The Problem Solver: The Art Of Plagiarism
So much of what this industry is about is the encouragement to steal. That’s right, I said steal! Steal our ideas at Life O’ The Party. Steal our plans, steal our thoughts about what the business of balloons has to offer at BALLOONS & Parties Magazine. We’re like P.T. Barnum who gave everything away in the name of publicity. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – they are all part of the problem and the solution (of sorts).
However, the thievery we can all accept is but a far cry from a very real and deliberate crime. The crime of plagiarism is an indiscretion of enormous proportions in our world today. Too often individuals or whole companies take credit for someone else’s hard work and original thoughts. Any time you show pictures from this magazine and call it your own you are committing a crime. The crime perpetrated may seem petty. One may not even think they have done anything wrong, but they have.
Want some real life examples of plagiarism?
The names have been changed to protect the guilty!
- Highway Robbery – Over the internet there are so many, many images to see from countless web sites. Unfortunately, cruising the web will have you sailing into stormy images taken from magazines, manufacturers brochures, even images from other web sites. I spied ABC Balloons from a northeastern state showing a number of original pieces blended very nicely with pictures from BALLOONS & Parties Magazine and other publications, as well. No credit was given for these images which gives ABC Balloons all the credit they DO NOT deserve. Shame on you ABC Balloons!
Saving the worst for last…
- Several years ago my retail company was exhibiting at a party showcase. One of my customer’s, whose party we would soon be decorating, approached me at our booth looking very upset. She asked me if our company created all of it’s own decor. Of course, I replied, and I reminded her of her visit to our warehouse where she had seen centerpieces being made. I asked her why she seemed so concerned. She told me I had better go visit the booth for XYZ Balloons, as they had a number of pictures in their portfolio that looked exactly like mine.
I ran (I did not walk) across the showroom floor to the booth for XYZ Balloons. Carefully browsing through their portfolio, I found dozens of purchased photographs and magazine clippings being touted as their own work. Practically their entire portfolio consisted of published photographs of my work, manufacturers studio photographed pieces, images from advertisements. All the while XYZ Balloons was taking full credit for having designed and created this décor! I must tell you, this situation made me angry and upset, but I calmly talked to the husband and wife team at XYZ Balloons. I explained to them who I was, how I felt and what I needed them to do. I asked for our materials to be removed from their portfolio.
I can assure you, this type of problem occurs every day. My solution probably was only a temporary stop-gap against XYZ Balloons. Though I hope not, they may still be pilfering all of our ideas and claiming them for their own. If I may speak for us all…give credit where credit is due. Steal my ideas, but let your customers’ know the designs are mine. Cut pictures out from this and other publications and store them in a book of ideas. My Idea Book is clearly labeled for all to see. For many years I have not cut and pasted single pictures with no names or captions to view. I have chosen to rip out entire pages of many publications and store them in my Idea Book. This gives my customers an opportunity to clearly see and understand that I can re-create this work, but the design is of someone else’s creation.
Help raise the Art of Plagiarism above a crime of self-centered convenience. Perhaps the etiquette of creativity is to (from time to time) embrace someone else’s ideas and improve on them or re-construct those ideas with one’s own artistic flair and plans for success. This process of creating and re-creating bypasses the plagiarism issue in an appropriate and professional manner. Try it – your business and your clients will appreciate your efforts.