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They Copied It, So It Sucks
"If you are yourself than people will pay attention. If you are nothing but a fucking bitch living in somebody else shadow than you are going to be recognized as such. As a bitch in their shadow"

There's a high demand for innovation and new ideas, so if a new work has similarities to an older or more popular one, expect those similarities to be the dominant subject in discussion about the work, even if they're entirely superficial. Some people go on to say that if you can't come up with an original idea, don't even bother trying to make the work, despite the fact that most original works get ignored because of lack of advertising or that it's just not something publishers recognize and they're afraid to give it a chance. It's often a Catch-22 when genuine attempts to shake up the market or are ignored, whereas Strictly Formula works fly off the shelves because of the familiarity, despite the criticisms of lack of originality.

Of course, many times creators do borrow ideas from another work as inspiration to create new stories and concepts. Considering that just about everything has been done, it's difficult to properly think of something new and fresh. This is not always the case, however, as sometimes creators deliberately try to copy a particular franchise as soon as its success becomes evident. They will immediately try to make something to compete — and most of the time it will fail miserably, because it was rushed or just implemented poorly. Other times it might come up with a really cool and ingenious new spin on the idea, and still never reach the same kind of popularity as its competition because somehow being too much like the original is deplorable.

The error here is the automatic assumption that just because something is similar, it can't have any value on its own merits. If everything that was derivative was that bad, it wouldn't be done so much. Some can actually be quite good on their own. And enough followers can even go From Clones to Genre.

This assumption can be infuriating to creators of products that are similar to products being designed simultaneously. Their options are to either reduce the quality of your work in order to get it out first, or be written off as a cheap imitation of the competitor's product (which they probably watered down to be first out of the gate). Many "ripoffs" were in fact in development at the same time, but due to the development window for most modern media, could be released months or even years apart. This can also make the fans of the more "popular" feature look really hypocritical if the alleged victim of ripoffs wasn't all that original to begin with.

The absurd extreme of this is when old-timers show off their long memories by dismissing new shows as rehashes of older productions which don't just fall outside Small Reference Pools but at least have been out of public release for many years, and possibly don't even survive except within the old-timers' recollections.

You'll notice that sometimes this trope is invoked not only by rival fans and trolly haters, but people who actually aren't fans of the genre, even so much as hating it in its entirety. You'll notice that when people are typically not fans of a genre or series, similar to its cousin It's the Same, so It Sucks. The two almost go hand-in-hand, this way, since a non-fan would not really notice how many subtle differences since, after all, they see it and aren't looking for that stuff, that is, if they actually see the work they're invoking this trope, on. Sometimes people are actually calling out things based upon meta-concepts of the genre.

This is the justification behind Sequelphobia. Compare Older Than They Think. Compare and sometimes contrast with Seinfeld Is Unfunny when the original suffers due to amount (and sometimes the quality) of similar works released later. Not to be confused with They Changed It, Now It Sucks, where a sequel or an official adaptation changes an aspect of an original work for better or worse. Also not to be confused with It's the Same, Now It Sucks, the polar opposite.

See also It's Been Done.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Captain Marvel from Marvel is somehow accused of ripping off Captain Marvel from DC because they have the same name.
    • Don't get anyone started on Namor and Aquaman.
    • Or Hawkeye and Green Arrow.
    • Or Ghost Rider and Spawn.
    • The Captain Marvel thing has led to several lawsuits back and forth between DC and Marvel. This is part of the reason that DC's Captain Marvel's comic is called SHAZAM! with the well known unfortunate consequences.
    • Before DC owned the "Shazam!" Captain Marvel, they sucessfully sued Fawcett Comics on the grounds that they invented the caped Flying Brick. That Cap was a very different character beyond that didn't occur to them until they owned him, and suddenly realised there was room for both Big Blue and Big Red in the same universe.
  • The X-Men are sometimes called a rip-off of Doom Patrol, as both series feature a group of superpowered "freaks" put together by a man in a wheelchair. However, the X-Men debuted only three months after the Doom Patrol. Given the long publishing lead times comics had during that era, any similarities were coincidental.
  • Many of Rob Liefeld's works were clearly "influenced by" similar Marvel and DC properties. This—among other things—gave Liefeld haters just that much more ammunition.
  • One of the criticisms of Avengers Arena is it's pretty blatantly trying to cash in on The Hunger Games. Not that it's the only criticism.
    • The series actually (rather gleefully) owns up to this. The covers of the early issues were homages to works like Battle Royale, Hunger Games, and Lord of the Flies, and Arcade even flat-out states in-universe that he stole the idea from a book.
  • Royal Roy was Marvel's answer to Harvey Comics' Richie Rich. Other than the title character being a prince of some fictional kingdom, the similarities between Roy and Richie was so much it prompted Harvey to sue Star Comics for copyright infringement.

