When it’s the little guy’s creative work that gets pirated: Author of ‘Around the World in 80 Jobs’ blog battles big guys and wins:
Turner Barr had been working in various jobs around the world for two years, such as caring for elephants and tigers in Thailand and harvesting tequila in Mexico, all the time documenting his experiences on his blog,“Around the World in 80 Jobs,” until May, when he discovered his blog concept was being used for a company’s marketing campaign.
Zurich-based staffing firm Adecco had created an “Around the World in 80 Jobs” contest, featuring a man working in jobs similar to Barr’s, in similar places, and advertising the chance for young people to do the same. When Barr searched his brand on Google, Adecco’s contest showed up first, and it became clear the brand he had spent the past two years building had been hijacked, he said.
When he reached out to Adecco, the company first offered him a partnership role, which Barr was willing to consider. It later revoked the offer and offered him a contract that included a gag order and a commitment not to take action against him. Later, it offered some compensation and a gag order. He declined both offers.
Instead, Barr decided to use his social media skills to spread the word about Adecco’s actions.
And his effort paid off. Turner Barr eventually got Adecco to do the right thing.
But what if you are not a social media guru like Turner Barr? Is there anything you can do to fight back? Or to deter would-be corporate bullies from taking what is yours? The answer to both questions is ‘yes’: “While Barr, in a David-and-Goliath tale, found a solution through public shaming, artists and entrepreneurs can use other methods to protect their work.”
Namely, they can take advantage of copyright and trademark laws. Because it’s not just big shots who come up with ‘the next big thing’. And it’s not just big shots and big corporations who need to protect their intellectual property.
Protect the original works you have authored and the brands you have built by consulting an attorney just before you realize your vision. Like the linked article says: “Invest a little bit of time and money on the front end to protect yourself.”