The Fear of Copycats In The Digital World

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 in Copywriting | 1 comment

The Fear of Copycats In The Digital World

“I want to share my idea for advice, but I don’t want it to get stolen.”

This opening statement is a common one I see in the Facebook groups I administer. People want advice but they are afraid of what might happen once they put their ideas into the world. They are afraid of DIYers, copycats, and the imaginary thief’s that patrol the digital walls of our society.

They are afraid.

The point of this article is to challenge you. I want you to overcome that fear. I want you to realize that as artists, business owners, and creatives we are always going to be at risk of someone else being “inspired” by our work.

So, what?


It’s all been done before.

This statement, also a lyric to one of my favorite songs, really does sum it up quite nicely. There are a million and one vinyl artists. There are a million and two fiber artists. The list goes on and on. That does not mean you should lessen your creativity or stop your ideas from flowing out into the world. The goal as a seller is to profit. The goal as an artist is to create. If you are running a business that pairs those two concepts, then you will always be at risk for someone taking a profitable idea and running with it.

If you are concerned, there are legal steps you can take to protect yourself.

Often, I will get group members asking me if the group is safe for them. They want to know if I can promise that their idea won’t get stolen. I can’t do that. No one can do that. They are asking me to police the internet and to protect their content when in all reality, that’s just not going to happen. I wish everyone worked with integrity but when we are talking about the world wide web, you’re going to have a few people that outright copy your ideas. It’s a numbers game. Other people will be inspired by your idea and take off on their own flight of imagination and create something similar yet unique. A third group of people are those expressing parallel thinking.

I wish I could protect you.

The best I can do is encourage you.

If you are just afraid, then I want to challenge you to look past your fear. Be original, be you, and be excited about your ideas. If you execute them well, it doesn’t matter if your competition comes on board. You will always be the originator and that is something to be celebrated.

One Comment

  1. 12-9-2016

    I sometimes run into fear-driven secrecy in my work as a freelance editor, almost always with first-time authors. Part of my pricing process is to see a copy of the complete manuscript of the book so that I can propose a rate that is appropriate to the amount of work the project will require. There is no way around this; I have to see the actual words the author has put on the page. Some are understandably nervous about handing over their manuscript to a stranger, even one their printing house may have recommended. They may need reassurance that I make my money by editing books that will be published with other people’s names on them, not by stealing their work and slapping my own name on it.

    I have at times explained it this way: Your idea is your “baby,” and it is only natural to be protective of it, but the only way it can grow up and start earning a living is if you recognize when the time is right to let it go out into the world, even with all the risks that you know are out there. Will it get a bit “banged up” in the process? Sure. But you did not give it life just to keep it hidden forever in the privacy of the nursery.

    Creative people of the world, have the courage to let your ideas grow up and go out into the world!

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