Discussion – Drawing the line between inspired or copied content🍃


Hello Bookworms, today’s post is a little different, but I am really excited to discuss it with all of you. In this book blogging community, we work hard. We work incredibly hard. With so many artistic, incredible and gifted individuals in this community, it is an honour to be a part of it. Evidently, it can be tough to create original content, but that’s what makes it all the more rewarding once we can. So it’s easy to imagine how upsetting and disheartening it is when you realize your content has been copied.

Stop Copying Me GIFs | Tenor
Everyone is unique, inventive and has something to offer the world, don’t try to be anyone else but yourself♡.

I’ve been wanting to make this post for a few months now, but once there was an issue with a blog copying my stylistic choices(it has been resolved) I concluded I needed to write it. This post isn’t going to be centred around me or going into detail as to what happened, I’ve just noticed that this is a bit of a “taboo” topic or one that just isn’t often discussed. If another blogger is going through this, or someone wants to be educated on when their content crosses the line, hopefully they can refer to this post.


What is Inspired Content?

Now, inspiration is ALL over this platform! I get inspired whenever I open up my reader, look at my friends’ blogs or read one of their posts. And this isn’t a bad thing. Being inspired by others is the exact opposite, it’s what drives creativity and allows us to grow as creators.

For instance, putting your unique spin on a discussion post you saw someone write, being influenced by someone’s blog aesthetic and then trying to find your own are all examples of being inspired. So, taking inspiration from someone else’s work is acceptable, but in order to avoid copyright, the finished product(whether it be a post, an image, etc) has to be something original made by using your effort, creativity and skill.

What is Copied Content?

When someone copies your blog design, aesthetic, or most likely worst of all, content; to put it simply, it ruins the fun for everyone. 

I’ll be the first to admit that when I plan to redesign my blog, I browse through a few of my favourites, checking out their own design choices and aesthetics so I can get inspired and essentially use that to create my own spin.

Ctrl C Ctrl V GIFs | Tenor
this gif = don’t do it

Now there is an entire section of copying that I haven’t touched, which is primarily lifting chunks of someone’s text onto your website and passing it off as your own. I won’t be talking about this because we all know this is wrong. There is no blurred line here, it’s simply plagiarism.

Here are a few examples of copying in the blogging world:

When researching for this, this lovely post from paper fury was incredibly beneficial.

  • You are browsing blogger’s websites for inspiration for a redesign, you notice a blogger using some adorable graphics/images, copy and paste them and pass them as your own. You do not credit, link to the blogger or even ask for permission.
  • You have an idea for a post but realize that you have seen it on someone else’s blog before. Without trying to tackle it from a separate angle or even crediting the blogger for their idea, you write the post without acknowledging their work.
  • You see a blogger talking about a new discussion post or series they are thinking of starting but write it and post it without crediting them and essentially stealing the essence of their idea.

It truly makes me happy that you guys enjoy my content, but when someone copies it, it is the opposite of flattering.


What’s the difference between inspiration and imitation?

And this is the reason why I’ve made this post. Deciphering the line between the two, although difficult is possible. Taking inspiration is normal. Every creator does it. That may possibly be the best part of this community, looking around and reading these amazing posts from such talented creators inspires me. It is 100% fine to be inspired by somebody’s post, or maybe their blog design. Approaching a discussion from a different angle because you’ve seen it being done a different way is completely fine, enjoying a blog’s aesthetics is normal. But going out of your way, to copy. Now that isn’t. And it’s something that needs to be acknowledged.

I don’t want to use this post to talk about what happened to me because that wouldn’t be fair to that blog nor do I feel the need to share it with the world. All I will say that it was quite a stressful experience, I went through a lot of emotions throughout it, from denial to sadness to rage? It was incredibly hurtful to see my ideas and “brand(take this word lightly) be taken away from me.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.

Herman Melville

Again, for a few blogger specific examples, here are a few instances of being inspired by someone and staying in the realm of respect and not copying:

  • You have just started your blog and begin by writing a bunch of “generic topics“(I don’t mean generic in a bad way, just ones that nearly every blog has done) such as your tbr, WWW Wednesday, tags or such that’s completely fine and acceptable!
  • You read an interesting discussion and find that you would like to add something to the conversation and decide to write your own spin, you credit the blogger and add something thought-provoking to the conversation!
  • You are inspired by an aesthetic of someone’s blog or the colour palette they use, so you develop your own palette.

Specifically, imitation is laziness and disrespect, stealing someone’s idea with no acknowledgement of their hard work and originality. 

I completely understand that starting a blog and finding your own voice and “brand” takes time. This blog has been my baby for years, it’s basically me in text form


How to avoid copying?

There are several things you can do to ensure you avoid copying someone or something that inspires us. If something inspires you, try to delve deeper into that sentiment. What specifically is giving you inspiration and why?

If you are spurred/inspired by a specific blog or a person and are dead set on their ideas, try messaging or contacting them. They may be okay with you utilizing a few of their ideas or images. Depending on what you are asking and how you ask it, you may be surprised with the answer! If you are lacking incentive, turn to galleries, blogs, BOOKS, your life! There is inspiration all around us and in everything we do, you just need to look.

