Shout Out vs Rip Off.:

Total posts: [28]
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1 Lunacorva11th Mar 2013 07:30:45 AM , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Okay, this has been bugging me for ages, what exactly is the differences between making a Shout-Out to a work, and simply ripping it off? I'm asking, because several scenes in my own story are a Shout-Out to other works, Ie a characters scream of fury is so loud it's heard in another dimension 16 years in the future. The problem, is that I don't want to be ripping those works off.
2 SalmonPunch11th Mar 2013 07:36:09 AM from Connecticutt, USA
I never asked for this
Shout outs acknowledge the original work in some subtle fashion, rip offs pretend it was their own idea.

I'm more worried that you would include something like that in a story, unless your story isnt meant to be taken 100% seriously. You have to remember that the original DBZ was born as a parody of Kung-fu stories (Journey to the west in particular) and that through that it gained "special privaleges" when it came to the outlandishness of its situation (IE: people training for hundreds of years inside other dimensions, earth being destroyed over seven times[I forgot the exact number, but it was up there]) that shouldnt be replicated by dead serious work.

edited 11th Mar '13 7:36:32 AM by SalmonPunch

"You like Castlevania, don't you?"
3 Lunacorva11th Mar 2013 08:31:46 AM , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
No, that scene IS meant as a joke. While there are serious parts in my story, they're left for latter on. the early scenes have a lot of Rule of Funny in them.

As for the first part, does that mean I should use an "I do not own this" disclaimer?
4 SalmonPunch11th Mar 2013 09:53:37 AM from Connecticutt, USA
I never asked for this
Im not a lawyer, but stuff like that is usually put in the tiny font fine print of legal disclaimers that no one but other lawyers ever bother to read. As long as you dont copy it word for word your fine.
"You like Castlevania, don't you?"
5 LastHussar11th Mar 2013 11:31:03 AM from the place is here.
The time is now,
"I do not own this" is about as watertight as a sieve.

What a rip off is depends. At the crudest level it is a 'change the names' exercise- "So, we take the magic necklace, travel from the County, across the Foggy Hills, find a way in to the Dark Land, and throw it in the lava pits?"

Other times it isn't obvious, apart from the sense you've been here before. Of course that could be many things do get formulaic - "Those two fighting? They'll be in love by the end of the movie."

Of course rip offs can be a mash up- Harry Potter seems like Enid Blyton does The Worst Witch to me.

Also 're-imagining', 'updating', 'inspired by'.... yeah, the studio means they couldn't think of anything new. Hamlet with 7 songs, no deaths * and a happy ending? - That would be the Lion King.

Of course, Parody is a ripoff with jokes, so that is 'allowed' (the similarity being a big part of the joke). I've seen the original 50s film Airplane! is based on, and they are damn near identical (well not the 'Looks like I picked a bad day..', obviously), even down to who has what for lunch.

Shout outs tend to be little asides, seperate to the main plot, which references something outside the work: Its the crew's way of giving a little wave to their favourites. You wouldn't notice if they were not there. eg the key pad in Moonraker beeps the 'welcome' sequence from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Pratchett is a master, you can skip these little in jokes without realising if you don't spot the reference. I only spotted Thelonious Monk because my dad is a Jazz fan.

[down]ALWAYS give me 10 minutes to get formatting right after posting

edited 11th Mar '13 11:39:45 AM by LastHussar

Do the job in front of you.
6 Twentington11th Mar 2013 11:32:42 AM from Somewhere , Relationship Status: Desperate
[up] You look like you need [[help]] with your links. Use the curly braces, {}, two on each side. This is not [[Wikipedia]].[citation needed] smile

I think what I have is a good example of a Shout-Out. One of my characters is named June after the title character in The Life and Times of Juniper Lee. She is also an otter/bat, in reference to the episode "Welcome Bat-Otter". However, the "bat otters" in that episode were antagonists (which June isn't), and their designs were different from her.

edited 11th Mar '13 11:35:01 AM by Twentington

This is my signature

7 DrStarky11th Mar 2013 01:31:54 PM from Corn And Pig Land , Relationship Status: Staying up all night to get lucky
Okay Guy
I'm asking, because several scenes in my own story are a Shout Out to other works, Ie a characters scream of fury is so loud it's heard in another dimension 16 years in the future. The problem, is that I don't want to be ripping those works off.
Unless you make your inspiration fairly clear I'd say it would be to close to joke theft.

There's probably a better way to pay homage to the source material then just using one of it's gags.

edited 11th Mar '13 1:32:12 PM by DrStarky

Put me in motion, drink the potion, use the lotion, drain the ocean, cause commotion, fake devotion, entertain a notion, be Nova Scotian
8 tsstevens18th Mar 2013 03:06:33 AM from Internet, Tasmania , Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
Have a look at the work that you are basing your writing on. Are you writing the scene as a homage? If so then it's a Shout-Out rather than a rip off.

