At a time when more small businesses are emerging, and more social media users are keen to be fully blown influencers, this seems to be happening more and more, but is there anything you can to do help you stay firmly in your lane?
First and foremost, just to be clear, I’m not a solicitor and if copyright or a trademark or anything other kind of protection has been infringed, then you may need to seek out legal support here. If you’ve paid for a trademark or some other form of design protection, making a call or sending an email to someone with the skills that you need in this area is certainly worth considering. But as I said, this isn’t my area of expertise, but I also felt I couldn’t write a piece about copying without mentioning it!
However, when it comes to people who are sailing very close to the wind, and the impact that can have on you, I can help there.
It’s important to recognise that there is such a thing as coincidence. And it really is a thing. We can sometimes feel like people are copying us when, in fact, they hadn’t put two and two together and can’t even remember where their inspiration or thought came from. Knowing (and believing) this has personally helped me a lot. Whether I have been copied or it’s simply that great minds really do think alike, it’s given me enough space to just move the heck on with what I’m doing.
When you spot someone is ‘paying homage’ to your work, but in a way that’s an annoying niggle rather than something you can take action against, you have a choice about how you respond. You can lose it and waste a huge amount of time stewing over it and getting angrier and angrier or you can take decisive action- you can take back control.
If you feel like you’re being watched on social media, you have the ability to block people from seeing your accounts. Yes, they could just access your content another way, but it will perhaps slow them up a little. Equally, you can stop yourself from looking at their accounts by unfollowing and muting/snoozing. The latter is particularly useful if you feel it’s more on the coincidence side or something is very similar to what you’ve done vs. a direct copy. You have the power to control what you see, so control it.
Knowing why your customers and your fans and followers love you is important. Because even if someone copies your words, it’s not the same. When you put anything out there that you have created, it’ll be sprinkled with your very own take on the world and that should be unique to you. And that is what your ‘people’ will see and be drawn to.
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Lastly, it is flipping hard when you have put hours, days, weeks, months and maybe even years into creating something and you feel someone has bypassed the process, but the point is that we learn all our stuff during the process. Putting the work in has put you in the position you are now, with the knowledge and expertise to put into whatever you’ve made. So you’ll always be ahead of people who copy you. And you’ll have the background that will allow you to keep going and continue to be the leader you are.