“Mapping Plagiarism in a Regime of Privilege”
The charge of plagiarism dispenses with the calendar and substitutes the map. It takes a moral position in relation to artistic idea, arguably judging it always already an inalienable possession. The passage of time does not lessen the crime. Rather plagiarism operates and is identified by forms of mapping: by the process of appropriative tracing or re-tracing of forms and by a mental mapping of point to point correspondences which leads to the recognition of repetition. However, not all copies are plagiaries; their classification as such is historically contingent. This paper asks whether, and in what ways the practices of the copy in the visual arts (painting, sculpture and printmaking) and charges of plagiarism were shaped by an increasingly conspicuous and efficacious regime of copy-privilege in France during the ancien régime. It further considers the extent to which emergent notions of copyright may have been informed by plagiarism: both its discourses and its practices.