Dear Preston: Should I Confront A Copycat?
August 4, 2015
I recently discovered something very disturbing and I wanted to reach out to see how you would handle this. My former business partner and I parted ways several years ago and he has since been recreating my design ideas as his own. He’s even gone so far as to copy my social media accounts and style! I am so angry and frustrated right now. Should I threaten to sue him? Can I sue him? Should I confront him? What is your advice?
Congratulations! You have arrived, as they say. I don’t mean to make light of what is no doubt an extremely frustrating situation, but the reality is that all good designers suffer the effects of inspiration-gone-haywire. There are some who allow this kind of thing to consume them, but I made a choice a long time ago to pay them no mind. I don’t like to see someone”copy” me, but at the end of the day, I choose to see it as an indication I am on the right track; I know who I am and what I am bringing to the spaces I design and you deserve to as well.
Original, people sue for all kinds of things, but is it worth it? I am not a lawyer and I wouldn’t begin to offer you legal advice, but from one artist to another, I say let this one go. Take your energy and put it into your work. He can copy all he wants, but you’re the one who will always be ahead as you are the one with the vision, talent and ever-growing ideas. Do your best work, focus on your own space in the event world and focus on maintaining a good relationship with your own clients and peers. People who steal ideas are often desperate and know internally that they can’t go the long haul. You likely will if you stay focused on what really matters and true to yourself and your artistry.
Readers: Do you agree with me that original should let this one go? Have you ever been imitated?