    Film 
  • Avatar, so much so that they've got an entire section dedicated to this trope on the Trivia page.
  • Beowulf was wrongfully accused of trying to rip off 300 because of the main character's signature phrase "I AM BEOWULF!" is somehow similar to "THIS IS SPARTAA!!!". How that becomes ripoff material is beyond some people. Let's also recall that we have an entire page full of examples of people yelling that way, and that Beowulf was filmed first, anyway.
  • Cool World by Ralph Bakshi, had been riddled with bad reviews for mainly trying to copy Who Framed Roger Rabbit because it used the same real-world/cartoon integration special effects.
  • George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead had the misfortune of being released a month after Cloverfield. And even more on top of that was that it came out after [[REC]], the Spanish original version of Quarantine. And all three had the misfortune of being released nine years after box-office hit The Blair Witch Project.
  • The Forrest Gump vs. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button debate. Both are written by the same screenwriter and detail the life of men with some sort of handicap that have similar story elements (chasing after the woman of their dreams, encountering various people, the possibility of having a child with a similar handicap and feature innovative Special Effects. Both have their individual merits.
  • One of the most common criticisms regarding the first American remake of Godzilla was that the plot was essentially a rip-off of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (IE: Giant reptile goes to New York to breed.) with hints of King Kong, Jurassic Park and Aliens thrown in for good measure rather than, well, a Godzilla movie.
  • With the release of The Hunger Games movie comes the inevitable comparisons to Battle Royale. It's relatively rare to find Battle Royale compared to the earlier The Running Man, because then we'd have to acknowledge that it's possible for a work to be good without being especially original. And somehow, practically nobody notices the plot elements borrowed from Soylent Green (the starvation and overpopulation thing, not the "it's made from people!" thing, which wasn't the main point of the film and wasn't a plot point at all in the novel).
  • The Island is frequently accused of ripping-off the extremely obscure TV movie Clonus, mostly known for being featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. After MST3K fans compiled a list of a hundred similarities between the movie, Clonus producer Robert S. Fiveson would sue Dreamworks and a court would rule that he had a prima facie case of infringement. Before the case went to trial, Dreamworks would settle privately out of court.
  • Do not ever start drawing comparisons between the new James Bond series (starting with Casino Royale) and the Jason Bourne films in front of a large group of Bond fans. Half will agree with you and the other half will unleash the fury.
    • Then there's Frank Martin, described by one reviewer as "a sort of third-party international man of mystery for those who think James Bond is too effete and Jason Bourne just doesn't have enough chest hair."
    • While on Bond, the unofficial Never Say Never Again, which as The Agony Booth's Mr. Mendo put:
    "If this looks like a ripoff of a better Bond film... it's because it is!"
  • A common complaint against The Lone Ranger is just that it's simply Pirates of the Caribbean in the The Wild West. Tonto is Jack, The Lone Ranger is Will Turner, The Royal Navy replaced by the U.S Cavalry etc.
    • As in "Johnny Depp is Johnny Depp" and "Virtually every movie with Depp becomes a comedy about him".
  • Man of Steel: Some viewers noticed that it followed Batman Begins's steps way too closely, as it not only imitated said films path for its hero (such as traveling the world to find one self) but also elements such as the anachronistic order, the Well-Intentioned Extremist villain who attacks the hero's home (Gotham/Earth) with a device that alters the environment, the function of Lois Lane and Rachel Dawes and the relationship between the hero and the Government (specially between the trustworthy Gordon/Hardy and the skeptical Loeb/Swanwick).
  • Any movie whose scenes remotely resemble "Bullet Time" after The Matrix suffer from this:
    • A lot of people figured The One was just a rip off of The Matrix, only with Jet Li and more bullet time sequences. Considering that it came out practically soon after the first Matrix film and uses many of the same conventions, it was bound to be met with a little negativity, regardless of the fact that the two movies could not be more different.
    • In the DVD commentary for Blade it's pointed out (tongue-in-cheek) that they used a Bullet Time scene first, so these should be regarded as Blade rip-offs.
    • When The Matrix was new, there was a small but vocal minority that dismissed it due to some thematic and aesthetic similarities with Dark City.
  • Thousands of people wrote off the the 2009 horror film Orphan for ripping off The Good Son, acting as if a beloved, many decades-old classic had been violated. This hilariously overlooked the fact that The Good Son was an obscure, poorly received film except for those who made joking Home Alone references to it because Macaulay Culkin played that film's villain. But when Orphan came out, suddenly people began acting as if The Good Son was one of the most popular and beloved films of all time, and that Orphan was some kind of abomination. What these people overlooked was that both films are predated by The Bad Seed, which came out literally decades prior, and that all subsequent "Evil Child" films are derivative of that film, and that Orphan, in fact, is probably the most original of them, and that the similarities between the films are completely undone by Orphan's twist-ending. The likely explanation is that the trolls responsible had little knowledge of cinema predating the late 80s-90s, and thus, remembering The Good Son, thought they were making a brilliant discovery and were eager to become "famous" for pointing it out.
  • The Jude Law action vehicle Repo Men has drawn some rather unhappy comparisons to Repo! The Genetic Opera.
  • Reservoir Dogs has been accused of being rather similar in terms of plot, dialogue and characters to the film City On Fire. However, this is rather debatable if you compare scenes from both movies back to back.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness's first movie poster was accused of being a rip-off of posters for The Dark Knight Saga.
  • The 2011 movie The Tall Man is about a tall, humanoid figure that kidnaps children. There's (perfectly plausible) rumors going around that this movie's concept actually came before Slenderman, but don't expect any of his fans from /x/ to hear a word of it.
  • 13 Going on 30, has often been criticized for ripping off on Big - completely disregarding the fact that the former has Time Travel in it, while the latter didn't.
    • While the method of how she becomes 30 is different, it's probably generous to say that means it's nothing like Big.
    • The Robin Williams movie Jack was accused of ripping off Big as well. This was mostly by people who never saw the actual movie, just the trailers. Big was a comedy, Jack was a Tear Jerker.
  • Zathura had been scoffed at largely as a Jumanji ripoff. Presumably then, the people who think this didn't know both films were based on books written by the same person, and then in the Zathura novel the Zathura game was found in the same box as the Jumanji game. Of course, even if not a rip-off, it is still Recycled IN SPACE!.
  • Cracked listed this among the 6 Common Movie Arguments That Are Always Wrong (#4).
  • Despite parody movies having been done back in the dawn of cinematic history, a lot of the newer ones are long forgotten for trying to cash in on Scary Movie.
  • For a time, anything that was in the Sci-fi genre was automatically considered to be a rip-off of Star Wars. Regardless of whether if it was the least bit deserving or not. Amusingly, Star Wars itself is explicitly based on the The Hero Cycle, a pattern of story telling that has been observed occurring in independent cultures for thousands of years, so even Star Wars isn't all that original.
  • Star Wars is Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress set in space instead of feudal Japan. Lucas is pretty up front about this (which is smart - if you've seen both it's so obvious that any attempt to deny it would be an obvious lie).
  • Name a movie, and the odds are that someone has derided it for elements it shares with another film (even if both were being shot concurrently and thus couldn't copy each other). For example, the train fight in Batman Begins is accused of being a rip-off of the one in Spider-Man 2, and many Disney films are accused of plagiarizing from anime, the latter of which is ironic because Walt Disney's style inspired early anime and manga and that Disney has "plagiarized" from many other sources that hardly get fussed over.
  • Pacific Rim received a lot of flack from anime fans due to similarities to the plot of Neon Genesis Evangelion (both are about emotionally-damaged pilots using giant robots to fight off invading aliens). These criticisms tend to ignore that Eva was not the first anime to have that basic premise (and was explicitly inspired by works like Mazinger Z and Space Runaway Ideon), and that Guillermo del Toro has stated that he's never even watched Evangelion.
    • Many mainstream audience members also called the movie a rip-off of the Transformers franchise, despite having literally nothing in common with those movies other than having robots in some capacity.
    • This collage of print screens of online comments shows mainstream audiences comparing it to Transformers, anime audiences comparing it to Attack on Titan and Evangelion, older audiences comparing it to Robot Jox and Hispanic audiences comparing it to the anime Mazinger Z (it is hugely popular there). Talk about The Generation Gap. At the bottom right, surrounded by anime screenshots as reaction to the ignorance of the other comments shows Guillermo del Toro's answer to an online Q&A about Pacific Rim stating he cites many works as his influences but Evangelion is not one of them.
  • The 2007 movie Disturbia was criticized by some as being a rip-off of the Albert Hitchcock classic Rear Window, even leading to a copyright infringement lawsuit by the copyright holders of the original source material for Rear Window. While the film was never expressly marketed as a direct remake of Rear Window, in interviews executive producer Steven Speilberg and lead actor Shia La Beouf admitted they both studied Rear Window extensively in preparation for the film.
  • The Waynes brothers' Little Man, a movie about a pint-sized criminal who masquerades as a baby to retrieve a diamond he had stolen that ended up in the hands of an unsuspecting couple, has been accused of ripping off the plot of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, Baby Buggy Bunny. As a result, the movie ended up winning a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Remake/Rip-Off.

    Literature 
  • Mentioning The Host in Animorphs or Stargate fan circles is generally a bad idea.
  • You're bound to see The Hunger Games compared to Battle Royale all the time. Many hipsters claim the whole thing is a ripoff that tries and fails to copy Battle Royale. Of course, by this logic, Battle Royale is just a rip-off of The Running Man, which rips off the Roman Coliseum, which rips off the Labyrinth at Knossos. Stephen King himself acknowledged that the Deadly Game plot of The Hunger Games isn't original (citing Royale, Running Man, and another of his books, The Long Walk), but that isn't a bad thing.
  • The Mortal Instruments: This is a pretty sensitive issue to a lot of people, so we won't go into too much detail. But there's a not-insignificant number of people who accuse Cassandra Clare of plagiarizing several other works, most notably Harry Potter and Star Wars .
  • Turned on its head in the Jorge Luis Borges short story, "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote". The title character starts off attempting to translate Cervante's Don Quixote, but decides to go further and so thoroughly immerse himself in the text that he can recreate it, word for word, in the original 17th century Spanish. In effect, Menard literally republishes a classic novel (or just the first few chapters—he dies before he can finish it) under his own name. And the literary community absolutely loves him for it. The narrator of the short story, a critic himself, rapturously describes how this new version of the Quixote is packed with so much more meaning than the original, even though both texts are identical.
  • This is a common critical reaction to large, 'experimental' novels. Most often it is said 'like Ulysses, but why bother?', though that started changing to 'like Infinite Jest, but why bother?' Older Than They Think, though—-even the 'first' overtly experimental, digressive novel, Tristram Shandy, was panned for being derivative of earlier works.

