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"What I'm trying to say is, they're the Space Avengers. But I guess it's technically not stealing if they're ripping off themselves."

Sometimes, a work becomes a surprise success and various imitators are made in its wake, usually by different creators. But on a few occasions, the same creators (or at least, the parent company) will make something that appears to be a transparent ripoff of their own success. This is different from Spiritual Successor in that the series are usually made in the same time period and that there is no reason the newer product couldn't have used the same license as the older work.

There are many reasons for this. It may be because of the executive's belief that lazily changing the setting will in itself attract more viewers, milking a cash cow without making it seem too obvious or simply an author being unable to shake off his Signature Style.

This isn't simply a matter of recurring tropes, such as those defining a genre, making up a Signature Style, or inspiring a Spiritual Licensee. The "plagiarized" work should be the same on a conceptual level, to the point that if it was the work of a different creator there could be a lawsuit in the works.

A lot of what's on Recycled IN SPACE! is an example of this. Compare and contrast Expy (which is when an author recycles one or more characters but not the rest of the story), Follow the Leader, Better by a Different Name, and Recycled Script.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ryosuke Takahashi created both Armored Trooper VOTOMS and Gasaraki. Both shows involve a talented Mini-Mecha pilot who doesn't talk much trying to save a mysterious girl who is a better pilot than he is from an Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Yoshihiro Togashi created both YuYu Hakusho and Hunter × Hunter. Both are shonen Fighting Series starring a Stock Shōnen Hero clad in green (Yusuke and Gon), a tall but not very powerful comic relief character (Kuwabara and Leorio), an effeminate and stoic but dangerous brains of the team (Kurama and Kurapika), and a born-malicious character who learns about friendship (Hiei and Killua). Togashi has said that a few of Hunter × Hunter's elements (such as its Deconstructor Fleet tone and large cast) come from ideas he had for YuYu Hakusho that he couldn't fit in its plot, hence their similar characters.
  • Summer Wars takes a significant number of cues from Digimon Adventure: Our War Game, a film director Mamoru Hosoda also directed nine years previously.
  • Toshio Maeda, the creator of legendary Hentai series Urotsukidoji, recycled his own ideas a lot in his following works; one review of an especially egregious example started with the reviewer's less-than-impressed thoughts on the matter.
    When is imitation not the sincerest form of flattery? When it's yourself you're ripping off.
  • Yoichi Takahashi created both Captain Tsubasa and Hungry Heart: Wild Striker. Both are stories about soccer, though the second is more down-to-Earth.
  • Right after finishing Future Diary author Sakae Esuno made Big Order another battle-royal manga in which a wimpy, high school protagonist has to team-up with a pink-haired girl that wants to kill him but also has feelings for him.
  • Seven years after finishing Elfen Lied, Lynn Okamoto created Brynhildr in the Darkness. In both stories a high-school protagonist reunites with his forgotten childhood friend who has been the subject of secret experimentation due to her supernatural powers, has an evil split personality and is now on the run from a shadowy organisation which is using other ability users to hunt her down, some of which eventually join the group of protagonists and form a harem. Like Elfen Lied it is also filled with tons of gore and gratuitous nudity.
  • Shinya Murata works on several concurrent manga with recurring themes, Animal Motifs in fights and reused character designs. Perhaps the most notable case of this is Himenospia being published alongside Blattodea as of 2020. Himenospia is a reimagining of plot elements from Arachnid and Blattodea is the Arachnid sequel. It got to the point both stories did a throwback to a particular Big Damn Heroes scene from Arachnid within a short time of each other.

    Comic Books 
  • In Born Again, one of the Kingpin's lieutenants speaks with an excessive amount of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, which is played for laughs. Frank Miller would later use the same type of gag when writing Shlubb and Klump (AKA Fat Man and Little Boy) from Sin City.
  • Artist Greg Land is notorious for not only overusing photo references (tracing porn, basically) and plagiarizing other artists but also recycling much of his own work.
  • Panic! was actually advertised as "the only authorized imitation of MAD." Both were published by EC Comics at the time. Its second issue parodied this by claiming in its editorial that MAD had stolen the concept from Panic! while the latter was in the design phase.
  • Doug Moench would occasionally use the same plots and characters in his '80s Batman and Moon Knight runs. Sometimes, he would even mix up the names.
  • George Pérez was the visual creator of the Marvel Comics mercenary Taskmaster, written by David Michelinie, in 1980. Some months later, Perez went to DC Comics and was responsible for the character design of another mercenary, Deathstroke, this time created by Marv Wolfman. The characters were much similar, with the same color scheme, wearing the same kind of sleeves and boots, masks covering full face and carrying swords.
  • Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman: Endgame is basically a redo of Death of the Family, right down to having the Joker as the main villain. Among the few differences are the Justice League replacing the Batfamily as the allies that the Joker jokerizes and turns against Batman and instead of the League disbanding like the Batfamily did in DotF, Endgame ends with Batman presumed dead.
  • In the Golden Age, the illustrious Simon & Kirby perpetrated a textbook example by slapping together The Defender for USA Comics not six months after creating Captain America. Where Captain America was the patriotically-attired spy-hunting alter ego of humble soldier Steve Rogers featuring a pre-teen sidekick named Bucky, who for some reason went by that name in both of his identities, and occasionally a government agent named Betsy Ross, the Defender was the patriotically-attired spy-hunting alter ego of humble Marine Don Stevens featuring a pre-teen sidekick named Rusty, who for some reason went by that name in both of his identities, and in the first story a government agent named Sally Kean. Had some bonus Values Dissonance too, as the one place where the Defender innovated over Cap was in being casually, appallingly racist towards the Japanese. A few issues in, they dropped the Defender and brought Cap himself in.
  • The death of Uncle Ben inspires the hero to go after outlaws everywhere, in Stan Lee's Rawhide Kid #17, August, 1960, and Amazing Spider-Man #1, March 1963.
  • Several Marvel characters introduced during the Silver Age have the same name and different origin from a Golden Age Timely Comics character, including the Vision and Black Widow, and Lo-Zar instead of Ka-Zar.
  • Chris Claremont: Hidden somewhere in a dark corner of the Mutant Research Center on Muir Island is a dirty little secret from our character's past; a child no one knows about, who is an incredibly powerful mutant with a damaged psyche. The first time it was Moira's son Proteus, the second time it was Professor X's son Legion.
  • After he sold Ant to Erik Larsen, Mario Gully attempted to produce a new comic starring a nigh-identical character called "Bugg".
