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How does one prove independent recreation? It seems virtually impossible.

Copyright is a tort, the usual measure of proof is "balance of probabilities", you don't have to prove it, the plaintiff has to show that on balance the most likely truth is that the defendant copied.

Keeping workshop notes, early revisions; getting works notarised; defensive publication; et cetera -- these are all means people use to guard against false allegations of tortuous infringement.

Simple: You do not presume guilt, hence independent recreation is the default assumption and it is copying/redistribution which needs to be proven.

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