The Demidenko Affair: Copyright Law, Plagiarism and Ridicule

Media and Arts Law Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 159-176, September 2000

11 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2004

See all articles by Matthew Rimmer

Matthew Rimmer

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Abstract

This article provides an account of one of Australia's great literary hoaxes - the Demidenko affair. In particular, it focuses upon the accusations that Helen Darville plagiarised a number of historical and literary texts in her novel, The Hand That Signed The Paper. This article considers how the dispute was interpreted in three different contexts - the literary community, the legal system, and the media. Part 1 examines how writers, publishers, and editors understood the controversy in terms of the aesthetics and ethics of plagiarism. Part 2 details how lawyers framed the discussion in light of economic rights and moral rights under copyright law. Part 3 deals with the media attention upon the personalities and politics of the scandal. The conclusion charts the competition between these various communities over who should resolve the dispute.

Keywords: Copyright law, literary works, historical fiction, plagiarism, economic rights, moral rights, post-modernism

Suggested Citation

Rimmer, Matthew, The Demidenko Affair: Copyright Law, Plagiarism and Ridicule. Media and Arts Law Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 159-176, September 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=600822

Matthew Rimmer (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, Queensland QLD 4000
Australia

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