A short film by Shia LaBeouf that almost directly parallels a comic by Daniel Clowes may land LeBeouf in court, and it didn’t help that LaBeouf botched a Twitter apology for the plagiarism with a plagiarized apology.
The film “HowardCantour.com” debuted at the May 2012 Cannes Film Festival and went online Monday.
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LaBeouf’s Twitter apology said, “Copying isn't particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work. In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation.”
But even those words appear to be lifted from an answer to a Yahoo question. The poster's original text
said, "Merely copying isn't particularly creative work, though it's useful as training and practice. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work."
Clowes’ editor at Fantagraphics, Eric Reynolds, said the well-known artist is checking his legal options.
“His apology is a non-apology, absolving himself of the fact that he actively misled, at best, and lied, at worst, about the genesis of the film,” Reynolds wrote to BuzzFeed in an email. “No one ‘assumes’ authorship for no reason.
He implied authorship in the film credits itself, and has gone even further in interviews. He clearly doesn’t get it, and that’s disturbing. I’m not sure if it’s more disturbing that he plagiarized, or that he could rationalize it enough to think it was OK and that he might actually get away with it. Fame clearly breeds a false sense of security.”
Previously, Clowes told BuzzFeed he had never met or spoken with LaBeouf.
“I was shocked, to say the least, when I saw that he took the script and even many of the visuals from a very personal story I did six or seven years ago and passed it off as his own work. I actually can’t imagine what was going through his mind,” he said.
LaBeouf continued to post on Twitter about the situation, including one concise entry, “I f—d up.”
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