Friend Friday: Is copying the highest form of flattery?

This week’s Friend Friday post (organised by Kate, of Modly Chic) is about copying – how would you feel if another blogger copied you?!

1. What are the ‘unwritten rules’ about copying content that we bloggers should all abide by? 

Don’t copy! Be inspired, yes, but don’t lift someone else’s content – and always link back to the post that inspired you. Yes, there is a lot of content out there. No, there are no trademarks. But this is a supportive community, and blatant copying would undermine that.

2. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. But when is a post imitation and when is it copying?

It’s hard to be completely original in content, format AND style – for those who manage it, kudos. But to copy all these elements just ain’t right! If you don’t have an element of originality, it’s copying: you can’t get away with writing the same post with just the odd tweak.

There are a lot of fashion blogs out there, and finding your ‘angle’ is one of the biggest challenges.  Take outfit posts, for example: you can do ‘daily wear’, or ‘look at my bargain finds’, or ‘something for you to drool over because you can’t afford it and I can’, but essentially they are all posts of people wearing clothes, so it’s essential that your unique style comes through. A lot of bloggers, myself included, like to do a run-down of certain high street collections, and in this case I think you have to have a clear ‘voice’ or an unusual take. Kate at Make Do Style does this well – there is a lot of humour, knowledge and variety in her posts.

3. Taking another blogger’s idea (perhaps for an outfit, or DIY tutorial) is pretty common in the blogging world. Do you think it is necessary to credit the original source?

If you can credit the source, do. Not only is it good form to reference anything you post as content, it’s also only fair to direct traffic back to the person who inspired you. Pictures are more problematic, of course, but I think we should still acknowledge that it came from ‘somewhere’. Jen from A Little Bird Told Me does this really well, I think – she occasionally posts outfits inspired by other bloggers, but she always acknowledges this in a positive way. It’s inevitable that we are inspired by each other’s approaches, and each other’s sense of style – that’s one of the reasons the blogging network is so fulfilling.

4. How have you improved your blog by comparing it to other blogs? Have you made changes due to something you have seen others doing?

The blogs I’ve been reading lately seem to be taking a more ‘cerebral’ approach to fashion, which I’m really enjoying. I think the standard is being raised all the time because of the sheer size of the blogging network; Friend Friday has been a great way of making you aware of other bloggers work, and IFB’s Links à la Mode introduces a real element of competition (when I first entered a post, there were about 25 entries a week – now it’s more like 100). It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times, but I decided early on to take a positive approach; it’s the perfect opportunity to ‘up your game’ – a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone!

5. Have you ever had one of your posts copied by another blogger or publication? How did you handle the situation?

It’s never happened to me – I always imagined it’s more of a problem for the higher profile bloggers (like the recent incident with Coco’s Tea Party, where the content was just lifted and passed off as her own – bit of a risk, no?!), but I suppose the rest of us are more vulnerable as we don’t have the same weight of readership as witnesses. I’ve very occasionally read posts that really remind me of something I’ve written, more in format than anything else, but we are all trying things out and finding our way, and I’m sure I’ve been more heavily inspired by some people than I realise. I recently wrote a post on Vogue that was triggered by Penny Dreadful Vintage and I felt uncomfortable enough about that…so I imagine if I was ripped off I may not handle it well…

How heavily are you ‘inspired’ by other bloggers? 
Do we need to acknowledge every starting point for our posts 
or is it all fair game? 



7 thoughts on “Friend Friday: Is copying the highest form of flattery?

  1. Totally agree with all your points! I always email a blogger in advance if I want to do something inspired by them. And I always get permission for and credit images that aren't mine. Once I clicked over to a blog that had used my picture – but she meant it in the best way (stating that she loved my look) – and she hadn't told me about it beforehand, so it was a bit of a shock, although I wasn't at all upset. It's always better to e-mail beforehand though!♥ Leia

  2. Great answers – yes it's hard to be original but it is utterly lazy not to try to be.And as for it only happening to the higher profile bloggers don't count on it! I thought that too and then after publishing my FF post decided to check – and yes I found one of the posts nearest and dearest to my heart has been plagiarised! Don't assume you are too small for it to happen to you.

  3. Oh dear, you shouldn't have felt weird at all – we weren't talking about the same thing even, and if we were that is still fine – that is discourse, and people having different opinions about a subject. I think most bloggers are well behaved human beings – we all know the rules of copying and anyone who ignored them would be found out pretty quickly I think. Blogging is much like anything else, be polite, credit when you can, but of course the internet is one great big pool of inspiration and you won't necessarily always remember where you got an outfit idea from – just like in real life.

  4. I really dont see the point in writing a blog if your just going to copy!! I only read blogs which I feel are unique and I love them for the person behind the blog who I am getting to know. I did have an issue ages ago where one blogger was copying every post I wrote, not exactly word for word but enough. Luckily I think she was just new to blogging and eventually got her own ideas – or someone else to copy I dont bother to check any more. I always make sure I link back if I borrow an image or anything its just courteous. I dont think any blogs who copy others will last long either. Interesting questions to raise! x

  5. Copying exactly would be horrible especially if uncredited but to ask first if it's okay and then do an inspired by outfit post would be extremely flattering and awesome! 🙂 xx

  6. I imagine that if it was inspired but made your own and something you were passionate about, by all means :)Copying though, is just. . theft!

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