a podcast by Pawlean

Being imitated, copied and plagiarised — is it flattery? Inspiration vs copying.

November 26, 2020 Pauline Narvas Season 1 Episode 8
a podcast by Pawlean
Being imitated, copied and plagiarised — is it flattery? Inspiration vs copying.
Show Notes Transcript

What is the difference between being inspired and flat out copying someone? I share some funny stories of being copied, how it made me feel and how I’ve been trying to cope with the confusing feelings. I also talk about what it means to be inspired.

I would love to hear what you all think about this topic!

Related post: https://pawlean.com/2018/05/05/ctrl-c-ctrl-v

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Pauline Narvas  0:00  
Hello, everyone, welcome to a podcast by Pauline. I'm your host, Pauline Narvas. 

Thank you so much for tuning in today, I hope that we are having a great start to your day, or a great day, or whatever time it is right now, where they're listening to this. This is my eighth podcast episode, which is actually amazing to me. I can't believe that I've been chatting away for the last eight episodes, and that loads of you are still tuning in. I think that's awesome. And I just wanted to take a quick moment to say, Wow, thank you. And I hope that you're getting as much value as you can from these voice notes. And just, you know, here listening to me talk about my random thoughts on different topics that are really important to me. So yeah, thank you again, for tuning in. So for today's episode, I'll be talking about a topic that actually annoys me a little bit. But I've been trying to take a more positive spin to it over the past couple of years. I would love to know your thoughts on this as well. So please let me know either on Twitter, or Instagram, as this episode goes on, write some notes, send them to me, and let's discuss. Let's get started then. Now I have a question for you. Have you ever been copied before? What was your earliest memory of being copied? Do you remember that horrible feeling that comes with it. So I remember the first time I was copied, that was as early as school where I was like in infants or junior school where I drew a piece of artwork or some sort of drawing for an art class. Or I write like a story for my English class, and it would get copied, and I'd feel quite annoyed. And so do you remember those times or at school, you'd be doing like a test or something or a quiz. And you don't want other people to, like sneak a look at your, your work. So you'd like put a pencil case in between you. Or you know, when we used to do that thing, guy, you'd hide your work with your hands or your whole arm? Yeah, so when I describe it now, it's actually pretty hilarious. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who did this. I'm sure we're all guilty of of doing it when we're growing up. So another thing I would like I'd remember was when a few people used to copy the different hairstyles that I did last school. So when I was at school, I used to experiment with loads of different hairstyles, like literally all sorts of different hairstyles, and dyed my hair all sorts of different colours as well. But then, whenever I saw someone else, like the next day have a similar look, or that also dye their hair because I dyed it Also, I'd feel so annoyed even though now I think about it. It's like whoa, that's that's pretty cool. That's like trendsetting. That is that is cool. But I'd get so annoyed. And I just I don't know why it was, you know why I even felt like, but you know, now I talk about it. It is one of those things that people just feel and experience. And you know, especially those days, and it feels like you don't really have any control of your emotions, and you're still growing up, so you don't really know how to deal with them. Obviously, nowadays, I've matured so much more since those days, because obviously Life is too short. And no one really cares about like how my you know, stories or my drawings were copied, especially when they didn't really mean anything. It was just for a class though no one really cares. So So yeah. And obviously it doesn't bother me as much as Easter. Although when I was growing up in the blogging world, they so I've been in the blogging world since back then I used to build a lot of my own themes, and I still do I still create and build my own themes for my blog, and it's fantastic.

I really enjoy making them. But I remember back then there were a few people as I started like, um, you know, just interacting with other blogging communities. I started to notice that a lot of other bloggers also, like, copied my themes. Yeah, it's right click and then do like view source code and then look up my code and then copy it and then put it on their own website and it just sucks so bad. I remember like them trying to copy like the CML and then they'll find like bits of the CSS and it will just look like a terrible version of the thing that I built. And it just, it was so frustrating. And it wasn't just me that this happened to like, I know, I know a few people who were close in, in that specific blogging community who had that same thing happened to them by this specific person. And it was just really that is someone blatantly taking your work, removing the credit, and then claiming that they built it themselves. So that obviously is not on. Another example of what's not on is, if, for example, in the past, I've written blog posts, and someone has gone in, really enjoyed the blog post and wanted to write something similar. So they, they right click, and or do a Ctrl C Ctrl V. And then they have a blog post that obviously is not on, that is straight up, plagiarising someone that is straight up taking someone's work and claiming it as your own. And that's actually something I really want to talk about. Because I think when we think about, you know, copying, and imitation, and plagiarising, and stuff like that, there can be quite like Blurred Lines. But that's something I want to make very clear right now. Because it's, it's not the fact that other people like take your work, and claiming as your own or like people, you know, being inspired by what you do. That's two very different things. So I just want to make it clear. So when I talk about someone copying me, I'm talking about how they are taking my stuff, and then claiming it as their own. Whereas if someone is inspired by me, surely, you know, that gets some some inspiration, or ideas from the stuff that I put out there. And then they sort of spin it in their own way, and it's theirs, that's completely fine. Because we all do it. We all take inspiration from different sources. And a few people have said to me, but you know, you've inspired me to do this. And because of your, for example, inspiring I think a series or because of your podcast, or because of this specific blog post, I want to talk about it on my blog as well, because you inspired me to I like that's completely fine. As long as you're not like blatantly taking my work, changing the names changing certain words, but it's still mostly mine, then that that's wrong. But as long as you're not doing that about swine, so yeah, I just want to so I University. I think I talked about it in my recent podcast with Matt about degrees. But I mentioned in that podcast that I did, as part of my degree, I had a careers module, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And it was something that, you know,

