I sat down to write my “scheduled” post for today, but that will just have to wait. I need to get this out of my head and written out somewhere, and to be honest, the iPhone note I keep adding to is just not cutting it 🙂
Back in 2018, I wrote on this topic for the first time. I collected quotes from fellow bloggers who have dealt with “copying” and tried to help others understand the importance of original content. I obviously will link it so you can read their stories, but with the frequency that this “copycat” behavior is happening again to me and my friends, I felt this topic needed to be readdressed.
It has been brought to my attention that blog posts by multiple bloggers contain pieces of content that have been copied and pasted from my original posts. In the past, I’ve dealt with little bits of “copying” but nothing as blatant as what I have seen recently. It is extremely disrespectful and disappointing that someone would take something that I’ve worked hard on and attempt to pass it off as their own.
Our industry is full of strong, powerful and creative women. Actions such as these really give me pause.
As discussed in my previous post, there is a major difference between drawing inspiration from someone and blatantly copying a creator. Even though these bloggers may have added a few sentences in, taking my exact words and using them as their own is plagiarism.
I think (at least, I’d like to think) that the people who copied my work genuinely were looking for inspiration, and they found a great idea in my posts. That in itself is innocent. I have gotten ideas for posts from other bloggers before! It’s what you do with the inspo that makes it “copied” or “inspired by”.
If you have a blog, public IG account, Etsy store, small business, or any other passion project… I promise you, you have fantastic ideas! You ARE creative! We all get into slumps where you have writer’s block (or sometimes, for me, photographer’s block, haha). In these times, taking inspiration from someone or something else can definitely help get you out of your funk and back to creating! Personally, I like drawing inspiration from music, Pinterest and traveling. Just last week, I was looking at my camera roll at 3 in the morning to help me plan outfits for a shoot.
A great example of original work that was replicated in a correct way? #benditliketezza
Tezza is one of my favorite creators because she does things no one else does!! She’s a true trend setter. When she began posting interesting perspective photos of her “bending” she encouraged her followers to try it out and tag her and the hashtag. SO MANY people took on the challenge, myself included!!
There are also some articles that I have copied and pasted from before to add a unique thought or fact to my own writing… being sure to disclose it is not my own work by using quotation marks and linking to the original article or post.
I am going to repost the Do and Don’t lists I compiled along with the help of a lawyer back for my 2018 post, because it is still so relevant today.
- Draw inspiration from your favorite content creators. I never would have developed my style had bloggers not shown me certain items were wearable!
- Give credit where credit is due. If you based your travels in a city off a blogger’s travel guide, just throw them a backlink and a “thanks to so-and-so for the awesome recs!” Heck, they may even share your post if you mention them.
- Ask questions if you are unsure of what you are doing with regards to a post. I had someone reach out to me and let me know they loved my Mexico travel diary and were going to try to get a similar beach shot – they then asked if I would like to be tagged in the photo to show credit. However, since the photo was nothing revolutionary at allllllll (like how many “girl turned away from camera on beach” photos have you seen? a million? cause same) I told them not to worry 🙂
- Add a copyright notice to your site.
- Get in contact when someone else takes your content and claims it as their own without giving you credit. I was a little hesitant to approach a large brand who reposted my image without crediting me, but at the end of the day, it was MY content! They ended up tagging me after I emailed their social media manager.
- Keep one another responsible. My friend Olivia had shared a photo with me months prior that fit just perfectly with my IG feed last week, and I reposted it. Another friend of mine asked me where I took that photo, and I realized I had forgotten to tag Olivia! Had she not texted me and given me a reminder, I would not have properly given credit.
- Exactly copy an image, piece of writing, or video. This is plagiarism.
- Try to pass off someone’s work as your own. If you repost an image, make sure to give credit through a tag in the photo or caption. If you are unsure of the source, use something like “pic from Pinterest” in the caption to show it’s not your original content.
- Be afraid to stand up for yourself and your amazing content.
- Assume that the other person is intentionally and maliciously copying your content.
- Beat yourself up if you’re reading this post and thinking, Holy crap, I 100% have been guilty of this! We are all human and make mistakes. I’m positive that all of us along the way have accidentally used someone else’s intellectual property incorrectly solely because we didn’t know better, which is why education is so important!
I encourage you all to educate yourself on intellectual property and the importance of original content.
TBH, I ultimately take the repeated desire to utilize my work as a testament to its quality 😉
I hope that this little refresher is something we can all learn from. I suggest any of you facing the same situation choose to lead with love instead of anger (and just let all the angry stuff out on your iPhone note like I did, haha!)