We all know the saying from Charles Caleb Colton that states ‘imitation is the highest form of flattery’ – but it sure as hell doesn’t feel like that when it happens. Being copied can really get under your skin. And that’s why it’s important to work out how to deal with being copied.
At first you feel you’re being paranoid. But then people start to bring it to your attention – you already knew but you decided to take a deep breath and move on. But people keep messaging you and emailing you. And then you remove your head from the sand you realise what’s happened. How do you deal with being copied? Here’s my take on it…
How to deal with being copied
Being copied sucks. I said it. I’ve seen it time and again. It’s happened to me a few times. And I really don’t like it. It annoys me when I put so much time and effort into creating really good copy and content to have someone else apply about 2% of the thought I’ve put in and ‘pay homage’ to it. And then people start to email me about how such-and-such is copying me. Yep. I know. But if it’s not word for word copying, as in, plagiarism, or something that uses your intellectual property/copyright, it’s tricky (although I would advise that if you feel you have a case or you’re unsure, seek legal advice as I’m not a solicitor). You might just need to suck it up! That said, I had two clients a few years ago call me to ask me if I was working for a competitor because the wording they were using to describe their products was the same as ours. I wasn’t. It annoyed me. It annoyed them. And I remember things. I also have clients who deal with various levels of being copied. They deal with it admirably, but it’s still very annoying.
So, why did I tell you that? It wasn’t a rant, but it’s to show that the advice I am planning to give comes from a place, not of blissful happiness about a situation that continues to get under my skin, but one of annoyance as I know that everyone else who is being copied feels. So here goes…
Six ways to deal with being copied
- Rise above it. Try and see it as flattery and perhaps the other person having a lack of imagination or ideas. Try not to take it personally.
- Take the compliment… if you can. If you copy a sequence of events, like how to make a cake, the chances are you’ll get a similar outcome. Maybe that person wants to be just like you?
- Don’t let it hinder you. I know of people who have become so cross about being copied that it’s actually reduced their own growth. They haven’t released blogs, articles or even products for fear of being ripped off. I understand the reasoning, but don’t let them stop you. You’ll always be the first.
- Use it to spur you on to be bigger and better. It’s hard, really hard, but try.
- Unfollow and unlike. On social media. Unlike and unfollow their pages. It is just going to bug you. Stay in your lane, lovely, and don’t worry about the rest of them!
- And, as mentioned above, if your ‘superfan’ has done something that you believe you can do something about, seek legal advice.
How do you deal with being copied? Has it happened do you?