Dealing With Idea Theft

If you know someone is taking the ideas behind each one of your posts, and then rewriting them to publish on their own blog, how would you feel about that? How would you deal with it? It is something I have recently noted on a blog I used to really like. It seems as I write articles on here, sometime a week or two later, an original article with the same topic shows up on the other blog.

At first, I thought it was just coincidence, but it just happened again. A post I had written less than a week ago has been written from scratch and put on a blog more popular than this one.

While I do like being a source for ideas, I don’t like how this person is going about it. I really don’t know how I feel over this whole thing. They aren’t copying my article text. They aren’t linking back to me, but they are using my posts to come up with their post topics.

Am I a victim of the huge echo chamber of the web?

While I know there is nothing I can do about this whole thing, and I should probably try to be pleased that they think so highly of me, it can be really hard for me to come up with post ideas, and while I can’t say that I have never taken a post idea from someone else’s blog, I usually try to stick to their long ago archives, while this person is taking less than a week to basically repurpose my ideas.

It is a very strange feeling. I would love to hear what my readers think about all of this. And if the person “stealing my ideas” reads this, I wonder if they even realize they are doing it?

Note: They aren’t copying my posts, but instead taking the general idea of my post and re-writing them from scratch. None of my content is being stolen… just every post idea I have that appeals to their audience. I don’t know if that changes anything for anyone, but I wanted to make sure everyone understood that fact.

13 thoughts on “Dealing With Idea Theft

  1. Sarah

    Ooh, share the URL!

    The blogosphere is an echo chamber, that is certain. But if they aren’t scraping your screen…then it’s a gray area.

    You should probably just email them and ask them to link when they are posting your content and thank them for being a fan! 😉

  2. WTL

    Tough call. While I too am curious as to whom is doing this, there is the possibility that it *is* a coincidence – not likely, but still.

    I think I’d just start participating on that blog a bit more, and routinely comment that you wrote something very similar to this a couple of days/weeks ago.

    Maybe you’ll get some traffic out of it.

    Otherwise, if it *really* bothers you, email them.

  3. Freelance Writing

    I think you should call them out, but before you do, contact them and ask why they copy your content? For all we know they might be unaware of it.

    If they don’t react, call them out 🙂 I think it is high time that we start calling on all the dumwits on the Internet because unsuspecting newcomers will get sucked into the wrong vortex.

  4. Maysun

    Hallo,

    As far as I know, ideas cannot be copyrighted.

    According to the U.S. Copyright office –

    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html

    “Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work. “

  5. Gerard

    You need to call them out on it David. If you’re noticing a pattern of theme rewriting, then you need to say.

    What are they doing, guest posting somewhere else to build their profile? I’m intrigued.

  6. Wayne Liew

    I guess it is obvious that they should know what they are doing since even you yourself knew that they are copying. Writing guides that also appears on other blog can be said that it is coincidence. However, a few times suggest that it is more than that.

    If he is someone who enjoys fame and authority, you might want to contact him to talk about it before bursting everything all over. If this is me, contacting them is definitely the step I will take.

    Update us about this. Thanks. 😉

  7. Tay - Super Blogging

    I understand why this bothers you so much. You’re trying to create unique content, but when someone else takes the idea it’s not unique anymore.

    If I were you I would email the person and ask them what’s going on, and let them know how you feel. Let us know what you end up doing, and good luck solving this. 🙂

  8. Kiltak

    That’s one of the problem with the Web.. people have, and will always do this, and even though it can piss you off, they can do it. They’re not infringing any of your copyrights. I have yet to see big blogs do this to my content.. But I noticed lots of small blog doing it.. How did I notice? Some of them “hot link” pictures from my servers..

    Morons 🙂

  9. @Stephen|Productivity in Context

    Welcome to the echo-chamber. I run into the same thing from time-to-time, also you may experience publishing on the same topic the same day. For niche-blogs, this is an issue that is hard to solve, as the topic/content can be fairly limited, and every other blogger can simply say that they were “inspired”.
    I was inspired last week by two posts that I found, one by Aaron Potts and another from Phil Gerbyshak, they had written similar posts close together. I took what they had and ran with it – and linked back.

  10. Trudi Topham

    Well there’s really no need to contact them about it. They’ll read this post when they come back to skim your blog for more ideas. Then they’ll either grow a conscience, or keep mining your brain. Give it a couple of weeks and see which it turns out to be.

  11. David

    Trudi – Right on the money… and the reason behind me writing this post 🙂 So far, so good on them leaving my content alone, though I haven’t really written anything in the last week that fits their niche. We will see what happens when I do.

  12. Votre

    It’s happened to me. But then a friend told me that somebody said that somebody said that somebody had read somewhere that somebody said… (get the picture?) that the only time we really need to get worried about somebody stealing our ideas is if we’re afraid we’ll someday run out of them. So after I took a little temper tantrum (well…I’m not the Dali Lama) I decided the best thing to do was let it go and move on to my next article. Because I believed I would always have something new and interesting to write about. No matter who picked my brian.

    We none of us “own” the news. Nor can we “own” an opinion. And no matter what we think or say, someone else is also probably thinking/talking/writing along similar lines. There are billions of us out there so there is bound to be some overlap.

    My suggestion? “Screw ’em.” Period.

    You have a very nice website that puts out good content. Focus on that and you’ll never lack an appreciative audience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *