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"The present age [...] prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence [...]." -- The Essence of Christianity (1841) by Ludwig Feuerbach

“In Paris, Julien’s position with regard to Madame de Renal would very soon have been simplified; but in Paris love is the child of the novels. The young tutor and his timid mistress would have found in three or four novels, and even in the lyrics of the Gymnase, a clear statement of their situation. The novels would have outlined for them the part to be played, shown them the model to copy; and this model, sooner or later, albeit without the slightest pleasure, and perhaps with reluctance, vanity would have compelled Julien to follow.” --The Red and the Black (1830) by Stendhal

"Originals are, and ought to be, great Favourites, for they are great Benefactors; they extend the Republic of Letters, and add a new province to its dominion: Imitators only give us a sort of Duplicates of what we had, possibly much better, before." --Conjectures on Original Composition (1759) by Edward Young

"The only way for us to become great lies in the imitation of the Greeks" --Winckelmann

"We stand on the shoulders of giants"

"It is, of course, an indispensable part of a scrivener's business to verify the accuracy of his copy, word by word. Where there are two or more scriveners in an office, they assist each other in this examination, one reading from the copy, the other holding the original. It is a very dull, wearisome, and lethargic affair." --"Bartleby, the Scrivener" (1853) by Herman Melville

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Copying is the duplication of information or an artifact based only on an instance of that information or artifact, and not using the process that originally generated it. With analog forms of information, copying is only possible to a limited degree of accuracy, which depends on the quality of the equipment used and the skill of the operator. With digital forms of information, perfect copying is not only possible, but is, almost by definition, the norm. Copy and paste is frequently used for information a computer user selects and copies to an area he or she wishes.

Most high-accuracy copying techniques use the principle that there will be only one type of possible interpretation for each reading of data, and only one possible way to write an interpretation of data.


In art and literature

In literature

manuscript culture

Prior to the invention of the printing press, the only way to obtain a copy of a book was to copy it out by hand. Throughout the Middle Ages, scribes copied entire texts as a way of disseminating and preserving religious texts.

In art

In visual art, copying the works of the masters, imitating is a standard way that students learn to paint.

Then there is the the art reproduction.

Biological copying

Organically, copying of genetic information can take place using DNA replication, which is able to copy and replicate the data with a high degree of accuracy, but mistakes are common, and occur in the form of mutations. However, in the process of DNA repair, many of the mistakes are resolved by checking the copied data against the original data.

Digital copying

This principle is applied digitally, such as in hard disks, but in a different form. The magnetised data on the disk consists of 1's and 0's. Unlike DNA, it only has two types of information, rather than four types, however, it still has a polar concept of transfer. In this case, the read-write head acts as an intermediary. A data section reading "1", can only trigger one type of response, and "0" for the other. These responses from reading are converted into an electrical form that gets carried through the circuits. Although this can be later converted and processed for other ways of using the data, which can be modified, if a file were being copied from one hard disk to another, the principle ensures that the data is transferred with high fidelity, because only each type of signal can only trigger one type of data write, in this case a 1 or a 0. This excludes exceptions where the data was written incorrectly or the existing data has been corrupted while on the disk such that no distinction can be made, but usually the hard disk returns the area as unreadable. The other concept that using digital copying is website copy[1], digital copying has more interpretation than just the basic concept of disk read and write itself. Digital Copy is a sample of interpretation of digital copying.

Copying rights

The concept of copying has a particular significance in certain areas of law. In each of the primary areas of intellectual property law, a number of cases have refined the question of what exactly constitutes the kind of copying prohibited by law, especially in areas such as copyright law.

A related concept is plagiarism, copying others' work and passing it off as one's own.


See also

  • Cut, copy, and paste, a method of reproducing text or other data in computing.
  • Photocopying, a process which makes paper copies of documents and other visual images .
  • Fax, a telecommunications technology used to transfer copies of documents, especially over the telephone network.
  • Facsimile, any copy or reproduction which bears a close resemblance to the original.
  • Replica
  • Copy (written), written content in publications, in contrast to photographs or other elements of layout.
  • copy cat crime

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Copying" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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