Is Imitation Really the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

imitation

We’ve all heard the saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, but is it really? Lately, I’ve been having some issues with this concept and I’m at a crossroads as to what to do about it.

Without going into super-specific details, recently a few incidents have been brought to my attention. I’ve noticed someone who is a “reader” of my blog who frequently models their posts, ideas and even relationships with other bloggers after mine. Things they never did before and said they would never do, are all of a sudden being done after me. These things are not coincidences, which is what bothers me.

Yes, I realize that as bloggers, we all write about similar things. For example, one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie, recently wrote about leather fashion on a budget, while the week earlier I wrote about leather skirts and did an outfit post on my budget leather jacket. Quite frankly, we’re both girls who blog about fashion- this is a great part of blogging that I enjoy. Stephanie and I share a love of leather and she was so kind to give me a shout-out in her post. And yes, during Christmas we will all blog about our favorite holiday gifts, and during summer we will all post about our favorite bathing suits. That’s bound to happen and that’s normal. This situation I’m speaking of isn’t to be confused with those types of things.

In the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve also noticed one direct rip-off of my content. As in, someone took an entire paragraph of 6 or so sentences and re-posted it (they changed a few words around, but it was similar enough for me to catch it by using a website that catches copyright violators). I didn’t do anything about it and I brushed it off, but it upset me. I worked hard on that, and to see someone else using it just upset me. Then this incident I mentioned in the above paragraph happened, which led me to rant in this post.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been bothered when people copy me. It’s a weird thing, I know, but it’s just who I am. In junior high, I remember this one girl would always buy the same clothes as me. At first I thought it was a weird coincidence, but then it started to become a regular occurrence. I’d debut my new Aeropostale top (that was the cool place to shop back in the day) and a week or so later, she would magically have it and start wearing it. I knew this wasn’t a coincidence since these clothes were never seen on her before until I started wearing them. My friends all noticed, too and started making inside jokes about my “evil twin”.

Another lame example was back in middle school, when a girl who sat at my table during art started copying all my paintings. The art teacher realized this and told me not to worry because “she admires your work and this is her way of showing it”. “I don’t care if she admires my art, she should come up with her own!”, I thought.

I think the reason this bothers me so much is that I consider myself a creative and smart person. For a while now, I’ve had original ideas, an artistic flair, an opinionated mouth and the ability to like things before they are considered “trendy” or “cool”. I work hard on everything I do- whether it’s an article I wrote, a picture I drew, a Halloween costume idea, or a major life choice. To see someone take your personal form of expression and claim it as their own just upsets me to no end. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t claiming it as their own and are only basing their idea off of mine- it still hurts.

In my opinion, those who copy or imitate others have an underlying issue. Insecurity is the first thing that comes to mind. If you are secure and confident enough with yourself and your ideas, thoughts and personality, you wouldn’t need to copy others. Copying others is also a sign of jealousy. People who don’t have a certain look, talent or idea will be so jealous of others that they take other’s successes and try to make them their own. It’s pathetic, upsetting and unfortunate, but it’s something that is hard to control.

I know the best thing in these situations is to take the high road and take these situations as a compliment. People always tell me, “You should be flattered someone wants to be like you so much that they are copying you” or “They obviously aren’t as [insert positive adjective here] as you, so this is how they deal with it”. While those may sometimes be true, they don’t always help me feel much better.

I’m no beauty queen, rocket scientist or award-winning author. I don’t think that my shit doesn’t stink. I don’t think I’m amazing and that people worship me. That’s not what this is about. This is about working hard on things, only to see others trying to steal your identity. 

So my question to all of you is, what would you do in my situation? Has this happened to you before? Whether it’s something silly like someone copying your haircut a day after you get it or serious like someone copying your writing (which is against the law people!), I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

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  • Heather

    I know what you mean!  But keep moving forward and don’t look back at the wannabes (PS shameless plug for my blog post today -ha!) – you just do you.  And those that are only imitators won’t last long – we are here for the real deal… YOU :)
    XOwww.pearlsandpaws.blogspot.com

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      haha what great timing with our posts! Thanks for the sweet words Heather!

  • Stephanie @twenty-something

    First of all, I’m totally sorry that has been happening to you. Being an artist, they taught us in school that it was near impossible to create something nobody had ever seen before because there are just so many photographers out there who have probably already done it. The key is learning how to find your own STYLE as an artist and gathering inspiration from other artists rather than blatantly copying the work of others. Like you said, we’re all bloggers, many of us posting about fashion, so were bound to touch on the same trends. But the question is, how do you gather inspiration from the other posts you read to create something that’s your own? That’s obviously what this person is having a hard time understanding. I understand how frustrating it can be but just advise you to brush it off. If it continues escalating into blatant plagiarism, then you need to take some serious action. Sorry for the novel!! (PS thanks for the return shoutout and the inspiration ;) )

    Stephanie 

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      I don’t expect no one to use similar ideas- we ALL do it. So I definitely see what you are saying based on your teachers in art school. This person is just doing things to try to be competitive and win some “contest” that doesn’t really exist. Insecurity is a cruel beast, I just didn’t think it would transfer over to the blogging world. I will try to brush it off like you said! Thanks Steph!

  • Alison Dulaney

    Oh my, I am so sorry. That is so scary too, there are so many blogs out there and you really have no idea if you are being directly copied. I am sorry that that happened to you. I just read another post about a food blogger that came across the same thing. She has amazing food photography, this person took credit for her images.  Maybe that person should stop blogging as they don’t have anything to say??? Keep up the great, original work:)

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Oh wow- nothing that crazy has happened to me (in terms of images, etc.) but it’s always good to look out for it! thank you so much for the nice comment!