I still think back to nowadays, because it's helped me a lot in my own career. But But yes, I had this careers module. And he had like, a few choices of what you can do in this module. So there was like three different areas you can, like focus on, I think the first one was like to get like easy credits for this module, you could create a LinkedIn profile, and it was like, you sort of get marked on your LinkedIn profile. And then the second one was, like, completely forgot, but it was like being creative in a certain way to, to showcase like a specific, I don't know, like disease or something. And I actually picked this one, because I think I remembered I made like a Google Sites website is that even I think anymore, but yeah, a Google Sites website thing. And then the third option was, you know, what I don't remember at all the third option was, but I'm pretty sure there was third option. So yeah, you had these three things that you could do. And I decided to go for this website, just because that was something a bit different from the usual day to day for like, we even started this career module. I've always been careers driven. And I've always thought about how I can like, show to people what I can do. And I think that's where my love for like things like Twitter, and maybe even Instagram and all the online platforms I have, like started from because I really wanted to like, showcase myself in a specific way to show to people that look, this is what I know. And this is the value that I can bring to your group to your company or whatever it is. And so I was always quite career driven. But even back then and a year or two before, I think it was when in my First year at university, I think I actually created my first like LinkedIn profile. And back back then LinkedIn wasn't really like, well known as such. And like people my age didn't really, they weren't really on it just because people viewed it as a thing that only like, I guess, like, fully professional people go to. But for me, I always was just curious about the world of social media about the world of platforms and how I can use it to my advantage. And so I created that back then. And, you know, I, I love, I'm gonna be honest, I love

putting profiles together. And I know that sounds really weird, but I actually really, really enjoy it. And so because I really enjoy putting my profile together, I spent a ridiculous amount of time on it. So like, I just started my first year at biomed. I wrote down like modules I study and I fully like wrote down like essays in each paragraph in each section, sorry, about what, what I've learned what I'm gaining from it. And like my aspirations, like I put in a lot of effort, and a lot of time to really craft this perfect LinkedIn profile. And then when the careers module came out, I decided that I probably was cheating, if I just like submitted my LinkedIn profile that I've spent so long already, like creating over the last year or so. Because Because this course, this careers module was in my second year. So I was like, You know what, let me pick the other one anyway. And at the same time, I just wanted to, like, make an excuse to be a bit creative on online and do something with websites instead of just, you know, using LinkedIn. So. So yeah, that's what I did. And then like, a few, as I started to see, like, a lot of my biomed like, colleagues, I guess, like coursemates, as I started seeing more of them pop up on LinkedIn, you know, I started adding them, they started adding me and it was all really cool. And like, out of the blue, just nowhere, like, I think it was after we've done this careers module already. And the deadlines already passed, it was all good, blah, blah, blah. I just decided, like, I don't know, it might have been the summer where I was just, you know, looking around LinkedIn just decided to, like, look around at what other people have put on their profiles. And to like, it was also really good just to learn where other people sort of came from, because that's also another thing, I really enjoy a link using LinkedIn for like, like my colleagues and you know, finding out where, where they went to university or where they went to school and how their interests in like biomed came from, or how the interests in what So yeah, I remember just looking into like different profiles, and I came across this one girl who is in my course. And she, when I was like reading through her profiles, like oh, this is really good, like learning a lot about her. And then I was like, hang on, this is my work, but I broke this. That's all I got. So I was suddenly like, all of the sections online. biomed. Um, you know, like, I, like I said, like, the paragraphs that I put into LinkedIn that talks about what I study that biomed what I gained from biomed, and stuff like that. And then in addition to that, that that was on her profile. But in addition to all the biomed stuff, which is something we have in common. It was like things that I put in my own unique work experience, or like part time jobs as an like, store or whatever I found on her profile, she literally copied, pasted it into her, and then just change things slightly. Because she she did like a similar experience, or like, it wasn't exactly the same shop, but it was a different retail shop. And I was like so furious, as you can imagine. But it's like, so frustrating. Like, if you've ever had anyone, like take your work and like pass it off as best as you can imagine how frustrating as an especially from like my point of view as someone who put in so much time to like, cultivate such a great LinkedIn profile. So yeah, I just got really sort of upset about that. And I remember actually sending her a message on Facebook when I was still on it. And I was like, you know, like, I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you basically copied and pasted my work and I don't really like that because it's not fair. But you know, and then I just basically explained to her how basically how sad I am because I spent so much time on it and it just wasn't fair basically. So I told her that I was really bummed with her. Then she apologised. And she was like, I'm so sorry. And then she ended up just like deleting the paragraphs that she stole from me, which was basically a whole LinkedIn profile. So So yeah, she deleted it. But then what pissed me off even more was the fact that I realised that her profile had already been marked by our part by my department, basically, as part of the careers module. And she must have,

