What To Do When Your Work Has Been Copied By a Competitor
Picture this; you click onto the website of someone in your niche. You click over to their sales page to check out what they offer, and to your surprise, you see YOUR offers. You’re looking at your own sales page; the same copy and the same offers.
Or you click onto someone’s social media account and you see that they have copied your brand design. You see your colors, your tone, and your images.
What do you do when your work has been copied?
You Can Let it Go
If it’s that they more copied your ‘vibe’ than your actual work has been copied, then you may choose to let it go. Sit down, write out an angry note, and then release the rage without reaching out to them. Block them on your social media if that feels right. Go back to kicking ass and taking names as an original creator.
You Can Speak to Them
If the copying really bothers you, or is close enough that it might impact your business in a negative way, you should reach out to them.
Did they copy your brand colors and logo, and you’re worried that this will cause you to have fewer customers? Or that they copied language that you use on your site, which you paid a copy editor to create specifically for you.
You are absolutely right to reach out and to advocate for yourself. But take a lot of care in how you reach out. It’s easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar, as the saying goes. Putting someone on the defensive by accusing them won’t do anything to solve your problem of being copied, and it will cause the person you’re speaking to to feel mad at you.
Write a polite but firm email that asks if there is a misunderstanding. Say that you want to resolve this issue in a way that benefits both of your businesses. Hopefully they’ll apologize and you can both move forward.
You Can Hire Legal Help
If the first two options here are not going to work for you, you can reach out to a lawyer. Go ahead and get the muscle of the law behind you. This option is best reserved for when the copying is really explicit, and it’s impacting your business. That means they have lifted the exact wording and images you created, or they are using images of YOU.
If the copying is so egregious that you feel unsafe, or that it is clearly taking away from your financial bottom line, reach out to a lawyer. Present them with your evidence and proof of ownership, and let them take it from there. It might get resolved with a cease and desist letter, or it might go longer. Be prepared for the long legal haul before you reach out to a lawyer, because it might indeed be a long haul.
If your work has been copied and it upsets you, you should do something about it. Your work is yours, and you can protect it how you want.