  • http://twitter.com/ByNewLife NewLife

    That’s tough!  On one hand, it’s a little flattering (if creepy) that someone admires you & what you’re doing.  On the other hand, it IS creepy and wrong.  If someone were nicking my blog posts, I would write a post totally outing them – name, shame and illustrate, I say! 
    Great blog you have & I promise not to steal it (at least, not on purpose, anyway :-)) 

    NLxx
    http://www.my-changing-room.com

    Little giveaway on my blog this week :-)

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      There is a fine line between flattering and creepy, and this girl is being a little too creepy for my liking haha! Thank you so much for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/makeupandmirtaz makeupandmirtazapine

    I can see how people directly copying your work would be annoying, and I agree that people shouldn’t do that. But if no-one ever emulated anyone else’s style or attitude then there’d be a whole swathes of the fashion and media industries that didn’t exist.
    And if people are used to copying celebrities it’s not such a great leap imitating other people who they see as having a high profile, such as yourself.
    I used to mentor students, and with the ones who really hadn’t got it together yet I used to suggest that they channel the person the most wanted to be like until it came naturally to them.

  • http://twitter.com/AshNFashn AshNFashn

    I totally understand. Keep moving forward and doing what you’re doing. I know it’s hard not to think of someone ripping off your work or copying things from you but know YOU are the one who will benefit in the long run, not some copycat. :)

    xo Ashley

    http://www.ashnfshn.com

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Aw thank you so much! I know I work hard and have the original ideas, and someone trying to copy me just means they know that as well, right?!

  • Amy Welch

    Couldn’t agree more. Yes, we all blog and will all write about the same things, but it doens’t need to be the EXACT same thing! I think you’re doing amaaaaaazing! Love reading every day/week!
    http://coffeebeansandbobbypins.blogspot.com/

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Exactly! Thank you so much Amy!

  • http://www.champagneandboxedwine.com/ Casey

    Rachel, I am so sorry this is happening to you. That is so disappointing. I would be devastated if I found out that was happening to me. We put our hearts and souls into each post and to have some rip it off must be so frustrating. I hope they read this and cut it out because that is just unacceptable. Keep your head up, pretty girl. I LOVE your blog! xx

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thank you Casey- you are so sweet! I should take it as a compliment that someone tries to compete with me and copy me, but it is hard to get over. I think this post helped get it off my chest!

  • http://twitter.com/lil_white_whale Gloria

    Oh what a bummer! Here’s hoping this post will dissuade future copycats :-)

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Right? :)

  • Dina Karivalis

    Your blog is great and well written!   Don’t be bothered by others who want to be like you.  You know you put such hard work into this and that’s what is important!  Good for you for continuing doing what makes you happy!
    xo Dina
    Sweetest Somethings

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thanks Dina- means a lot! I will continue and just try to ignore those type of people.

  • http://www.rachelslookbook.com/ Rachel

    I’m sorry this happened Rachel! I would definitely be irritated and personally offended that someone would steal my hard work and effort.  It doesn’t seem like a lot of work to people on the outside, but blogging and each post requires A TON OF WORK. So to go and copy something like that to make their lives easier because you have great content is just wrong! And yes, we all blog about similar things because well we are all blogging on the same topic, but that is different from taking your copy and using it word for word (even if a few are rearranged).  I majored in journalism, so hearing about your situation makes me outraged.  When I worked for the newspaper at my college we had some sites and what not completely take the story without giving the paper or me credit for it. It is seriously like WHAT THE HECK?! I poured my heart and soul into the story to make it perfect in my eyes and to suite our readers and then someone just picks it up and steals it.  Anyway… thank you for letting me rant on your blog about this as well ;) Honestly I would try to talk to this person or people and just let them know that it is a copyright issue and if they want to use your content or images, etc. they need to ask you first and CREDIT you for it. 

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      haha thanks Rachel! Oddly enough, I was more pissed off at the person who was stealing ideas and copying everything I do to be competitive MORE than I was upset about the person who copied the post and changed the words! Am I weird?

      • http://www.rachelslookbook.com/ Rachel

        No, you’re not weird :) Stealing ideas is just as upsetting! I’m a writer  in real life… so the word for word stealing would really bother me ;) But I would probably be equally pissed about stealing ideas!

  • Kacie Ellis

    I used to hate when people copy me. Once, I got mad at my cousin for buying the same chapstick as me. lol. I’ve gotten over my problems with copying now but it would suck to have someone completely copy what you wrote on your blog. I love your blog and everything you post :)

    http://www.daisyraeboutique.comwww.kacieskloset.blogspot.com

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      haha! sounds silly, but I get what you mean totally! Thanks Kacie and Happy Birthday!!!

  • http://twitter.com/calluswhatever calluswhatever

    Been there, done that.  My friends and I found ourselves in that situation. My boyfriend told me just yesterday, it’s normal… we have an open book of our lives by having a blog, there will always be someone out there that will try to bring you down.  In fact, they should be the reason to keep moving forward. If we are setting trends, let them follow our steps. Keep your head up and hard work, it’s always rewarded. 

    Hope to see you around our blog soon :)

    -Anita

    http://calluswhatever.wordpress.com/

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      That is SO true! My boyfriend always tells me the same- people obviously are reading and then copying you, so you should take it as a compliment that someone cares that much about your life. This definitely made me feel better- thank you for commenting and reading!

  • Jen

    Love this honest post.  I’ve had the same experiences (when you love fashion and have a sense of style I think this happens :) when it comes to styling – fashion is alot about copying and finding your own so I consider it a compliment.  BUT when someone outrightly copies your content – I saw you directly address it and email them.  As I get older, being direct is the best way and at least honest and open communication is there and you can only do that.  

