So far, I've seen it twice. Both instances had the same effect on me, and now I'd like to explore it in my own way. First, I saw the idea in Black Mirror, and now recently in Chuck Palahniuk's new book, 'Adjustment Day.' It's a scenario of what would happen in the world if there was a website which gave users the ability to vote someone out of existence.
Borrowing or copying: Thoughts?
I think it's fine. Like you're saying, it's not a totally new premise anyway. It's really more about what you do with it.
There's a lot of that in the world. The Martian is basically a modern version of lots of old shipwreck stories. Half of films are the hero's journey.
Plus, it's always worth giving it a shot. You might find that while your initial, inspiring premise is something familiar, the exploration takes you in a completely different direction. I think it's a mistake to skip over writing something for fear that it could turn out too much like something else. Write it first, worry about it later.
another thing is, how likely is it that two independent people will have the same vague, premise kind of an idea? seems very likely, considering we're all influenced by the world at large, and how many of us there are, right?
Depends on the details.
I agree with Dwayne. It's the whole "there are no new ideas" thing. Really it depends on how different your idea is to the one that inspired it. Paul Tremblay'' Head full of Ghosts, for example, is the much used teenage girl possession story, yet it's so so much more, it both acknowledges it's origins and rewrites them.
Maybe if you are like Neil Gaiman and Tori Amos, who get ideas from each other, you are borrowing. If you are just taking that might be stealing.