    Live Action TV 
  • American Tokusatsu: Basically every Henshin Hero show in this genre to come out since Power Rangers (be they original American shows, American adaptations of Japanese tokusatsu or American dubbed Japanese tokusatsu).
    • Masked Rider, VR Troopers, Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, Big Bad Beetleborgs and Kamen Rider Dragon Knight are just a few examples of adaptations.
    • The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nóg would be an original show example.
    • Ultraman Tiga would be a dub example.
    • It should be noted that Masked Rider, VR Troopers, Beetleborgs, and Mystic Knights were all produced by Saban, the creators of Power Rangers itself, trying to replicate their own success. And that's not even counting the whining that fans of the American adaptations get from the fans of the Japanese originals, some of whom don't seem to understand that American companies actually licensed the footage from Japan to make their shows and didn't just plagiarize it behind their backs.
    • There's an important thing to remember here, in many ways, Japan likes Power Rangers. From a business standpoint, licensing fees bring a good stream of revenue to Toei (it's actually believed that the increasing prevalence of Gotta Catch 'Em All in Super Sentai was being caused by trying to replace the diminishing revenue from the Disney Era of They Just Didn't Care with more merchandising.) Furthermore, Power Rangers is dubbed and broadcast in Japan, and is still watched (In fact, when Lost Galaxy was brought to Japan, it outperformed its source material Gingaman.)
  • Any pair of young, male presenters on British television will be compared to Ant And Dec and accused of trying to copy them. Ironically, many of the comparisons aren't by Ant and Dec fans, but by people who dislike them and therefore conclude that anyone remotely similar to them is exactly like them.
  • Nickelodeon series Taina is very similar to the later Nick series Victorious. Bringing up the latter to a huge fan of the former can be a problem, because Taina was cancelled quite early while Victorious was Adored by the Network for several years.
  • Dinosaurs was thought by many to be a ripoff of The Simpsons (only with animatronic puppets on a live-action set rather than an animated series). Seeing as how the former takes place in prehistoric times, this could even be in the same vein as The Honeymooners and The Flintstones. One episode of The Simpsons was a not-so-subtle Take That featuring the characters watching the show with Bart saying, "It's like they saw our lives and put it up on screen". A Dinosaurs episode also had Earl complain that the reason there's no originality on TV is because once an original show becomes popular, every network decides to play Follow the Leader and create rip-offs of said original show, with Baby saying, "Don't have a cow, man".
  • Fifth Gear is often accused of being a rip-off of Top Gear.
    • Fifth Gear is the continuation of the original Top Gear, done by some of the same people from Old Top Gear's cancellation in 2001, just under a new name. In fact, while Top Gear dates back to The Seventies, its highly successful Retool began several months after Fifth Gear.
  • When Firefly first showed up, word among anime fans was that it was a Live Action Rip-Off of Outlaw Star, primarily due to the 'naked girl in the box in the first episode' and the Cool Ship. The two shows turned out to be very different, not in the least because Outlaw Star had 26 episodes and Firefly had 13 (and a movie). Then, as seen above, Outlaw Star got this too.
  • Friends was constantly being accused of being a Seinfeld ripoff. However, anyone who actually follows both shows realizes that they have very different styles of humor.
    • And in turn every new sitcom soon after Friends became popular was automatically accused on being a Friends ripoff, apparently just on general principles. Drew Carey has a whole section in his book Dirty Jokes and Beer about how this happened and even his own sitcom, which he said was much more like Roseanne, was not exempt from the accusation.
  • Hyperdrive is a sitcom about a bunch of incompetents on a spaceship. Although that's as far as the similarities with Red Dwarf go, a few insist it's a blatant rip-off.
  • I Dream of Jeannie obtained suspicious similarities to Bewitched that led to this.
  • Little Britain is frequently accused of ripping off The League of Gentlemen and The Fast Show. In turn, The Catherine Tate Show gets flak for copying Little Britain.
  • On a related note, Living Single is widely considered to be a Friends ripoff, despite the fact that the former premiered before the latter.
    • And so is Coupling, because it has six leads (and one girl is weird, and one guy is a Handsome Lech who is also dumb), divided perfectly by gender. And a Local Hangout where they sit on the only sofa. And the general humour comes from sexual situations and observations. So obviously there are some similarities, but the tone, style and types of jokes told are often completely different.
    • And The Drew Carey Show, mainly as the show focused on, well, a bunch of friends.
    • Inverted in E4 trailers for How I Met Your Mother, which uses this as a selling point: "It's basically new episodes of Friends without boring ruddy Ross."
  • Mister Ed was quite similar to a few films with Donald O'Connor and " Francis the Talking Mule."
  • When Password became a hit on CBS, NBC countered with You Don't Say!, using names instead of regular words. It was identical to the set up which had host Tom Kennedy's lectern in the middle of the panel. Threatened with a lawsuit from Goodson-Todman, the company moved the lectern to the left. Regardless, it had a nice six-year run.
  • In Psych, Shawn walks up to a police department desk and identifies himself as a psychic. "Like The Mentalist only not fake."
  • Rhyme And Reason was ABC's answer to Match Game '75 on CBS.
  • A possible case is Robin of Sherwood and the later Robin Hood. The second series of Robin of Sherwood ended with Robin's death, and there is speculation that the second season finale of Robin Hood chose to kill off Maid Marian in the attempt to emulate what the creators' believed was the "shock value" of the predecessing series, except of course that they killed Marian instead of Robin. The key difference was that the former series had to write around Michael Praed's decision to leave the show, whereas Marian's death in the later series was a creative decision and had nothing to do with actress Lucy Griffith (despite later attempts to blame the decision on her). Although Robin of Sherwood brought in a "new" Robin Hood, neither series survived more than one more season without their leads.
  • There are people who watch Saturday Night Live who seem completely incapable of enjoying any sketch that has a premise that's even remotely similar to another sketch from a previous season. Since the show has been on for more than 30 years, this means there aren't very many sketches they can enjoy.
  • The Shield and The Wire endure this, as far as the showrunners unknowingly aping the other show as they progressed. The Wire gave us Marlo Stanfield, a decidedly Shield-like villain, Carcetti (who's political ambitions mirrored Shield character Acaveda's political ambitions), a convoluted fake serial killer storyline that came across like something Vic Mackey would have thought up as part of a crazy scheme. The Shield meanwhile, in it's final seasons, began aping The Wire-themed issues about police work such as crime stats (something the show had largely downplayed) hanging over the head of the Farmington District, the elimination of beloved character Lem (which paralleled the death of Stringer Bell, who was killed off in spite of his popularity for the sake of the story being told), and an ending that had MAJOR elements from the final fate of Marlo Stanfield. as far as what happened to the Strike Team.
  • Splatalot. You know, the medieval-themed kid-friendly Wipeout rip-off.
  • A newer example that will likely only get worse: there is a good deal of ire directed at Stargate Universe by people claiming it's a rip-off of Battlestar Galactica.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was widely accused of copying Babylon 5, especially since J. Michael Straczynski publicly stated that he'd pitched an early version of the series to Paramount.
  • Star Trek: Voyager was released around the time when Red Dwarf was becoming very popular and received accusation of copying it... Being lost in space, a holographic character... (They even had "Blue Alert")
    • Inverted with Stargate Universe, which from the moment it was announced was mockingly referred to as Stargate: Voyager.
  • The Talk on CBS was immediately panned, because it's The View for moms. With six women instead of five. In the middle of the afternoon. In Los Angeles.
  • Top Gear on the American History Channel is a direct spin-off from the successful British Top Gear, copying the latter series' use of three presenters, The Stig, silly themed segments, style of cinematography and auto reviews, and cramming celebrities into a small car.
  • Unhappily Ever After was so strikingly similar to Married... with Children because both were co-created by Ron Leavitt. Word of God says it wasn't their intention to be so similar to Children, but it simply turned out that way.
  • This happens a great deal with Singaporean television, especially the childrens' programming. My Classmate Dad is a "Freaky Friday" Flip sitcom that basically is the actual Freaky Friday with a lower standard of spoken English. Cosmo and George is about an alien who befriends a human who shows him the ropes of living on earth, mimicking the concept of Mork and Mindy. The Chinese-language drama serials aren't exempt from this respect. CID is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Time Machine copies (even by name) The Time Machine, Baby Blues copies the strip of the same name, Beach. Ball. Babes. is Dead or Alive (specifically volleyball tournament game), and Mrs P.I. is Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

