Avoiding Copycats: Plagiarism in the business world

Copycatting. Plagiarism. In our growing technological world, these practices happen more often than we would like. In the business world, copycatting can be our worst nightmare. When someone imitates us, it’s supposed to be flattering, but when someone imitates our body of work it can become angering, fast.
The unfortunate thing about success is that it breeds plenty of copycats. When people like your product, they will sometimes try to revamp or improve it to make money from your idea. When people like your content, they’ll sometimes take it and plug it into their own website. When people see a marketing strategy that works, they’re bound to try their hand at a similar method. It’s unfortunate, but it does happen.

Copycatting is annoying, but it happens. If you’re in business for yourself, the likelihood is that you’ll come up against this issue at one time or another. So, what should you do if you feel that you’re being plagiarized enough to take action?

Start Small

The best way to handle this type of conflict is to address it directly, wherever possible. This works in two ways; it makes you identify whether or not you truly believe you’re being copycatted, and it makes you more real to the perpetrator. Reach out and express your concern; explain the trials and tribulations that you have faced in designing your strategy, and offer some advice for someone just starting out. Ask the copycat respectfully to alter their course, and hope for cooperation.

Going Above The Copycat

When the plagiarism or copycatting is obvious and undeniable, and direct contact has no impact, the time may be upon you to go above their head. The next step with any online copyright infringement is to contact the host. Send a quick note to shed some light on the situation that you’re in and ask for the host’s help in convincing your copycat to cease. The host has far more leverage than you do.

If nothing else works, it may be time to consider talking to a lawyer. Keep in mind that plagiarists are plagiarists through and through and they’ve likely poached the work of others as well. If you can find other victims and form an alliance, you may get further in your journey to have your content pulled. Being plagiarized is extremely frustrating, and for more information on how you can protect yourself, http://www.plagiarismtoday.com is a great resource.