Categories / Inspiration

9 Perfectly Normal Reactions When Someone Copies Your Work

Kevin Whipps March 31, 2021 · 7 min read

Have you ever looked around on the web and found someone who completely copied your work? I have. It sucks, because you did all the work, and they just took all of the credit. Plus, there’s the potential for lost income there, which is also pretty sucky. So what do you do about it? Well, if you’re anything like me, you have a perfectly normal reaction to the event, just like any rational human being would have should they be in this position, and none of them — absolutely none — involve taking a sledgehammer to a wall. None.

Take a Sledgehammer to a Wall

OK, you’re mad. I get that. And when you’re mad, maybe you want to hit something that won’t hit back, like a stuffed animal or a pillow or something. But if you’re super pissed, then the best option — in my humble opinion — is a wall. Now sure, you might break your hand doing that, right? And if you mouse with that hand, then that could ruin your day, and I’m not just saying that because I have a hole in a wall right now that’s currently covered by a painting because I was hangry, or mad at the Red Sox, or whatever it was — I’m sure it was completely rational, is the point. Anyway, take a sledgehammer to that wall. Sure, you’ll need to do some drywall repair, but if you don’t want to do that, here’s the trick: do it to someone else’s wall. Just make sure not to get caught.


Comment on YouTube Videos and Blog Posts

Now every person that has ever commented (or will comment) on one of my articles has always been an angel who never says anything harsh, and that’s because those people are absolutely awesome and couldn’t possibly say a bad thing about anybody. But if you want to shirk that trend to vent your frustrations with copycats, there’s nothing quite like yelling at random strangers through Internet comments. It’s a fun way to get out that bad ju-ju, while letting someone know exactly how you feel about the thing the created. Did I mention that my commenters are also extremely good looking? No? Then I should, because they are stunning.


Get Stuck in a YouTube Loop

Now violence is one option when you’ve been the victim of plagiarism of any kind, but so is going into a funk, and to push yourself further into that pit, try falling into a loop of your favorite YouTube clips, whether they’re of kittens playing with yarn or turtles doing whatever it is that turtles do. I find that not only a great way to kill time, but also super productive when it comes to your knowledge makeup tutorials and watching people ride snowboards through Times Square. For me, though, nothing beats watching people with almost unintelligible accents crushing things in a hydraulic press. Like this one:


See? All better now, right?

Consume All the Food

Fun fact: I’m lactose intolerant. OK, there’s not much fun about that, but did you know that Ben & Jerry’s now make lactose-free ice cream? And that it’s available right now at a grocery store less than a mile from my house? And that some is in my freezer at this very second? Well when I’m having some “issues” with copycats, one option I like to choose is falling into a pit of food, eating everything and anything I can. For example, I now eat Reese’s Pieces — like ET did back in the day — and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one. Like literally, I am the Reese’s Pieces demo, and without me, they’d only be able to survive on their peanut butter cup profits. But where was I? Oh yeah. Frustrated? Eat stuff. All of it. Works for me.


Ruin Someone Else’s Hopes and Dreams

Getting mad at yourself isn’t a good option all the time, so why don’t you try taking out your rage on someone else? Try this: go to a mall, pick a random child and say to them, “SANTA ISN’T REAL,” and see what happens. Or, walk onto a college campus and scream, “YOU DON’T NEED THAT PIECE OF PAPER TO MAKE MONEY.” Basically, anything that you can say and/or do that will just ruin someone else’s plans for a happy and healthy life. Oh! Go to a gym and eat a big bowl of fruit loops right in front of the treadmills and just enjoy yourself. See? It’s fun, right?


Blame It On Someone Else

Nope. That jerk didn’t copy your work. Not you. No, that never happened. And then you continue thinking that same garbage, doing whatever it takes to convince yourself that everything is fine. Denial, folks. Some people have made a whole career out of denying things, and you could do the same thing. In fact, why not start denying that you did any of your work at all? Start signing your work as “Anonymous” and live a life just like Banksy. I mean, there’s no reason why you have to accept responsibilities for what you do, and if you didn’t do the work, and someone copies it, then you’re in the clear, right?


Push Down Those Feelings

Rage. Bitterness. Envy. A little bit of gas, maybe. These are all things that happen when you’re shown what was essentially your work with someone else’s name attached, and it can be exasperating. But being that I’m originally from Canada, I say you do what Canadians and the British do oh so well: clamp down those feelings and pretend they never existed. It’s how my parents have lived most of their lives and it’s worked out just fine for them, so why not, right? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?


Leave the Field

OK, nothing else has worked, so I vote that you leave the design world for good. It’s time for a new career doing something else where if someone copies your work it’s no big deal, or it just never happens at all. In fact, do you know where that’s not a problem? Accounting. I’ve never heard of someone taking credit for anyone else’s accounting work before, because a) it’s not very exciting and b) there’s always a potential audit sitting in that paperwork, so don’t take credit if you don’t have to. Ever heard of a sanitation worker taking credit for someone else’s work? Nope. So see? You have options.


Do Better

When things go south, and you’re bummed out about that copycat, just remember that the best revenge is success. First off, your design was obviously pretty good, because if someone else wanted to take credit for it, that’s hard to top. Second, you have fans — how cool is that? Now you have to take that energy, negative or otherwise, and use it to get better. Make better designs, do better work and pull yourself up to the top of your game so that your work becomes so great that if someone copies you in the future, everyone will know it because it’s that distinct. That, my friend, is the best reaction to a copycat anyone could have. Success.


And if that doesn’t work, you could always just copy their work and sign your name on it.
Just saying.

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About the Author
Kevin Whipps

Hi! My name is Kevin Whipps, and I'm a writer and editor based in Phoenix, Arizona. When I'm not working taking pictures of old cars and trucks, I'm either writing articles for Creative Market or hawking stickers at Whipps Sticker Co.

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