How To Deal With Copycats

Soaking up the sun

How To Deal With Copycats

They say imitation is form of flattery.

I think they say that to make you feel better.

Because right now I don’t feel flattered.

Now, in my five-plus years of blogging publicly on Rosalilium I have come across my fair share of my ideas being copied. I noticed one of my early posts in 2010 being pretty much ripped off the day after by a blogger I admired at the time. I have had format ideas, layouts, approaches, series and more being copied. Sometimes it’s not always obvious. And a lot of the time there’s not always proof that it was copied. It might have just been a coincidence.

That’s the thing, when you are working on the creative process there is always an element of inspiration. The more you consume another person’s creative pursuits the more it is likely to inspire your own work. I get that. I fully understand how that works.

That is not really what I’m talking about today.

Sure, it can be rather frustrating when a concept you came up with is executed by another blogger but they appear to reap a lot more success from it. I have had pangs of regret when I’ve started a project, left it after a while only for someone else to pick it up and run with it. But that’s by the by.

The kind of copying that I am talking about today is something that has happened to me twice this year and in both cases by people who I thought were friends, that I knew in real life, that I was even Facebook friends with. It’s almost uncanny how both instances have materialised. And it’s grinding on me because I don’t understand why this has happened and why when I’ve mentioned it to both parties they were hostile about it.

Now, is it me? Am I missing something here?

Both cases of the copycats came from posts I have written on my travel blog, Awesome Wave (does the fact that it is a smaller, lesser read blog make it more of a target?). In both cases the posts were written based on my own personal experience and research. The posts were my own lived experiences. These were posts that took a lot of my own precious time.

So it was kind of disheartening that in the first case some of my post was used for information in an ebook, I was then sent the ebook thinking I wouldn’t notice and then within a day the author accused me of copying! It was totally insane. I even sent the author screenshots of my revisions notes from the WordPress backend to prove no edits had been made and that the information was written on my own back in January/February. But they used the point to block me and obviously slur my name as I noticed a momentary spike in traffic from a Facebook account.

The second case was also kind of weird because even the same typo had been included in the post and even though my work was paraphrased I know the person had read my post before. Said person was also a friend until recently but went quiet when I mentioned it.

Soaking up the sun

So how to deal with copycats?

I know some people like to call people out when they think their work has been copied. I understand that there is a sense of wanting justice, recognition or to right of a wrong. But what if you got it wrong, what if it was a coincidence?

Honestly, I don’t have an answer to that question.

In both cases I have been the one whose work has been copied. And in both cases I know full well that I have been bad mouthed behind my back, as if this is an opportunity to manipulate or make me look bad.

Do I call them out?

Or do I just accept that these things happen in the internet game and just move on?

I wonder if life would just been easier to accept that these things happen. I don’t want to cause an internet controversy. I’m not interested in boosting my own profile at anyone else’s expense. I’m not after a witchhunt.

I just wish we could all play fair.

Yes, coincidences happen. Sometimes we might get a tad too inspired. But wouldn’t it be nice to receive credit for your own words and experience. Wouldn’t it be nice to not be on the receiving end of bitchiness or backstabbing?

What do you think? Do you have any experience with this? How did you handle it?

(please don’t name anyone, I want this to be a frank conversation without any potential slander)

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11 Comments
  • Caroline

    Reply

    Sorry to hear this has happened to you. I’ve never experienced this or thought about doing it either! If I wanted to quote somebody I would ask them I am sure most bloggers would be happy for some extra exposure. Part of the joy of blogging (for me at least) is to create something from a blank screen which is mine! It’s always harder to take when it comes from ‘friends’ – You know the truth and sometimes that’s all that matters.

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you Caroline. You’re right, at least I know that what I’ve written came from my heart and own experiences.

  • Michelle

    Reply

    This is so sad, not you them. How pathetic to even contemplate plagiarism & of a friends work too! I have unfortunately seen it a few times already in my fledgling days as a fashion blogger. Shockingly it is all too obvious, in one instance it was almost verbatim & I wondered if the victim knew. I was tempted to tell her but thought better of it. What’s the etiquette in these cases? I suppose it happens to the best but I understand it’s no consolidation to you right now. Good for you shedding a light on it though, perhaps there needs to be a high profile lawsuit for people to get the message that it’s just not cool?

    • Elizabeth

      Etiquette wise I think as a blogger I’d appreciate someone privately messaging me if they thought I’d been plagiarised. They might appreciate the heads up, especially if it’s verbatim.

      But yes, sadly it does happen.

  • Stephanie

    Reply

    How upsetting for this to happen, I’m with you on the call for the end of backstabbing and bitching. I don’t think I’d be flattered by it either.

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you Stephanie.

  • Kezzie

    Reply

    Oh no! This is terrible! I am so disgusted this has happened to you! I find it really bizarre to comprehend that someone is so uncreative and dishonest that they would just copy someone’s work. Not least, it makes them a really dull and unoriginal person as well as a thief. I’ve not experienced this and so I am not sure what to say really.x

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Kezzie. I think it’s more common than we realise.

  • Zoe at Splodz Blogz

    Reply

    This really saddens me. Not just because you have been copied but because it was by people who knew you and could have very easily asked or mentioned it or at the very least should be honoured to quote you or link back to you. I would never dream of doing this to another blogger.

  • Anca

    Reply

    I’m sorry this happened, it must be hard to deal with it, especially when they should be “friends”.

  • HonestMum

    Reply

    What the what, this is insane and is illegal, IP, intellectual property belongs to you and this counts for putting out your work online as much as it would a screenplay or book. Why do people think this is OK, inspiration is one thing, theft is quite another. I don’t know, a letter from a lawyer might help right this wrong. Sometimes turning the other cheek is just not good enough. Your words, your work, your blog. I’m so bloody sorry this has happened to you x

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