Copy Cat vs. Creative Accident

By: Kelly Smith; photos by Kelly and Melanie 

During Alt Winter 2015, I was sitting in on a fabulous talk from the amazing Melanie Burke and Alma Loveland who became business partners and best friends after meeting at Alt four years ago. At one point they were talking about plagiarism vs. copycatting vs. creative accidents.

As it turns out, when you put a million or so people on the Internet they are bound to come up with similar ideas. Sometimes even the exact same idea. It happened once to Melanie and Alma, and this week it happened to my best friend Melanie of You Are My Fave and me.

On Tuesday, I posted a craft on my blog that I had completed over the weekend. Later that night, I got a text from Melanie which included a picture. She had done the same exact project.

First I laughed! Out of all the things - we both independently came up with sandpaper transfer rainbows onto muslin bags - it kind of felt nice knowing that despite distance, we are on the same page. So, I honestly told her to post it anyway. In fact, I think hers was done better than mine. She had put more effort into hers, the color transferred better, the photo styling was tops, not to mention she had been working on it for a sponsored post. 

So what would you do. Would you post it? Would you spend the time redoing it in a different way? Would you explain to your audience what happened, or set worry aside and move forward as planned?

It is a tough topic to navigate. Nobody wants to be accused of being a copycat. This online world we live in is defined by the blurred lines between inspiration and plagiarism.