causes the person stolen from to be Driven to Suicide (or outright murdered) becomes the motive for murder in several of the mysteries, and in fact provides the Start of Darkness for Kindaichi's greatest opponent.
  • Detective Conan: Being another detective series, it also deals with people being murdered over stolen ideas.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: It's implied that Shouta's father ripped off Tolkein via precognition. He states that it didn't count as stealing since copyright isn't retroactive.

    Comic Books 
  • In one issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, a teacher berates her class for plagiarism after almost all of them try using the lyrics of rap songs to do a poetry assignment. Several of them even used the same song.
  • In one early issue of The Simpsons, Bart and Milhouse create their own superhero comic book, which is so popular at Springfield Elementary that fights for an issue break out. They try to sell their comic to real artists at a convention, but are turned down. Months later, a new comic comes out, starring a blatant expy of Bart and Milhouse's character with only the name changed. However, this shows the problem with stealing someone's idea- because the company isn't imaginative enough to create new ideas, the comic's stories become stale, and the publisher has to blackmail Bart and Milhouse into making new comics for them.
  • In one issue of She-Hulk, tourists from an Alternate Universe without supers are sneaking into the main universe (gaining the powers of their counterparts in the process) and enjoying the lives of their alternate selves. When discovered and captured by S.H.I.E.L.D we get to see a montage of attorney meetings, Beast is suing his counterpart for stealing and patenting his theories in the latter's universe. Apparently in the Marvel Universe intellectual property laws have interdimensional jurisdiction. Seriously!

    Fan Fiction 
  • This is one of the main sources of wealth for Navarone in Diaries of a Madman. Though it should be noted that as the original creators are all dead and the art doesn't already exist in the world, he is providing a service by transcribing it.

    Film 
  • The film Big Fat Liar is about a boy getting a Hollywood producer to admit his plagiarism of the boy's story.
  • Secret Window is about an author who gets a knock on the door from a stranger who accuses him of plagiarizing a short story he wrote.
  • Jamal in Finding Forrester is accused of plagiarism when he turns in an essay written with Forrester's help. Fortunately, Forrester shows up at the disciplinary hearing to explain what happened.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Bowler Hat Guy tries to pass off Lewis' invention for his own. Unfortunately for him, he has no idea how it works.
  • In the 2012 movie The Words, A writer who is having trouble getting published happens upon an old manuscript which he passes off as his own and becomes a success.
  • In the 2009 film Gentlemen Broncos, a teenager's science fiction story is plagiarized by a writer he idolizes.
  • In Back to School, Thornton Melon turns in an essay about a book by Kurt Vonnegut, written by Kurt Vonnegut himself, which he passes off as his own. The English professor gives him an F, telling him that whoever wrote the essay "doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut." Later on, Thornton gets called in by the dean of the college, with accusations that Thornton has committed academic fraud by turning in homework done by someone else.
  • Ji-yun of Korean horror film Killer Toon becomes a prime suspect for murder after the grisly deaths she draws in her horror comic books start coming true in Real Life. She is then forced to admit that she is a plagiarist who has been publishing as her own work comic books that are being emailed to her by an anonymous author.
  • The B-plot of The Social Network has the Winklevoss twins and Divya Narendra suing Mark Zuckerberg over his alleged plagiarism of the idea (though not any of the code or assets) for their social networking site, The Harvard Connection, which they consider intellectual property theft.
  • This exchange from World's Greatest Dad when Robin Williams' character stops a student during a poem recital.
    Lance: Stop. Jason, You didn't write that. It's a Queen / Bowie song, Under Pressure. What Were You Thinking?
    Jason: I didn't think you knew that one.
    Lance: Jason, I'm white. Sit down.

    Literature 
  • The Nero Wolfe novella Plot It Yourself revolves around plagiarism accusations.
  • In Kurt Vonnegut's short story, "EPICAC", the narrator steals poems written by the computer EPICAC and passes them off as his own, in order to get Pat Kilgallen to marry him.
  • Stephen Fry's The Liar contains the oft-quoted line, "An original idea? That can't be too hard. The library must be full of them."
