Copying or Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery or so the saying goes and copycats are par for the course when you’re successful in creative business. It’s an increasing problem on the internet where business has gone global and foreign poachers serving up stolen copy in other languages can be hard to track. Here are some of tips to deal with this problem 🙂
Watermark Images Of Your Work. Add the copyright symbol and your name — or my preference, your url — to every single image of your work that exists online. You can also include copy on your website reminding site visitors that none of the content may be used without your permission and that there are consequences for ignoring your request.
Google Yourself. Over the years, I’ve found articles I’ve written on the websites of well-meaning (I’m sure) folks who are using my content to help them pimp their services. I’ve reached out and offered them two choices: a use license or to take it down.
Google Your Images (At Least Quarterly). To check your images if you’re using a mac, drag the image from your site into the search box at http://images.google.com/. Google searches for your image and shows you the list of sites where that image is found. Using this method one of my client found her images on two overseas stock photography portals.
Lawyer Up. If you’re positive you’re being ripped off, contact a lawyer for advice and to draft a Cease & Desist letter. Consider trademarking your name and/or products that you want to have a long shelf-life early in business. Just because you own the URL does not mean you own the trademark. LegalZoom is another way to do some inexpensive preliminary research around patents, copyrights and other forms of concept protection.
Keep Creating. It takes courage to be creative and you are. You’re doing the work, putting yourself out there and as much as other people want to be like you, it is genetically impossible. Thank biology for that. Fans who are devoted to you, want what you offer, not the copy, like all of us Apple fans, a company with rabid fans, brand ubiquity despite having less than 15% market share.
Wish you creative week ahead 🙂
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