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I believe I’ve done this before, but given some of the stuff I’ve been reading on forums and the like, I feel the need to once again address plagiarism and doujinshi, especially how the two are not related.
Yet how do Japanese artists and readers reconcile their rejection of plagiarism with the wanton copyright infringement observed in most doujinshi? Well, plagiarism is only a subset of copyright infringement, one which seeks to obscure true authorship. Parody doujinshi are derivative work, but there is no confusion over the originator of the characters and ideas, no attempt to hide the source. And there is still an expectation that the expression is original, that what one sees in a doujinshi – the artistry, the craft, the performance – is honest and real. Comic art is indeed a performance, the paper is its stage. Sometimes, one might borrow other characters for his play, but one cannot scratch the name off the director’s chair and replace it with his own.