  • Animal Farm. Snowball — by which I mean Napoleon — comes up with the idea to build a windmill.
  • The protagonist of Robert Silverberg's Dying Inside makes his (not very good) living by selling plagiarized papers to college students.
  • One of the subplots in Changes has to do with the discovery that Master Bard Tobias Marchand is passing off his student's work as his own.
  • P. G. Wodehouse wrote two very similar school stories in which a compulsory poetry competition is run and the protagonist asks a friend for help. In one, the friend copies the entry out of a book; in the other, he writes an entry, but his drafts get misplaced and copied in turn.
  • I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan is presented as TV character Alan Partridge's poorly-written and nakedly self-serving autobiography. At one point in this book, he copies much of Wikipedia's article on frequency modulation.
  • Played with in Zombies of the Gene Pool. The book starts off with English professor Marion ripping an unnamed freshman a new one, after said freshman wrote a paper accusing Joseph Conrad of plagiarizing Robert Silverberg's Downward to the Earth when Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness. note 
    • Comes up again later - Marion points out the similarities between various stories written by the Lanthanides; Reuben Mistral brushes it off by saying they lived out of each others' pockets in those days and were bound to have hung onto a few ideas from the old times. But then Marion reveals the real point, namely that Erik Giles' writing style is nothing like his supposed Pen Name C.A. Stormcock's, but Stormcock's is very similar to the late Peter Deddingfield's writing, revealing that Giles and Deddingfield traded their names many years ago.
  • In Fangirl, Cath writes some Simon Snow fanfiction and turns it in for a college assignment. Her professor gives her an F, arguing that while the story might have been original, using someone else's world and characters makes it plagiarism.
  • The Prague Cemetery. The protagonist adapts earlier conspiracy theories for later clients, just changing the Big Bad concerned (Jesuits, Bonapartists, Jews). Doing so helps reinforce each Conspiracy Theory in the public mind, as people would vaguely remember hearing something similar, thus helping to 'authenticate' his own work.
  • In the opening to the Discworld spin-off Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, the overseer at the publishing house points out to his superior that Nanny's writing comprises of taking any work she finds interesting, copying it out onto old sugar bags, and signing it G. Ogg in crayon. His boss reassures him that this is "research", and perfectly fine.

    Live Action TV 
  • The West Wing, "20 Hours in America, Part 2":
    Sam Seaborn: Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright.
    • Which itself is a pre-existing saying.
  • In Murphy Brown, Corky's husband was accused of plagiarism of the childrens' book he was writing. The issue is eventually resolved in his favor when Corky's diary is read in court and expresses her bleeping frustration with her husband's work as it was going on.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Wild World of Batwoman, Mike and the bots watch a short educational film simply entitled "Cheating". They have a field day with it.
    Crow: A Centron production. Although we got the idea from a different company. 'Cuz we're cheating.
    • Afterwards, Mike assigns the robots to write essays on cheating. Gypsy's essay is: "Cheating is bad. Richard Baseheart is good." Crow T. Robot's essay is copied from Gypsy's.
  • In one episode of Cheers, Diane was having no luck trying to sell her writing to a magazine, and was considering giving up. Then she was shocked to read that Sam had submitted a work that was accepted by the same magazine. She was almost certain that he had plagiarized it, and spent days trying to find the actual source, but could not. Eventually, Sam told her that it wasn't his work - it was hers. He had taken one of her old manuscripts and submitted it to tell her You Are Better Than You Think You Are.
  • A major plot arc in Californication is when the young woman Hank slept with in the first episode is revealed to be Mia, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Hank's ex-wife's new fiancé, who goes on to steal the manuscript for his new book and threaten to reveal that they had sex (which would get him charged with statutory rape) if he tells.
  • The Facts of Life: When she has to hurry to write a poem for an English composition class, Blair hastily plagiarizes an Emily Dickinson poem about beauty. After the headmaster submits it to a competition and it wins, Blair is forced to admit the truth.
  • Similarly, when Erica Strange had to hurry to write a poem for an English composition class in Being Erica, she plagiarizes "Hit me baby one more time" by Britney Spears. It was a big hit and as she was time travelling (long story) at the time, no one caught it.
