Has your work been plagiarized by Shia LaBeouf? Given the way this week has gone, there’s a high statistical probability it has. If I’d said that Wednesday, you could have chalked that up to Internet hyperbole, but even as the actor embarks on his (online) apology tour, he can’t help doing… whatever this weird thing is he’s doing vis a vis ripping off other creatives’ words.
Earlier this week, we were one of the many, many outlets reporting that LaBouf’s short “Howardcantour.com” was a word-for-word (and in some cases, panel-for-panel) lift of Daniel Clowes’ 2007 anthology strip, Justin M. Damiano.
Since then, LaBeouf has been offering apologies for his plagiarism by way of continued acts of plagiarism.
Now, it’s looking like LaBeouf has been stealing for a while, with the “About” page for his website thecampaignbook.com lifting the mission statement for comics publisher Dan Nadel’s (own site (h/t to MTV for that one).
Basically, all of this activity has those of us in creative circles – specifically in the comics community – shaking our little fists in outrage. But really, what’s going to happen next? How will this have any material impact on LaBeouf’s career?
LaBeouf has already sort of turned this into a battle against a disaffected star and the haters: by lifting his “apologies” he’s made it clear that he doesn’t take this situation seriously (and by extension, neither should the rest of us). This will not cost LaBeouf work, and given that his short wasn’t a for-profit endeavor, it’s probably not going to cost him any money (although imagine the time and effort Daniel Clowes will have to expend trying to chase down compensation).
Part of me hopes this is an Andy Kaufman-level prank, and that in a few years we’ll learn Clowes was in on it – but at this stage, given the involvement of Nadel and others, this seems unlikely.