  • Zipi y Zape: In the late 80's, Escobar started a new series about, wait for it... two brothers with just a few years between them, with different hair color, called Terre and Moto (Terremoto, "Earthquake") who, huh, were mischievous but kind and smart and went to school and had adventures. Apparently, Escobar had a falling out with his old publisher but they had the rights to Zipi y Zape so Escobar decided to start a new IP as similar as possible to his old one. The new series wasn't exactly successful and Escobar was back to drawing Zipi y Zape before long.
  • Mike Allred reused a number of his unused character sketches from X-Statix in his creator-owned work The Atomics.
  • In one of the most blatant cases of this trope, in 2016, Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta created America Vasquez, a new creator-owned superhero who is incredibly similar to their most famous creation, America Chavez. They openly admit that they created Vaquez in order to cash in on the increased attention that Chavez was receiving.
  • Alex Ross was part of the creative teams of Astro City and Kingdom Come. As a result, at least two KC characters share striking similarities with AC characters:
    • Wonder Woman's winged, golden eagle-like armor made her look a lot like Winged Victory, herself an Expy of Wonder Woman.
    • Harlequin II a.k.a. "Joker's Daughter", better known for being modeled after Jill Thompson, shares the clown/ jester motif and the red-and-green, diamond-shaped patterned costume with the much more heroic Jack-in-the-Box.
  • In-Universe example as a Spider-Man storyline has an academic professor explaining that in the Marvel Universe, plagiarism takes different forms. For example, one student turned in a groundbreaking paper that was actually written by her counterpart in an alternate universe who was a Nobel-winning wunderkind.
    • A wild turn is a system accusing Peter Parker of stealing the work of long-time foe Doctor Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus to get his science degree. What Peter can't tell anyone is that this was when Ock had taken over his body so it was Otto pushing his own work. While stripped of his degree, Peter realizes he can't complain because he really didn't earn it himself.
    • In fact, earlier in Superior, "Peter" was being accused of "stealing" Otto's research but managed to sneak out of it.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Disney acquired the film rights to Bedknob and Broomstick to use as a backup in case they couldn't acquire the film rights to Mary Poppins. After the film adaptation of Mary Poppins proved to be a smash, they went ahead and made Bedknobs and Broomsticks anyway, leaving them with two films about British children under the care of a woman with magic powers. Some of the songs in Bedknobs were originally written for Poppins but were unused.
  • The song "Men in Tights" from Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights takes its tune from "Jews in Space" from his History of the World Part I.
    • Mel Brooks also recycles the same jokes over and over again. In one of his DVD Commentary tracks he even admits to doing way too many gags involving the camera bumping into an object in the foreground.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has an uncanny resemblance to Forrest Gump. Both screenplays were written by Eric Roth.
  • Honest Trailers comments that The Matrix "spawned a thousand imitators, from its effects, to its tone, to its wardrobe, to its own sequels."
  • The director of the first Leprechaun also did Rumpelstiltskin. Both feature evil wish-granting dwarfs who kill people in various creative ways.
  • When Norm Macdonald made Dirty Work, he used, almost verbatim, a monologue from his first year as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, about prison rape.
  • One of the criticisms of Batman & Robin was it was a rehash of the plot of Batman Forever: an established villain (Two-Face/Mr. Freeze) goes on a crime spree that our hero or heroes must stop, a former Wayne Enterprises employee (The Riddler/Poison Ivy) snaps and decides to become a villain, someone new (Robin/Batgirl) comes to live at Wayne Manor, the new villain teams-up with the already active one, the new person learns Bruce Wayne is Batman (and in & Robin's case, Dick Grayson is Robin) and becomes a crime fighter, the new villain screws with the Batsignal (the Riddler making it the dot of a question mark/Poison Ivy replacing the Batsymbol with Robin's), Batman gets a new costume for the final battle (as do Robin and Batgirl in & Robin), the villains are beaten, and even the end shot is the same: the heroes running towards camera with the Batsignal behind them.
  • Shocker and, to a lesser extent, My Soul to Take are frequently regarded as attempts by Wes Craven to create a new Nightmare on Elm Street.
  • A speech that a war veteran gives in Maniac Cop 2 about being trapped for days under a pile of corpses is reused without any alterations whatsoever in the writer/director duo's later film Uncle Sam.
  • Highlander III: The Sorcerer almost feels like the original 1986 movie re-tooled into a seedy exploitation film. Both are about Connor facing a powerful and evil immortal that killed his mentor in the distant past with a climax involving a kidnapped loved one. Kane even re-enacts the iconic scene where the Kurgan scares Brenda by driving like a maniac, only with Connor's adopted son. Not to mention Alex basically being an Expy of Brenda that fills the same plot role of discovering an out of place artifact (the armor and sword on Kane's dead henchmen in this case) that leads to her finding Connor and falling in love with him.
  • Several scenes in The Avengers (2012) mirror scenes from Joss Whedon's television series. Most notably, the scene where Loki sows the seeds of doubt and dissension in the minds of the heroes, causing them to bicker and fight while he's locked up beneath them, recreates a scene from the Angel episode "Soulless" when Angelus does the same thing to Angel's companions from his prison cell.
  • Joss Whedon also borrows a Signature Scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the movie The Cabin in the Woods, namely the scene where the secret government agency has a whole lot of monsters locked up in underground cages, and then those monsters all break out and attack.note 
  • Doing this In-Universe is the plot of Bill & Ted Face the Music. After years of failing to come up with the song that will unite the world, Bill and Ted decide to just travel through time to a point where they've already written the song, then copy it down and release it in the present, effectively jury-rigging a Stable Time Loop.
    Ted: Why can't we just go to the future and when we have written it?
    Bill: And take it from ourselves!
    Ted: But isn't that stealing?
    Bill: How's that stealing if we're stealing it from ourselves, dude?
  • In-Universe example from I Love Trouble as Peter Brackett is a renowned newspaper reporter turned author who loves his party lifestyle that he barely pays attention to deadlines. In a rush to get to a party, Peter takes an old story from over a decade ago, alters a few names and wording and submits it. When his editor needs someone to cover a train crash, Peter begs it off only for his editor (an experienced newsman who knows Peter's tricks) to openly ask his assistant to start going through all of Peter's past stories for one almost exactly like what he just submitted. Realizing it's the crash or find a new job, Peter reluctantly goes.
  • In The Trial of the Chicago 7, an FBI undercover agent ingratiates herself with Jerry Rubin partly by buying him a drink but mostly with her joke "Do you know why they eat only one egg for breakfast in France? Because in France, one egg is an oeuf." Aaron Sorkin also used this joke on The West Wing. In neither case did the person the joke was told to think it was good.

  • Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun features an identical love triangle dynamic to that of Death on the Nile.
  • Used In-Universe in American Psycho, when Patrick Bateman invokes this trope when reviewing Genesis, making claims such as the song "That's All" sounding too much like their previous song "Misunderstanding".
  • The Bailey School Kids series reused an entire page whenever the character Howie visited his dad at the Federal Aerospace Technology Station, depicting their entrance and the facility itself.
  • Every. Single. Book. by Dan Brown tells the tale of a Gary Stu protagonist who's a university professor and a smart Head-Turning Beauty Love Interest (who is not really that smart), brought together by a murder and a riddle, and forced to flee through a foreign country while being chased by a colorful assassin (usually with a disability), who works for a secret cabal (usually the Catholic Church, or a group within it) that does not want the riddle solved because it would reveal The Truth before the world (this Truth is revealed in the end, of course). After The Da Vinci Code, Brown even dispenses with naming The Protagonist differently and just reuses Robert Langdon (The girls do keep changing every book), who is nonetheless oblivious to the fact that the exact same plot keeps happening to him.
  • David Eddings has this happen in at least The Belgariad and The Malloreon. Indeed, the characters recognize and discuss the repetitions of stories in their own lives, even noting the reason for it happening. At one point, a character even exploits this, noticing how similar the current situation is to a previous one and choosing to handle it differently.
  • Doctor Who
  • E. L. James book Fifty Shades of Grey started life as a Twilight fanfiction called Master of the Universe. When edited for publication, it remained 89% identical to its former self.
  • Frederick Forsyth fell prey to this in The Afghan, stealing several word for word passages from The Fist Of God, and plot elements (such as one man telling the government that his brother can pass for an Arab, and then reminding the same people about it ten years later....).
  • H. P. Lovecraft, despite his originality on almost all other fronts, had a tendency to create his own cliches and recycle plots and plot events he'd already used before, perhaps several times. One excellent and particularly extreme example is "Dagon" and "The Call of Cthulhu", the latter being pretty much a Remake of the former.
  • Greg Bear has reused some of the science-fiction concepts he invents in one book in completely unrelated books. For instance, Moving Mars and Anvil Of Stars both use the concept of 'hacking real life', while Darwins Radio and Blood Music both use communication and reasoning among microorganisms as major plot points. Legacy and Moving Mars also both contain ecosystems based on Lamarckian evolution, as minor plot points.
  • Programming writer Herbert Schildt is notorious for this, frequently copy-pasting parts of his books to newer books, which might be almost forgivable if he wasn't so frequently wrong about some very basic things. His collected works are referred to by most programmers as "Bullschildt".
  • Laurell K Hamilton: Both Anita Blake Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry feature female protagonists who are short, have a Buxom Beauty Standard figure, are mixed-race, and have a Jerkass ex-husband who hates them for not being tall and blonde. Both feel "inferior" due to not being tall and blonde. Both get New Powers as the Plot Demands, most of which are sex-based and makes them supernaturally skilled lovers. Both gain harems of impossibly sexy, impossibly endowed men with supernatural powers and inhuman combat prowess who are completely devoted to them and wish to cater to their every whim. And both of them eventually find that they've got a destiny as the saviors of the supernatural.
  • A more literal example occurs with Arthur C. Clarke's novel 3001: The Final Odyssey, which simply cut and pastes several paragraphs concerning the Monolith builders' intentions from 2001. The same applies to a description of European life in 2010, which was reused almost verbatim in 2061 and 3001, and the destruction of the Tsien in 2010 that was readapted in 2061. Clarke acknowledged as much in the afterword of 2061:
    If an author cannot plagiarize himself, who can he plagiarize?
  • Michael Crichton:
    • Westworld depicts an amusement park built around unique attractions: robots. After the initial magnificent impression, chaos and death ensues when the robots outgrow their design and safeguards. Skip ahead two decades and change robots to dinosaurs and you get the wildly successful Jurassic Park.
    • Timeline, in turn, replaces Jurassic Park's dinosaurs with Medieval knights, but is otherwise a very similar story. Scientists (archaeologists instead of paleontologists) are revealed that a Corrupt Corporate Executive has developed a groundbreaking new technology that might render their discipline pointless (cloned dinosaurs vs time travel), and are given the chance to explore it safely. However, a corrupted worker of the project lifts the security measures, putting everyone's lives at risk. Eventually, the project is destroyed and the chairman who developed it for profit is killed.
  • Philip K. Dick often reused elements from his short stories in his novels. For example, the dolls from "The Days of Perky Pat" play a major role in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and the concept of half-life from "What the Dead Men Say" is an important part of Ubik.
  • Raymond Chandler built his first few novels out of plot elements "cannibalized" from his short stories; Farewell, My Lovely, for instance, has the detective protagonist dealing with a missing-person case and a stolen-necklace case, each of which was originally a separate short story, while a third story provided the novel's climax. It helped that many of his short stories starred basically the same loner-detective type, with the name changing depending on which magazine he sold the story to; for the novels, he changed the name again, to Philip Marlowe, and a legend was born.
  • The Shadow of the Lion, by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer, includes a fantasy reworking of Lackey's contributions to the science fiction shared-world "Merovingen Nights" begun by C. J. Cherryh, with the names changed but several passages taken almost word-for-word.
  • Terry Pratchett was so pleased with himself for coming up with this joke that he used it in two Discworld books. To wit: a flour cart crashes into a heggler's cart and also a milk cart, resulting in a huge mess. In Night Watch, a character comments that they could make an enormous cake. In The Truth, Sacharrissa uses "CITY'S BIGGEST CAKE MIX-UP" as a headline. William de Worde remarks on how this is just the right amount of unfunny to be a newspaper joke. Major Clive Mountjoy-Steadfast merely snaps "Tom!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • After Power Rangers became a hit, Saban followed up with more Tokusatsu adaptations: VR Troopers, Masked Rider, and Beetleborgs, to varying degrees of success.
  • During the height of the Ultra Series' popularity in the 1970s, numerous Follow the Leader "Kyodai Hero" shows were produced to cash in on Ultraman's success. Several of these were from Tsuburaya Productions themselves, including Mirrorman, Fireman, and Jumborg Ace.
  • Some of the gags in Lee Mack's sitcom Not Going Out also appear almost verbatim in his stand-up.
  • Aaron Sorkin did this a few times. Not recreating old works per se, but stealing verbatim lines from Sports Night to be used in The West Wing. I guess he thought the lines didn't get enough of an audience the first time.
    • The first ten minutes of The Newsroom are basically the first ten minutes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Sorkin is now engaged in writing a Fix Fic for his Fix Fic...
    • They're called Sorkinisms.
    • He used the episode title "What Kind of Day Has It Been?" for the first-season finales of Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60. In the last case, it was also the series finale's title. The Newsroom also used it for the series finale, which was after three seasons.
  • After having extreme success with The Hollywood Squares (1966-80), creator Merrill Heatter designed two later game shows that shared the motif of trivia questions being asked of a celebrity panel: Battlestars (1981-82) and All-Star Blitz (1985). The former was almost literally Recycled IN SPACE!, and the latter combined the general idea with a word game.
  • Three interactive game shows debuted on the Family Channel in 1994; board game adaptation Boggle, list-ordering game Shuffle, and newspaper game adaptation Jumble. Each one played almost exactly the same way; use the telephone keypad to answer the questions, lowest scorer in each round is eliminated, last one standing wins a trip. The three shows all used the exact same music package and sound effects, and had the same host/announcer tandem (Wink Martindale & Randy West). They even shared the same set (though to be fair, each show DID have a few unique set pieces).
  • Terry Nation recycled the plots to the Dalek stories he wrote for Doctor Who. Eventually, the production team called him on it, forcing him to write a Dalek origin story.
  • Mutant X, Marvel making a live-action X-Men show despite no longer having the live-action rights to the X-Men.
  • Dan Schneider has a tendency to recycle episode plots from his earlier shows. One example is the iCarly episode "iSaved Your Life", which is very similar to the Drake & Josh episode "Josh Loves Mindy". Both episodes involve the main characters falling in love with a major character. The Anti-Hero character then guilts one of the involved parties into believing that the love may be superficial, forcing them to break-up to satisfy Status Quo Is God.
  • A major in-universe example from Backstage as Kit has a secret identity as popular DJ Diamondmind. She decides to submit some of her self-written tracks to get into Keaton School for the Arts. It's no until she's hauled before the ethics board that Kit realizes as far as everyone else is concerned, she just blatantly ripped off the work of a famous artist.

  • Nearly all of Johann Sebastian Bach's concertos for one or more harpsichords were transposed transcriptions of his concertos for other instruments, including the two violin concertos, Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, the Flute Concerto, and the concertos for two violins and for violin and oboe.
  • A number of Joseph Haydn's piano trios are reworkings of his solo piano sonatas, or parts thereof. Haydn once composed a Mass called the Schöpfungsmesse or Creation Mass. It got its name because he recycled music from one of his oratorios, also called The Creation (he took some music from Adam and Eve's final duet), for the "qui tollis peccata mundi" passage of the Gloria movement. One of his patrons, Empress Maria Theresa, did not like this and had Haydn recompose that particular passage for her own copy of the work.
  • The final movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's famous Piano Sonata in C K545 is almost identical to that of his Piano Sonata in F K135.
  • George Frederic Handel's Concerto a due cori #2 includes an instrumental version of "Lift Up Ye Heads, Oh Ye Gates" from his Messiah.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quintet in C minor Op. 104 was a reworking, in a different instrumental medium, of his Piano Trio in C minor Op. 1/3.
  • Franz Schubert reused a passage from the scherzo of his "Death and the Maiden" String Quartet in his 12 Ländler D790.
    • His "Trout" Quintet took its name from a Lieder he wrote; the fourth movement is a theme-and-variations on the melody.
    • His "Rosamunde" Quartet also adopted a theme, from his opera of the same name.
  • Johannes Brahms adapted the theme from the song "Wie Melodien zieht es mir" as the second theme from the Violin Sonata in A, Op. 100.
  • John Fogerty was once sued by his former label (the one who represented him when he was with Creedence Clearwater Revival, before his solo career) for sounding too similar to himself. In other words, they thought "The Old Man Down the Road" (which he recorded as a solo act for his 1985 album Centerfield) sounded too much like CCR's "Run Through the Jungle" (to which they owned the rights.) Fogerty won the case by performing both songs in the courtroom, illustrating the notable differences (though the songs do sound somewhat alike). The court also noted the inherent ridiculousness of A. Suing someone for sounding too much like themselves and B. Trying to prohibit someone from taking inspiration from their own work.
    • Unlike most musicians, Fogerty no longer had the publishing rights to his CCR songs; he had surrendered those and all future royalties to get out of his contract with Fantasy Records. With the departure of head Saul Zaentz from the company, the two sides later reconciled.
  • The band Renaissance had a hit with "Northern Lights". A couple of years later they recorded "Bonjour Swansong" which has an almost identical tune.
  • Mike Oldfield's "Man in the Rain", "Moonlight Shadow", and "Poison Arrows" all sound extremely alike. Oldfield also repeated in Tubular Bells II as a Leitmotif a melody from "Guilty".
  • The style of the covers on Twisted Sister's Christmas album are influenced from some of their older songs. For instance, "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" is done in the style of "We're Not Gonna Take It", and even lampshades it by using a part of its solo too.
    • "We're Not Gonna Take It" itself already sounds a lot like "O Come All Ye Faithful", hence the remake.
  • Nickelback have been accused of this in most of their songs, especially "How You Remind Me" and "Someday." A mashup layering those two specific songs over each other went viral for a spell, though some editing and speeding up of tempos was needed to make the two songs fit together completely seamlessly.
  • The trance group Kaycee remixed Binary Finary's "1998", then made "Sunshine", which is a Suspiciously Similar Song to said tune.
  • The Kinks released "You Really Got Me" in the summer of 1964. "All Day and All of the Night" was released in October of the same year. These songs are practically identical, with nearly the same riffs and lyrics.
    • Ray Davies is a prolific self-plagiarist. The liner notes for one Kinks compilation point out that you can take any random Kinks song and find another very similar song elsewhere in their discography.
    • The riff to "All Day and All of the Night" was (probably deliberately) self-plagiarized in the verses and refrains to "Destroyer" in 1981.
  • Bachman Turner Overdrive's 1975 single "Hey You" blatantly recycles the arrangement and much of the tune from their 1974 single "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet". Randy Bachman's later band Ironhorse had a hit with "Sweet Lui-Louise", which also was a rewrite of "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet", including the use of stuttering in the lead vocal.
  • Beyoncé's "Halo" and Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone" sound similar (and were hits only months apart), and were both written/produced by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic. Clarkson was against having "Already Gone" released as a single once she heard "Halo" and noticed the similarities, but Executive Meddling ensued.
  • Linkin Park's early releases are pretty much interchangeable. In fact, if you look at the waveforms...
    • This has actually been lampshaded by the band members themselves. While promoting A Thousand Suns, they pretty much said that they could go into the studio and whip up a pre-Minutes to Midnight song in five minutes.
