Plagiarism is often confused with copyright infringement and piracy and occasionally with simple lying and fabrication.  All of these practices strike at an authors integrity and after several requests to “use my story,” I’m writing this blog for a few writers who are obviously tardy to the party.

You see, my story of The Pawning Planners evolved from real life.  I had started Texas Twins Events and was already selling Texas Twins Treasures so merging the two to create The Pawning Planners and my story were based on actual events and not my imagination.

My family have worked with me at hundreds of events for nearly 7 years and I have never created or fabricated an event or character-my blogs are based on my clients and experiences in the wedding and events industry with my family.  We are real people and my blogs are of real stories and actual events.

A few days ago, I recieved a telephone message from John (I’m leaving the last name out) that stated “I created a television pilot similar to your story and wanted to speak with you about it.”  Since I was sick with the flu, I waited to return the call until this afternoon.

John isn’t the only writer or producer to contact me regarding a business that gives anyone an opportunity to barter for their event with us-it happens on a regular basis.  However, my copyright and trademark pages listed on all websites aren’t “just for show.” 

I went to the expense and trouble to protect my intellectual property and my story because I plan to publish a book based on my journey and wanted to protect my story.  

My twin sister and I have worked together for all of these years and shared our journey by blogging and keeping diaries of our experiences.  My sister also regularly publishes her #Cindyism Quotes that are used on Pawning Planners Apparel.

I advised John that writing a story or plot line similar to my own would be copyright infringement and that simply because he wanted to “loosely base” a show on my own personal experiences, that he would be plagiarizing my life and my businesses as well as “crossing into” copyright and trademark infringement “territory.”

The Webster Dictionary defines what it means to plagiarize as follows:  to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source and to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

I’m always amazed at the frequency of duplicate content we run across in everyday life.  It would appear that many folks lack the creativity to come up with something different on their own without mimicking something they saw or heard about or even read.  These days, a “new idea” is apparently so hard to find that folks just give up and copy someone else’s.

John had told me that he had watched a video of my sister and I that was pretty funny and that’s how he “came up” with an idea to write and pitch something similar to it.

The problem?  The video in question is of my sister and I doing what we do, running errands, meeting people, refurbishing trades & doing weddings and events for families who don’t have any money and are trading in exchange for services- it’s a real life day in our lives of what we do and how we do it.

My blogs provide the details and photos of a story that only I would know because I live it with my sister and my family.

Just because someone “saw something” or “read something” that gave them an idea doesn’t make their idea unique but try explaining that to someone who wants to steal your story and benefit themselves.

We have production companies, reporters, writers and producers contacting us all the time to find out more but the truth is–my blogs provide far more information than a phone call or email ever would.  From our unique families to my virtual melting pot of event services and requests, every family is as unique as their Dream Event.

I’m sure it’s probably easier to copy someone’s work or life but the truth is that I knew my story was different, my path was unique and my family completed a creative cast of characters which is why I wanted to protect my story via copyright and trademark.

Copying video or stories or even how we make our businesses work and explaining that you are going to do it differently doesn’t make your “duplicate content” different John.

We aren’t “created characters” we are actual people and even if you fabricate a story with similar situations- your story is just a story based entirely on my team and I.

My story is actually about my life and spending time with my family while helping others along the way which is why our journey is so unique.  We committed ourselves to making a difference and helping others and we’ve made many sacrifices to expand and rebrand.  There was no “magic wand” of making everything work out or invisible checkbook to pay our expenses-we earned our client base and our story the hard way by actually experiencing it firsthand.

Since I know you are currently on my website, I’m hoping you take a moment to read this blog and understand that you aren’t the first person contacting me or trying to copy me and I’m fairly sure you won’t be the last but I went to great lengths to keep my story my own.

Please take the time to find someone else to mimick or copy because while some may find your idea flattering, but I’m not one of them.

Wendy M Wortham