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The business of copy, social media, ethics & karma

The business of copy, social media, ethics & karma

Opinion

Akriti Garg

Akriti Garg

28 Oct 2018, 09:30 — 5 min read

Since the past month, we have seen a lot of our designs and ideas being copied to the tee. What specifically ticked me off was a Facebook post, of one of my designs being posted with a tagline "who can make the exact same? Please reply below with pricing."

 A lot of thoughts crossed my mind -

  1. The urge to type "Copycat, copycat...kill the rat…and put it on your Sunday hat!" ...meh, too childish
  2. Openly write - Hello, this is an image we posted on our account, so makes it our brand's concept and design. Please don't ask or urge people to pitch you cheap copies of our work
  3. A very animated GIF (some finger gestures involved)
  4. Quote our discussed pricing with a winky face (taking the diplomatic high road)

etc, etc, etc

I suddenly realised how designer Sabyasachi must feel with the whole of Chandni Chowk running on his copies.

Miss X connected with us, discussed designs, concepts, lots of images shared, time spent to deliver her the best. And this is the Facebook post we get. In reality, I didn't opt for any of the above. Played it cool and messaged her privately, that things shared on social media are, yes open to the risk of being used or misused rather. But we don't expect customers to be so blatantly unethical about it. After a lot of defensive rants, and me being polite but insistent, her guilt got the better of her and the post was removed. 

Although we understand it’s a free world, young and small brands like ours put a lot of time and hard work into creating each concept, design and curate the items. We are not a big brand like Gucci or Versace, who can sue you. But we can vent out on social media! The same mode, so many of you use to kill our enthusiasm. 

For us it is a catch 22.

Social media is the best and cheapest way to promote your bootstrapped, self-financed brand. It is also the most effective way to reach the target audience, engage them and interact... we all know the benefits of social media for a new business.

BUT…

There will be that one in a million friends and relatives who get inspired by your money minting idea (grass is always greener on the other side)

There will always be customers like Miss X, who connect, take your info and look for copies (because they so truly love your work, but can't pay for your concept and hard work of designing...as you see that is not accounted in their dictionary as a chargeable service)

There is always be other "business people" who without shame take your images, crop out the watermark (even though some of it can be seen) and when caught tell you - we use it only for reference, an inspiration.

All of the above, please be inspired, thank you I'm flattered! But don't copy!

 

There is not one true way to avoid this. Trademark and copyright only go so far, as to provide you with lesser mental stress, that I can sue legally if wronged. But is each post like the instance above worth it? Will ethics in business ever prevail? 

Million-dollar question! Actually, not even a million dollars can get you the answer.

Sigh…

But some effective tips for protecting your concepts and designs on social media -

1. Watermark your images - it may look ugly but is effective in keeping cheap copies away

2. Be active online and don't be afraid to defend your design & concept - be active in forums and if you see anyone misusing your images or concepts, don't be afraid to call them out, albeit politely.

3. Put up images post-production or delivery to remain ahead of the competition

It's not just my frustration or venting, but the sad reality of doing business via social media channels. You just be brave, share your hard work and keep your fingers crossed that the world has a conscience and you are two steps ahead of the copiers.

To the "inspired ones" - always remember, that if it can happen to us, it can happen to your brand too. Karma can be funny.

All I'm saying is— be inspired, but don't copy.

 

To explore business opportunities, link with me by clicking on the 'Invite' button on my eBiz Card.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker. 

Posted by

Akriti Garg

From being the curator of each concept to the logistics and operations manager, I do it all from my baby! My main area of interest is developing campaigns and ideas which strike...

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