Compare The Simpsons episode The Shinning to The Shining. Played straight it would be a rip off, but it was a send up so it fits. Now compare the female Latin boss reacting to the bomb in Saints Row: The Third, how she's dribbling over it and says, "It will be mine, oh yes it will be mine." The same line is used in Wayne's World, however the story is very different if not the context, it's a nod to a work the makers like, and because it's not a pivotal scene or like it's not trying to make the game by ripping it off.
9/11, a date that will live in infamy.
The one thing you need to remember is this: There is nothing new under the sun. That said, stealing without adding anything new is unforgivable.

That is, if you're making a shout out, you should try to pour some sort of a twist on it to keep it from becoming a rip-off. So let's use your dilemma as an example.

A rip-off would be cut-and-pasting the gag into your series. Not having seen DBZA (or DBZ, for that matter) I can't say much, but if the original (well, abridged version, but you get my point) has someone screaming so loud it's heard in another dimension 16 years in the future and your version has... that, but with different characters, that's a rip-off. On the other hand, if you have your character scream, and then you show a flash-forward to 16 years in the future in another dimension that goes like this:

"Huh, so that doesn't work in real life. Team Four Star lied."

That's a shout-out. A hastily thrown-together shout-out on my part, but still a shout-out. Just don't let the extent of your twist be "Huh, this happened in [story]!" while the scene plays out as normal. Change something. Make a joke.

edited 18th Mar '13 6:26:05 PM by TheThnikkaman

These are very good tips. Any more?

For example, my main character is essentially a gender-flipped Rei Ayanami, complete with being a clone and having a similar backstory, but I intend to make him an homage to the character rather than a rip-off. How can I do that without him being the latter?
11 TairaMai22nd Mar 2013 09:31:54 PM from El Paso Tx , Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
rollin' on dubs
See this video by Sf Debris and his epic takedown of the ST:Voyager show that got him all p.o.'d here.

edited 22nd Mar '13 9:32:24 PM by TairaMai

12 tsstevens5th Apr 2013 03:15:16 PM from Internet, Tasmania , Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
I'll go with the book I'm writing as an example. Peter Marsters is based a little on Ben Stewart from Blue Heelers as well as James Marsters, but he is not just a copy of them, the idea came from Ben and then I evolved the character to become his own person, I gave him the surname Marsters because he might be a good choice to play the character. The same with Detective Gary Locke, he is based on PJ but you twist the character to the point where, unless you really look you won't pick they are an Expy.

Speaking of which Mick Mc Donald, one of the minor characters, is based on AFL legend Alex Jesaulenko and the similarity is pointed out in the story. Likewise Rubi is what Eliza Dushku might be like playing a social worker, in this case it's basically the actress. Frank Freeman is also based on an existing character, in this case The Punisher, however in this case I don't make any specific reference or effort to make the character similar in looks or personality, I just envisioned Frank Castle without his family being murdered and becoming a vigilante, and had him running an urban clothing store that keeps getting robbed. He doesn't even take the law into his own hands, but he is understandably fed up and he is a gun collector, which will become important in the story. Hope that helps.
9/11, a date that will live in infamy.
13 EditorPallMall5th Apr 2013 03:33:25 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
Easiest way for a writer to avoid this problem is to simply not rip off any work or make shout outs to other works. Let it stand on its own.

With the exception that, if you are confident your shout out is a shout out and adds to the story, disregard this rule.
Keep it breezy!
I think the difference lies primarily in scope. A shoutout is not as important to the main story as a ripoff would be. Broadly speaking, if you can remove the segment without significantly altering the core of the story, it's a shoutout; if you would have to change the plot, it's a ripoff.
15 TairaMai6th Apr 2013 02:19:31 PM from El Paso Tx , Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
rollin' on dubs

It's one thing to have a throwaway line or a plot that's based on another work. Superman has many expies. It's when the plot tracks some other work without being a parody.

Airplane! is a gag-a-minute comedy that is a whole plot reference to the Z-grade movie Zero Hour. The point was to spoof disaster movies.

"Wink of an Eye", the ST: Voyager episode is a ripoff of "Dragon's Egg": take away the elements of "Dragon's Egg" and the episode is nothing.
16 Tuckerscreator8th Apr 2013 11:18:48 PM from High Charity, the Prophet's Holy City , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Every film should end with a Deus T. rex Machina
It can also depend on how essential the reference is to the scene/plot. For instance, one scene of Glee I saw struck me as a rip-off of Singin' in the Rain because the teacher reproduced the "Make 'Em Laugh" scene exactly. Now, I'm sure the scene was meant as a homage to Singin', not a rip-off, but to me it felt like one because the dance was exactly the same, with no gags that weren't already in the original dance. A shout out would have been much shorter. A rip-off tries to use as much of the material as it can, and its scene collapses without the recycled part.
I hear it's amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with a tuning fork does a raw blink on Hari-Kiri rock.
Based on my personal experience with this, I can say that attitude and self-awareness make a difference. Showing an awareness to the similarities and remaining open about then is a lot better than pretending they don't exist (a.k.a. Original Character Do Not Steal).

