I've had this post bubbling away in me for quite a while, but hadn't known exactly how I wanted to express it. As is usual Liz standard, I'm just jumping headlong into this one boots and all.
When I started this blog back in 2006, it was to serve the purpose of writing about my journey to my second Figure Competition and my thoughts about prepping, training and eating well in a remote location. Things have changed a lot since then - as many of you would know, I started my online coaching business, "The Fitness Solution" in early 2007. I consider myself extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to connect with so many clients who have also become good friends. I have learned so much from my clients and have also learned about myself in the process - and have used my blog as a platform from which to dish my perspective about a whole slew of things, from fitness training through to emotional eating through to life's everyday mysteries. When I hear that something I have written about has had a positive effect on someone else or that another blogger relates to whatever conundrum I'm posting about, I'm really pleased. Even better, it's fantastic when you get credited publicly for such effect.
It also works in reverse - I have met so many bloggers who have inspired or helped me with a post that they have written and because I know how good I feel when I get credited for my stuff, I try to ensure I credit them if I am writing about something that has been directly inspired by them (for example, I couldn't write about Lamb Saag without crediting Kek ) . It's basic good manners and I believe that good manners makes the world a better place, because without good manners, the world can go downhill pretty fast.
The past few months I have been a victim of what I would call the one lowest common denominator in the variety of Online Pond Scum - that is the Copyright/Moral rights infringer. I have seen my blog posts and parts of my blog posts turn up on other peoples' websites/blogs as if they were their own. I've even had a forum post I wrote to help someone on a fitness forum turn up as someone else's work. The scary part was that I didn't know until a few readers sent me emails alerting me to the infringements.
Seeing this has really stirred up different emotions in me - the first initially was that I couldn't believe that anyone would want to plagiarize my writing and then that quickly turned to feeling like I'd been violated. I had thoughts of taking my blog private and thought that it might be a shame if anything I write really helps anyone. I don't want to sound like I have tickets on myself, but if I've helped make the world a better place, it's been worth it.
Being the idealist that I am, I hired a solicitor who is helping me sort out these issues. (compensation and removal of my writing from certain sites/blogs) I'm certainly not going to profit financially from any of this but I hope I'm sending a strong message that I will stand up to anyone I see trying to profit from my writing (or anyone else dear to me for that matter).
The more I've thought about it, I think that much of it boils down to really bad manners and some naivety on my part - I really believe that 99% of us are good, 99% of us do have good manners and give credit where it is due. I also want to stress to be wary of what you post in an Internet forum, even if it is with the good intentions of helping others or Facebook or Twitter for that matter.
I'm not going to stop writing and I can safely say that others influence my blogging in a big way. That said though, I want to ensure that I give credit where it is due and ask for the same in return.