Is copying another blogger’s “style” okay?

I was asked this recently by another blogger. From a marketing (legal perspective) there is nothing illegal about it. Most bloggers get a customized blogging background and then write and present photographs or illustrations within the existing background. I fit that category.

But there are also a few who customize the “look and feel” of their blog. You know it’s theirs, as soon as you go there to view their latest post. I know a few who have done this, they have worked long and hard on a look that is “distinctive” to who they are. A particular font, the coloring, a pattern to how their written words are laid out, a certain kind of illustration, all sorts of little special things that make their blog unique to themselves.

Personally, I think it’s rude to “take” and copy someone else’s look when you’ve not put the effort in yourself. But there’s not much to be done about it. There are those out there who are diamonds. They glitter with their originality, their beauty, their love of all things. Their creativity so clearly reflected in the look of their blog.ย 

And then there are those who pretend to be so, but are like artificial diamonds, they can’t pass the test of being the “real deal” because they’ve taken the easy way out and are busily copying someone else. And profiting from it too, taking credit for what is not really theirs.

ย It is not goodย or healthy,to be a pretend (faux) person. Most especially if you are someone that discusses and extols the purity of your faith, so eloquently. I really have a problem with the reconciling of that one.

But that’s just me, and how I feel about things. Theft will go on in the online world of things and most people will just pretend it hasn’t happened. It’s the real world we live in today. Not much honor or honesty, out there – at all!

Sorry guys, if I sound upset, it’s because I am, on behalf of two amazing bloggers that I have followed for more than a year.

(To the copycat blogger I am referring to: I look forward to seeing your own original layout and design at some point in the near future. I understand some find it very easy to “borrow” things online, and I recognize you’ve only been blogging for about half of a year – it is therefore all too easy to be attracted to the appearance of someone else’s blog that they have developed. And think it’s okay to present, as your own a “certain look”. Right now it is hard to view your words without seeing the two women, who I greatly admire for dealing with and overcoming pain and adversity, each of who’ve been blogging and writing in a certain style – their own – for more than a year.)

~ Penny

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66 thoughts on “Is copying another blogger’s “style” okay?

  1. Bless you for sticking up for other bloggers. I think I have developed my own style, probably with trying to keep my paragraphs to a shorter length and use bullet points a lot. I don’t like to overload with too much text. I do admire people who have their own style of blog. You rock!

  2. I find starting a blog gives you the opportunity to be individal, you can let lose and create your own. No need to copy, this shows you haven’t got enough imagination and creativity. So Do your own thing, I agree totally with you Penny!

  3. Afternoon Penny!

    I have no idea why someone feels the need to copy anyones blog!

    I suppose there’s always going to be people out there that do things none of us can understand! Lol That’s the craziness of our world, right? Lol

    Hugs Penny!!! :). Paula xxxx

  4. I don’t understand why people who are smart enough to copy another person’s “source code” don’t just do their own. I mean, if you know how to copy a source code and change it enough to put your own post in it, you could change it to any colour or style you want. I don’t know much about that sort of thing, LOL I was excited when I learnt how to do italics and add links in comments.

    One of the things you said really leapt out at me Penny, and that was: It is not good or healthy, to be a pretend (faux) person. Most especially if you are someone that discusses and extols the purity of your faith, so eloquently. I really have a problem with the reconciling of that one. I could not agree more. As a Christian, that’s the one thing that concerns me in my own life – that my walk will always match my talk.

    • Yes Rosy! It is not cool at all, sigh, but it does go on! Thanks for your support! On a positive note, it’s Friday, yay! I hope you have a good weekend planned for yourself and family! ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

  5. I agree with you Penny!
    and by the way – I was wondering if you would have a question and answer ?:) It would be so cool and maybe make a video out of it ? … ๐Ÿ˜€
    your friend
    – Tina
    have nice day!

