Stealing an Article Idea vs. Being Inspired By One

Picture 1I’ve written before about other writers and publications being great sources of inspiration for articles. The bloggers here on FWJ often inspire me to my next post and I appreciate them for it. There is a difference, however, between being inspired by a piece and copying it. I know, I know, you can’t believe there is someone out there stealing ideas like the Grinch sliding in on Christmas night, but it does happen. There are some dirty, no-good, low down keyboard tappers that steal ideas from their fellow professionals. There are also some folks who really don’t know the difference.

Inspiration…

  • involves perspiration – meaning even great ideas take work to go from light bulb moments to published content.
  • is grateful to the muse & will give a shout out when appropriate – a blog nod, a citation or source credit.
  • takes an idea and expands it, seeks new angles or adds new information.
  • drives writers to gather different sources and publications to pitch.
  • can help create a piece vastly different than the original article.

Imitation…

  • often involves cut & paste, making it too easy to be real work.
  • tries to hid the original source.
  • uses information without citation.
  • shows up when a writer is pinched for time, ideas or talent.
  • can also be plagiarism.
  • has the same tone, angle and/or article structure as the “inspiration article.”
  • should leave a dirty feeling in your soul.
  • is a cheap carbon copy without the heart, respect or reliability as an article written from real work.

Writing is a tough business,  I have weeks where I bang my head against my laptop trying to come up with new information or to find a new angle on an evergreen writing topic, however, there is never any excuse for taking the easy way out and stealing from another writer. If you ever wonder if your piece is infringing upon another’s work go with caution, cite your source, get permissions, etc.

Got a article question or problem? Email me! [email protected]

Comments

  1. Reading this article, reminds me of my recent experience – when a writer from my neighboring city stole contents from three of my stories! The story is online at http://resmi-jaimon.blogspot.com/2009/10/true-story-indian-writer-who-practices.html.

  2. Stealing an article even an idea and reproduce it with some-other name is very bad and should be stopped. Writing is a creative art. People should realize that writers really work hard to make an article, they have to read books, meet people and sometimes travel too. After that an article get life.

    IMO best thing is that If someone wanna publish article on his web, blog or some other places so he must mention the writer name or at least tell the source of materials.

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