Is Imitation Really the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

A few days ago I saw on Twitter that our lovely Yuppee site had a copycat! I was shocked and offended on that someone would go about creating competition in such an underhanded and lazy way and a little worried about what this would mean for Yuppee and its writers. Of course- Yuppee being the great and increasingly successful site that it is- we will always have dedicated writers and readers and that’s what matters.

Then, just one day after, I received some information that an article I wrote for another publication had been taken by another writer, the order changed, a thesaurus thrown at it and then sent to another magazine without so much as a thank you email to myself let alone a byline!

I contacted my editor immediately to find out exactly what was going on and spent the next two days in turmoil whilst they investigated.  Was there a genuine and reasonable explanation for this or should I be kicking and screaming?

This may seem like an overreaction but when you put all of your time and effort in to an article, from travelling to and then conducting the interview, transcribing (we all know that can be hell), writing, editing, rewriting and taking photos all under the pressure of a deadline the end result of seeing your name in print or on screen is the best feeling ever. So to have that taken away from you is actually the worst.

It turns out that the ‘thief’ had had innocent intentions and didn’t believe using my article as a template would present a great problem. In the end I received an explanation and a sincere apology which was good enough for me.

My situation pretty much worked out for everyone involved in the end but had me thinking about other situations and how sometimes there isn’t a happy ending. There are lots of rules and regulations in the media- both official and unwritten- and I’d say it’s definitely worth studying them. Sometimes, ‘what’ you know- like your rights- is just as important as ‘who’ you know, like for when you want to share and keep the readership of your website above that of the copycat competition.

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