    • Hi Tina, thank you. Actually I am working on (side project) a potential weekly, possibly live, audio thing, still making the connections and figuring it all out. But that would be an excellent platform for these kinds of questions and answers. Still figuring out the various types of online media, how best to use them and incorporate into other activities (re:marketing). I will keep you posted!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. The amount of unwritten rules in the world are tremendous and what it boils down to is integrity. It shouldn’t take so many laws to rule simple common knowledge(s).
    I remember a couple of year ago I had mentioned the title of my upcoming book in an online interview. Immediately following publication I received an email from a very irritated, almost rude woman who told me I couldn’t use her title. Now, I know I can use any title I want – I could have named my book Gone With the Wind, legally but I didn’t argue. In a manner of choice, I chose not to use ‘her’ title (even though I mentioned cross promotion may be beneficial ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    The point is, and you have made it Penny we need to be our own infringement police. Creatives usually love to share and be shared but there are boundaries that should morally not be crossed and I think this is one of them.
    Sometimes I read things like this and think – Gee what if I inadvertently stole something. I may never know ๐Ÿ˜€ – and I would feel bad just the same.

    • Thank you so much Lesley. I was heart sick when I realized what was happening. I had not seen this happen to this extent before, honestly! I agree so strongly with your words. Integrity, honor, honesty. I know it will go on but as you said “Creatives” (great word btw) tend to be giving and caring individuals so I could have played the “name and shame” game with this blogger but wasn’t comfortable with doing this. I am hopeful that this post will be a reminder to a few others who have trouble distinguishing what to me is, as you pointed out – a matter of integrity!

      I can’t see you even inadvertently taking someone else’s creativity and if a coincidence were to arise, I know you would handle it the same way you did with the name of the book. Too bad too, (with the book name) because she could have profited from this as well, sigh! Thank you Lesley, I really needed some positive and supportive thoughts to feel better about things (and people) after this, so very very much appreciate your words! xx

  7. Well said my friend…all of us come on here, wishing to write and our own styles develop naturally over time, so for some people to come across and have all the unique…essence, for want of a better word. it’s quite a violation when people stop to think about it. Having said that the unique people will always shine through and the ‘blog magpies’ will eventually be recognised for what they are…the proof is in the archives.

    • Thank you very much SteJ. I agree with you and I absolutely love your “the proof is in the archives”. Because of course … it is! Again most sincere thanks dear and special friend. xxx

  8. Well said, Penny. I feel sorry for those who are copying the intangible aspects of others – they clearly are paper-thin facsimiles of the rest of us. I have only been blogging in this way since April this year and it has provided an invaluable release, as well as an amazing number of connections with some brilliant writers (yourself included). Unfortunately, in a large community, there will always be a few who take more than they give.

    • Hi Freya, I like your words “intangible aspects” this is the case here, those with an artistic awareness will get this right away, those without this awareness won’t and won’t understand how personal it can be to the artist in question. Yes there will be those few who do take more than they give. Thank you, very much, for being one of the givers!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Good for you Alejandro. Although I’m not surprised that you do. Most true artists (this includes of the written word) recognize the talent and value of other artists and do acknowledge same. Sadly there are those who don’t!

  9. this reminds of the pinterest/google image issue that i wrote about.
    http://playamart.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/right-clicking-images-from-websites-pinterest-and-google/
    i was quite surprised at the feedback on that one, but i continue to be surprised at the people who use photos from pinterest or google and think that it’s ok to use without asking the owner of the image.

    i agree that when someone copies your art or style or even hairstyle or color of your house/shutters/ flowers at the doorstep, it’s a form of flattery it can also make us uneasy, and if they have used images or content without permission, that’s just wrong. if they are copying something that it’s hard to tell one from the other, taht seems a bit too creepy — they should shoot for their own style that projects an image that makes them unique.

    of course i am curious and wish i could see the originals and the spin-off you are writing about!