    Although it is a compliment I understand it doesn’t feel that way!  But know that people love to keep up with you.

    Red Soles and Red Wine

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      I couldn’t agree more with the last sentence. That’s what this really is- it’s about someone who does everything she can to try to be like me- but not in a good way! Thanks for the advice

  • http://www.alwaysmaylee.com/ Always Maylee

    Ugh, that is the one thing about blogging that can be so annoying and frustrating. I totally understand why you are upset.  We work hard on our posts!  Personally, I might try to send this person a private email, voicing your concern. If that doesn’t work, I guess you have to just move on… but at least you tried.  Don’t get too down on it though, we come here to read YOUR blog, because we love YOU.  :)

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      I think if it’s direct content copying I would e-mail them. But the concept of copying ideas to try to “keep up with me” isn’t something I think I could e-mail them about. Although I would love to! haha Thank you so much- you are the best! <3

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/E4QCFGGQ3MXPEFXRTDATJS3WP4 James Ferrigno

    I think it’s easy to want to imitate someone who has been doing all the great things you’ve been doing with this blog. I’m willing to bet you’re blog has turned into something you may not have thought possible and that’s why you take so much pride in it, as you should. You’re a BEAUTIFUL and TALENTED individual with so many great things ahead of you. It’s easier said than done, but if you use tunnel vision to focus on you’re great success and the support you have around you from your fellow bloggers and those who care most about you, this kind of thing will start to become laughable.

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      <3 it already is laughable and you know more details than anyone! haha thanks :)

  • http://twitter.com/MariaY683 Maria

    You are completely in the right to feel this way.  I get so annoyed when credit isn’t given.  If I’ve ever been inspired by someone’s outfit, etc, I give credit where it’s due.  Sorry you are going through this :-(

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Agreed! Personally, mine isn’t about the outfit copying- but I have seen that a lot with other bloggers. Yikes!

  • dancingwithashley

    Ohhh…I have the same problem.  So I have no advice, except really, really do consider it flattery.

    I once wrote a very specific post…specific title.  The next day I saw the SAME post and the SAME title on someone else’s blog.  No coincidence because she saw mine the day before.  At first, I thought, I can’t believe she did that, but after a while I realized that my post must have been pretty dang good for her to copy me!  :-)

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      That’s crazy! Aren’t these people EMBARRASSED when the copy someone else? Like we aren’t going to find out or something? Glad you went through this, too- I’m not alone!

  • http://shannonhearts.blogspot.com/ Shannon Heart’s

    What a bummer.  I’m sorry this is happening to you.  It’s really unfair.  :(
    http://shannonhearts.blogspot.com/

  • Elena

    I agree, this is unfair and very annoying! Unfortunately coping will be always in blogging world:(
    Kisses
    Elena
    http://dcinstyle.com/blog/

  • http://ashleynicolecatherine.blogspot.com/ ashley nicole catherine

    it has definitely happened to me; a few times really early into my blogging “career” and by a blogger who had a significantly larger following. if you’re inspired by what someone else has posted and you want to post on it too, the right thing to do is to give credit and link to that blog. i got really upset about it at first, but then i realized that getting upset won’t change anything – all i can do is to continue to be genuine and hope that people continue to follow along. i actually feel bad for people who steal content because they demonstrate their true character and lack of creativity when they plagiarize. 

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Oh wow that’s pretty bad! There’s a clear difference between writing a post on the similar topic (which happens to everyone- we are human and like the same things!) and doing things to try to compete or “Be better” than someone else. Thanks for your advice Ashley!

  • fromproseccotoplaid

    Aw, Rachel, how annoying!! I’m so sorry this happened to you. Unfortunately, I think with blogging, it comes with the territory. I would probably email this girl and let her know how you feel and how it’s really bothering you and it hurt you, etc. Just explain yourself. If you’re honest, you cant get in trouble for that! Your blog is amazing and you should continue what you’re doing no matter what!! xo, Julie
    http://www.fromproseccotoplaid.com

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      True! I understand some similarities in the blogging world, but this one was repeatedly happening! Thanks for the kind words Julie!

  • Niki Caron

    Um funny you mention this actually, because I am going through this very thing at this very moment. Like direct rip offs. I keep trying to take the high road but it takes everything in me not to tweet about it (I just honestly didn’t want to give her the page views). I actually said something finally, I just made a nice but direct comment about it. We’ll see what happens now I guess. But if it’s on a continual basis, definitely say something. I’ve also been ripped off almost word for word like you mentioned above (by a different person). I was passive aggressive about it and did post on twitter, and I don’t like the way I handled it. Also because she keeps doing it (although more covertly, just taking an idea from a post and doing it herself the next week, things like that, but like you, also regularly to the point that it just can’t be a coincidence.  I’ll stop now. Apparently that’s all been building up for me.

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      haha! I guess we’re all in this together. I want to hear more details, so I’m e-mailing you!

  • http://twitter.com/bakingincouture Baking in Couture

    Props to you on how you caught that first off! And it sounds to me like your image and blog are a refelction of you and you take pride in your content. Not only that you work hard and take the time to post refreshing posts for your blog viewers. It seems like this bothers you and that’s ok. First off what this person is doing is not ethical! It seems like you have the proof that they are violating copy right. You blog is more than your facebook page. It’s your business. If someone opened up a candy shop identical to yours, with a name that you trademarked, you’d send a cease and desists letter. So there should be no hestitation here. It’s not about copy cats, it’s about stealing your work!

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Very true! If someone copies my words, I will definitely call them out. When they are just copying ideas or basically everything other thing but the actual words, I’m not sure what to do. Thanks for your advice and kind words!

