Dear Person who stole my material,
Dear Person who was so “INSPIRED BY” my material that you “BORROWED LIBERALLY” from the contents to create your own “ORIGINAL WORK”,
Hey, I read your post last night. Interesting. And I don’t mean that the post itself was interesting, I mean that it was interesting how two posts written 18 months apart by two complete strangers could contain such strikingly similar material, right down to the concept, structure and the inclusion of specific categories and phrases that were contained in my original blog post here on Hugzilla.
A suspicious person might even suspect that you were trawling my post for the content, instead of engaging your brain to perform acts of independent thought.
For the record: I am a suspicious person.
Here’s the thing. My blog doesn’t make me any money. It’s not monetised. I don’t have banner adds or affiliate links or sponsored posts and I’m not holding my breath for a shit-hot “brand ambassadorial” role any time in the near future. Given that your article was posted exclusively on a major mainstream website, I suspect that you may have been paid for the material.
For the record: In almost two years I have made the princely sum of $150 from this blog, the proceeds coming from a couple of republished articles. I also scored myself one of the best Indian takeout experiences of all time.
I won’t add what this blog has cost me during that same time, because a lot of it can’t be quantified.
It takes me away from my children. It takes me away from my husband. It takes me away from episodes of my favourite reality TV programmes. I mostly do it in the five minutes of free time I get during the day once the kids are in bed and the freelance work is finished. It’s tiring.
I’m not trying to be a martyr. I do this because I love it – and because I am driven to do it by some innate force I can’t ignore. I started Hugzilla because I was at home with two young children for several years and one day I turned around and realised there was nothing left of me. Everything I did was for other people, and I had no discernible identity outside of my offspring. It was beyond depressing. It was demoralising.
And then I started this blog.
This was my space. This was my outlet. This was my saviour.
This was me. Snarky, wise-cracking, unsuitable-for-kids me.
Last week you stole a piece of me.
As I write this, it is Saturday morning and my husband is sitting on the sofa with my two children, watching Weekend Sunrise and playing a Star Wars Lego game on the iPad. (Yes, my family are capable of multi-tasking their screen time because we are uber-sophisticated like that)
I should be there on the sofa with them but instead I am sitting here writing this letter to you, because I am consumed with righteous anger, and I need to exorcise it in ways that don’t involve two coked-out hit-men turning up on your doorstep. That was a Pulp Fiction reference, by the way. I’m not going to flip out and go all Tarantino on you.
I mean, I know I’m not freaking Hemingway, and it’s not like I’m bleeding onto the screen here or anything, but these are my words and my ideas and my lame jokes; they are the result of many hours of love, sweat and the occasional beer.
This year has been an eye-opening experience. I’ve been slagged off on Facebook, I’ve been ripped to shreds by trolls, I’ve had abusive comments made on my blog and and now I have had some of my original material stolen “borrowed liberally from” and published on a mainstream website.
I actually came close to saying “Geez Shirl, let’s just @$#% it all to Hell”. Give up the blog. Give up the source of all this angst. I mean, it’s not like I’m doing this to gratify my out-of-control ego or because I have some crazy lust for fame and power. And that’s when I hit the brakes mid-tanty and reminded myself why I started this blog, and why I continue. I’m doing this to connect with people, and I’m not going to let a few trolls and haters and
thieves “people doing dodgy cover versions of my material” ruin it all for me.
So, that’s where I’m at with all this.
You have just earned yourself one very avid reader. I look forward to seeing more of your original work.
Love and creative solidarity,
PS There’s a pretty good piece on Thermomix floating around here somewhere if you are ever in need of more “inspiration”. That shit sells.
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.