  10. Diamonds will always be diamonds and diamonds shine like no other…
    Sooner or later this becomes apparent to any viewer. You do not need to prove anything to anyone but they obviously do. By that I am not giving an excuse, I’m merely saying that the problem is theirs!
    Smile my good friend. A big hug coming your way!
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I do not get any money, my blog is not popular, I write for parents on parenting issues and I doubt if anyone will ever “borrow” my work. My theme is the Twenty Ten Theme and when I come across the same style theme I recognize it immediately. I don’t even have enough experience to know what I’m doing. I wish I did… ha ha ha, I don’t even have most of the needed vocabulary. I believe taking another person’s writing, photos or style without asking permission is plain wrong; that I do know. Thank you for writing this.

    • Thank you so very much Jackie, from me and on behalf of the two other bloggers, who aren’t aware that I wrote this (well maybe now, lol). I was just greatly offended on their behalf because they struggle with other issues as well.

    • LOL Jackie, I also use the Twenty Ten theme, and it’s instantly recognisable – well, let’s face it, it is very nice. The first time I saw it on someone else’s page I thought I was still on my own page and had slipped a mental cog. Then I realised the truth and thought “Phew, I’m not going nuts after all.” ๐Ÿ™‚

      • You are right, Lyn; the Twenty Ten is clean and easy to use. I also do not like black screens; they might look nice but I have vision issues and it is a strain for me to try to read. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’ve seen awesome blogs since I started this March!!! Most of them have a great look. I think I can tell who has been working on this for a while and has the perfect hang on the “how to” …. my humble opinion is that everyone should do their own stuff. Then … that’s the purpose of the reblog, right?
    Thx for the info!!
    Reblog: http://hrexach.wordpress.com/

    • Hi and thank you, very much, for the reblog! Your “humble opinion” is most definitely appreciated. I let quite a bit slide that I view in the online world. With a strong marketing background, I believe I understand some of the thinking that goes on in the blogging world. So I surprised myself with how sensitive I was regarding these two lady bloggers who’s creativity is simply amazing (and taken as someone else’s)! And I agree completely with your view! Again sincere thanks to you! You brightened up my day!

  13. I would have to ask if they are paying for their theme… because there are only so many free themes and only certain ways those themes allow you to lay things out… duplication of appearance is going to happen… quite a bit if people don’t pay for pay themes… if they are not copying content I don’t see what the problem is… how many romance novels have Fabio on the cover… they are not all the same book inside….it’s the content that matters and that is intellectual property that falls under copy write law… people borrow pictures that they did not produce to spruce up their posts… is that not the same thing…to some degree because I tend to see people using some of the same pictures… again there is only so much available for free… unless people pay their options are limited… or I am completely computer illiterate and don’t understand how to personalize themes without paying although I have tried as much as I could to make my own wordpress page unique… I changed over to the chalkboard theme the day it came out…with their launch of wordpress for educators platform. now it is a common theme… so where I stood out at first I no longer do…

    • You are completely accurate with your understanding of themes that are paid for, and illustrations and photos, all of it. But there are a handful that are very clever creatively and can play with various aspects within the theme and convert their appearance into quite a unique “look”. Which was what I was referring to, and there is no way to protect it! So all you say is true. The good news, that a few have already commented on is that those same bloggers are talented, so they can simply create another unique “look”, while the copycat won’t be able to. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, I appreciate your words very much!

  14. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Comโ„ข and commented:
    Interesting. Kinda reminds me of a dispute I had some time ago with a so called blogger who actually runs a bulletin-board and not a real blog, over me reblogging her content that she herself reblogs from others.

    One can spot the impostors right away.

    Good post Ms. Penny.

    Tell those being imitated that they are being flattered by the impostors.

    • Thank you very much Jueseppi, all kinds of interesting people out there in our world, aren’t there? I agree that you can spot the imposters. I guess it’s good to know there are real ones too! ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

    • Hi Belinda, how are you doing? Thank you for your caring thoughts. I think my friends won’t notice it, and they are very talented so will just continue on, I was offended on their behalf! Got a little carried away, something I don’t usually do, lol!

      • “Got a little carried away, something I don’t usually do” Oh Penny, I don’t think of this as being carried away. I think it’s more a case of jumping in to protect your friends, and THAT is actually part of who you are – seriously – you are a nurturer and protector my dear.

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