Additionally, you should use images from public domain for free or consider purchasing them to avoid copyright(Shutterstock, Bigstock, istock, etc).

And guys…being original is HARD. Yes, it’s true! But that’s what makes it so much more rewarding and worthwhile.


What to do if someone is copying your work?

Realizing that someone is passing your ideas/content as their own has got to be one of the worst feelings ever. But try to stay calm, I know….it’s hard. Solving this issue can either be simple or laborious, it all depends on you and the person who has decided to copy you..(keep in mind, although the chances are slim, they may have not done it on purpose).

First off, take a deep breath and remember to proceed with patience and compassion. Choose to contact or message them and nicely explain the situation and your feelings. Ask them to either take down the content they are passing as their own or to explain themselves. Keep in mind, that although this is stressful for you, try not to respond poorly and keep a professional front. No good will come from an emotional outburst.

In terms of WordPress, I don’t believe there is a way to report a blog for only imitation. If there is, please let me know in the comments, so your best bet would be that they would understand where you are coming from and choose to cooperate when you contact them. If that doesn’t work, possibly making a post about it to your followers can kindly send them a message.


Here are a few posts I’ve found incredibly useful about reporting a WordPress site:

https://lorelle.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/how-to-report-abuse-to-wordpress-com/

https://wordpress.com/support/copyright-infringement-what-to-do/


All in all, someone copying your content may be sadly inevitable as you grow and are exposed to a larger audience. As a blogger, be aware of both sides to the situation and proceed with discretion if you find it has happened to you. Consult with your friends, reach out to the blog or site’s owner, and try to find a resolution that will be best for your situation.

Overall, if you are copying someone’s work…why? Not only does it take away the satisfaction and hard work someone has put in to create their content, but you will be eventually found out. Copying isn’t sustainable, especially if you want to grow and display your brand to new audiences. And karma is real...

These are my thoughts on the inspiration vs imitation debate/conversation. I am so glad that my issue has been dealt with, and I hope this can help some bloggers out, old or new! Please continue the conversation below, this entire ordeal is very new to me and I would love to know your perspective on the topic, has this happened to you? Do you agree that there is a line between inspired and copied content?

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts below❖

77 thoughts on “Discussion – Drawing the line between inspired or copied content🍃”

  1. Super late to this, but I am so sorry that that happened to you 💕 I’m glad it got resolved, but it’s terrible that it had to happen in the first place. Everything you said is on point, and I wholeheartedly agree! And I really love how you talked about it; it’s so respectful and informative all at once ❤✨

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is such a great and insightful post. Sorry to see this happened to you. 😢 I can tell you put a lot of effort into this. Thanks for sharing this. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much! Not only for expressing all the reasons behind the issue, but also with the steps of what to do if it happens to you ! As sad as it is in itself, the procedures might be needed later (hopefully not though!) — bookmarked in case ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You wrote about this topic so well!! I really enjoyed reading it 💛 It has helped me to think about the differences between inspiration and imitation, communicating effectively with other bloggers so I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, and preparing myself for the potential of someone copying my content. Thank you for this awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant post and I’m so sorry that this happened to you! I feel like these issues are not discussed enough. I haven’t personally experienced any issues with plagiarism or my content being copied however I have noticed a rising trend across book twitter where other bloggers mention that this is happening to them so it’s super important to raise awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ERIN I APPLAUD YOU! this post is so amazing and important and you wrote it PERFECTLY! i’m so sorry this happened to you though, that’s just frustrating and disheartening. but yes, i agree with everything you said and we should DEFINITELY talk about this more and drawing the line is so important!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So sorry that this happened! I have experienced this myself and it is not fun. This is such an important post and I hope people have learned from it. Thank you for writing this! Love you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fantastic post!! I once had someone straight up copy an entire post of mine and paste it onto their blog. Soooo frustrating!! It definitely leaves you feeling violated! Sorry this happened to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Erin, this is such a thoughtful and much needed discussion post, thank you for writing this! I’ve personally felt this way about some of my content too (seeing newer posts/features that feel eerily similar to mine) and wonder if perhaps I’m overthinking it but then never end up saying anything. *sigh Anyways, you bring up great points here and I loved reading this post. I’m still hesitant to post some of my newer/niche blog ideas tbh because I’m worried it’ll be copied! 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you💙 At the end of the day, I’m just trying to spark some sort of discussion, not resolve or put an end to anything(we all know that will never happen unfortunately). But, I hope you don’t scrap any ideas due to fear, deal with an issue once/if it arises! And we will all be here to back you❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Erin I loved this post so much. Starting a blog is so difficult and I kinda already had my aesthetic built up from my Instagram. I feel like starting a blog, or any endeavor, it’s hard to look for inspiration without simply copying, because you love what others do and want to do that too! So I love how you talked about that here and I’m still mad that that happened to you 😡

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, you should feel so proud of your blog Brooke! It’s so beautiful, it’s clear how hard you work on it, and people who copy are honestly just scum. There is definitely such a fine line which makes the entire issues so much more difficult to deal with, but thank you so much for your support ILY♡💙