  • Lou Grant: One of the episodes, season 3's "Lou," dealt with a young reporter plagiarizing from a college newspaper; predictably, Lou finds out and it isn't long before the reporter is searching for another job.
  • JAG: In the season nine episode "Secret Agent Man", one of Mikey Roberts’ classmates at the U.S. Naval Academy is accused of plagiarism.
  • The Waltons episode "The Chicken Thief" had a subplot where Ben won a magazine poetry contest, but was guilt ridden since he got the idea for from an old poem John-Boy wrote. After much trepidation, he confesses to John-Boy and learns that his older brother doesn't consider it plagiarism since what Ben did is perfectly acceptable for creative writing.
  • Degrassi Junior High has an episode where Arthur helps Yick plagiarise Stephanie's work, as part of an experiment he is doing on Raditch (mainly to get Raditch to stop pigeonholing Yick). Raditch eventually sees through it, and Yick ends up writing some of his best work.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation has at least one incident concerning Paige. She's overworked and suffering panic attacks (and isn't helped by a teacher who mispronounces her surname), so she downloads a paper. Unfortunately for her, it's a common method of cheating.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati has the episode, "Dear Liar" where Bailey wrote a story of a young patient was a partially fictional amalgamation of the patients she visited at a children's hospital. Before she could reconsider airing it, Les jealously decides to read on air as his own work and thus puts the radio station's broadcast license in jeopardy. When Andy confronts him about his plagiarism during the crisis by challenging him to look up the word in the dictionary, Les does so and reads "The act of plagiarizing" while completely missing the point of the definition.
  • An episode of Castle has the main character, a mystery novelist, reveal that when he was a kid he paid another student to write a paper for him, which went on to receive acclaim from his teachers when he submitted it. The guilt and shame of receiving praise for work that wasn't his and the resulting feeling of being a fraud so affected him that he claims his entire career since has been an attempt to make up for it.
  • The Mystery Woman TV movie Game Time has this as a plot point - The murder victim hired a graphic designer/con artist to design his website. While working on it, he stole a prototype murder mystery game from the victim and passed it off as his own game. The con artist became a suspect when the author confronted him before his murder.
  • One episode of Roseanne has slacker Darlene buying a paper from Becky. When she gets a B, Roseanne is thrilled, until Darlene tells the truth.
  • In The X-Files, "Ghost in the Machine", Mulder's old partner from Violent Crimes steals his profile on the killer and presents it himself. Laser-Guided Karma drops his elevator down the shaft.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series plays this briefly as a joke. After Garth takes over the asylum in "Whom Gods Destroy", he has the other patients put on a show. Another patient, Marta, agrees to perform a sonnet she claims to have written that morning. A minute into her performance, Garth jumps out of his chair yelling "You wrote that?" He points out that it was actually written by William Shakespeare. She admits that he wrote it and says she wrote it again that morning. Later in the episode, she recites another poem; although nobody bothers to point it out this time, it's equally unoriginal, being the first stanza of one of A. E. Housman's Last Poems.
  • 227 had an episode where Barry has his students (including Brenda) write an essay on immigration and the top five would get to appear in a music video by Bobby Brown. Brenda wastes the time she was given and ends up plagiarizing an essay her mom Mary had written on the subject which had earned an A. However, Brenda only gets a C and Mary is doubly mad, both that Brenda ripped her off and that it had only gotten a C. (It turns out that was because it didn't cover immigration over the previous twenty years because it was written twenty-five years earlier.)
  • Used in an episode of The Sleepover Club. One of the girls is tempted to pay for a premade homework assignment to pass off as her own, but she ends up backing away, but both the Alpha Bitch and one of the male antagonists paid for his services. And they exposed each other when one of them read their report out loud...
  • In Father Ted, when working on an entry for the Eurosong competition, Ted steals the melody from the B-side of a Norwegian entry in the same contest in a previous year. He aborts the plan when he discovers that the original wasn't nearly as obscure as he'd thought.
