Creative inspiration vs. imitation – when does copying turn into plagiarism?

I thought this blog I wrote for my other page artist sense might also be of interest to singers…

artist sense

Most people would probably agree that rarely any of us reinvent the wheel. We are all surrounded by other people and their work, and they will undoubtedly influence our own creative process (otherwise we would have to walk around with blinkers and earplugs constantly). We often copy and then change until we feel the end-product is something we are reasonably happy with as artists. We use other people as role-models; their creative work inspires us, which in turn enables us to create something of our own.

If we are inspired by other people, where do we draw a line between inspiration and copying (and, to name the ugly side of it, plagiarism and copyright-infringement)?  
How does copying affect our creative work, and how does it affect the ones we copy?

These might seem rather “philosophical” questions, but they are something a lot of artists contemplate, and not always…

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