The whole Shout-Out vs. Ripoff thing has been a point of contention with my game project, which contains Shout Outs to numerous 16-bit games but is frequently criticized as being a ripoff of Sonic the Hedgehog. Since the project's beginning I've taken steps to downplay the similarities, and while the number of complaints have fallen down to just a minority, cries of They Copied It, So It Sucks persist.

I wonder if I could express some level of self-awareness towards this in my game's story, but I'm afraid that my attempts to hang a lampshade on it would raise eyebrows at best and make things worse at worst. Specifically, since Sonic the Hedgehog features weird, child-sized creatures as their "hedgehogs," perhaps in my story, hedgehogs could be one of the only animals that aren't Petting Zoo People. Can using an Inverted Trope from the source material be a decent way of creating a Shout-Out?
18 TairaMai10th Apr 2013 11:28:48 AM from El Paso Tx , Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
rollin' on dubs
Don't worry about being called a "rip off", see Babylon 5 vs. Deep Space Nine or Outlaw Star vs. Firefly.

Its what you do with the material:

  • acknowledge your sources
  • go ahead with shoutouts, whether it's a name or a whole plot reference go head as long as you admit it's a shoutout.
  • change, invert, play with tropes and characters.

What if a damsel in distress was really behind her kindnapping? What if the manic pixie dream girl leans to grow up?

As Beck said, using the past is fine as long as you pervert it. He didn't mean rule 34 he meant changing things up and rearranging stuff to make new stories.

edited 10th Apr '13 11:29:40 AM by TairaMai

Yeah, when I do it, I always make sure to remind the readers that this is essentially an homage/Whole Plot Reference to the story that I am referencing. Makes you come off a lot better than pretending that what you are doing is completely your own idea.
It's really hard to sue someone for parody unless they've literally copied the text and changed a few words around (like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, although the copyright for Pride and Prejudice obviously expired a long time ago). For anything that isn't intended as a parody, I more or less agree with this:

Easiest way for a writer to avoid this problem is to simply not rip off any work or make shout outs to other works. Let it stand on its own.

Intertextuality is overrated.
21 sharur10th Jun 2013 03:02:25 PM from The Siege Alright , Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
I'm not sure this is exactly the right thread, but on a somewhat related note, how does this apply to influences on character's and their traits? For example, I know that Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead is considered a shout out to Hamlet by using two of its characters, and doing something entirely different with them. Conversely, we have the entirety of the Expy trope pages. So, any helpful tips or guidelines about when an expy character becomes a rip off?
Nihil assumpseris, sed omnia resolvere!
22 tsstevens23rd Mar 2014 07:18:03 PM from Internet, Tasmania , Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
I thought to resurrect this thread for an example of my own and maybe provide some perspective on the question on what would be a shout out or rip off.

As some of you may know I am writing a novel based on the Victoria police force. Now after her role in Blue Heelers actress Lisa Mc Cune began doing advertisements for Coles supermarket. When her replacement Caroline Craig left the show she would later do ''Underbelly and today I discovered she was in an ad against Prime Minister Tony Abbott. I thought to incorporate this into my novel the following way, a throwaway line that is heard two thirds of the way into the story.

"I agree," Jeremy told his father. "Promoting a supermarket is one thing, putting your arse on the line about a topic as important as who runs our country is quite another."

That's it. No mention of Tess Gallagher/Jaquei James, no reference to the shows she is from, just father and son discussing the ad she did. The detective overhears this before Jeremy notices him and tries to offer help on the case he's working, but I thought it would be a very sly reference to the two shows. What are your thoughts? Does it work? Is that a subtle enough shout out or based on the work would it be maybe too obvious?
9/11, a date that will live in infamy.
23 TairaMai24th Mar 2014 06:15:21 PM from El Paso Tx , Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
rollin' on dubs
[up]It's okay. If you had a character who was in a tv show and The Rival was on the same show and the rest is similar, only the names are changed by a letter: rip-off.

What you have is a shout out: a reference that would go over the head of some people, a point of reference for Aussies and a plot point. You could have used any other celeb, politician or public figure.

Some works have characters "derived" from public figures: parody, a Take That!, Based on a True Story etc.

24 tsstevens24th Mar 2014 09:57:30 PM from Internet, Tasmania , Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
That's what I was going for, thank you. The story itself would be more similar to the shows I mentioned than the reference itself, and that was what I was going for not just in terms of something that fans of the show might pick up but hopefully something writers who think about this sort of thing could read and see as an example of how you could write a Shout-Out without it being a rip off.
9/11, a date that will live in infamy.
25 joesolo25th Mar 2014 05:55:28 AM , Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
Shout out is short, not critical l to the plot. Rip off is using someone else's idea as a center part. In my opinionanyway

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