  • Evani Gatsby

    Lol I know what you mean girlfriend. Not with blog content because pshhh who’s going to copy off little ole me! But in life when people do things that clearly seem in line with what I’ve done or when I feel like they’re “taken” an idea of mine, I get really defensive instead of flattered. I’m not sure why but I’d be mad as hell about the person who’s ripping off your blog! These are our souls on the web people, not to be taken lightly!! 

    xo,
    Evani

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      haha oh stop- people would definitely copy your creative ideas! I get defensive instead of flattered as well (which was obvious in this post), so I’m glad I;m not alone!

  • aloynd

    This is a sticky situation…and really stinks!! Honestly, I’d just consider it flattery and ignore it…unless she starts copying your actual words. Then it’s time for a conversation.
    xo Annie
    newenglandromance.blogspot.com

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thanks Annie- I am trying!

  • Kallee Mae

    haha this makes me laugh because I know exactly what you are talking about! It is so frustrating and people ALWAYS just tell me to look at it as a compliment… but you can only take it as a compliment for so long! When you decide what you are going to do let me know cause I need the advise!!
    Kal
    http://www.kalleemae.blogspot.com

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      God I’m so glad someone else feels the same way! I think I';m just going to try to ignore it- although its hard when my fellow bloggers give her nice comments and I just want to say “THAT WAS MY IDEA!” haha

  • TJ

    Oh gosh, I definitely know how frustrating this all can be. Sometimes we put a lot of time and effort into our posts – we put our heart and soul into what we are typing. And to see them just get stripped so easily from someone else without a single recognition can be disheartening. The truth is, it stinks. But as long as you always rise above it you will be the better person!
    xo TJ

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thanks TJ- I am trying!

  • ashliep

    This is definitely something that’s close to me too!  Unfortunately, I didn’t copyright my blog name and since then MANY people have stolen it for their own blogs.  It upsets me because not only did someone who’s not a passionate blogger steal my domain, but they took something I thought was witty and personal and totally ripped me off.  It boils my blood just writing about it!

    But from what I’ve learned I need to just focus on myself and be positive.  Bring positive energy and in the end, what you bring out will come back to you.  Just take it as a form of flattery and realize that this person is not inventive or artistic enough to write their blog on their own.  It’s sad, frustrating, and obnoxious, but it’s something that will always be around!

    xo

    Ashley

    Southern (California) Belle

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Ugh that is TERRIBLE about the blog name! It’s the most important part of your blog basically- especially if you want to make it a .com!

      Your wise words have helped Ashley! I am trying to take the high road now that I have vented about it.

  • RachECakes

    I actually have a friend that does this to me all the time. I completely understand your frustration and the inability to articulate perfectly how it makes you feel. The cliche response of flattery is almost of frustrating. If it were me, I would shoot an email to the blogger nicely reminding them that they should link back to your site when they use your content. It may be that they really just don’t know its wrong! If you have legal rights, you may have to eventually exercise those or report their site :/
    Good luck!

    xo Rachrachiecakes-rachael.blogspot.com

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thanks! Glad to know I’m not the only one who hates it haha

  • http://urbanumbrella.blogspot.com/ Bree

    I have definitely seen certain bloggers who’ve ripped off other blogs posts. It’s always really put me off reading their content or even visiting their blog because it just shows the lack of creativity, which is something that keeps me reading a blog. I work really hard on my blog, it’s a passion for me so I hate to think someone would rip off content, let alone actually copy an entire paragraph – good grief! 

    xoxo Bree
    The Urban Umbrella
     http://www.theurbanumbrella.com

  • http://lyssbarn.com/ Allyssa

    I’ve seen this happen before and it’s sad. It’s one thing to be inspired by someones post and write about the same topic, but it’s another thing to completely rip them off. Obviously there’s going to be some overlap and getting inspiration from other bloggers is great, but if people do, they should at least give credit to the original blogger for inspiration! 

    I also think sometimes people subconsciously copy others. I know when I design blogs, sometimes I come up with an idea and then I realize another blogger has a similar design. At the time I don’t know I’m copying, it just happens (and when I catch it, I always change things up). I know that’s not the case for other bloggers all the time. Sometimes it’s definitely blatant. 

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Yeah there is a fine line between doing it on purpose and not- and we all can tell which is which. Thanks for reading!

  • http://daydreamer-alifestyleblog.blogspot.com/ Jackie Saffert

    There is definitely a fine line between using someone as inspiration and just plain using someone.  It’s unfortunate that you had to deal with the latter.  As a blogger, I have definitely done posts similar to those I’ve read on other blogs, but the key word is similar.  I sometimes take inspiration from other bloggers but still speak with my own voice and opinions.  Hopefully this person stops taking your content!  

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thanks Jackie! You’re so right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505448663 Maya McDonald

    Oh girl, it’s such a hard fine line. I know imitation is the closest form of flattery, but copy and pasting is a whole different story. I don’t think there would be anything wrong with sending her an email or a little not letting her know how you feel – sometimes I subconsciously buy something and later realize I loved it because it was styled on something I had seen (totally have that oops moment!). But that’s why blogs are so great too – you find inspiration and products from people you grow to revere…but it sounds like this is taking it a step too far. 

    Hope things get better – maybe she’ll get the hint ;)

    xx, 
    Maya
    http://www.charminglystyled.com

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505448663 Maya McDonald

      Also, I wrote an article for a fashion magazine once (actually 2) that were ripped off by the editor and changed the name of the authros friend. I know that there is NOTHING more infurating than seeing your hard work lost, or ruined. But, it all comes back around – Karma usually settles everything. xx

      • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

        Thanks Maya- you are so right!

