Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I last posted. It wasn’t a planned sabbatical (okay, it wasn’t actually a true sabbatical, but that’s such a cool word!), but it was something needed. Sometimes, when I get overwhelmed or overloaded, my brain shuts down, and this time around, I didn’t have the energy to restart the parts that went on a break. I’ll talk more about that another time, but I have another topic for today. Confrontation…
In the classic fight or flight response, my default is flight. I avoid confrontation when I can. The exceptions are (1) if I’m backed into a corner or (2) if it’s something I’m passionate about (i.e. it’s worth the uncomfortable confrontation. I experienced the latter last week. I can’t say it changed any outcome, but I have respect for myself, and if nothing else, I won in principle.
Last Thursday was #PitMad. It started out like any other Twitter pitch event—post the pitch then RT other’s like crazy. I was struggling most of the day trying to keep up and get to as many people as I could. About 2PM, I noticed a DM. It was from a kind participant who showed me a screenshot of someone stealing my pitch. You read that right—someone copied my pitch for my book and tweeted it as their own.
Did you know that your written work does not have to go through “official channels” in order to be copyrighted? It’s actually copyrighted the moment you write your original thought down. This post is copyrighted. When someone plagiarizes another person’s work, it’s known as intellectual theft.
I was in shock when I saw my pitch—the one I wrote, rewrote, gutted, tore up, ran through trusted eyes, and tweaked some more—presented as someone else’s work. Anger did not describe it. I commented on that tweet, demanding that the user delete it immediately. When that did not happen, I reported it to Twitter…twice…and that’s when things went from bad to worse.
Shortly after my first report, Twitter came back saying they saw no violation from the user and therefore couldn’t do anything. I submitted another complaint explaining how this was plagiarism, intellectual theft, but it yielded the same result.
Personally, I thought it was a load of bull, but the fact of the matter was there was nothing I could do about it. The only saving grace was the thief didn’t have my manuscript, so their misrepresentation couldn’t be carried any further. I continued on with #PitMad and was utterly exhausted by the time it ended. I turned off my phone and went on a mini-Twitter-holiday for several hours.
A few minutes to midnight, I was telling Thomas about something on Twitter, and opened my app to show him. To my surprise (as if I hadn’t had enough of them already), a notice popped up saying I was in violation of Twitter’s policy and as a result, some of my account features will be temporarily limited for three days.
This was absolutely insane. I reported someone stealing from me, and I’m the one being punished! What dystopian novel did I fall into? And which one of you readers wrote it because I’m coming after you (kidding)? But what Twitter did was no joke.
I contacted their support. Nothing. Endlessly tweeted and tagged them. Nothing. It’s strange how they were so quick (both times) to reply and tell me that the intellectual property thief wasn’t in violation of their policy, but when I contact them for clarification to get this resolved, nothing but crickets. To this day, I have NO IDEA what policy I “violated” (because they never bothered to tell me).
If you haven’t figured it out, they never replied to me…just let the clock run out on the limitations on some features “consequence.” And as Harry told Professor Lupin in the third Harry Potter movie (I’m paraphrasing), “Nothing changed. It was all for nothing.” Lupin disagreed, and so do I.
I may be an introverted lion, but when necessary, I’m a fierce fighter. And anxiety or not, I will stand up for myself. So, in my book, I won this battle…even if it didn’t yield the desired result.
‘Til next time!