Theft of Words and Ideas Matters
As a writer I’m hyper-aware that ideas and words which I put out into the public realm will be picked up, read and shared. It’s what writers hope will happen and as a writer who uses words to campaign for a better world for animals, I rely on my creative output to touch the minds of readers and effect change in behaviours.
I write thousands of words every week, much appears on social media, some in my books, blogs and articles. Wherever my words appear, they are my words, always will be and as such are protected by copyright laws. But, they are also vulnerable to theft. As are my ideas. And as a creative, I’m full of ideas some of which I release into the world where I must let them take their chances.
Apart from my books, my pride and joy of an idea that has brought about a whole lot of goodness for the dogs is Schnauzerfest. From my original idea, a lot has developed, much under the Schnauzerfest umbrella while other work has taken inspiration from Schnauzerfest and along the way the dogs benefit. I know this, others know it, some acknowledge it, some don’t.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter to me when I see a few of my words being used by others. I take the long and broad view that if a common aim is to help the dogs, I won’t mention that to use someone’s words without acknowledgment is plagiarism, a theft in law and deed. But then how far, and for how long can my eyes be averted while this theft goes on?
I began writing a long time ago and right at the beginning, way back in school I learned what plagiarism is. I knew it was wrong to present the words or ideas of someone else and fail to acknowledge the source. Not only did I learn it was wrong, that it breaks laws, but I knew instinctively it’s rude to do so. To use someone else’s effort and pretend that’s not the case is an obvious act of rudeness.
But putting aside the poor manners, plagiarism matters to a writer because words are our life-blood. We think about every word we put down. I carefully craft a sentence before I publish it, whether that’s for a post on Facebook, a chapter in a book or here on this blog post. Nothing happens in my written world without a great deal of thought. When it comes to writing about dogs, especially those I’m seeking to help, whether that’s through Schnauzerfest or anywhere else you may see my words, believe me when I say that you can be assured my words have not fallen on the screen in front of you without my heart and soul being there too.
So, to see my work being stolen, to know that someone is so lazy, or odd, or both, that they’ll copy and paste my words, my ideas and my creativity rather than say where they have lifted my work from, as if it doesn’t matter what should I do? Plagiarism is a fraud. It is theft. It’s so serious that students are thrown off univiersity courses when they are found to be guilty.
Stealing someone’s ideas and words matters, believe me it matters. And I am done with ignoring it.
You can read more about plagiarism on these sources: