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Michelle, imitation, it is said, is the sincerest form of flattery. So is plagiarism. With everything in the world expected to be free for the taking, operating on a sort of hunter/gatherer mindset, people naturally expect that any ideas they learn from anywhere and anyone become theirs upon "downloading".

Creativity is forever churning out new variations and combinations, and any bit of insight or emerging ideas are fair game for all who harvest them. You can write up your original thesis just to document and then copyright it, and then let it out into the world to grow in other minds and hearts. After all, that's your prime objective, isn't it--to spread those memes and values.

It would be nice if those inspired by what you have said would go out and help spread those ideas further and in the meanwhile acknowledge where they first heard of them. I suspect, though, that tracking and giving credit is not part of their ethos. They might even think that where they got it from was not an original source either and had been gotten from some other, more remote agent.

Anyway, the simplest course is to mention your part in the development of certain concepts and wordings each time you deliver them and put in references to that on anything you write. To hold the territory, just stay visible.

I've been ripped off, too, but I figure they are just advertising my products. And conversely, we should stay conscientious about accrediting concepts we use if we know who started them. We are all rungs on a ladder to let the new arrivals travel farther. That's what has advanced civilizations. Things combine and grow.

No one has an exclusive to the truth. And feeling ripped off does not produce good karma. All those who borrowed from you are just your offspring, your students, your ambassadors. Your light will shine through even when others carry the lantern.

Thanks for all the good work you do.


Thanks so much for your comments, Kate. I agree about it being great to have inspiring concepts out there and traveling, and being built upon and, to use and improv term, yes-anded, etc. No ideas exist in a vacuum. And, it if copied and used in the same way, needs some sort of mention of the source. More than anything, my work is about supporting the creativity and original thinking that EVERYONE is capable of...so I also think it rips off the person who takes an idea expressed verbatim, instead of adding a new take or expression of their own. Thank for your thoughtful insights!

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