In search of a title for this post, I Googled the words “copying” and “flattery” because I couldn’t for the life of me remember the full quote. Turns out the full quote is “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness” and came from the great mind of Oscar Wilde.
Anyhoo, what’s your point, Ems? I hear you ask? Well, I have the pleasure of working with an incredible designer. She is regularly presented with the vaguest of briefs and turns out incredible, original content time and time again, with a ridiculously short turnaround. Basically, she’s Da Bomb (do the kids still say that these days?!). Earlier this week we came across a tweet that featured her work used by someone else. The image featured the same words, the same font, the same banner across the middle. They basically lifted an entire poster and took away a small part of it and didn’t credit her in the slightest. I was livid. How can we live in a creative world where people think it’s ok to take the hard work of an individual and pass it off as their own?!
It got me thinking about #bloggerproblems. There are millions of blogs out there and it’s damn near impossible to come up with truly original content. We watch and review the same films and TV shows, read and review the same books, brands reach out to multiple bloggers for the same sponsored posts, practically every parent blogger recommends what to pack in your hospital bag or how to deal with colic… But we’re all unique little snowflakes and have our own experiences and opinions. So is it copying if several twenty-something lifestyle bloggers write about the thousand ways they don’t feel like a grown up yet? When is it a coincidence, inspiration or blatant copying when someone posts something similar to you?
It’s easy to spot downright plagiarism when someone copy and pastes your text or saves your photo and posts it as their own. But what happens when a blog suddenly appears in the blogosphere with post titles very similar to yours? And when they post about items near identical to yours the day after you do? And arranges Instagram flatlay photos just like yours? If all three of these instances occur within a short space of time on the same blog is it a coincidence? If you know they’re a reader of your blog are they inspired by you?
Loads of us bloggers post the same regular series: What I’ve been reading lately, What I’ve been watching lately, Follow Friday, Sunday Snapshot, Wonderful Wednesday, Friday Favourites, etc… Is this copying? No, we’re just getting involved in the blogging community and sharing our own opinions and experiences, right?
I just did a quick Google search to see what the general consensus is re. blogging inspiration and found (and loved!) Cait’s post on inspiration and copyright. Give it a read and let me know what you think because I like her differentiation between treasure hunters and pirates. It’s made me realise that I’m probably over-analysing this personal experience; my own negative experiences with said blogger in real life are probably leading me to see it in a more negative light than I should. But I’d still be interested to know if you think I have the right to be miffed. Has anything similar happened to you? Let’s have a chat in the comments below!
P.S. I normally post a Sunday Snapshot but this was on my mind and I didn’t know when else to fit it in to my blog schedule!