Bravely Attributing Others – Online and In Everyday Life

As I began to think about how this blog would evolve and perpetuate, I had the sudden realisation that I was never going to be the one and only source of ideas for my baby-step creations. In fact, this blog was really about re-finding my spark, and I was always going to need to look elsewhere for inspiration and instruction.

So what did this mean? Give up on the spot? Tempting. Spend hours thinking up new concepts then scour the web until the early hours making sure I was the first one to think of it? Of course not. But it surely brought up the dilemma of using other people’s ideas, the concept of copying, and how I would tackle that hurdle.

We live in a time where people sue Maccas for millions because they slipped on a chip, and defamation cases spawned from a single tweet have gained notoriety online. So how do you navigate the value of intellectual property and ensure you don’t step on any legal toes?

I believe it’s not rocket surgery, just use common sense. Many, many blogs and creative sites have guest bloggers from other blogs, and they cite other authors from across the web or they describe in great detail the inspiration they have witnessed on their everyday travels, acknowledging others’ smarts, talents and tips to create perfect craft projects, written masterpieces and DIY works of art. We were told to do it in school papers and we were implored to do it in university research reports – show evidence my friends and you’ll be on a winner.

And attribution is something we should surely do more in our everyday lives. Your challenge this week: give credit where credit is due. Perhaps someone has made your life easier or just helped you finally get your shiz done. When pitching your workmate’s idea to the big boss, let them know where it came from, and don’t forget to let your workmate know you pitched their idea to the big boss (who, by the way, loved it!). Say thanks to your supermarket checkout operator for packing your bag with the heavy flour at the bottom and your meringues up top. Give the driver next to you a big smile and the thumbs up when they’ve let you in during peak hour. Ask your Mum for that complicated dessert recipe you love but have always been too lazy to try. Make it, and then give her a big cuddle when it turns out perfectly. The options are endless – let me know how it goes.

But back to my original thoughts about using other people’s ideas, I’ll go all Inception on you and quote Erin from The Creative Mama, who quotes her Mum as saying ‘a good idea is always copied’. Whether you take your idea being used as flattery or blatant copying is really a reflection on you and how you go about your life.

So I say don’t get mad, get flattered. You can quote me on that.

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