2. There Are No New Ideas
Next, ask yourself if you’re upset because someone has stolen your idea or because they’ve stolen your content. The distinction may be hard to determine, but it’s critical. Nobody can copyright an idea, even if it’s awesome. Besides, there aren’t really any new ideas, anyway. Some ideas are so evergreen that it’s likely you copied them to begin with. Get real with yourself…did the person who’s pissing you off take ‘your’ idea or your actual work product?
3. Do You Even Own Your Work?
The next question is vital for freelancers, who often perform work for hire. It can feel yucky to acknowledge, but often your contract stipulates that your photograph, your article, or your song lyrics belongs to the person who bought it. Double-check your rights before your act (and don’t sign contracts that limit your claim to the work you produce).
4. Ask for Attribution
Often, a good way to start a civil conversation about your copied work is to contact the culprit and ask them to attribute it to you. This will nip 90 percent of copying in the bud—either they’ll give you credit for your words or image, or take it down. It can also feel less scary for people who aren’t used to confrontation, but still feel entitled to take claim for their hard work. Use neutral language and try to take the emotion out of your request.