You’ll get an unpleasant feeling in your stomach when you notice your copy on another website. The sad truth is that if you write decent copy, it’s likely to happen to you. The Internet lends itself to plagiarism and it seems almost acceptable these days. It’s not and fortunately, if it happens to you, you’re well protected (although you will almost certainly have to spend some time with the lawyers).
Intelligent people don’t copy and paste. They’ll adapt, bend and grow their own story from your copy. This is pure evolution and it helps you grow too. Without competition, the world would be a very dry place.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve discovered 3+ companies who’ve borrowed our copy for their own sites and weblogs. We let the first one continue (I will explain in a later post), the second one took the offending copy down and the third ended up in court and landed a fine that almost sent them out of business.
How to deal with it
Blatant copy / paste plagiarism is simple to tackle. Write a firm but polite message to them asking them to remove it. It’s likely they’ll panic and remove it immediately. Rightly so.
If they refuse, find a decent copyright lawyer and send them the offending copy along with your original. Remember, it’s not worth dragging them through the courts unless you know they can afford it. The fines are hefty these days – only those with money in the bank or a decent insurance policy will pay.
Subtle copyright infringement is still worth pursuing. You can receive compensation from a company on the basis that they’ve profited from your ideas.
You can’t really copyright an idea.
And you can’t stop your competition from copying your prices. However, ideas are nothing without good implementation… Think about it.
Make friends not war
In today’s market, it’s better to be friends with your competitors than enemeies. At PolkaSpots, we routinely share information between a select group of Wi-Fi companies. It’s one of the main reasons for our growth this year but was not well received when we started. After all, would you trust your competition? Try it, just be careful.