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thanks- here’s to hoping!

  • http://twitter.com/FierceFashionab Michelle

    Aww, I’m sorry lady! I know how you feel. I hate being copied and although it is looked at as “flattery” I think there is such a fine line and it can be so frustrating when someone crosses it. If I were you I’d email the person and let them know how you feel. Maybe they’ll apologize and cut it out! :) Your story about the “evil twin” made me giggle a little because I had a similar situation back in Jr. High that revolved around someone copying my jeans from LimitedToo! :) Good luck with the copying situation!

    xo MichelleFierce & Fashionable

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Oh Limited Too hahaha I definitely loved that store, too!

      • http://twitter.com/FierceFashionab Michelle

        Limited Too & of course “platform sneakers” hahah Can you tell I grew up during the Spice Girls age? :)

  • http://www.ladyofashion.blogspot.com/ Ladyofashion

    As off-putting and wrong as it is (plagiarism), unfortunately I have had it happen to me, and I know several of my blogging friends who have gone through it as well.  It’s never okay to copy directly, in my opinion. I agree with Michelle’s comment that there is a fine line. It’s flattery only when people link back to me after they select and ask me permission to use something from a post I’ve done, and that’s when it’s okay  because they “asked” to use a quote, etc., and linked back. Certainly, people are often inspired and influenced by others all of the time on every level, (think, mint colour and oxblood posts of the seasons), but making it your own is essential, and being original in your text is … the only way to go!  Perhaps you should contact the person, especially if they used your exact copy. /Madison

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Exactly! 

  • Danielletodd

    I do think imitation can be flattering sometimes, but there is a fine line between being inspired by, and blatanty ripping off and idea.

    Plagiarism and intellectual property is serious business. It’s stealing.

  • http://twitter.com/CourtyStarr Courtney Starr

    I can’t imagine how annoying that must be for you. I’d love to know what web site you used to track it – I need to start to look into mine too! As a law student, maybe I’m a little overaggressive – but you can send a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement. Or just ignore it. You’re brilliant, your imitator is not.

    girlavantgarde.com

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thanks Courtney! 

  • Lauren

    Yuck. I’m sorry you’re going through this! I know exactly how it feels. I’ve definitely had an IRL friend or two who started to buy the same clothes as me and even start talking like me, which was just all sorts of weird. My mom of course would tell me I should be flattered, but more than anything it was frustrating. It’s almost like I felt less like me. 
    I always tended to just ignore the situation and silently fume, but now that I’m a bit older I would feel more confident saying something. Perhaps this person really doesn’t realize it? I’d start by mentioning it in a joking manner like, “Oh geez, I just wrote about that. No really, the exact same thing yesterday. Weird! (Link included here). ” Once or twice and I’d hope the point would be made. Good luck, Rachel! I think you’re awesome. :)

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who this happens too- especially in real life! Thank you for your sweet comment Lauren! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/MetalMinky Melanie Snyder

    Blogging can be a lot of work, I can definitely understand why you would be upset. You’re not the only person I’ve seen as of late who talked on this subject; I know of at least one other blogger who had her entire blog post copied :( It’s definitely a fine line, but copying someone’s content word for word and not giving credit is just flat out plagiarism,  and unfortunately that is something that is happening a lot now with the invent of the Internet.

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thanks for your support and comment, Melanie!

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  • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

    Thanks for reading Megan!

  • http://www.mariacelina.net/ Maria Celina

    Been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. 
    I never accepted any forward nor backward logic between blatant copying, either. I am also aware that all our ideas that all of us have are an amalgamation of  external factors and our own mixes, but “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” just doesn’t make sense.  It belittles the raw effort put into a creative work, and make the culprit look like the victim. It’s not right, and should never be. Not to mention, flattery, sincere or not, is not exactly a good thing in itself. (You can never go wrong with a whole-hearted compliment, because whole-hearted compliments don’t have hidden intentions to steal.)I’ve been blogging ever since 2001, and I’ve had my share of “flatterers”. I’ve been shocked to see my own designs appear on someone else’s website without my permission, and on one occasion, saw months and months of my blog posts appear on a Blogdrive account… but with names and locations changed! The scary part about the latter was that it was from someone I knew personally! I’ve also had some offline incidents, and “creepy” doesn’t even begin to describe the situation.My sympathies go out to you, and what you’re going through. I do hope that your copier gets the hint, and confronts their insecurities  more constructively. For the while, continue to take pride in your creative work, because you should.

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      I’m glad I’m not alone, Maria! I can’t agree more that “flattery” isn’t necessarily a good thing, and I;m not sure HOW people can say that it is. I’m sorry that you have had so many incidents over the years of direct copying-for me, it’s more the copying of ideas and whatnot. Thank you for the nice comment!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R6CLZGC7CZ5OAUINXGGMD3JMDI Jes

    I so understand what you are saying, however, recently a new friend, who is now not in my life any longer is constantly accusing me of imitating her.  It couldn’t be further from the truth.  I could give a shit less what this woman is doing and if she does not want to be my friend, then I am fine with that. I have left her alone and stayed out of her life. I NEVER discuss her, until this post with anyone, however, it has come back to me that she has been telling multiple people that I know about why she doesn’t like me, why I am impossible, and how I am trying to be her.  The truth is, that we share very similar views, opinions, practices, likes and dislikes. We both have children and you know that sometimes children will have similar interests as well.  I am so very tired of avoiding her, not having anything to do with her and yet I am bashed and every creative idea I have, every little thing I do is criticized, judged and compared to her.  How can I be copying when I have not spoken to you or about you in about 3 years? It is exhausting that ideas, and hobbies and past times and things that I’ve been interested in and loved to do all my life are somehow because of her? Why should I have to defend myself that I do not mimic her? In the case of blogs and etsy and people’s small business pages, I think that we have to understand that some people may really be inspired by the other and are in fact copying or trying to expand on their ideas, but others just may realized that there is a market for a service they provide or something they are good at and they just want their fair opportunity to be chosen to provide their product or services to others. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R6CLZGC7CZ5OAUINXGGMD3JMDI Jes

