Today, I want to talk about a common phenomenon and that is business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers hesitating to put original content online because they’re afraid of getting ripped off.
They’re afraid someone is going to steal their content.
And this is a valid feeling. I’m not going to feed you any fairytale about how imitation is the sincerest form of flattery or any of that. You know, it sucks when someone steals something that you worked really hard on to create.
It hurts because you put a lot of your time and your energy and focus into creating something new and let’s face it, even if it’s something that you give away for free, those likes and shares that could’ve been yours, that’s exposure for your brand that you get denied because someone took it without asking your permission.
So, it’s a valid fear and it’s not a nice feeling when someone takes something from you.
But, you shouldn’t let it stop you from creating original content and here’s why.
First of all, there’s always something you can do about it. And usually, it doesn’t have to be something very dramatic.
If you find someone has used your photograph, for instance, without crediting you, get in touch with them quietly and privately, and say, “Hey, I noticed you used my picture. I’d really appreciate it if you gave me credit.”
Most of the time, they’ll just agree to do whatever it is that you want, give you credit. Or, they’ll just take down the photo altogether.
A lot of the time, what happens (and now, this is the flip side of that situation), they don’t even realize they’re taking something that they’re not allowed to use because the creator of the content doesn’t brand the image, or whatever it is, with their business name or with a hashtag or with a company logo or anything. There’s no copyright notice on it.
So when they’re sharing, it comes off to you as stealing.
Well, they’re not stealing, they’re actually sharing. And if you had branded the image in the first place, then they’d actually be helping you get word about your brand out there. So the onus is on you to brand your material and make it really obvious of where it comes from in the first place.
If things do go sour, like if you do brand your content and someone crops off your logo or whatever it is, now we’re talking about a whole different story. That’s a little bit malicious.
Get in touch with them and say, “I know what you’re up to. Please take it down.” And if they don’t, there’s still a lot of things, hopefully it doesn’t escalate to this, but you can call them out publicly on their forum and divert traffic from their audience to your audience.
Always stay professional and always maintain your composure. Don’t get emotional. But you can stand up for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with standing up for yourself.
And, let the people decide. You have proof that you posted this image years ago in the first place and it does belong to you. Maybe they’ll start visiting your site more often now. They actually found you through the plagiarist’s site. You can turn that negative experience into a positive that way.
But, there’s a lot of things you could do. And my real point here is, when you use the fact that you’re afraid that someone’s going to steal your original content as an excuse to not create original content, you’re actually not afraid of being ripped off.
What you’re afraid of is putting yourself out there and creating something new. What I’m saying is, don’t use the fear of plagiarism as an excuse to not write new blogs or create new images or post original content.
Because what you’re really doing is just evading the real subject which is that you’re scared.
And that’s okay, own up to that.
Be scared of putting yourself out there. It’s scary.
Be scared of coming up with something new. It’s difficult, okay, we all know that.
But, don’t say it’s because, “Well, someone’s going to rip me off, so I’m not going to put anything out there at all.”
I hope that got you a little fired up and put some of your fears to rest.
If you enjoy content like this, please subscribe. I put out a new video about social media marketing and entrepreneurship every week. And I will talk to you soon!
Hope you found that helpful and if you did, please subscribe! I put out a new video every week.