I don't remember where I got the information from. But I think I was like speaking to a few people about how what marks they got for this careers module. Most people like passed, obviously, apart from those people who probably didn't take it seriously. But like, I think one of her her her mark that she got at the end of the day was, was my mark, because she copied it from me. And so I think she got like a relatively good mark. And I just remember just sitting there just feeling super frustrated that she took my work. And then, like, passed, it offers as her wrote and then got marked for it, because it was never my LinkedIn profile was never to be marked for because like I said, I did that online websites, I was just like, so fuming, as you can imagine. And that was annoying. But then I sort of just let it go. I didn't like raise a issue or anything with anyone, because it's so difficult for for things like this, like, how can you prove that someone took your LinkedIn profile? And then copied it? And how can you prove that when it's like, there's no like version control or anything like that on LinkedIn. So it's really difficult to even, like, say anything about it really. So So yeah, that happened. And then after that happened, I sort of looked around in different other people's LinkedIn profiles, I started seeing bits of my same sentences that I've created, again, on my LinkedIn profile, all Lofa other people's like, profiles, like all over, like, just spread out. And it was just super frustrating. And obviously, I didn't go through and message every single person. But what happened was, I ended up just tweaking mine a little bit. So it's a bit more unique to me.

Unknown Speaker  17:06  
And

Pauline Narvas  17:08  
then I've sort of just stopped torturing myself and seeing what other people had written. And so yeah, it was just so annoying. I still feel annoyed. And I think about it. And I think like a year or so later, when I say continue to build up my LinkedIn profile. And, you know, as my experiences grew, I update I was like, religious in like updating it, making sure everything was, like precise. And, you know, again, I spent so much time making sure that I was all up to date, I'm written in a very specific way like that showcases my tone of voice and stuff like that. And, and yeah, basically, I like, I think it was my final year, I worked at my universities, like enterprise, like, building. So I was like an intern that where I helped out people who had ideas for like, small businesses. So when students would come in saying, like, I have this idea, I'd be like, cool. Let's see if it's feasible. So it was really cool that I got to be a part of that. But yeah, so I met this person now, because I met a lot of students as part of that role. But I met the student there. And she was so lovely again, and it was really nice speaking to her because the more I spoke to her, the more I realised that we were quite aligned on a lot of our, like, more ideas on, you know, General careers and how, you know, it's not all about just getting like that nine to five job, sometimes you can get another job that's not necessarily traditional. And and yeah, we had really, we have very similar values. And I really, really liked in, you know, talking to her. But then, but then it got to a point where like, I think we connected on LinkedIn. And I was like, oh, because we've been speaking to each other for quite a while and I know her business idea and How exciting is that she's getting into this. I decided to go on her LinkedIn profile to like endorser. So I was going into endorser. And then I quickly scroll down, like read through what she had written and out. So another part of my LinkedIn profile that I take a lot of pride in is my like, introduction section that took me like, days and months to really get it right to be written in a very, very specific way. Like I said, That's true to my tone of voice. And so. So yeah, I when I looked at her introduction, I realised that again, it was mine. It was my intro. But again, the only thing that changed was she changed. She didn't do a degree in biomed. Instead, she did whatever degree that she did, and then she had this experience instead of my specific experience, but she had the whole like sentence is exactly exactly the same. And like, the emojis were the same, the placement and the paragraphs and everything was exactly the same. So I got at this point, I was like, Oh my god, what is going on? Like, I just again, felt really frustrated. And so I actually ended up confronting her about this, like, send her a message. And then I think we met up, and then we just started talking about, like, what I told her how I felt about it, because this isn't the first time this happened. And I'm just trying to like, deal with it in my own way, whilst, at the same time, recognising that I did put in a lot of work to make sure that my LinkedIn profile was like, as best as it could be. And I just didn't appreciate people just copying and pasting things that I had written. So what happened was, I spoke to her and like, she ended up getting really, really, really upset with me. And like, after that, we actually didn't talk much. And we sort of just just drifted away from each other. And I sort of like, I don't know, a part of me sometimes, like regrets it, because we did have really good relationship. And, you know, I didn't come at her to like, in a non aggressive way, or whatever, I made sure that, you know, I just made her aware of why I was upset. And yes, so it got sort of awkward, and she just never really spoke to me again. And again, she deleted some stuff on her LinkedIn profile. And it was it that was it. Um, but But yeah, um, you know, like, like I said, Every, every single time this has happened to me, and it

just made this not even the fact that like, I wanted credit, or whatever it was just more about how it wasn't fair how much work I put into it. And then someone can just come along, and do a quick two second job where they just copy and then paste it and then save it on the profile. I think that part really, is what upset me the most. And, you know, it was sort of, like, just sort of upsetting, and maybe a few of you are listening, and you're like, Oh my god, it's just LinkedIn, there's no big deal. But, you know, it's Can you imagine if it wasn't, you know, if it was a piece of work, that if you spent like a whole lifetime writing, like, say, your risk, you're a researcher, and you've wrote a whole, like, you know, 700 page, like book or whatever, and for someone else to like, take a copy, and then, I don't know, earn some money from the work that you put, it's just more the principle, I think. And so, you know, after that whole LinkedIn thing I try not to, I actually try not to look at other people's profiles and like, read into details on like, how they've done things, especially when they're close, closely connected with me. Because I'm worried that I sort of get like, almost triggered that, you know, someone has taken my work again, I don't really want after what happened with that, that girl, I just didn't want that to happen against that I've just sort of started to be like, wow, this is, I think this is flattery. I feel very flattered that, you know, you think my work is so good that you want to take it and, you know, pass it off as your own, you know, fair enough. But, you know, I do try to revise my profile as much as I can to make sure that if that's like my version one, they can keep that version if they want to. But yeah, I actually have been trying to avoid it. And it's, it's funny, because I know a few people like who are close to my network have looked at my profile and copied bits from me already. And like the same formatting, same, like emojis, exactly, same emojis, exactly the thing, power graphs and things like that, you know, I've gotten to a point where I know it's happening. So I just, like, just try and remove myself from it and not focus on it too much. And so that's helped me make sure that I maintain those relationships. Right now I'm trying to view it as flattery and I always have tried to view it as flattery because at the end of the day, if you really think about it, someone has gone out to look at your stuff, they really liked your stuff, and they wanted to replicate it because they can see how successful you are with it. Or they can see how how much positive impact you have made on other people how positive in terms of like opportunities you've made because of your profile, or whatever it is. So I completely understand that. And so it is like one of those things that is that feels really complicated and there's no straight like, it's not like black and white. It's not like they are a bad person because they copied my stuff. It's not like that it's a part of me wants to fight for the fact that I spent a lot of time and effort into things like my profile, things like my blog, things like my content. And so having someone just come in and copy and paste, or whatever it is, then it does is frustrating. But at the same time, like, there's a quote about life in general. And I think it goes something life isn't about what happens to you, it's how you react to it. And like, it applies to a lot of things in my life. And it's one of those quotes that I always think about when, like, I have a lot of complicated emotions about something. And I just want to make sure that I approach it in the Most Gracious way. And in the most, like positive way that doesn't hurt anyone, directly. That's, that's the approach I've taken. And I think for the most part, it's helped. And it's worked, because you know, what, nowadays, when I see something that's like, blatantly copied and pasted from something that I've done before, I've been like, Alright, like, should I react to it? Is it worth it? Is it worth just dropping them a note, just to say, just to tell them how I'm feeling about it? Or is it not worth it at all, like, sometimes that's just how I view and most of these days, it's just not worth it, most of the time, I have like, bad things to think about. And so I sort of just leave it. Other things I've also done just to help deal with these, like, really complicated emotions is just to write it down. Sometimes, like I say this in every single episode, I think, but sometimes just writing things down, helps me talking about how I'm feeling at that moment, and why it like triggered me or why you upset me, then that that helps. Because it helps me gain that perspective, to see how I can best solve this issue. Whatever it is, I also sometimes like, whenever I have seen,