  • Chuck Berry was notorious for recycling guitar riffs and even whole songs, most famously taking "School Days" and retooling it as "No Particular Place to Go".
  • Rank 1 produced a Suspiciously Similar Song of Cygnus X's "The Orange Theme" titled "Black Snow", but also did an official remix of it under their own names of Bervoets & de Goejj.
  • "Cryin'" and "Crazy" by Aerosmith not only sound uncannily alike but also even have slightly similar names (both being titled a single, five-letter word beginning with "CR").
    • Not only that, they have virtually the same music video as well. Alicia Silverstone goes on delinquent sprees in both, though in the latter she is joined by Steven Tyler's then-unknown daughter Liv.
  • "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "Fixing a Hole" sound very much alike, and they are from the very same Beatles album.
    • A couple albums later, the chorus melody of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" sounds a lot like the horn riff on the song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" between the first verse and chorus.
  • Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" and "Faster Than the Speed of Life" are another example of songs from the same album that sound almost identical. Both songs were provided by the same outside writer, Mars Bonfire: rumor had it that the song was specifically written to capitalize on the success of "Born To Be Wild", but lead singer John Kay thought it was too similar and refused to perform on it, explaining why drummer Jerry Edmonton sang it instead.
    • Steppenwolf's 1969 hit "Move Over", co-written by their producer Gabriel Mekler, had its melody recycled by Mekler for the 1971 Instrumental hit "Cool Aid" by Paul Humphrey, which Mekler produced and released on his own label.
  • This YouTube video showcases a few examples of orchestral score composer James Horner's habit of repeating melodies he's already used in previous soundtracks of his. The film music compared is the scores to Avatar, Troy, Enemy at the Gates, and Willow.
  • In Tommy The Who used an instrumental from "Rael 1" (on the album The Who Sell Out) as a Leitmotif. In turn, that instrumental uses the chord sequence from the rave-up at the end of "My Generation."
  • Cascada JHV'ed Groove Coverage's "Runaway" in "Bad Boy", then plagiarised themselves with a song ironically also titled "Runaway".
  • Coldplay's "Speed of Sound" sounds a lot like their earlier hit "Clocks".
  • The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd says Animals is full of this ("Dogs" recycles "Seamus", "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" copies "Have a Cigar", and "Sheep" is a pastiche of their psychedelic years).
  • The famous Jeopardy! Thinking Music from Jeopardy!, composed by Merv Griffin, was self-plagiarised from a lullaby that Merv wrote for his son, Tony. The melody from the original lullaby, "A Time for Tony", was used as a prize bed on Wheel of Fortune for several seasons.
  • Notoriously common in the Baroque era, before copyright was invented. For instance, Johann Sebastian Bach reused both the melody and arrangement of his own secular cantata ''Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!'' (Sound, ye drums! Resound, ye trumpets!) for his Christmas Oratorio. The only thing that was changed was the lyrics (not written by Bach, but a hired poet, in this case probably a man known as Picander). The cantata is now mostly known with the Christmas lyrics Jauchzet, frohlocket. (Rejoice and be merry!)
    • Shorter examples of such 'plagiarism' are known as musical parody. Quite a few of Bach's works use musical parody — for example, a short snippet of a recitative movement of one of Bach's cantatas often turns up in another recitative from a different Bach cantata.
  • Bernard Herrmann's opera Wuthering Heights has some music you might recognize from the films he scored. Given that the opera was never performed, this is understandable.
  • Subverted with Apollo 100. The band made rock versions of classical music pieces, like those composed by Bach and Beethoven. Their song Beethoven 9 leads in to Ode to Joy in the middle of the song, in the same way as the opening to their song Joy, it turns into Ode to Joy instead of Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring.
  • Merle Haggard has always been considered one of country's best lyricists. Musically,'s always seemed like he has maybe five or six tunes that he constantly recycles, sometimes altering progressions and tempos but not much else.
  • Songwriter Jim Steinman frequently raids his own history for choice bits that he recycles in new songs.
    • One of the best examples would be a bridge consisting mostly of the repeated line "Godspeed, godspeed, godspeed, speed us away", which has appeared in, among other songs, "Nowhere Fast" by Fire, Inc. (from the Streets of Fire soundtrack); "Bad for Good" from Steinman's own album of the same name, later covered by Meat Loaf; and "Graveyard Shift", a song from his in-development Batman stage musical.
    • The intro to "Stark Raving Love," from Bad for Good, became the intro for "Holding Out for a Hero," recorded by Bonnie Tyler for the Footloose soundtrack.
    • On a less specific level, Steinman has several distinctive motifs that he has employed almost to the point of cliche — thunderous drums and a massively multitracked chorus among others — although these may be less a case of self-plagiarism than simply his Signature Style.
  • Legendary AC/DC guitarist Angus Young once said, proudly, "People keep saying we've made the same record 13 times over but that's a filthy lie. We've made the same record 14 times over."note 
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain are frequent abusers of this — you really can't go one album without finding at least two (some times up to four) songs that sound almost exactly the same. This is particularly noticeable with their first three albums, which were all basically retreads of each other, just in different styles.
  • Scar Symmetry (yes, Scar Symmetry) did this once. One of the opening riffs on the title track to Holographic Universe sounds nearly identical to the riff played during the breakdown of "Calculate the Apocalypse".
  • Save for a couple of albums, you probably won't be able to tell one Slayer song from another without looking at the title or listening hard to the lyrics.
  • Disturbed often uses the same ending notes for their choruses. For example, "Decadence" and "Asylum" end their choruses with the exact same notes.
  • Hybrid's single, "Blind Side", is a bit too similar to "Break My Soul" from their Disappear Here album.
  • Basshunter's DOTA and All I Ever Wanted are the same song with different lyrics. In turn, "DOTA" is based on Daddy DJ's self-titled song.
    • As well, Boten Anna was self-plagiarized into Now You're Gone.
  • Weezer's Rivers Cuomo wrote, then discarded, Songs from the Black Hole, a Rock Opera that was going to be their second album. The first song to leak from this was "Blast Off!", and it turned out that they had reused a riff that occurs in the last verse of the song as the basis for "El Scorcho". It was probably considered fair game for recycling because of the whole Lost Episode thing — in fact, a few other Songs From The Black Hole numbers were just plain reused out-of-context on Pinkerton or as BSides.
    • Rivers will periodically revisit a Cut Song from an earlier album and rework elements into an otherwise entirely different song: For example, 2017 single "Weekend Woman" incorporates the verse melody and some Recycled Lyrics from "Burning Sun", an outtake from 2001's Weezer (The Green Album), but adds a new chorus and a very different musical arrangement.
