The last month or so, bloggers seem to be taking on plagiarism. One writer says it is something you should worry about only when established while another has recently recounted the sadness she experienced while having her work stolen.
While established writers do have more to worry about, any writer who shares their work with the wrong people can find themselves facing difficulties. I am not a famous writer by any means and I have had my stuff stolen before; only one instance was verbatim which makes things impossible.
Plagiarism doesn’t cover the swiping of titles, ideas, short phrases, etc. It protects if your larger body of work is ripped off or someone copies you word-for-word but otherwise, it is hard to prove. If you tell your friend about the book you’re writing involving purple alien bartenders searching the galaxy for the perfect mixed drink and your friend also ends up writing a book like that, you’re out of luck.
If we copyrighted every idea, hardly any other stories could be written because of how general concepts can get. This would benefit no one in the long-run because everyone would just run out, smack a copyright somewhere and call it a day. Even if the person coming up with the idea never used it, no one else could. It isn’t the way we want things. But we don’t want to have our ideas taken down to the base boards, either. What is there to do?
Honestly, not much can be done. If you were stolen from to the point where you felt it violated your trust in some way, stop associating with the person who did it. I wish there was more I can say. There are people out there who won’t shatter your trust.
The one good thing I can say is ideas are a renewable resource. If you are a writer, there are thousands of ideas rushing around your head every day. Anything you hear can click something within you and send you reaching for the keyboard/pen. Realize: It is an ability not everyone has to the extent you do. The person who stole from you only has ONE idea of yours, not who you are and not even a part. Write on!