  • Kingdom Hospital: Dr. Stegman gets his biggest comeuppance toward the end of the series, when it's discovered that he put his own name on a young, female doctor's thesis (he credited her as "with assistance from"). He did it because he thought his name would give it some level of prestige. Thus begins his Villainous Breakdown.
  • A Running Gag in Goodnight Sweetheart is that Gary has developed a reputation as a songwriter in 1944 based on the works of The Beatles. He has to keep coming up with excuses not to take them any further than playing them at the pub, lest he completely alter musical history.
  • CSI: This was the big twist regarding the motive of the killer on "A Space Oddity" (the episode with the Affectionate Parody of Star Trek: The Original Series): the executive producer of a revival project of an In-Universe Expy of Trek, "Astro Quest", had stolen the idea of a university literature professor on how to make the show Darker and Edgier ("deconstructing the idol", so she called it) and used it to create his pilot. The trouble is that he applied the philosophy that her treatise was trying to expose incorrectly, and the resulting demo reel was a "Nothing Isthe Same Anymore" Wangst-fest that actually enraged the show's fans into nearly causing a riot (and to further the gag, no less a man than Ronald D. Moore called out the executive on the reel's awfulness). The professor confronted the executive on the theft and him twisting around the message she wanted to deliver, and he accidentally slipped and hit a part of the show's set hard enough to die on the spot.

    Music 
  • Tom Lehrer's "Lobachevsky", from Songs by Tom Lehrer:
    I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.
    In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics:
    Plagiarize!
  • The title track of Cledus T Judd's album I Stoled This Record is "Stoled: The Copyright Infringement Incident", a parody of a John Michael Montgomery song that talks about plagiarizing a song and being taken to jail for it.
  • "This Song" by George Harrison may or may not count, given that it's a semi-autobiographical song about a real-life incident of plagiarism that also went before a judge: Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, the "My Sweet Lord" case.
  • "My Iron Lung" by Radiohead. "This/this is our new song/just like the last one". It isn't literally a retread of any Radiohead song before or since.
  • An Oscar Wilde quote, "Talent borrows, genius steals", was etched in the run-out groove of The Smiths single "Bigmouth Strikes Again".

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Zits, a classmate strongly advises Jeremy to visit www.bootleg.com in order to get better grades and save time and energy. Her soulless eyes indicate the alleged price. Jeremy is tempted, but the end of the arc implies that he didn't give in — and a teacher's suspicion makes the inveterate cheater do a Loud Gulp.
  • A storyline in Funky Winkerbean has Les Moore dealing with a student who's buying essays of the internet, and pointing out that she's not learning anything this way. In the end, he says that if she's struggling with writing essays, she can write a song for her English assignment instead. Because that will help her learn ... something, probably.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A sample character in the New World of Darkness book Asylum is "The Fraud", a member of the mental hospital's facility who made his career by stealing a colleague's work. Now he's screwed, because in order to keep his reputation, he has to keep stealing from the other researchers. Sometimes he wonders whether to kill himself or commit Suicide by Cop when they finally catch him — he can't imagine surviving the scandal.

    Video Games 
  • In Hotel Dusk: Room 215, one of the supporting characters is a novelist named Martin Summer, who is unable to write another successful novel, despite having a strong debut work. It turns out his first novel was actually plagiarized from a former friend's manuscript.
  • In BioShock Infinite, "tears" to alternate universes sometimes open, letting you see the contents of another universe, often at a different time. Musician Albert Fink found some tears that had music playing, and readily claimed their lyrics and melody as his own while making them more like the kind of music played in the early 1900s setting. The result are ragtime versions of songs that in our universe won't be written until decades after that universe's time including "God Only Knows" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World".
  • In Persona 5, Ichiryusai Madarame is an artist who steals his students' work to pass off as his own. Fittingly, he represents Vanity of the Seven Deadly Sins.

    Web Comics 
  • In XY Adventures, The outfits that Xavier and Yvonne wear when trying to meet Diantha look like Palette Swaps of each other. Yvonne's convinced that Xavier stole her design.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama's episode "Anthology of Interest I", Fry discovers the "Fry Hole":
    Fry: So what do you nerds want?