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your post was so interesting! Thank you for your work! As everyone, I get inspired by what other bloggers do, and I always, always, try to add my own twist to the inspired content, but I also stress about this, and if I did it right — but I would never copy someone’s work on purpose, for sure.
    Thank you for your post, I feel like it’s still a taboo in the community and I’m sure it will help a lot of people!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so sorry that something terrible as that has happened to you 😫 honestly the line between imitation and inspiration is very very thin and sometimes it can be hard to prove because the other party can always deny it😔

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I am sorry as well that this has happened to you. I hear you and it feels like we have been betrayed and someone else reaps the rewards for all the hard work. I’d be upset as well and when I’ve been inspired why others contents, I always leave a link and give credit if I use anything in a blog post.
    There are a few ways of looking at it.
    Yes your work has been stolen, without giving you the credit for it. An imposter posed for you making it sound like it has all been their idea. Sadly none of it will ever be in our control and sadly I fear it will happen over and over. So what can we do? On a small percentage it’s flattering someone thought of your work with sich high regards wanting to use it for theirs. But wrong is still wrong and again I’m sorry you had to experience this. I had this happen with an original photograph of mine since 99%of my pictures posted are my own. They used it for a poem and I remember feeling the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is such an amazing comment, thank you for taking the time to read and comment❤️ So incredibly sorry that someone did that to you as well, it’s such a horrible feeling and can really take away all motivation to create more. All we can do is just people are better than that💙

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much. I guess it happens and we both experienced it at some level. Please don’t ever allow it to take away your motivation to create more. It does NOT deserve that kind of power over you and you will always rise above such challenges which are not in our control. 🙏🏼💙

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Sorry this happened to you! When I redid mine I tried to incorporate things I loved! Not just what was popular. And I agree sometimes inspiration is really borderline at times. But like in academics better to give credit if you aren’t sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, I’d get really pissed off if someone stole my content. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened to me. Mind you, I was very flattered when someone reblogged one of my posts – but doing that gives me full credit, and a link to my original post on their blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. yessss loved this post erin!! it‘s so weird that this is such a “taboo” topic so i‘m so glad u opened up this discussion ❤ something similar happened to me recently on IG ughhh and because i‘m a fucking coward and didn‘t wanna come off as petty i didn‘t message them but i regret it so much🤧 istg if that person copies my march templates too i‘m gonna riot

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i know a few ppl who have had this issue in terms of book blogging and booksta and they are both so different so i just wanted to stick with blogging. but i know what you mean completely, it feels embarrassing for some reason? even though we shouldn’t be embarrassed😭 and maybe i’m imagining this but i think i remember you talking about this? how rude of them honestly. it’s really intimidating to comfort them though i understand🥺

      Like

  17. This is a great post! I have definitely seen other bloggers recently saying that their posts had been copied! When I was redesigning my blog, I definitely looked at others’ graphics to see what I liked, but then I used my colour palette to create my own original designs. So important to make sure you’re not taking other people’s hard work. Thank you for talking about this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love drawing inspiration from bloggers! It’s incredibly inspiring and I do understand that the line can be a little blurry at times, but being respectful and ethical is very important. thank you for taking the time to read it ellie❤️

      Like

  18. This is such a great discussion topic, Erin, and I love that someone is talking about this! Because yes, something similar has also happened to me before, when someone wrote a post that was astoundingly similar to one I had published a week before and that said person had read, but didn’t give me any credit for. At the time, I felt really awful about it – So I definitely know the feeling and am so sorry this happened to you, too! – but since I didn’t know for sure whether it was intentional and didn’t want to cause any unnecessary drama (I am such a people pleaser and tend to avoid confrontation at any cost 😅), I never spoke out. So I’m really glad you’re raising awareness! And I think your tips are actually really helpful! To be honest, as long as people mention where they got the idea from, I don’t even mind if the don’t ask for permission first, since I always love seeing new takes on a topic that I thought was interesting! But blatantly coping without crediting just leaves a sour aftertaste…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much Naemi, and first of all so sorry that you had to experience that. When I first realized my blog was being copied I was so sad and couldn’t even think straight honestly. I’m still surprised that I was able to form some sort of coherent thoughts😓 It’s definitely a delicate situation to handle on both sides, especially when the lines are a little blurry sometimes. but at the end it relaly does suck. We are all here working hard, for ourselves at the end of the day so it’s pretty hurtful when something like that happens. Thank you so much for commenting and I loved reading it💙❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  19. So sorry to hear this happened to you Erin but I am glad you wrote this post and it’s out there so maybe some people who don’t realise when they’re copying are able to and give the person who came up with the idea due credit.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Erin, omg that’s terrible that this has happened to you!! 😦 I believe Karma is real too though, and even though this has happened it doesn’t take away from all the hard work and thought you have put into your blog!! If anything I always believe you can make something good out of something bad and this important post came out of your experience! You gave a lot of great examples throughout this post of the difference between inspiration and imitation, and you kept a kind and classy tone all throughout! Sending all the best your way ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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