Every now and again, I get a question from a reader on the topic of plagiarism. These questions tend to take the form of what’s what – what constitutes plagiarism, what’s copyright infringement, and what’s just being a boring old copycat? And on the other hand, what to do about it.
Well, I’ve been creating content online for 11 years now, so I’ve acquired some thoughts. I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not going to tell you what to do. But I can tell you what I do.
First, I will give you three outstandingly brazen examples of Things That Are Written By Other People That Look Startlingly Like Things I Have Already Written from the last few months. Then I will tell you what I do about it.
Ready? OF COURSE YOU ARE.
This is what a business’ growth curve looks like.
It’s a thing. It has a name. It’s called an S-Curve.
See how it looks like an S?
It always looks like an S. Always. That’s why it’s called an S-Curve.
Keep that in mind. We’ll come back to it in a few minutes.
Suzanne is having a rough day.
(Suzanne is a real client, but I’ve changed her name. Everything else is the same.)
She has an established business, but she hasn’t been able to give it as much time as she’d like because her children are young and unschooled. After years of balancing… and balancing… and balancing, she’s finally in a position to focus on business growth.
Suzanne has recently created a membership site, and the launch went well. She did better than she expected. As a result of that (and a few other small successes) she’s been investing a lot in her business, and she’s put her family on a temporary strict budget. She wants to invest as much as she can into growth in the short term, so they’ll be set up well for the future, or any rainy days ahead.
Suzanne’s family isn’t broke, by any means. But they’re budgeting. She has kept a firm hand on the purse-strings to make sure all of their needs get met, including the needs of her growing business.
Yesterday, she went out for a walk with her children, and they passed a restaurant where the patrons were dining al fresco. The kids looked hungrily at the platters of breakfast, and started talking about how nice it would be when they could eat out in restaurants for breakfast. Bacon featured heavily in the conversation.
On the phone with me, Suzanne cried. She feels guilty that her children don’t have everything she wants them to have. She feels guilty that they see other kids with things her kids don’t have. Very normal for a parent with kids their age.