    Music 
  • Aerosmith got a lot of bad press for (allegedly) copying The Rolling Stones. They got over it, though. They have also been frequently compared to Led Zeppelin and The Yardbirds, with the latter comparison making a lot of sense since Aerosmith are big fans of The Yardbirds.
  • Any new R&B female singer will get compared to Beyoncé, and before she came out it was Janet Jackson.
  • Most alternative rock bands will be unfavorably compared to Fall Out Boy at some point. This is mainly due to the fact that a lot of the lead singers of these bands have similar voices. The most famous victim is All Time Low, despite the fact that they were started before Fall Out Boy was famous. Also, people accuse Fall Out Boy of being a rip-off of blink-182, and less commonly, Green Day.
  • British band The Horrors are often accused of being a rip-off of Australian post-punk band The Birthday Party.
  • Lady Gaga gets this quite a bit from haters, who say she copied countless artists, among them Madonna, David Bowie, Britney Spears, Cyndi Lauper, among others. For the record, she has outright admitted to having been inspired by many of the artists she allegedly copies.
  • Even though Michael Jackson clearly learned a lot from James Brown's dancing style: many pop artists since the 1980s have been accused of copying Jackson's dancing moves.
  • Mr Bungle fans will frequently tell you that Faith No More is a watered down version of Mr Bungle, despite the fact that Mike Patton is in both bands so they're mostly fans of both anyway. Mr Bungle fans will also try to tell you Red Hot Chili Peppers copied Mr Bungle, missing the point that Red Hot Chili Peppers released several records before Mr Bungle did (not counting demo tapes). Red Hot Chili Peppers had a long lasting rivalry with Mr Bungle/Faith No More's singer Mike Patton in which Patton did some things he later apologised for. Red Hot Chili Peppers Fan Dumb will often still proclaim their hatred for Mike Patton nonetheless.
  • Muse are frequently accused of copying Radiohead, despite having much more of a rock and classical mentality.
  • Ozma have never quite shaken the Weezer comparisons, due to being a Power Pop group with a geeky image who prominently use New Wave-influenced keyboard melodies. It's not always negative though - it seems that for every one person who dismisses them as too derivative, there's someone else who's a fan of both Weezer and Ozma. The fact that their debut came out a few months after Weezer's base-breaking third album may have even contributed to their popularity, and it's notable that their earliest big break came from being voted in by Weezer fans to be an opening act for a 2001 tour.
  • These days, any alternative rock band with a female singer will be accused of trying to steal the spotlight from Paramore. The most common victim is Hey Monday.
  • The German band Rammstein is often (and probably justified) accused of copying being inspired by Slovenian band Laibach's style. Laibach's reaction? That's alright, because art is inherently unoriginal.
    • Along with a little bit of a Take That when they said "Rammstein is Laibach for kids, and Laibach is Rammstein for grown-ups."
  • It is impossible to be a fan of both Sarah Brightman and Katherine Jenkins, at least if you read either singer's forums.
  • Any gothic metal band with a female singer will be compared to Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation or Evanescence. If the vocalist occasionally screams they'll get compared to Arch Enemy.
  • The deathcore genre often has this criticism leveled at it, possibly due to the almost copycat-like nature of most of the bands within the genre.
    • Usually whichever band is the oldest mocks whoever is newest, never mind that they all are more or less emulating The Birthday Party and there's nothing wrong with that.
  • Especially in the early tot mid 1960s a lot of rock groups looked and sounded like Beatle clones: The Rolling Stones, The Monkees, Herman's Hermits, The Dave Clarke Five,... Some bands eventually created their own sound, but others have been forgotten as being nothing more than pathetic attempts to cash in on the Beatles' success.
  • Extremely prevalent in music fandom/journalism. How many times have you heard "______ is just doing the same thing The Beatles did in the '60s"?
  • Early in their career Silverchair were referred to as a shitty knockoff of Nirvana, or Pearl Jam. A later shift to a softer, more progressive sound tended to stop these comparisons.
    • Post-grunge receives a lot of flak from many people due to many bands' overexaggerated attempts to sound like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. Parodied in this MADtv sketch.
    • Nirvana themselves get flak for sounding like the Pixies (even though Kurt Cobain openly acknowledged their debt to the band), for the riff to 'Teen Spirit' sounding like Boston's "More Than A Feeling" (also acknowledged at the time by the band), and a huge amount of Hype Backlash from people discovering that there were "Alt rock" bands before Nirvana and thus declaring Nirvana to be Mudhoney / Black Flag / Dinosaur Jr. etc. ripoffs.
  • It would take no less than a miracle of God to get critics not to use this argument against Sean Lennon or any other musician related to The Beatles. Paul's son James wants to gather the sons of the other Beatles and form a group. Sean, Dhani Harrison and Jason Starkey are interested.
  • After Tupac Shakur was murdered, many future Hip Hop artist were accused of coping him. Some of the more famous examples include DMX and Ja Rule.
  • Go to any Slipknot or Mushroomhead music video on Youtube and you'll often see Flame Wars between fans about which band is better, and about which band ripped the other one off.
  • In succession, Britain revealed several white women with a soul inspiration (Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Adele) which lead to them getting their originality questioned - even if not only there was a Genre Throwback, but they were doing covers of old songs.
  • The 19th century music critic Hans von Bülow joked that Richard Wagner's early opera Rienzi was "Meyerbeer's best opera."
  • This is the source of 99% of the hate Owl City gets, due to the similarities to older act The Postal Service.
  • Think of any modern crooner who specializes in singing songs from (or songs reminiscent of) The Great American Songbook, from Michael Buble to Harry Connick Jr to pop and rock musicians who occasionally dabble in the style like Rod Stewart or Robbie Williams. Whether they consciously or subconsciously borrow from the sound, image or style of classic crooners like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis or Tony Bennett or not, they will be compared positively or negatively to them.
  • It is hard to find press discussing male piano-playing singer-songwriters without comparisons to Elton John, Billy Joel or Ben Folds, or females not compared to Carole King, Tori Amos or Nina Simone.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • TNA has been mocked as "WWE Lite" due to its occasional gimmicks and storylines similar to those used by "that promotion up north."
    • They also hire many former WWE talents, such Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, Mick Foley, Tazz, Booker T, Scott Steiner, Tara (Victoria), Team 3D (The Dudley Boys), Bobby Lashley, Elijah Burke, Stevie Richards, Matt Morgan, Rhino, and Shiek Abdul Bashir (Daivari), most of whom get booked stronger than "homegrown" talent or wrestlers who otherwise did not make a name for themselves in WWE (or ECW, or WCW).
    • Current Roster, add in what they've siphoned from the WWE development, previous refrees/commentators, copied gimmicks...if TNA even signs a guy who's been looked at by a WWE employee wrestling fans will complain.
    • From the wrestler's point of view, it makes sense to go to TNA after the WWE sent you walking. It's the next biggest wrestling promotion after all. Still, it seems that every time the WWE fires or releases a wrestler it takes less than month for them to resurface in TNA. It also doesn't help that some of the time TNA has the wrestlers do their same WWE gimmicks but under another name (Team 3D being the biggest).
    • "Less tham a month" is generally an exaggeration, given that the typical No-Compete clause (which prevents a released performer from appearing with another company) in a WWE contract has a 90 day window.
    • Additionally, Team 3D legally can't call themselves the Dudley Boyz anymore due WWE just as they own the rights/names/gimmicks to previous wrestlers (i.e. "Fake Diesel," "The Real Double-J.")
    • Others mockingly refer to TNA as WCW 2: Electric Boogaloo, since they took on a lot of former WCW staff (both performers and creative staff) and generally see it as heading down the same road WCW did.
    • Sting's Crow inspired gimmick gets hate from some fans for this reason.

