I wrote a blogpost the other day titled, ‘Please, steal my ideas’– where I attempted to make the point that ideas, inspiration and thoughts are meant to be shared and expanded on- and that building a conversation around them makes them so much more powerful.
I wanted to share my work and ideas with people, in order to start bigger and more important conversations… but I had to take it down, for one big reason.
The feedback that I got from a couple of pals who read it was, “are you saying you approve of stealing ideas or plagiarising then? Are you happy for people to nab your blog ideas?”
I took it down, not only because I hadn’t made my point very well- but also, because full-on theft of other people’s work is something I feel very strongly about.
I’ve been there before- and I want to make the distinction VERY clear.
There is not one part of me that thinks taking inspiration vs. exploitation– are even remotely interchangeable.
This isn’t just someone copying the tone of voice that you’re using, picking up on your slang or even doing the same blogpost/video/article idea that you’ve already created. It’s the physical theft of taking something original and claiming it as your own.
The big issue I have with it, is that it’s hurtful and it feels so disrespectful.
It’s hurtful to see people take your thoughts, your well-researched, well-thought out ideas… and then try and pawn them off as their own, with no credit to the original source.
I’m writing this from experience, because more than once throughout my life, I’ve unfortunately been on the receiving end of ‘creative theft.’
It’s a problem that is so prevalent, particularly if you work in the media industry- but it’s not just me that has been exposed to it.
My tattoo artist Antony Flemming and I, once had a very long conversation about the programme ‘Tattoo Fixers’- where he shared with me that lead artist ‘Sketch’ had more than once ripped his designs and done them on the show.
These are designs that he has spent hours on, is proud of sharing and is his personal style and work… only to have it ripped off and copied on a TV show, where Sketch would get far more recognition for his work.
(On the left, Antony. On the right- Sketch’s “original” design)
As Casey Neistat says, “Great ideas promote more great ideas.”
BUT taking what isn’t yours, exploiting other people’s work and creative theft- is something that I’m never going to take lightly.
If you’re one of the people who’s taking this stuff- ask yourself why?
If it’s a lack of confidence in your own creativity, then be bold! You can be unique. You can develop your own style- and there’s nothing more brilliant than someone who’s unashamedly themselves.