    Nichelle Nichols: It's about that rip in space-time that you saw.
    Stephen Hawking: I call it a "Hawking Hole".
    Fry: No fair! I saw it first!
    Stephen Hawking: Who is The Journal of Quantum Physics going to believe?
  • The Simpsons
    • "The Day the Violence Died"; Roger Meyers Sr ripped off the idea for Itchy from a guy named Chester Lampwick; when exposed, his son tried to justify it:
    Roger Meyers Jr.: Animation is built on plagiarism! If it weren't for someone plagiarizing The Honeymooners, we wouldn't have The Flintstones. If someone hadn't ripped off Sergeant Bilko, there'd be no Top Cat, Huckleberry Hound, Chief Wiggum, Yogi Bear? Hah! Andy Griffith, Edward G. Robinson, Art Carney.
    • And ironically, the elder Meyers was a victim too, it seems, the U.S. Post Office having stolen his "Maniac Mailman" idea for the Mr. Zip design.
    • "Fraudcast News": Millhouse, who has joined the staff of Lisa's newspaper, The Red Dress Press, admits he fabricated and copied content from other newspapers.
      • The story he wrote about Bagdad was also a fraud. He was in Basra.
    • Homer Simpson dreamed about becoming an inventor. After some ideas of his were rejected, he "invented" a chair with a special mechanism that prevented him from falling but he later found out Thomas Edison invented but didn't patent it. Homer and Bart went to the Thomas Edison Museum to destroy Edison's chair so there'd be no evidence Homer didn't invent it. There, they had a change of mind and left without destroying anything. Unfortunately, they also left Homer's electronic hammer, which, unlike what Marge thought, caught on. Thomas Edison was credited for the hammer and his "already wealthy" heirs got even more millions.
    • Flaming Moe, as the beverage was called after Moe stole it from Homer. (Although, as Lionel Hutz later tells Homer and Marge, you can't copyright a drink.)
    • "Dial N for Nerder":
    Bart: I didn't know there was a national park here.
    Lisa: You wrote a report on it last week.
    Bart: The internet wrote it. I just handed it in.
    • In "Krusty Gets Kancelled", Gabbo stole his crank call segment from Krusty, who stole it from Steve Allen.
    • And that was neither the first nor the last time. In "Homer the Clown":
    Woman (over intercom):: George Carlin on three.
    Krusty (answers phone)' Yeah?...Lawsuit? Oh, come on. My "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV" bit was entirely differen from your "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV" bit. ...So I'm a thief, am I? Well, excuuuse me! (to his accountant) Give him ten grand.
    Woman: Steve Martin on four.
    Krusty: Ten grand.
    • And in the second part of "Who Shot Mr. Burns", Krusty accuses Smithers of stealing a joke from him, only for Sideshow Mel to remind Krusty that he stole it from last night's episode of a show called Pardon my Zinger. (This is actually a clue that clears Smithers; if he watched that show, he couldn't have shot Mr. Burns.)
  • In King of the Hill, after Bobby was given full credit from an essay that Peggy wrote and considered a good writer, he took her Musings papers and hand it to his classmates to give them good essay grades.
  • In an episode of Hey Arnold!, Phoebe steals a poem from a book and passes it off as her own until the guilt drives her insane.
  • In the South Park episode "Weight Gain 4000", Cartman wins the essay contest. Wendy reveals that the paper is Walden with Henry David Thoreau's name replaced with his. The townspeople don't care and she expresses her anger.
    Wendy: I bet if Walden was a sitcom you'd all know what it was!
  • In an episode of Family Guy, one of the tangent gags shows Einstein working in a patent office. A man walks in wanting to patent his theory of relativity, and Einstein knocks him out and steals it.
    • He's later shown doing the same thing to God, after he invented shrinky dinks.
    • In another episode, police officer Reese arrives at the scene of an accident, where the two barely-alive victims mention that one's peanut butter got in another's chocolate, and vice versa. After Reese tastes the chocolate/PB mixture, he promptly shoots them both so he can steal the recipe.