    Video Games 
  • Does your Simulation Game feature real-life aircraft, trench run missions, a plot where two factions are at war with each other, and the ability to customize your aircraft? If so, then consider your game to be a rip-off of Ace Combat.
  • Any conversation amongst enthusiasts involving Angry Birds that doesn't include some offhand remark about the game being a Crush the Castle knockoff will inevitably include one about Boom Blox instead.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is declared God of War's ripoff due to their similarities in combat mechanisms. To the lesser extent, Castlevania games on PS2 are compared with Devil May Cry because of their battle systems and white haired protagonists.
  • Cold Fear plays with this trope. Most people quickly wrote it off as a carbon-copy of Resident Evil 4 and forgot about it. However, anyone who's actually played it, while admitting it basically is a complete rip-off, views it as an underrated masterpiece and one of the greatest horror games ever made.
  • The original Dark Cloud game was compared to Zelda. Its sequel was, however, much more well-received - Although this actually wasn't thought of as a bad thing by some magazines.
  • In a reversal, Ōkami was released a couple of months before Twilight Princess, as Link turned into a wolf and the similarities between the games many said Nintendo had stolen the idea despite the fact that both games were developed in the same time frame (from 2004 to 2006), making any deliberate plagiarism impossible.
  • The most common criticism leveled against Donkey Kong Country is that it is a Mario clone, though both were created for Nintendo.
  • Whenever a game with a few similarities to Grand Theft Auto is released, it is automatically compared to GTA or even considered a GTA rip off.
    • The First Mercenaries is probably one of the best examples of this. Despite the obvious differences that Mercenaries takes place in a warzone with little in the way of law enforcement to speak of, and with a heavier emphasis on blowing stuff up as opposed to car chases. It didn't help matters that the game was released roughly the same time as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. So several reviewers dismissed Mercenaries while giving glowing reviews to San Andreas.
    • And yet GTA 3 is itself an aversion of this trope; the Leader it ripped off, Driver, is sadly forgotten. In fact, GTA threw out everything unique to its franchise in order to emulate a game that is now as mired in obscurity as GTA 1&2.
    • Ironically, the later Driver games tried to be more like Grand Theft Auto, however they languished in the marketplace. Driver: San Francisco, the fifth entry in the series, ditched the GTA elements for a new framing device (you switch between cars by "possessing" their drivers - it's a long story) and has, as a result gotten at the very least critical acclaim for it.
  • And there are still old-time MUDders who consider graphic MMORPGs to be a rip-off of MUD, with a graphical front-end to excuse charging money for what they'd played for free for over a decade. Due to similarities, the conviction was so strong that EverQuest was derived from DikuMUD codebase that they proved it wasn't to Diku's original developers so that they could publicly certify such. Rip-off? More like "the same, with peddleable name". The only difference is that the old generation used "chessboard" space. But it was the same with single-player games and you could put a graphical client on the same DikuMUD looking like an old CRPG.
  • Some fans dislike the fact Dragon Age II copied Mass Effect's dialogue wheel wholesale. Yep, BioWare managed to pull Follow the Leader on themselves.
  • Some may say that Fate/Extra is just Persona 3 with Fate/stay night characters and concepts. The fact that two ex-ATLUS employees worked on the developing team doesn't help.
  • Lightning, of FFXIII, is often accused of being a gender-swap of Cloud from FFVII. It doesn't help that the director of FFXIII specifically asked for Lightning to be designed to be "like a female version of Cloud," and that the opening of FFXIII is similar to FFVII's.
  • Any Beat-em-up that is similar to Final Fight is basically doomed to be called a "Final Fight clone".
  • The trailers for the yet-to-be-released HAVE Online looked almost ridiculously similar to popular game Team Fortress 2. Not just similar, people were finding exact shots ripped off from TF2's trailers. The Chinese FPS: Final Combat is receiving the same reception from Team Fortress 2 fans for having a very similar style, gameplay, maps, and trailers. More of the same was directed at the game as more promotional material appeared online...though it wasn't for unoriginality, but theft, as Final Combat was caught using Team Fortress 2 models and animations, and maps from both Team Fortress 2 and Battlefield Heroes. It's flagrant enough that Valve is considering legal action. Being unoriginal really is bad when it's demonstrably stealing.
  • Final Fight: Streetwise was accused of trying to cash in on the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
  • F-Zero fans occasionally consider Wipeout a rip-off.
  • Killer Instinct was accused of this for trying to be like Mortal Kombat.
  • Several Action-Adventure games are mentioned as being like The Legend of Zelda, in some cases being called ripoffs, like Alundra, Illusion of Gaia, and even Brave Fencer Musashi. And they're RPG-like games that borrow very little from Zelda.
  • The original Saints Row, while not terribly received, was considered by-and-large to be a copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The series grew its beard with Saints Row 2, which helped distinguish it from GTA as being a more comedic game than its more serious contemporary, with each game subsequent going further and further off the rails.
  • Limbo of the Lost gets most of its flak for stealing copyrighted assets from games like Thief, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Painkiller, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Unreal Tournament, among others. Incredibly, this is largely averted by many reviews: despite the literal copying, this is often only one of many criticisms of the game's overall perceived quality.
  • Okiraku/Family Kart 3D gets this for being similar to Mario Kart.
  • When the original Max Payne was released, it was accused of only having Bullet Time as a gameplay mechanic in order to capitalize on the popularity of The Matrix. In fact, the game had gone into development well in advance of The Matrix being released.
  • M.U.G.E.N has what we call "spriteswapped" characters. These are basically what you get when somebody takes a character and swaps all the sprites with their own, leading to a "new" character that plays almost exactly like the old one. Among the community, this is very much frowned upon as it not only shows laziness but also shows a lack of respect for the original character's author.
  • A strange inversion with most Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games - it doesn't tend to be "You copied Defense Of The Ancients, so you suck", it tends to be more "You didn't copy Defense of the Ancients, so you suck."
  • PAYDAY: The Heist gets some flak for being similar to Left 4 Dead because it's cops VS robbers to survivors VS zombies and that's where the similarities end.
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale frequently gets accussed of being a ripoff of Super Smash Bros., even though the gameplay really isn't all that similar. (The offense has much more in common with Marvel vs. Capcom than Smash, the maneuverability options are different, there's no directional influence, and the killing method is completely different). Not helping is Sony's infamous decision to put "Super Smash Bros." onto the tags of the YouTube trailers, showing that either the ripoff was intentional or Sony is just pimping out the video with tags that they know will generate more traffic.
  • Sometimes Digimon has the issue of being compared to Pokémon, though there aren't that many similarities. Pokemon itself ended up being accused of ripping off Digimon with post-Ruby and Sapphire games allegedly having "Digimon-like" designs for new Pokemon and the Mega Evolutions from Pokémon X and Y supposedly being taken from Mega-level Digimon.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series gets dismissed as "Pokémon with demons" quite a bit overseas. Particularly interesting, considering Mega Ten created Mons gameplay nearly a decade before the first Pokémon game was even out.
  • This is true even for individual aspects of monster-collecting games. See Dragon Quest Monsters - with its in-depth breeding system - which released in Japan in 1998, more than a full year prior to Pokémon Gold and Silver... yet it still catches a lot of flak for copying breeding from Pokemon. The Dragon Quest series had already dabbled in the monster recruiting arts in its fifth and sixth installments, though the Nintendo DS remake of the latter replaced that feature with the ability to learn moves typically used by monsters (the remake of the former on the same system still has the monster recruitment feature, though).
  • Discussed by the Pickford Brothers, creators of Plok. One of the reasons why they don't plan on reintroducing Plok is that they imagine it would be hard for them to convince people that their limb-throwing hero isn't a ripoff of Rayman, despite Plok precceding Rayman by two years.
  • A meta-example. During the development of Quake II and Unreal, members of id Software and Epic Games's teams would often sling mud at eachother in their public .plan files, which reached the point of one of Unreal's staff members openly accusing the team at id of stealing ideas from Unreal. His justification? "Unreal has a bald guy and a girl with a ponytail. Quake II has a bald guy and a girl with a ponytail."
  • Fans of Rhythm Games are divided over whether In The Groove is this and had it coming for being too Dance Dance Revolution-like or a quality Follow the Leader game that shouldn't have had its life cut short.
  • Some people would think that Roblox is a ripoff of Minecraft, but Roblox came before MC.
  • While on the subject of Minecraft, almost any game that involves mining blocks and moving them around is going to get slammed with this, the most blatant being Fortress Craft. Terraria also gets accused of being a Minecraft clone.
  • In turn, Minecraft is frequently accused of "ripping-off" other games like Dwarf Fortress and Infiniminer, as shown in this video.