    I also agree, that blatantly stealing from someone else, without giving credit or a nod for the idea is not right.  But, what I am getting at with my above statement is that I have been on both sides of the issue.  I have had plenty of friends who ran out to make they bought or had the same product that I just bought or question “o, where did you get that? I didn’t see that. Why didn’t you tell me that you found those?” and I’ve also had experiences where great minds think alike and do very similar things and are on the same wavelength, however, the other person goes out of their way to accuse the other of “copying.”  I agree that there are times, when it is clearly a case of stealing and copying when it comes to seeing your own words credited to someone else, but there are also times when sometimes great minds really do think alike. 

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  • cc

    Hey Rachel, Thank you for writing on this topic. I am a yoga teacher in San Diego, and I I recently got hired through a large chain studio in the SD area. I’m glad you feel this because I thought I was the only one- it really bothers me when the studio manager (no names) takes my classes, and then I take her class and she uses every single word I use in regards to how I describe and instruct my students to get into a posture. When I teach my classes, it’s almost like a story unfolding when I tie a theme in , and when this particular teacher does the same thing with her theme, i’m immediately just turned off. Some can argue that it’s yoga, so no one owns anything, I get that, but why must a certain person/teacher try to sound like me and use the same language as me to teach?. I would say, I’m ok if another fellow yoga teacher likes certain things I said in class and uses it in her own classes, but when the ENTIRE class starts to sound like yours, it really does get annoying. Like you, I work hard, and I am smart and creative with my language and metaphors, and that’s the thing that sets me apart, but how do I have any room left to stand out when all this instructor does is steal my ideas, my phrases, and I feel as though there’s no room left for me to shine… I just wanted to share. I just got home this morning and decided to google on this matter, and your blog came up. *sigh* I feel as if now … when she comes to my class, i’m going to have to tone it down to save my identity, so she doesn’t try to sound like me. Sounds bad that i’m saying this, but it does such when you work so hard and not shine because someone is trying to be like you, sound like you, ….. :(

    • http://www.lifeunsweetened.com/ Rachel

      Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed

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  • I have a fan

    I stumbled upon this blog while googling for this precise subject. I have a copy-cat friend. People around me also told me the cliche – it is the ultimate form of flattery, your friend loves you, so you should be grateful. Well, it is very difficult to feel that way. I feel as though when I do something special for myself, the special-ness is ripped away from me when copying occurs within days. What bothers me the most is when she buys the same things that my boyfriend gets me (because gifts are special!), or if I talk about buying something she beats me to it, which makes me not want to buy the item anymore even if I want to, and had wanted to. And it is not just items anymore, it is the events I attend, it is the places I travel to. It is even frustrating to complain about this, because it sounds quite juvenile (she bought what I bought!.. sounds like a kid!) – I have somewhat withdrawn myself from her, but cannot completely avoid her until graduation. When I see this girl, I feel that I am seeing a mini-me and I do not want one. I am just praying to finish up school so I can move away from her. Ive become to fear that she may even want to move close to me and continue to copy me in every possible way (she even copied some of my home decor). I could not really describe my feelings about it, but you put it just right, I feel that my identity is being stolen. My plan of action is once the situation allows, I will keep my distance from her. I dont need friendship that makes me feel horrible. If a stranger copied my writing, I would seek an organization where I can report copyright violation- it is a serious offense in my field. Thank you for your blog.

  • Nath

    Lol I had this problem then I started boxing i asked my mate if he wanted to come well copy cat that he is of course he wants to come for a week I got to beat him up in the ring we argue now about music every thing we have nothing in common any more the reall funny thing is he is probably my best friend now

  • Kay J

    I’m a caker and I just came across someone doing the same thing…..I wasn’t the least bit flattered, I was annoyed. Yes we all get inspiration from somewhere but it was way toooo similar to go unnoticed. It’s not even one cake it’s dozens!

  • roxy1971

    I’m a grown woman and for most of my adult life, my high school bestie (that I still talk to) will copy everything I do. It’s making me nuts. We are complete opposites. I’m single, no kids, University educated and work full time. She hasn’t ever worked for more than a year, has been married twice, has 5 kids and didn’t finish high school. Now, if I book a vacation to some hot spot, then she wants to book a trip, too. When I bought a new aquarium, she went out that day and bought one, too and she doesn’t even have any interest in fish or know the first thing about them. These are just a couple of examples. The worst was when I met my boyfriend online. He lives in Colorado but is from Maryland. Her and I live in Canada, different provinces. He and I would fly back and forth to see each other. I am Caucasian and he is African-American. So, she goes online and searches for black men in Maryland. Finds some guy 10 yrs younger than her and flies from the west coast to see him. Then because we were talking about getting married and what it takes to get a fiancee Visa, suddenly she’s sending her guy $500 USD to file the paperwork for a fiancee Visa for her! Her guy was a broke loser who lives at home, no car and doesn’t pay child support. My guy had his own place, Gov. Job, a car and motorcycle. Her guy got the money she sent and spent it. Serves her right. What is wrong with this chick?? She really needs to live her own life. We barely speak for this reason.