  • Country Music singer Keith Anderson self-plagiarized his hit "Every Time I Hear Your Name" for his later hit "I Still Miss You". Both are very similar-sounding songs about being reminded of a lover even after she's left, but the latter is a little more open-ended and could also apply to a friend or family member. (The latter also has different co-writers.)
  • One of the biggest causes of controversy between fans of Dragonforce and non-fans is how much they're guilty of this. The nonfans will go as far as to say they have one song, which they make minor key changes on and present as a different one.
  • Since they both steal from everyone it shouldn't be surprising to discover that Peter Schickele has stolen from P.D.Q. Bach at least twice. One of Schickele's earliest compositions, the overture to The Civilian Barber was written based off of P.D.Q.'s notesnote  and the Variations in Schickele's Serenade for Three come from the title character's "I Am" Song in P.D.Q.'s dramatic oratorio, Oedipus Tex.
  • Five Finger Death Punch pretty clearly recycled the riff in the bridge of "The Way of the Fist" to use for the main riff of "Burn It Down".
  • Cory Hall sometimes plagiarises his own piano music compositions.
  • The second half of "The Way Home" by Thyx, a solo project by Stefan Poiss of, uses the same rhythm and synth progression of MIAB's "Doubt".
  • Toby Keith's "God Love Her" is pretty much a rewrite of his 2004 single "Whiskey Girl". Similar tempo and arrangement, and both are about The Lad-ette.
  • Session musician Hargus "Pig" Robbins improvised the intro to Ronnie Milsap's 1976 single "(I'm a) Stand by My Woman Man", and unintentionally ended up making one nearly identical to the one he played on Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors" three years prior. According to a 2004 Milsap compilation album, the similarities nearly led to a lawsuit.
  • Loreena McKennitt's song "Beneath a Phrygian Sky" is more than reminiscent of her earlier famous song "The Bonny Swans".
    • "Standing Stones" is very similar to the earlier "Stolen Child", as is "Never-Ending Road" to her setting of the Yeats poem "The Two Trees".
  • As Todd in the Shadows pointed out, Rednex followed up their reworking of Cotton-Eye Joe with "Old Pop in an Oak", which had an almost identical melody and instrumentation to the former. "The Way I Mate" also falls victim to this.
  • Guitarist Stuart Zechman, a former member of Stabbing Westward who also did some work with the band Filter, wrote a nearly identical chorus riff for both Stabbing Westward's "Ungod" and Filter's "Hey Man, Nice Shot". The bands mutually agreed not to sue for plagiarism, and "Ungod" has been a Rarely Performed Song for Stabbing Westward ever since "Hey Man Nice Shot" was released as a single.
  • Rage Against the Machine worked on an officially untitled collaboration (usually referred to as "Revolution" or "You Can't Kill the Revolution", due to the lyrics in the chorus) with tool for the soundtrack to the film Judgment Night: The song was scrapped because neither band were satisfied with it, but RATM reused its lengthy instrumental coda as the verse music for "New Millennium Homes". "Thinking of You" by A Perfect Circle also has a similar rhythm to this same collaboration, which could simply be coincidence, although Maynard James Keenan did co-write it.
  • For the "Würm" section of "Starship Trooper" by Yes, Steve Howe reused a recurring riff from "Nether Street", a song by his pre-Yes band Bodast.
    • Guitar riffs Steve used on Yes' Union ("I Would Have Waited Forever", in particular) can also be heard in Steve's 1991 solo album, Turbulence.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Hump De Bump" has similarities to their earlier song "American Ghost Dance", including an identical bass-line in the verse section. In fact, a Working Title for "Hump De Bump" was "Ghost Dance 2000" for this very reason.
  • Don Henley's solo hits "Dirty Laundry" and "Drivin' with Your Eyes Closed" have the same verse melody as his earlier "Life in the Fast Lane" with the Eagles.
  • Giorgio Moroder has reused a five-note descending-ascending riff in a number of his more obscure recordings, in much more widely known songs.
  • In a similar instance to their Theatre example, U2 does it again. They copied the riff off "Raised by Wolves" from the very first track off their very first album, "I will Follow."
  • Hank Williams' "Move It On Over" and "Mind Your Own Business". Some of this is just due to both being uptempo songs using the 12-Bar Blues progression, but the chorus melodies are similar enough that you could switch lyrics between the two.
  • Ronnie Milsap's "A Woman in Love" sounds nearly identical to Clay Walker's "What's It to You", particularly on the chorus. Both songs were written by Curtis Wright.
  • After Howard Devoto left Buzzcocks and started Magazine, Pete Shelley played him a descending guitar riff and told him he could use it for his new band: It became the the chorus of "Shot By Both Sides" by Magazine, but Shelley also used it for the Buzzcocks song "Lipstick".
  • Vince DiCola worked in the soundtracks of Rocky IV and The Transformers: The Movie with a short gap between them. As a result, the respective antagonists' musical themes "Ivan Drago Suite" and "Unicron Medley", both composed by him, sound very similar.
  • John Barry re-used the main chord progression from his theme song for You Only Live Twice in the Midnight Cowboy theme song. There are also some obvious similarities in his scores for Walkabout and Out of Africa.
  • The Bangles' "Manic Monday", written by Prince, has a verse melody nearly identical to "1999".
  • Brazilian rock band Engenheiros do Hawaii did this in the same album: In O Papa É Pop (which translates as "The pope is pop", the pope in question being John Paul II), the song "Perfeita Simetria" ("Perfect symmetry") has the same music of the title song "O Papa É Pop", but a completely different lyrics. The symmetry in the song's title has a double meaning: it refers to the harmonic relationship the coulpe in the lyrics used to have, and, in a meta sense, it's a nod to the identical melody of both songs.
  • Barbara Mandrell's "Tonight" (1977) and John Conlee's "Lady Lay Down" (1978) are both lush waltz-tempo Country Music ballads, but they're also really close in structure and melody. You might accuse the Conlee song of being a ripoff of the Mandrell song, until you learn they were both written by Rafe VanHoy and Don Cook.
  • Hans Zimmer does this so often, Christopher Nolan had to forbid Zimmer from doing this for Interstellar.
  • T. Rex's "The Motivator" is practically a rewrite of "Get It On (Bang A Gong)," and "banging gongs" is mentioned in "Rip Off," and all three songs are on the same album, Electric Warrior.
  • Mr. Bungle's "Methmatics" and "Love Is a Fist" both include the same guitar riff. Though "Methmatics" was released in 2020, and "Love Is A Fist" in 1991, "Methmatics" was actually written first.
  • Rod Stewart freely admitted that he borrowed the arrangement of "Maggie May" as a template for "You Wear It Well".
  • Zac Brown Band's 2020 hit "Same Boat" has a very similar melody and arrangement to their 2008 Breakthrough Hit "Chicken Fried".
  • Mark Knopfler reforged much of 1982's "Love Over Gold" into "Private Dancer" 2 years later.
  • As one half of the pop duo Ich & Ich, Annette Humpe "borrowed" parts from the biggest hit she had co-written in The '80s, "Codo" by a group later to be known as DÖF.
    • "Vom selben Stern" is in the same key as the minor parts of "Codo", it has the same tempo, and its chorus re-uses not only the chord progression, but also the "hooo" singing from the minor parts.
    • Later came "Lieder" in which singer Adel Tawil references dozens upon dozens of songs. In the interlude, he mentions "Vom selben Stern" — followed by Annette Humpe re-using "Codo"'s "hooo" line yet again.
  • The band Mystic Moods Orchestra recycled "The First Day of Forever", from their album Awakening (1973), for the US opening theme (also aired in some other Western countries) of the Japanese series Spectreman, under the request of the producer of the US airing. The band recorded a slightly modified and shortened version of the song's instrumental background. It got new lyrics from Gregory Sil, then the band recorded the new version as "Spectreman's Theme".
  • Downplayed with "Carnival" and "The Monster They Made You" by Rachel Rose Mitchell. From 4:10 to 4:25 of the latter, it has the exact same melody as the chorus of the former.

    Tabletop Games 
  • It's a Tabletop RPG where you play people who are also supernatural creatures. They have their own society with complex internal politics, use their own slang, and are divided into subgroups with their own names and varying game-mechanical and social differences. They have various impressive powers, but also many weaknesses, some of which are a source of angst for them. Which White Wolf game are we talking about?answer 

  • Gilbert and Sullivan plundered Gilbert's old "Bab Ballads" for plot ideas on a few occasions.
  • In Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Bono and The Edge sometimes just take some of U2's songs and put different lyrics (one is blatantly the same as "Vertigo"!).
  • Some of the music in Chess borrows from songs written by composers Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus for ABBA. In particular, the chorus of "I Know Him So Well" was based on the chorus of "I Am An A" and the chorus of "Anthem" used the chord structures from the guitar solo from "Our Last Summer".
    • Their musical Kristina från Duvemåla features some music recycled from Andersson's solo albums. The most noticeable is "Ljusa Kvällar Om Våren," which is based on the second segment of the titular suite from Klinga Mina Klockor.
  • George Frederic Handel did this by re-casting 'Come Zephyrs, Come', which got cut from Semele as 'How Bless'd the Maid' from Hercules, with only small changers to the middle section. Both are very pretty arias, probably intended for the same actress. Both operas flopped (they're arguably better than his more famous works but opera was rapidly going out of favour as it was getting denounced as decadent by many in the Anglican church at the time), so neither version is heard much.
  • The plots of Shakespeare's Othello and Cymbeline are nigh-identical until the climax. Both feature a forbidden love between a woman of high standing and an inadequate man, who is then convinced that his love is unfaithful by a wicked Italian, and decides to kill her as a result. Bonus points for the Italian antagonists being called Iago and Iachimo, the latter possibly meaning 'little Iago'.

    Video Games 
  • Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune got so fed up with Capcom that he broke away and tried to create what was essentially a new version of Mega Man, called Mighty No. 9. Of course, since Mighty No. 9 flopped and was followed shortly thereafter by Mega Man 11 (which was more successful and actually released by Capcom) this was all for nothing.note 
  • Quake and Doom. Practically the only thing that distinguished the first Quake from the latter series was that it had mouselook and used true 3D instead of sprites, albeit with models animated at such a low framerate they may as well have been sprites.
  • Between the SNES Super Punch-Out!! and the Wii remake, Nintendo made a similar boxing game called Teleroboxer for the Virtual Boy.
  • After Turok 2 came out, Acclaim made another comic book-based FPS called Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M that ran on the same engine.
  • The Virtual Boy shooter Vertical Force is very similar to the earlier shmups Soldier Blade and Star Soldier. All of them were made by Hudson Soft.
  • In 1995, Atari Games released Area 51 which is a Light Gun Game that uses digitized actors for the characters and 3D for everything else. Two years later, they released another light-gun shooter named Maximum Force which had a different theme but was pretty much identical otherwise. Both games used the COJag (Coin Operated Jaguar) system board, and many of the machines ended up converted into 2-in-1 machines with both Area 51 and Maximum Force.
  • Some reviews accused Fossil Fighters of being an in-house Pokémon clone from Nintendo, since they're both Mons games—and the initial evil you fight is very similar to Team Rocket. However, aside from that, there's not a whole lot that the two games share mechanics-wise, and even story-wise after about the halfway point.
  • Harmonix created Karaoke Revolution for Konami and the first two Guitar Hero games. After Activision purchased Red Octane, Harmonix were left with the rights to those games' source code, but not their brand names. Their next project was Rock Band, which used a tweaked version of Guitar Hero's gameplay for guitar, and a tweaked version of Karaoke Revolution's for vocals.
  • Like Rock Band, the Call of Duty series was created by former Medal of Honor developers. In turn, the later MoH games had gameplay rather similar to CoD, with the reboot going up as direct competition to Modern Warfare.
  • In 1997, 3D Realms released a first-person shooter called Shadow Warrior, a game based on the Build engine, about a loud-mouthed guy with big guns who likes breaking stuff and quipping sarcastic remarks about enemies he just killed. What does that remind you of?
  • Between Colony Wars: Vengeance and Red Sun, Psygnosis released a very similar space flight simulator called Blast Radius done on the same engine.
  • Donkey Kong 64 is widely considered to be a Banjo-Kazooie clone, thanks to the massive amount of collectables and level design in DK64, both staples of Banjo-Kazooie. Both games were made by Rare, and DK64 even has a level based on one that was cut from BK.
  • The Capcom Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law game plays more or less like a sillier version of Ace Attorney.
  • Taito's Ashura Blaster is very similar to Toaplan's Twin Cobra, which was also published by Taito.
  • Viper Phase 1 is this towards Raiden, except set in space. Both were made by Seibu Kaihatsu, and it shows. How so? It got an Updated Re-release to make it more in line with the Raiden games, not to mention the PlayStation port of the first game getting the former's soundtrack as an unlockable.
  • Data Design Interactive made a few games for the Wii; Ninjabread Man, Trixie in Toyland, Anubis II, and Rock 'n' Roll Adventures. They're all just re-skins of the same game. All four games even share the same HUD display, as well as some of the same music. Some of the music is also used in their game Billy the Wizard.
  • A few months after releasing the PS1 shooter Kileak on the Playstation, developer Genki made Robotica for the Sega Saturn, another mech-based dungeon crawling FPS about the sole survivor of an assault team exploring a remote complex swarming with hostile automatons.
  • Two years after the success of the original Earth Defense Force, series publisher D3 released Simple 2000 Vol. 78: The Great Space War(aka: Space War Attack), a flight action game that, like EDF, has the player fighting a variety of giant bugs, Kaijus and alien aircrafts and with a similar goofy and low-budget vibes. Though it is not officially considered part of the series (The game has a different developernote  and no EDF branding or any recognizable characters or elements from the series) but the intent to apply the EDF formula to another genre of game is obvious enough.

    Web Original 
  • Quoth Dark Lord Jadow 1, regarding developer Digital Homicide's use of the same game:
    In my Digital Homicide Library review I covered a game of theirs called Krogwars, a shitty Space Invaders clone with a glitch that often failed to load the next level, leaving you stuck on a blank screen. The game was literally unplayable. After Krogwars got onto Steam, they released Wyatt Derp (which was the exact same game as Krogwars only with the spaceships replaced with cowboys), Wyatt Derp 2 (Which was the exact same game as Wyatt Derp 1 only with the camera rotated a bit), and Withering Kingdoms: Arcane War (which was the same game as Krogwars and Wyatt Derp only this time it was wizards). All three of these games passed through Steam Greenlight because it’s easy to make a Space Invaders clone look playable in a 30 second trailer, and so Digital Homicide began absolutely spamming Krogwars clones onto Greenlight feeling they had struck a gold mine of easy revenue.
  • Game Grumps: The Grumps played Ninjabread Man precisely because it was by the same developer as Trixie in Toyland, which they had played the previous day. Dan remarks that the game is literally just a reskin of Trixie. Arin goes on to point out that even the music and sound effects are identical.
    Dan: It is a fucking totally, just, reskinned Trixie in Toyland. It is exactly the same game.
    Arin: Like, like they said to themselves "this game is so genius that it cannot be contained in one game."
    Dan: This is the Super Mario Bros. of "games that are bullshit".
  • How Did This Get Made?: While reviewing Maximum Overdrive, the hosts discuss how Stephen King refines his ideas, as Maximum Overdrive has plot points similar to both Christine (intelligent, malicious machines and vehicles) and The Mist (protagonists trapped by the threat).
    Jason Mantzoukas: He's always honing an idea, but he's putting his first draft out here. "I'm going to do that same exact thing, but I'm going to do it a little bit different over here."
    Andrew Daly: He's not like Harper Lee. We don't gotta wait 50 years for the first draft.
    Jason: Finally, a good Harper Lee book.

    Western Animation 
  • In the animated short "Goliath II", a crocodile appears based on the crocodile Tick-Tock from Peter Pan. Some of the animation comes from previous animated movies including Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo.
  • The history of Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio is rife with this. To put it in short: After Scooby-Doo was a huge hit, they made an enormous number of in-house copycats, each following the 'team of teens plus one wacky animal(ish) sidekick solve mysteries/fight evil' mold. Examples include Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Jabberjaw, Speed Buggy, The Funky Phantom, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, Josie and the Pussycats, and The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan. This actually got so bad that Boomerang once had a block called "Those Meddling Kids", which showcased Scooby-Doo and its many, many rip-offs.
  • Team America: World Police self-plagiarised the self-referential "Montage" song from South Park.
  • The first couple of American Dad! episodes had Cutaway Gags not unlike its more popular sister show Family Guy. Since the premise and art style are already very similar, those kind of jokes were dropped to make the show more unique. More prominently, The Cleveland Show, which could be described as "Family Guy, but black".
  • He-Man's Distaff Counterpart She-Ra, since virtually every main character on She-Ra was an Expy of a character on He-Man.
    • Bravestarr was a little more distinct, but still basically He-Man with a sci-fi/western theme in place of sci-fi/fantasy.
  • Thunder Cats. SilverHawks. TigerSharks. Recycling was big in The '80s.
  • When My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic became an unexpected success, Hasbro followed that up with Littlest Pet Shop. Also animated using Flash by the same studio and using the same group of voice actors, it also shares some writers (but not all of them). In both shows, the central character is an intellectual young woman, fashion is a major theme, one of her friends is a pink energetic goofball, there are a lot of musical sequences (sharing Daniel Ingram as a composer), and seasons end in a two-parter. It was not able to match Friendship Is Magic in popularity, but it still lasted until the network changed from The Hub to Discovery Family. That being said, the different writers and their opposite directions in its fantasy elements (Friendship Is Magic has magic permeating the whole setting, but Littlest Pet Shop is limited to one character and her mother being able to talk to animals) resulted in the two shows feeling very different from each other.
  • The DuckTales (1987) recycled a script between series: Talespin's "Time Bandit" episode and Ducktale's "Allowance Day".
  • Tiny Toon Adventures often took the premise of older Looney Tunes shorts and redid them for The '90s.
  • Speaking of Looney Tunes, there were a few instances where this trope came into play.
    • When Harman and Ising left the studio for MGM in 1933, they took Bosko with them, and had to cook up a replacement called Buddy, who was more-or-less Bosko in all but name and design.
    • When Buddy was retired in 1935 due to poor reception, director Jack King played the new replacement, Beans the Cat, as a feline version of Buddy (this does not apply for the Beans shorts directed by Friz Freleng, who gave him a more mischievous streak).
    • Ben Hardaway admitted that Happy Rabbit (Bugs Bunny's prototype) was just Daffy Duck as a rabbit.
  • In Thundarr the Barbarian, the villain Gemini is an Expy of Darkseid. He was designed by Jack Kirby, who created Darkseid for DC Comics.

     Real Life 
  • Some college professors will let you submit a revised version of work from a previous course or a modified version of what you're producing for another class if you ask, but this is generally not advisable and more likely than not to be treated as an offense just as bad as classic plagiarism. The same goes for professional publishing.
  • A version of self-plagiarism is how practicing works - and some creators doing this may think that is all they are doing:
    • "That effort sucked."
    • "That effort sucked."
    • "This one wasn't too bad. I'll try that again."
    • "That effort wasn't too bad."
    • "That effort wasn't too bad."
    • "This one went rather well. I'll do it that way from now on."
    • And so on.