  • Rock Band fans often claim Guitar Hero stole any number of ideas, the most notable one being full band play. The less-informed will argue the opposite, not realizing (or ignoring) that Guitar Hero 1 & 2 were made by Harmonix (Forbes gets it wrong in this article). Meanwhile, Guitar Hero is inspired from Guitar Freaks in Japan, but that game only had three frets, no hammer-ons, and Konami seemed pretty determined to deprive non-Japanese gamers of it.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • When Sonic Colors was initially revealed, some people, going by just a couple short CG trailers, are comparing it to Super Mario Galaxy. As more information was revealed, the comparison was further extended by the presence of the Luma-like Wisps, Sweet Mountain Zone and the drill power.
    • Sonic Lost World got even more flak for looking even more like Super Mario Galaxy, as its stage design seems to borrow a lot of the gravity gimmicks that Galaxy had. Even though it's equally likely, if not more so, that the design takes ideas from the Sega Saturn Vaporware game Sonic X-Treme.
    • Averted by Sonic And Sega All Stars Racing, which unabashedly borrows from the Mario Kart series, but does it so well that few complain.
  • Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions was accused of being a shameless rip-off of Batman: Arkham Asylum due to some similarities in Noir's gameplay and his final boss segment.
  • Because of the use of High Fantasy elements and Elijah Wood, many of the older Spyro Fan Dumb bashes the Legend series for being a Lord of the Rings rip off... Considering that the Legend series doesn't even have Five Races, has Steampunk elements, and no rings involved.
  • When the Street Fighter series got popular with the second installment any 2-D fighter that anyone ever heard of during the early to mid 90s was automatically deemed a rip-off to Street Fighter II regardless of whether it was actually deserving or not. The only ones whom remotely escaped this were Mortal Kombat (due to digitized actors and the Graphic Violence, though not the first) and Samurai Shodown (Weapons based fighter, though not the first). While this attitude was starting to fade during the late 90's and the 2000's it was a rather popular sentiment for the genre back then.
    • The Data East fighting game "Fighter's History" plays with this trope a bit. Sure there might be someone thinking "Okay not all 2-D fighters were rip-offs of Street Fighter II but if anything deserved to be a called a rip-off then this game was it!" and Capcom agreed to that. While Capcom called Fighters History "overly inspired from Street Fighter II", one of the reasons why Capcom lost that case is because Data East called the original Street Fighter a rip-off of the original arcade version of their 1984 fighter Karate Champ. Even though, Kunio-kun and Double Dragon creator Technos Japan actually developed it while Data East only released it, Technos Japan was founded by three former Data East employees. A little-known Japanese website in English known as Jap-Sai considers it to actually be a tribute and not a 'direct copy'.
    • Oddly enough, some people still believe to this day that Art of Fighting ripped off Street Fighter despite the fact that the gameplay is significantly different in every aspect. Of course, a main character named Ryo and a Guile-like army dude probably didn't remotely help.
    • Ryu is to Ozwald the Lucky Rabbit what Ryo is to Mickey Mouse; same creators, but for different companies.
    • Fatal Fury, even though both it and SFII were in development at the same time.
    • Fatal Fury 2 is "Street Fighter 2 with some Fatal Fury 1 elements tossed in", as well as four-button layout instead of SFII's six-button layout, though.
    • And Time Killers is the Fatal Fury of Mortal Kombat; both it and MK were in development at the same time.
    • King of Fighters XII came out right after Street Fighter IV. Claims of Follow the Leader were made even though King of Fighters XII was in development as early as 2006, far before Street Fighter IV was revealed to the public.
  • Thrill Drive, a popular game that ran contrary to Burn Out concept of taking out other cars in a violent matter had a 4th installation that ran contrary to everything that made Thrill Drive the game it was with Power-Up items, a system that encourage maximum carnage as well as Boost Pad, Japanese fans were not too amused
  • There have been accusations of Tiki Towers being a ripoff of World of Goo, despite using slightly different gameplay mechanics.
  • There are Touhou fans who, not aware of the Shoot 'em Up genre's history, complain that other Bullet Hell games are Touhou ripoffs.
  • Many people accused Star Fox Adventures of trying to be too much like a Zelda game.
  • "Like World of Warcraft but..." syndrome has begun to really invade MMORPGs, due to said game's amazing economic success. In particular, user interfaces and tutorial zones tend to be described as World of Warcraft in SPACE or transplanted to other fantasy series (occasionally even other games that came out first). This isn't always a bad thing - World of Warcraft wouldn't have been successful if it had a bad UI or especially boring early quests - but a lot of reviewers spend two or three days in a new game and advocate sticking with the precursor.
  • World of Warcraft: The "It's High Fantasy for the lowest common denominator" or "It's just a ripoff of Lord of the Rings". But you can bet 90% of these people are trolls who are just mindless anti-fans who don't know how they practically have nothing in common with each other beyond common High Fantasy traits and some nods to it. (Such as the human male joke about the "Ruler of the bracelet" due to the movies being released around the time World of Warcraft was, and icecrown having similar architecture) If you're saying World of Warcraft is a ripoff of Lord of the Rings, you also have to say Warhammer is to escape the fallacy, because by your logic, all High Fantasy is Lord of the Rings. It was openly admitted that the Icecrown Citadel was a Mordor Shout-Out. The Lich King bears some visual similarities to Sauron too. Blizzard makes fun of it.
  • Similar to the above example: Starcraft gets a crapton of hate from Warhammer 40,000 fans for perceived similarities. The two fans often argue that the other game practically stole everything from them, and the similarities between the Tyranids and Zerg especially remain a huge point of contention between the two note . Hell, it's taken to such an extent that the 40k side promotes an Urban Legend of Zelda that says Starcraft was born from a botched game development deal between Blizzard and Games Workshop to produce a 40k RTS game. Similar sentiments exist between Warcraft and Warhammer fans as well.
  • Xenogears: Red head heroine, Giant robots and religious tones: "This is an Neon Genesis Evangelion rip-off", said some uninformed fans of the anime. (The usual answer they get is "Xenogears is very different: the story actually makes sense.") There is also the angst-ridden protagonists who are sucked into circumstances they barely even understands, hates mechs and fighting while still having to do it anyways and are prone to going on destructive rampages with their mechs, the tons of navel gazing, the vague foreshadowing, the Omniscient Council of Vagueness, the Assimilation Plot, the Gainax Ending, the heavy Mind Screw, the Monoliths, the massive Gambit Pileup, the inspirations from 19th and early 20th century European philosophy and the frequent compliant that both works "don't make sense".
  • Jim Sterling discusses this trope, as well as its prevalence amongst the Video Game format here.
  • Microsoft has likewise been getting a lot of this, such as with their version of Nintendo's Miis.
  • Thanks to the epic remixes of the song "O Fortuna" (despite that it's not actually a video game song outside of Dracula Unleashed) as well as the song "One-Winged Angel" and its various remixes, you'll have to try very hard to use a song with Latin lyrics (especially if they mean something) without someone saying it's a ripoff of these two. This fate seems to have fallen "Born Anew" in Final Fantasy XIII, which would have gotten a free pass if it was composed by Nobuo Uematsu. The lyrics for "One-Winged Angel" were all ripped from "O Fortuna" anyway.
  • Several people note that Sony's peripheral devices are rip-offs of Nintendo's controllers. From the SNES-like design, to the rumble, the control sticks and the motion sensor technology and connectivity between consoles and portables, Sony has been accused of being a copycat. Reportedly, PS Move has actually been in development since before the Wii was even announced (cost being the main reason it didn't launch with the PS3 itself, as the system cost enough to manufacture as it was [1]). While this doesn't quite disprove the idea of Sony having Spies in Nintendo to steal from them, it does highlight the silliness of the issue.
  • Despite Rumble being an arcade feature at the time, the controller design coming from the Vectrex, the sticks coming from the Atari 5200 (historically, the first games system with analogue joysticks), and connectivity coming from the Dreamcast. Nintendo rips something off, Sony does it twice.
  • The Wii U's controller gets some hate for looking too similar to the iPad.
  • Inverted with the clone games on early computers such as the commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum. Whenever a game managed to be a total rip-off of a popular arcade title it was considered worth getting (and in certain cases those clone games would even be considered as the best games you could buy for that computer, didn't matter how much of a blatant rip-off it was).
  • Anyone who ever talks about the unlicensed NES game Caltron/Myriad 6 in 1 will justify its low score on the sole basis that all the games on the cartridge are total rip-offs of other games.
  • Ib has received some flak as an apparent rip-off of Yume Nikki, when, in truth, the games differ on several points (the biggest being that Ib has a more linear plot and Multiple Endings, while Yume Nikki is extremely open-ended), and are only similar in that both games star a young, brunette girl as their protagonist, and both rely on Surreal Horror over Gorn to unsettle the audience.
  • Almost any JRPG with Relationship Values released nowadays will be compared to any Persona game after 2, regardless of how much else the game has in common. Unless a game had them in previous entries in its series, in which case it may be overlooked.

    Web Comics 
  • Some people think that Our Little Adventure is a knockoff of The Order of the Stick, despite the former's plot, characters, world and deities being completely different. The only trait they share is the same genre, and some visual similarities in character design. Our Little Adventure isn't even a stick figure comic.

    Web Original 
  • Many Abridged series are dismissed just for copying LittleKuriboh, regardless of whether they have different jokes or even parody the series differently. This can come off as a bit hypocritical, given Kuriboh's own heavy reliance on pop culture references.
    You're copying Little Kuriboh! He said the word "the", and you so said it in your last episode!
  • Don't ever do ranting reviews on YouTube, unless you want to be labeled an AVGN ripoff. And there are videos on YouTube calling the AVGN a Seanbaby ripoff. This is because Seanbaby predates AVGN, and made fun of NES games for the same reasons. Some of his lines are even almost exactly the same. Also, legions of overzealous fans will call for your blood if you decide to review a game or film that some other critic has also reviewed. Apparently, no two critics may review the same work EVER.
  • Many people on Deviant ART are just eager to pounce on people that copied (just short of actually taking the person's work) artwork off someone else or made a similar picture, whether by accident or on purpose. Even putting characters in similar poses will get many people flamed because "true art" is original. The mentality can get so bad that all it takes is one artist making a journal crying that someone ripped off his or her work and the people responding go and flame the hell out of the target.
    • Never EVER draw in anything that's even remniscent of anime. Period. You will immmediately be told that you copied and now it sucks. Never ever draw fanart. You are copying.
    • One art thief actually tried to use this to her advantage. Jen "Spunkywulf" Seng is a very popular artist and animator, especially in the Furry Fandom. An artist named "Mochi" may have traced her art and that of others. After Jen and her friend tried to discuss it privately, Mochi wrote a journal entry making Jen out to be some sort of elitist who was begrudging Mochi being "inspired" by her work, presumably expecting Jen to be cowed by the flames of Mochi's few hundred fans. Unfortunately, Jen herself has thousands of fans, and she was perfectly willing to call Mochi out. Hilarity ensued.
    • One of the more hilarious aspects of DA is how the Whiteknighting sometimes backfires against the artists themselves. Lets say you want to draw things your parents/relations wouldn't agree with too much. Perhaps you're even a squeaky clean artist who wants to throw a couple boobies into your work to avoid people FROM work from finding out and getting you canned. So you make a new name, and upload new works to that, and gain fans. Eventually, one of your thousands of old fans finds the new account and starts watching...And then they notice minor similarities like how you draw hands and how the new account has no signature on pictures. Cue mass reporting spree for art theft.
    • Despite the fact that many people do not like copying of styles, some artists actually encourage other artists to mimic their style. One mention should go to Razzek, a woman who pressingly tells people to draw characters (whether original or Fan Art) in her style. Being how she is both on DA and on other sites, some people have actually given into her demands and it has resulted in a lot of various characters being nearly "rip offs" of the artist's style.
  • Several people outside of Japan compare MAD Videos and other similar videos mostly found on Nico Nico Douga (NND) to YouTube Poop, though Know Your Meme researchers found that MADs were created as far back as 1978, 28 years before YouTube Poop was created. Some people outside of Japan refer to MADs as YouTube Poop Music Videos (YTPMVs).
  • Every gaming webcomic that isn't Penny Arcade has been accused of ripping off the same. Penny Arcade itself summed the trope up: the difference between "derivative" and "Homage" is "Whether or not I liked it".
  • Any youtuber playing a Horror Game with facecam will be accused of ripping off PewDiePie.