  • randy3

    I’m a grown woman, but have had this problem all my life with different people….it is NOT the highest form of flattery. I even had a friend copy my hair style, and started buying the same type of clothing. I’ve always been an independent person, confident, and do not need to be surrounded by women friends and people….I need my alone down time, rather love it…but for some reason, I’ve always had this problem with women trying to copy me, it is a form of stealing someone else’s identity and very annoying….these people are not original enough to come up with their own ideas….a life time friend even took my dog’s name for her dog, can you imagine, she went out and bought the very same type of dog? I ended the friendship, as it was always one sided anyway. But I find people who copy are insecure and need to look to others for approval for decissions they make.

    • Lisa Jones

      Exactly!!!! OMGosh…reading your post brought back so many memories. I had a friend copy my haircut(s), clothing style…she even when as far as to putting herself in horrible debt just to purchase the type of car I had said I always wanted. And your story about your dog… my sister did the same thing!!!! I was so hurt b/c you can’t comprehend that as flattery acts like that, to me anyway, come from a much darker sinister place. Jealously, maybe? I don’t know but I couldn’t agree with you more… it’s a level of insecurity that is low.

  • jenna

    I have the same problem, we’ve been friends since we were kids, we’re now approaching 40. She’s always done it but now it’s getting ridiculous. It’s all there, my haircolour, music etc it’s never really bothered me until recently. I started getting more tattoos and suddenly there she’s posting new tattoos all over facebook, everytime I have one a day later she has one too, it’s quite bizarre being that these are permanent!! I write poetry as a form of release, within a day of me posting a link to a page of my poetry, she had joined the site and started posting poems of her own. It drives my husband crazy as it’s been going on for so long, even down to her obsession with the amount of “likes” I get and putting up similar posts to gain the same amount. It’s a very strange way for a grown woman to behave and is wearing me out because I don’t get it!! I’m not sure that I want to be me, so I definitely don’t get why anybody else would!!!!

  • Lisa Jones

    I’ve had the same issues with an old “friend” and still have a few family members that still do it. One going as far as to reuse my childhood memories as her own and forgetting they were mine while recounting them to her friends…in front of me. I currently have a relative that covets my FB page and mimics most of my interests/styles/sayings, etc. I used to get really upset about it but now it’s just really really sad….especially when out of all the people in the world they’d choose my life to try to mimic. That in itself it sad… lol

  • http://www.verisch.net/ verahsera

    hi Rachel. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have this problem too with my sister. She doesn’t exactly copy me often or so it is obvious. As a Person, she comes across as someone with very much of her own style and personality (which is not true when you get to know her more, i feel), Like she steals things from me like … especially the things I love the most, Or things that had meant very much to me at one point. Like my favorite Record from teenage days that I then bought as Vinyl, she now lists as her favorite in her FB Profile… or, another example, when I once told at a table talk to family, that I found a certain ARt History book, that is absolutely smart and well written and sort of a Bible of Art History, ( I studied art in college and my teacher listed that book, that is how I got it) She went straight ahead and bought that book for herself too (she never told me, I saw it in her shelf). So, she would not like ask me to borrow it from me, or to ask me on Art history, but instead, she wants to BE ME, she doesn’t LET ME BE ME and is good to me, no, I would have given it to her gladly NO, she wants to possess it, because it is a smart book and because I love it and she is jealous of me) … and such examples on and on. Also with smart or interesting things I say, the next time many people are together, she will say the exact same thing that I said maybe a week earlier, and say it just like it was something she came out with… and I sit there in misery, feeling just so … realy stupid, cannot say. ……Therefore, whenever it happened, I found myself angry at her, (like someone stole my things, like she takes something from me without asking, like being robbed…) but at the same time, I always felt ashamed for my feelings of anger towards her and most of the times, it was me ending up in finding explanations for her, and telling myself to be generous and to question myself whether I AM THE ONE that is jealous of HER. (I am an introvert, she is the extrovert… she has very many friends (but I think many of them are superficial and not deep friendship – but still, I make probably the impression of being the weird one while she seems to be so smart, but when you look closely, it might not even be that way) Really, it has an issue for me since childhood days… And it was and is confusing and a painful thing for me. So what I am pointing out here is:

    – yes, I too find copying somebody/imitating them IS a form of abuse (it hurts the one being copied by feeling robbed)

    – for me, it was for ages something that I wondered if I AM THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM (–> somehow, this all was and is confusing, leaving me with the negativity my sister might have issues with… like a mirror)

    – my policy with it was to stay cool, to take it, to let her do it and not say anything for many years.

    – I thought for many years that I am the mean one of us to for being angry at her (because she steels and takes from me)

    Turning Point:
    at one point in my life, 4 years ago, I got sick and my relationship to my man ended and my hair went gray basically over night, and I gained a lot of weight (like my life crushed and I had a huge depression, and I might be a childless woman…. so huge dreams got killed……). When that happened, my sister NEVER ever asked me how I were. Instead I felt that she is happy that I am miserable and whenever we met at my parents, she would tell everybody how well her life went and what all she accomplished and how she is celebrating success and how happy she is, like she never was before, and that she finally found cure of herself… ….

    She only said once something to me and my loss, and that basically like: “dedigitate”… and that I should stop self-indulgence and work harder.

    And of course if I would ask her straight “please tell me truly what your problems with me are and be open with me…., she would never admit that she is deliberately mean and hurtful to me. I am pretty sure she would not be honest. So no point in asking her directly and talk it out…

    Really, I asked myself many times wheter that is a mean thing to think of her that she is happy that I fell and that I lost health and some prospects in life, but since I really felt that from her, I think now that my feelings might have been right – or, if they are not and I do her wrong, what can I do if I feel it that way other than wait til she proves me differently.

