In the creative arts, there are few accusations as serious as plagiarism. Stealing someone else’s intellectual property and passing it off as your own is not only illegal, but it can damage the reputation of every original work you came up with.
That’s what the popular TV program “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) is facing right now. A comedy group operating under the name of Temple Horses says that SNL took some of their older material and used it without their permission, claiming to have written it themselves.
“Imagine, one day you come home and it looks like somebody’s robbed your house,” said one member of Temple Horses. “What do you want from that situation? We feel like somebody took our stuff, and this isn’t the kind of thing where you can just get it back or call your insurance company to have it replaced, so at this point we’re just speaking out about it.”
Of course, the lines in comedy sketches are a bit blurry. Does it have to be exactly the same, shot for shot, to be stolen? Experts did note that the sketches in question have differences and similarities. Is it possible that two writers came up with the same jokes on their own? Or was one actually influenced directly by the other?
A case like this can get very complicated, as some would argue that it is a clear theft of the ideas for both sketches, while others would say it’s just an unfortunate coincidence. Those involved in these types of situations must know exactly what rights and options they have.