    Western Animation 
  • Aladdin and The Thief and the Cobbler are both accused of ripping off the other one. The latter went through Development Hell (and Aladdin itself wasn't exactly sitting in Development Heaven, so that's saying something), so it was only released after Aladdin, and in a heavily meddled-with cut at that, making it look like the rip-off to people who didn't know that it was in production before Aladdin was.
  • American Dragon Jake Long sometimes gets called a Danny Phantom rip-off, even though all they had in common was that they are about a Half-Human Hybrid with supernatural powers. If that wasn't crazy enough, the American Dragon Jake Long fans then began to accuse The Life and Times of Juniper Lee of being a rip-off.
  • Angels Friends was accussed of being a rip-off of Winx Club, which was accused of being a rip-off of W.I.T.C.H., which was accused of being a rip-off of Sailor Moon, which was accused of being a rip-off of Wonder Woman.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire would also have produced less ranting if Disney had simply admitted (with no shame required really) that their character concepts were based from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. There was a counter-argument that Nadia itself had characters and concepts copied from other shows, including western shows. Atlantis, from start to finish, was also like the Stargate movie. The creators have admitted to taking a good deal from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
  • Some Marvel fans feel the efforts to make Avengers Assemble closer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe are excessive (such as quoting it), to the point the show feels more like a promotion of the movies rather than its own thing.
  • Cars received some mild bashing for being Doc Hollywood with automobiles - not enough to dent Pixar's track record, though. Probably because it wasn't original when Doc Hollywood did it. It's a standard Hollywood formula.
  • Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island was hated by many for being a ripoff of SpongeBob SquarePants. It doesn't help that the main character's voice actor felt this way as well.
  • Cow and Chicken was accused of being a ripoff of Ren and Stimpy. This is rather ironic, seeing as how Cow And Chicken is actually John Kricfalusi's favorite cartoon from the 1990's.
  • Detention was often panned for being a rip-off of Recess. This was during a time when One Saturday Morning was beating Kids' WB! in the ratings, so WB had to make their own series. It lasted 13 episodes.
  • Despite good reception overall, The Incredibles was scoffed at for being a ripoff of the Fantastic Four (rather than as it was clearly intended, an affectionate pastiche), considering three of the family members have the same powers save for Dash. The costumes in the film have also been noted for looking similar to Freakazoid!!. In fact, Syndrome himself is said to bear some resemblance to the title character (mostly with the hairstyle).
  • Johnny Test has its haters for being a rip-off of Dexter's Laboratory. Think about it: It's about two ingenious sisters that make experiments for their brother Johnny. His sisters are redheads with horn rimmed glasses, and Johnny is blonde. The only difference between the two shows is that the lab rat is the star instead of the genius. It's also accused of being a Fairly OddParents knock-off due to similar plots and character designs.
  • There's a rather large controversy on the internet regarding whether or not The Lion King is a rip-off of the classic anime series Kimba the White Lion. Comparisons between the two can be seen here- Yeah, a LOT of similarities, aren't there? This was even referenced in The Simpsons in which Mufasa appears in the clouds to Lisa and says-"You must avenge my death, Kimba...I mean— Simba."
  • Every adult animated series after 1990 copied The Simpsons. Some, like Capital Critters, Family Dog, The Oblongs, and Fish Police, got canceled just as quickly as they premiered; others, like Futurama, South Park, and the Seth MacFarlane trio (Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show) are still around, while others, like Daria and King of the Hill were Long Runners that did suffer from some mild to moderate Seasonal Rot thanks to Characterization Marches On, Flanderization, and/or Executive Meddling, but managed to be entertaining from beginning to end. It should be noted to the ignorant that The Honeymooners, The Flintstones, and Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (an obscure late 1960s animated Dom Com set up as a cartoon version of All in the Family) are the real inspirations behind The Simpsons. A fact lampshaded on The Simpsons itself when in court deciding who owned the rights to Itchy and Scratchy. Roger Meyers pointed out shows that owed their existence to earlier shows, naming The Flintstones and The Honeymooners, then asking the judge, "If you take away our right to steal ideas, where are they going to come from?" He then points to Marge, whose best "original" idea for a cartoon is "Ghost Mutt."
  • Squirrel Boy gets this, as the haters blame Rodney and Andy for copying... Mac and Bloo.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! - The one review online accuses it of being a Powerpuff Girls ripoff, despite the fact there was barely anything similar.
  • DreamWorks Animation has been hit with accusations of ripping off Pixar; the worst offenders are Antz and Shark Tale, respectively seen as copies of A Bug's Life and Finding Nemo. (It didn't help that the movies came out in the same years as each other). Comparisons between Flushed Away and Ratatouille, Shrek and Monsters, Inc., and now Mega Mind and The Incredibles are also common.
    • The Antz/A Bugs Life controversy actually does have some basis in fact, as opposed to just being the usual fan rivalry. DreamWorks knew early on exactly what Pixar was planning on doing with A Bugs Life... but only because Pixar's John Lasseter had told DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg all about it. To elaborate: Katzenberg was the one who'd set up the contract with between Pixar and Disney when he still worked at the Disney Studios, and he was also a strong supporter of Toy Story during its development. Because of this Lasseter considered Katzenberg a close friend, and when Katzenberg left the studio to form DreamWorks Lasseter called him up to wish him luck. During the call, he told Katzenberg about Pixar's latest film about a colony of ants and that it would be released in late 1998. A few months later, Lasseter found out that DreamWorks had fast tracked into production a CGI film about ants, and that it would be released two months before Pixar's film. Lasseter angrily called up Katzenberg and confronted him. Katzenberg explained that A Bug's Life was set to be released around the same time as DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt, a major project that the studio had spent years making. Apparently, then-Disney CEO and Katzenberg's archenemy Michael Eisner had purposely picked that date to steal DreamWorks' thunder and spite Katzenberg. Katzenberg told Lasseter that he'd cancel production on Antz if Lasseter convinced Eisner to move A Bugs Life's premiere. Furious that his studio was being used as cannon fodder in Eisner and Katzenberg's ego war, Lasseter hung up on him. The relationship between DreamWorks and Pixar has been downhill ever since.
  • Hanna-Barbera gets hit by this trope hard on the internet. Mostly by non-fans as to why they "ruined animation". Due to their nature to copy everything, including themselves. Most of their characters were based on actors from the 50's and 60's, they created so many Scooby-Doo clones that the Boomerang Network now has a block called "Those Meddling Kids". The most Egregious example that doesn't have to do with Scooby-Doo is The Partridge Family 2200 AD, which is The Jetsons with the Partridge Family in place of the titular family. Which makes sense, because it was originally supposed to be a Jetsons sequel series with the family a few years older but the network bought the show under the demand they substitute the Partridges for the Jetsons.
  • In the 1930s every animation studio tried to copy Disney, often ending in Tastes Like Diabetes results with bland characters and storylines.
  • Even before it hit the airwaves, cartoon fans were accusing Sanjay And Craig of copying the humor and art style of Regular Show and/or Adventure Time. It's also been criticized for copying Bob's Burgers, although that one is at least justifiable as Jay Howell is the character designer of both shows. Other shows feel Sanjay and Craig's pain, as well. Almost any show with two usually male main characters having crazy misadventures made since Regular Show, including Bread Winners, Clarence, Welcome To The Wayne, and, at least before it aired, even Gravity Falls has been accused of cramping Regular Show's style at some point.
  • There are still Flame War's today about what franchise came first and what franchise was the rip-off between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Battletoads. Ninja Turtles went on to have more success and many cartoon, video game, and toy line remakes. While Battletoads is mostly forever known for its Nintendo Hard hoover bike level in their official video game on consoles.
  • Thundercats fans have accused Legends Of Chima of being a shamelessly blatant rip-off. Promos of it airing shortly after The remake's cancellation certainly didn't help.
  • Chuck Jones' classic short "One Froggy Evening" had an imitator: Paramount's "Finnegan's Flea." This opens with a bum standing in a frozen stupor in a bar where the bartender tends to his nourishment needs. He explains to a patron that the guy—Finnegan—had become acquainted with a singing flea, and together they worked their way up to successfully secure a career in show business. They go to said bar to celebrate, where the bartender sees the flea and swats it dead. That caused Finnegan to become frozen in his stunned stupor.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:

    Real Life 
  • A very Averted Trope when it comes to military technology and techniques - the slower you are to copy, the frequently worse off you are. That doesn't mean you shouldn't come up with something new ever, of course.
  • Unlike the arts, any sort of applied sciences tend to dodge this, since the idea isn't to impress with one's originality, but rather to find something that works better than anything else currently out there.
  • Copying other people's ideas was the very essence of H.J. Heinz's business strategies. (Yes, that Heinz, whose company now controls the ketchup market.) Possibly averted, due to his insistence on always one-upping the competition when he imitated something. For instance, he added vinegar and thickened ketchup to extend its shelf life; ketchup was previously rather mild in flavor and quite runny.
  • Denis Leary obviously borrowed a lot of his style and jokes from Bill Hicks, to the point that many people call him a blatant rip-off. It doesn't help that Hicks himself claimed that Leary stole from him and their friendship ended after Hicks thought this.
  • In their memoirs, Silent Films actresses Lillian Gish and Miriam Cooper both mentioned their distaste for Carol Dempster, who became D.W. Griffith's leading lady in the 1920s after Gish and Cooper had moved on. They both claimed that Dempster was not a true actress because — according to them — she imitated their acting styles and the acting styles of other actresses, including Gish's sister Dorothy. (They did not consider this to be the Sincerest Form of Flattery.) While Dempster was no shining light of the silent screen — partly because Griffith's creativity seemed to run out of steam after his A-list stars left him — her films were somewhat popular at the time. This also shows a rather different attitude to acting to today's- seeing as now, being able to mimic and change one's acting style radically would usually be considered artistically superior to having an 'acting style' that someone could replicate obviously enough to be recognised!
  • Romans liked to copy Greek art, often making perfect replicas in marble. Among artistic communities, it's often thought that this copying made the Romans less worthy, artistically speaking. Of course, even today with complicated techniques and high-tech tools, it's very hard to make an exact copy. It's interesting to learn that early artists were not sure how to portray the Buddha. They started off using a symbol (a footprint with a wheel inside), and moved on from there. Many earlier sculptures of the Buddha feature flowing robes and other elements borrowed from Greco-Roman sculpture, and it took quite a while before the present-day image of Buddha became canon.
  • Snowclones submitted as YKTTW on This Very Wiki elicit this complaint offhand. Never mind that it relies on a serviceably memorable formula without excessive cleverness or detracting from the original.
  • Carlos Mencia has been accused of ripping-off so many comedians that Joe Rogan even interrupted one of his stand-up acts to call him out on it.
  • High volume car manufacturers will often be "inspired" by designs from the more exotic brands and this attracts criticism. For example when the third generation Hyundai Coupe was released it was criticised for looking like a Ferrari. As Jeremy Clarkson said; "Some criticise it for looking too like the Ferrari 456, but isn't that like being criticised for painting like Turner?"

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