I'm really like deep into some researching someone and and seeing that they've copied a few of my things. Whenever that's happened, I often just, you know, take a deep breath, I close all the tabs. And after I sort of calm down without being super like irrational, I go back on their stuff. And then I either ignore or mute their, like stories or them showing up on my feed just because I didn't want to see it. But yeah, so that's actually one of the main things that has been working for me. So whenever I see someone on LinkedIn, who I've seen that profile, and they obviously copy pasted from my I just ignore that updates. And I like them, I tend to not just look at their stuff for like, for some people, I've just not looked at their stuff for like years, just because I know, like, I just don't want to be triggered by stuff that I've seen. And and yeah, so that helps. And I actually wrote a blog post about how I deal in detail with with these, like, really complicated feelings. And I'll share a link in the show notes for you to read through that. And I think so that's like copying someone. But I just want to quickly also just talk about inspiration. So inspiration is very, very different to copying and pasting. And, you know, taking someone's work that is completely different. When you are inspired by someone, you look at that stuff, and you're like, wow, this is really cool. I, you know, it might motivate you to make a change and motivate you to do your own thing. Or like, you know, even like look at this stuff and think, Oh, I could I want to do something like this. And I want to, you know, spin it in my own way. That is completely fine. And I'm actually really, I'm always really thrilled, I'm really happy when people talk to me and tell me that, you know, you've motivated me, you've inspired me to, like, go after this. And now I have this. It's like, so great for me, it's so amazing for me to hear, and I'm always so happy for for people who who go after, you know, whatever it is that I'm glad that I'm you know, that driving force that inspired them to do that. And even if it's like a similar thing, it's a similar blog post, it's a similar concept or idea, like, as long as it's, you know, spawn in their own different way. And it's not just a blatant copy and pasting of my stuff, then I'm completely fine with it. And I'm always here to, you know, 110% support, I'm here. But, um, but yeah, I think that is something that can sort of get lost in like, translation almost, because when I was writing this, the bullet points for this episode, I wanted to make sure that it was very clear that I'm not unhappy when someone is inspired by me and you know, takes that inspiration and does something with it. They know that that's fantastic. Please continue to do that, to do that. And I'm glad I've been here to help out in that long term. I think it's important to realise that, you know, you can only copy someone for for so long, you know, you can only try and emulate what they do and do, you know, copy their work and copy their blog post copy their, you know, whatever it is, you can only do that for so long until it gets to a point where it's like who even though it's like that's so deep, but it's true. Like sometimes you need to make sure that you do some like serious self reflection. So really find out who you are and what you want to be known for and what you want to do with your like, for example, LinkedIn profile, like, do you want to copy someone's LinkedIn profile? to like, pass it off? As your own? Does that make you feel good? Like, how does that make you feel? You know, it's just stuff like bad, but I think it's really important for, for everyone to consider and really think about, I really want to know about your own stories about like, when someone has copied you, or has been inspired by you, like, can you tell the difference? And also, I wanted to ask, do you think that copying someone is a sign of flattery? Like, should you be flattered? And I think if I was going to answer this question, just to end this podcast, it would be like, Yes, I am flattered. It is like, like being imitated being copied and whatever, it feels good to an extent because it's like, great, I'm obviously and leading and something that people really like, and they want to emulate because they think that it's a positive thing. And obviously, that is like absolutely fantastic. Like, I'm so happy for that. But I think again, there's like distinction where it's like, how far can you go with that. And so for example, when it's something that you're, for example, your career is in creating other No, like podcast

episodes, or like writing a course or something like that, it wouldn't be fair, if you just copied and pasted the content from someone else's course, to then like, ask other people to pay you and then other people find your course first, and then pays you for it when it's not your work. So it's stuff like that. It's like it's a bit blurry. But it's something that you need to like, on both ends, like for you to react a certain way for you to make sure that you like communicate in like I keep saying the most gracious way possible, so that you don't hurt anyone else's feelings. But also, just to make sure that you also stand your own ground. This isn't me say be passive and just like let it go like meditate. It's okay, just exercise, you'll be fine. It's not bad because I know how frustrating it can get. So it's just more about like being mindful of how much you can take before you know it's crossed a line that you really need to raise it with with a specific with that specific person or whoever is. Thank you so much again, for listening. Like I said, let me know what your thoughts are. Are you flattered when someone copies you? How do you react to it? And how do you deal with these emotions? If you enjoyed this episode, or want to chat some more about it. You can find me on social media. 

I'm on Twitter @paulienuh, Instagram @paw.lean and on my blog, pawlean.com. Let's chat. Let's talk about it! Thanks again and I'll speak to you in the next one.

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