    • FG also has an accidental version, where Brian's (terrible) novel Faster Than the Speed of Love is 99% similar to the Iron Eagle movies, which he says he's never seen. His attempts to prove that his novel is original only make things worse, such as when he mentions a drug smuggling ring (which, as Lois points out between hysterical laughter, was the plot of Iron Eagle III).
  • In Cloud Fathers, Xanatos captures Coyote the Native American Trickster Archetype with Coyote, a robot minion that gets destroyed every episode he appears in. Coyote says that he should sue Xanatos "for trademark infringement." Subverted in that Xanatos himself considers the robot a tribute.
  • The Kids From Room 402: Vinnie Nasta made a habit of presenting his big brother Tony's reports as his own but the teacher always remembers having already evaluated them back when Tony was her student. One time included a contest entry, which Vinnie checked to be sure Tony wasn't her student back then. She was a juror for the contest.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks:
    • To avoid having to write a report about a sport of his choosing, Alvin stole an old report from Simon's. Unfortunately, he forgot to check which sport Simon wrote about.
    • The first time the Chipettes appeared occurred when the three main characters found out - accidentally - that this other band was using their name. Also accidentally. (While Dave did the smart thing and called his lawyer, Alvin decides to wager the name. (He loses, because the girls cheat.) The issue was resolved when the girls actually try to perform under the name, to an audience expecting Alvin's band. Uh-oh. (Fortunately for them, Alvin is very forgiving, jumping in and introducing them as guest musicians, who they quickly call the Chipettes.)
  • Arthur's friend Francine plagarizes a school report. She has a nightmare about it, and confesses.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: "Magnificent Muttley" episode "Leonardo Da Muttley" featured a King offering a reward to whoever invented a flying machine. Dastardly stole two of Muttley's designs but both resulted in Dastardly believing he should suggest Leonardo to invent the parachute.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: Bash entered one of Viceroy's inventions as his own at the Science fair. His grade was a C, which he believes to be a number.
  • In The Smurfs episode "Harmony Steals The Show", Harmony was accused of plagiarism when his accuser presented the argument before a judge that he wrote an original symphony for the Smurf to use as his own under a signed contract. Harmony was cleared of that charge when it is revealed that his accuser had plagiarized pieces of other musicians' works to create his "original" symphony.
  • An episode of The Looney Tunes Show has Daffy learn that Bugs got his vast fortune by inventing the carrot peeler. Jealous, Daffy steals Bugs' plans for an automatic carrot peeler and becomes rich, but the untested machines have a dangerous flaw (which could be solved as explained in the plans' step 7 but Daffy was too lazy to read beyond step 3), which results in Daffy being chased out of town with Torches and Pitchforks.
  • Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures: "The Haunted Sonata". For generations, the Duntchecks lived the life of Royalties Heir because Franz Duntcheck stole a sonata from its real author, a woman who, because of her gender, was initially afraid of not being appreciated. Once the truth was revealed, Irina Kafka, as the current heiress of the real author, got the money.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Rarity Takes Manehattan", Rarity lets Suri Polomare, an old friend who happens to have entered the same fashion contest as her, have a bolt of a new fabric Rarity had developed. Suri promptly uses the fabric (and the hoofwork of her Beleaguered Assistant Coco Pommel) to copy Rarity's dress designs, forcing a stressed-out Rarity to improvise new outfits and threatening her relationship with her friends. Fortunately, Rarity not only wins the contest, but Suri's jerkassery drives Coco to quit and side with Rarity.
  • In the Littlest Pet Shop (2012) episode "The Big Feathered Parade," Blythe tries to enter some designs she made into the titled parade, but gets rejected by the judges because she's too young. She then runs into another designer, Ramon, who admires Blythe's designs so much that he decides to steal them and use them in the parade. Luckily, he gets caught in the end and Blythe gets full credit for the designs.
    • Ramon tried the same trick in the episode "Plane it on Rio," when Blythe enters Carnival.
  • From the Batman Beyond episode "Sentries of the Last Cosmos", Simon Harper is eventually revealed to have stolen the credit for creating the titular video game franchise from it's actual creator, Eldon Michaels. He tries to have Michaels killed to cover it up before the truth is exposed.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PlagiarismInFiction