Possession of Ideas

Two years ago, back when this blog was Our So-Called Life, I did some work with a rather prominent blogger, who allowed me to use some of their graphics and content.  I later fell out of touch with this blogger, who has continued to be quite successful.

Imagine my surprise, when I saw that I recently had a comment from this blogger.  They had come to my little corner of the Internet!

The comment was a request for me to remove all of this blogger’s content and graphics, as I did not have permission to use it.  I had unintentionally forgotten to tell this person when I changed hosts, so I did explain this in an e-mail, prior to removing the content.

This incident left me feeling kind of sad.  Not because I had to take the content down, and not because this person wasn’t actually reading and enjoying my blog.

But because this person, who is quite successful and making money from the products they sell, as a part of their blog, spends so much time looking to see if anyone has “stolen” their ideas.  That they were so worried about someone taking what was “theirs,” that they didn’t even look at the context in which their ideas were being presented.

I presented this person’s ideas as their ideas, with links to their blog–which most likely increased traffic for them, a little bit, and may have even increased the sales of their products.  I did not try to take credit for any of it.

We can get so caught up in the “that’s mine!” mentality, that we lose sight of the big picture.  Yes, stealing content is unethical.  In fact, I would say something if someone copied my work and claimed it as their own.  But, what a waste of energy it is, to spend time searching for this!  It seems that this level of concern, just creates negativity and doesn’t leave much room for more creativity.  I’ve seen other bloggers who give permission for their material to be copied, and that has to be very freeing.

And, yes, it was an oversight on my part, that I did not tell this person that I changed hosts.  But, it is sad that they did not see that they were being referenced in a positive light, and that their message and conversation were being continued.

Whether we are selling something or not, our blog is our gift to the world, our part in the conversation.  By not allowing that conversation to continue, we are losing sight of our reason for doing this.


Some New Additions

Speaking of blogs, I have a few new additions to my blogroll, that I would like to introduce.  Interestingly enough, they are all written by couples, who have written books.

The Great Jollyhoombah
CJ and Tammy (who also happen to live in Houston!) quit their teaching jobs, and started their own business.  On their blog, they share their musings on just about everything, with their very unique brand of humor.  Make sure you’re not drinking anything when you read their blog, because you run the risk of spitting it out!

SMART Living 365
Thom shares his photography once a week, and Kathy shares her insights on spirituality and meaningful living.  Her take is very positive, and her writing is very honest.  Kathy tackles the big questions, and her writing is guaranteed to make you think.

The Minimalist Couple
Back in Miss Minimalist’s heyday, a group of us always seemed to be commenting together.  I termed our group the “exclusive clique,” because we were neither exclusive nor a click.  Mark Douglass joined in near the end, and I found my way to the blog that he and his wife, Jess, write together.  Mark and Jess both write posts, and they tackle both physical and mental decluttering, with great honesty.

21 thoughts on “Possession of Ideas

  1. Hello Bethany! I really like how you reflected on this experience. I’ve seen several bloggers happily give away things for free or let their content be shared. I’m not sure of the reasoning behind this, but I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    We appreciate the mention!

    • Tammy! 🙂 I think sharing content increases exposure. If somebody steals something from here, but gives me credit and includes a link back, that will likely bring more people this way.

  2. Hi Bethany! First off, thanks for the blog love referral 🙂 You KNOW it is much appreciated! And secondly, yes I agree that it feels a little strange when someone comes at you for “sharing” their information, especially after you had permission at one point and especially when you were giving them credit. For me what is going on is a clear indication of the fundamental purpose behind that person’s writing….if a person is blogging or writing for that matter to generate income then they tend to get very “possessive” about their writing. They are also caught up in what I call “scarcity” or a lack mentality that says they have to guard what they write or put out in the world. Fortunately I don’t have to “live” or feed my kids on my writing and I am doing it because I feel it allows me to share ideas and inspiration with anyone who is interested. Plus, I happen to love what I do so I am thrilled when others find it helpful and useful. I also believe that I live in an abundant and generous Universe and that there is plenty to go around…. Of course it is always nice to get some credit for your work…but with that said, feel FREE to share anything I have written or any of Thom’s photos any way you want! ~Kathy

    • Good points, Kathy. I think there is more of a PERCEPTION of scarcity that people have. I think that’s why we see backstabbing and survival mode. It’s fear-based, and definitely not a fun way to live.

  3. Law of Attraction, the more you give away or share, the more comes back to you. I feel quite sorry for the person who was worried you might get something for free from him. Sharing is what we were meant to do.

  4. Can’t wait to check out the new blogs! I have read “The Great Jolly Hoombah”- I found it on another blog, and love that it is another musician/teacher combo like my husband and I 🙂

  5. Hi Bethany, sorry you had a bad experience. I’m baffled by people who are angry about good exposure. There are people who really do “steal” content but that’s certainly not what you’re doing!

  6. How sad. I don’t want to spend my days looking for where my writing might show up. I write to share therefore I have no copyrights on the blog. I thought blogging was about a conversation. A give and take that we can all learn from. My stuff is always free to you to share if there is something you like. I’m glad to see Kathy and Thom on your list, they are absolutely wonderful people.

    • Yes, thank you for introducing me to Kathy! 🙂 I have actually been known to search and see who HAS made reference to my blog. That’s how I found Julia (Journey to Minimalism), and Kerry–and ultimately Kandice, through Kerry (The Simple Year). I think this poor person really doesn’t get it.

    • We’re both catching up then. I think I took a break around the same time you did. The happy news is that I’m in the same state as you now (albeit a few hours away!). Someday, someday…

  7. I actually saw that comment, and was sad, too. I had already soured a bit on the persona they project, and that kind of finished it off. At the core, they have a good message, but I think they’ve long lost sight and may even have gotten a bit big for their britches. It’s too bad.

    On another note:
    Yay! More blogs for me to fall behind on!

  8. Hello Bethany

    It is such a shame you had a negative experience like this. I am glad you have taken it well, but understand your frustration!

    I like Leo Babauta’s take on his work: It is all un-copyrighted. It is a fabulous idea, and a great role model in this regard.

    Thank you very much for adding us to your blog roll. It is a delightful honour, and I really appreciate your kind words 🙂

    • Yes, I would agree. Being possessive about ideas is such a waste of energy, that we might as well share it openly! Being so small, I would appreciate it if people linked back here, if they used anything. But I definitely wouldn’t mind (and would actually be quite flattered) if anyone did use anything from here. 🙂

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