Copycats…Dealing With Both Sides
It can be so frustrating to spend ages writing up a blog post only to find that someone has written one a few days later that seems incredibly familiar.
It can also be frustrating to be accused of being heavily influenced by another bloggers content.
With the amount of blogs that most of us read, it can be difficult not to be influenced by other bloggers, especially when you can see that a certain type of blog post goes down well with an audience, or a style of taking your photographs is complimented a ton.
Believe in your own tastes and styles of writing and taking photographs – sure, there are things that you should be doing (running spell checks, taking good clear photographs), but with things like how you write, and how you style a photo, what will make your blog stand out from the masses of blogs out there that think they must emulate the bigger bloggers to be popular is the way that you write and you style things.
If you think that someone is a little too influenced by your style, then depending on how friendly you are with them, it might be worth dropping them a little email to praise the original sort of stuff they do.
Accusing someone of copying you could leave a sour taste in their mouths, and this could back fire on you more – we always say how people talk, and this is a perfect example of what so many people would love to gossip about.
It is not illegal for someone to be influenced by you, but when the text or images are straight up copied from you word for word, that’s when you need to take more direct action. Send a polite but firm email stating exactly the similarities, (including links and screenshots if necessary – not just to show what is wrong, but for your own records later on) and requesting for the offending work to be taken down
Avoid talking about it at all on social media (especially) – vigilante action by others will happen, whether you want it to or not, and that can be a little unfair, especially if it’s an innocent mistake.
If you’re the accused – be honest with people. It’s fine to be putting your own spin on things, or to show how you got on with a DIY project from somewhere else – how else will people know that something is tricky to get right when the original DIY only shows what goes well?
If it’s a coincidence that you’ve done the same thing as someone else – fine! It’s going to happen, especially in areas like fashion and beauty, where trends lead the content of most blogs.
If you did get the idea from someone else – own up to it before you can be accused if possible. “I loved the idea of X’s feature about blogs I love” is a fine way to begin a blog post – your readers can then head over to the other blog and check out a different perspective. If someone calls you out in the comments (“Hey, this is an awful lot like X’s feature!”) then admit that, and apologise for not linking back to it previously.
If you’re not sure whether it’s OK to use an idea, always ask! Perhaps you could then work with the other blogger on a better feature, or turn it into a link share where anyone can join in and share their links (perhaps using a link tool widget so everyone has the same links on their blog post?)
Have you ever had to deal with someone using your content? Or have you been the accused?