Occasionally, I come across a blog post with another author’s name that is almost identical to something I’ve published before. It happened recently, and frankly, I wasn’t happy about it.
I’m not talking about someone using a similar idea; I’m talking about third-party published content that mimics my own word-for-word. I’ve also comes across LinkedIn summaries that were virtually the same as my own.
So, should we label this kind of copying as simply flattery, or should we call out the person responsible? And what should you do to protect your work?
Keep yourself protected
Do everything you can to protect your ideas and work. If you are having a conversation with anyone about an idea or sensitive business information request for them to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement.
When it comes to your own work, get trademarks and attach copyright symbols to everything you produce. If you are outsourcing any writing use Copyscape to check for online plagiarism before you publish (as you are responsible). Obtain permission to reproduce photographs and articles and clearly note the copyright owner.
Taking imitation as a compliment
Your ideas have to be pretty original and interesting for them to be subject to straight-out copying. Some people prefer to look at the positive side of an experience as nasty as copying, remarking that it should be ‘taken as a compliment’. I don’t necessarily agree here. Sure you can get inspiration, but blatantly copying someone’s idea or work is completely unacceptable.
Be your best you
Everyone has something going for them, with their own life experiences, knowledge and brand of creativity to bring to the table. While someone may be able to copy something you’ve written, they won’t be able to imitate the way you respond to a problem, the way you reinvent your brand, and the heart and soul at its core. I’m always innovating and re-strategising. No one can replicate that.
With millions of images, online articles, and new interesting designs available online, it’s clear that we now have access to a sea of content. Combined with the increasing amount of competition in the digital space, it also means that we need to be cautious in how we keep our work safe. If we fail to do so, we’re merely providing content thieves with an opportunity to get exactly what they want.
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