    Anyway, it was the point in my life where I sorted strictly out the people in my life that I feel are a drag for me or people that I feel are not really good for me, and also bad habits (I quit smoking then, which was also the main cause for my sickness) because really with so little energy I had left, I had to make my world, my dreams, my circle small and kick out many ideas of what my life will be like.

    –> this is when I changed policy towards my sister. I basically kicked her out of my life too.

    Like I said that of the most valuable things one can give another person is

    – being deep, honest and serious with them and giving them feedback and show them your soul and heart.

    So I will stop being deep, honest and serious with her.

    I will be superficial and basically I count the words I talk to her each year. It will basically be “happy BDay” “happy Christmas” ” happy Easter” and a few “hellos” and goodbyes” when we run into eachother.

    I will not tell her what makes me happy, what I find good or what I love.
    Nor will I ever tell her what makes me sad, and how I truly feel inside.

    I will not be her mirror anymore. I will close the window to my soul for her.

    I will not help her.
    I will not support her.
    I will not ask her ever again how she is, like other than in the superficial way.
    I will not go to any invitation from her, except if it is for other people, like my mom that wants us to be there toghether or so

    I will not feel joy with her, when she has success or has good things in life happen to her – I will just be, well I won’t ever care again if she is happy or not.

    She will not be able to make me feel guilty ever again (she had a huge thing between us that made this always and very easily possible)
    I tolerate her, but I don’t give her my best (my love, my time, my thoughts, my honesty, my help, my friendship) ever again.

    She might be the one that is sick (mentally) (actually, really, she is seeing councellers for that (Borderline and Bipolar) not me.
    Because she is sick, she IS THE AGGRESSOR and when i feel aggressive towards her, it is healthy, because SHE is hurtful to me, not I am hurtful to her.

    Because she might be sick, I won’t be angry with her for being hurtful to me, but I wont let her hurt me neither.

    I go away when she is around.
    I will eventually chose another woman as my sister and feel sisterly. (Because this all destoys my sisterhood) But I will be polite to my real sister because our lives are tied together, because we are sisters from blood. And also because she might be really sick, since she is abusive. Hope for her that she will heal.

    And in the end, I will not lose much energy in all of this again, and concentrate on my own life, because, really, I need myself badly.

    All of this does make me sad, but at the same time, I know now more than ever that my love, my goodwill, my heart, my soul, my knowledge, well any of me that is enriching and good and nice of my character (I do have bad sides too, sure!!) is not just for free and sure not for abuse.
    I ll give it when it is treated with respect, else I will not give it.
    If she is smart she will see that I changed, and If she is really smart, she will figure that it is something that has to do with her – and that I do have my good reasons for that I have changed. And that will be the most valuable thing for her, SELFREFLEXION.

  • LoveVintage

    Thanks so much for your post! I can relate to u in many ways. I appreciate that u can put ur experiences with copy cats out there so ppl like myself know we are not alone:)
    I have certain ppl in my life that I can’t completely get away from. These ppl are a huge burden on my otherwise amazing life. I too think it’s somewat identity theft! Copy cats are energy vampires, and inconsiderate . I have a few women that copy my overall style. The clothes I wear, the way I decorate our home, the way I dress our children, our vehicles, party’s we host, it’s endless. Somedays it really drains me and really takes over. This is when a wise family member suggested I work on my spiritual and emotional wellbeing. It’s so very important that we original creators feel completely content within ourselves to the point where the copy cats can no longer effect us. I am currently on my own journey of finding my place of complete contentment within
    And absolute gratitude that I have been blessed with a creative mind. Meditation, regular excercise( yoga) , balance diet, spiritual and emotional wellbeing are all apart of my getting closer to letting go of wat I allow the copy cats to effect in my life . I wish anyone in the same or similar predicament the very best in their journey of finding peace with this issue. After all we are certainly the lucky ones, being original is truely a great gift, we just need to learn how to deal with the not so originals and allow ourselves to be ok with them. It’s for our own benefit after all xx

  • Kay

    Hello ive been crying about this all week. I am very unique person and don’t copy nobody ideas. I always try to think outside the box, and I thought something was sincerely wrong with me for this. Someone copied my wedding and all my ideas for the wedding the coordinator did for the same people wedding in a different color. I am extremely hurt. I was crying all day and praying to God to help me understand whats wrong. I here it all the time to be flattered with copy cats but if people are using your ideas and getting paid off of it then that’s not good at all. thank you for this forum!!!!!

  • Aidan

    Yes, I too experience this. I had friends throughout my school years copying my clothing, hair styles etc. Now its my husband’s sister in laws. They aren’t the sharpest tools in the tool box and I have done very well academically and professionally. Now they imitate everything about my style, the way I walk, sit, etc. It infuriates me and at the same time, they hate me more than words can express, so I do struggle to understand why they would imitate me. I’m not sure if its jealousy or just a lack of creativity. I think it could be jealousy as they are trying to mimic your style, have what you have etc.

  • Hung

    imitating, copying a recipient or another person is all in the name of plagiarism.

    it is understandable to be upset because we are the author of the work meaning we have put hard work and have grown a pride in the work. although plagiarism is an unethical act, we will never know why really they plagiarise (or copy you).

    usually, you represent everything they want to be which means that they have a jealousy and an insecurity. they don’t know themselves and feel lost and usually feel inferior.

    the best way to deal with it, is to make sure that you’re ok, this is done by being proud of who you are and don’t be too cocky. it is obvious that people like you for the things that you do. bear in mind that there are people who are mentally retarded that they have deluded themselves to become you. let them. at the end of the day, they don’t live 24/7 with you.

    cut those who are jealous of you off your life.