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Rant: When Creative Theft Happens To You

February 6, 2014
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Creative theft is real.  Isn’t it annoying how people will just take your work and post it as their own without giving you credit for it?

There’s this trend that I’ve started picking up on recently and it’s honestly frustrating me, 1. Because I’m a creative and would hate having someone else take credit for my work and 2. Because there are too many brands getting away with taking credit for other people’s work and not being held liable for that.

I recently had a relatively well known South African brand take one of my friends pictures off their Instagram account and post it on their Twitter account without giving him credit for the photo. I don’t think this specific brand realised that what they’re doing is stealing and that’s why we’re here.

It is so necessary for people to learn about copyright laws in South Africa, especially as a creative – whether you’re a writer, a poet, an artist, a photographer –everyone needs to familiarize themselves with these laws so they can stop getting their work – whether it be ideas or something like poems, writing or photography. It’s to protect yourself so that if someone steals your work, you know how to protect yourself and can prove that the original belongs to you.

There are too many brands started by young people just taking claim of other people’s photo’s, YES these people are posting images of themselves in your brand, but have you requested permission to post their personal picture from Instagram onto your timeline?

There is so much danger in just taking someone’s photo, you are putting your brand reputation at risk by not following the correct protocol, or would you be okay with your brand being associated with the title that you just steal other people’s work and don’t credit them for it?

Don’t you want to protect your brand reputation from every angle? Intellectual property theft as well, that too is very real. There have been numerous occasions where people just take other peoples work and pass it off as their own. Where writers just copy and paste things from one site and post it as their own without giving them so much as a credit or direct link to the original work or where they got it from. We have seen that with this very site where one writer stole work and passed it off as their own on another digital platform.

People will protect their work regardless of the cost. Nobody wants another person to get credit for their hard work, especially if someone has a loyal following. Their following and fans of their work will be quick to show the person whose work it belongs to that their work is being stolen.

What I’ve learned is that it is essential to keep track of ALL your work, from the original draft to the final version posted online, and technology is great for such things because each digital copy keeps a track of dated material. Do not only keep your work in one space. Saving it on multiple platforms will be the best thing you can do for yourself.

Small brands and businesses need to learn about copyright laws, especially if they are on any social media platform. It’s not easy learning about all of this but it’ll save you and your business big time if you can back up what you’ve presented. Social media has the potential to make or break brands, or largely influence the sales of a brand positively and negatively. Be wary of what you post especially if you are representing a brand.

Creative’s are very territorial about their work, don’t just take what’s not yours and pass it of as your own, so remember… GIVE THE CREATIVE CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE.


Written By: Lerato Mannya (MzLee_)


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