Photo of man walking alone in Riverside Park by Joana MirandaWeek 18 of the Empire Building Kit wrapped up yesterday.   I found it to be an interesting week for its diversity of topics.  Included was a demonstration of effective “upselling” techniques; an example of how one “Emperor in Training” learned from her own small business disaster; and, a closer look at how the medical insurance restrictions on another small business owner’s coaching practice forced her to think creatively, combine her love of self-help books with one-one-one coaching, and, ultimately, create an inventive and lucrative new online business model.

Lastly, the topic of “imitation” in business was addressed.  I find this topic apropos, especially for what I do as a designer.  I have talked to designers in both camps – the “copyright-everything-you-make-and-sue-everyone-who-tries-to-copy-you” camp, and the “its-pointless-to-copyright-your-work-because-ideas-are-out-there” camp.

In my experience, the distinction is a little more subtle.  Of course, I do not want people to copy my designs; my designs are my intellectual property.  And I do realize that there are unscrupulous people out there for whom even a copyright symbol doesn’t mean much.  The way I look at it, if a design is copied, it has none of the original creator’s energy – or personality – for that matter.  Furthermore, the chances that the “copier” will be successful in the long term are rather limited, since being fake takes more work than being yourself.

I think Oscar Wilde had it right when he said…

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

How about you?  Do you know what your dreams are?  What are you doing to build them?


  1. Mamta says:

    One question though……how does one know if ur being copied?it need not be in some website or advertisement.what if someone sitting in their home is copying……..copying is a terrible thing.Good,bad or ugly,the effort and creation should be yours.

    • Hi Mamta,

      I believe that copying can be, in its most innocuous incarnation, a form of flattery. Falling in love with someone else’s work and trying to figure out why you love it and what makes it so great, is a natural part of the growth process. However, passing off the work as your own is a no-no and a big mistake.

      Everything I put up on my blog or website is, in effect, copyrighted by me, but I can’t control or even know if someone decides that they are going to copy my work in the privacy of their own living room. If I find out about it, and can prove it, I do have recourse to legal action.

      So, I choose what I post judiciously, I sign my work, and I trust that the giving spirit in which I created the work will not be abused.

      Maybe I’m naive…I’d love to hear from other artists out there on this topic. What do you do to protect your work while still making sure enough people are seeing it?


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