|Since the other post was related to challenges & voting, I didn't think that was the appropriate place to post.
I can't believe it's been over 12 years since this happened, but this was my first exposure to the reality and ramifications of "visual plagiarism"
Photographer fired (Granted, there was a lot more to the story than this blurb, but the long and short of it is that the photographer paid the price.)
To me, there are huge differences between being inspired by something we see, paying homage to something we've seen, and trying to replicate/copy something we've seen. I've long been an advocate of learning a craft by copying and emulating the work of others (though, while learning, you probably should refrain from publishing your "homework" as if is your own).
However, it's not enough to simply produce the same end result. It's more important to understand the process, to completely reverse engineer the thinking and understanding that the original creator applied in order to create their work. Without that foundation-level understanding, all you can hope to produce is a shallow imitation. This is no different than seeing an image, asking the photographer "what lens did you use to take that?", running out and buying that lens, attempting to capture the same image, and then not understanding why yours fails. You should push yourself to own your work. Find your visual voice - your style - and apply that to your subjects in such a way that your images won't necessarily be confused with someone else's.
Just my 2¢ ;-)