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On copying creative work

This is a post to all companies out there who think they can just go and copy a Mapology Guide.

A true story: Back in December I got a manipulative email from a female managing director of a British brand with over 1000 employees (and ACCREDITED as a B Corp!!!) telling me she had ‚"just" seen what her team put together for an internal project for all staff. A brilliant one-sided visual diagram which she then was told was "inspired" by Mapology Guides - apparently some of her team are big fans!

I was only sent ONE PART of what was being created. The rest was played down. I was taken aback by the sheer copying of style/graphics/visuals and language used. She indicated she is merely emailing to seek my "blessing as that's only the right thing to do". As a thank you they would credit Mapology Guides with inspired by...on their piece of work.

Being busy before Christmas, I took the decision to be generous and reluctantly agreed - asking for a printed version when they have it. I strongly voiced my displeasure and reminded her that it's NOT OK to copy from small CREATIVE independents.
I got a response letting me know she knows how it feels when 'their products get copied' and all of a sudden offering to go to plan B if I'm not comfortable with it. As I had already agreed, I left it at that.

A few days ago I did get sent the printed version. I had no idea what to expect (as I only saw a part of what was done) but assumed, after my stern response, they would have maybe created an A5 leaflet, a booklet or a poster for their staff to hang up. NO! They actually COPIED AN ENTIRE Mapology Guide. All they did is drop in their content (but still stealing some of our creative writing). An A2 sheet of paper folded into A6, they used every panel layout the way we did in that particular map. Same style, same everything. They plagiarised the entire Mapology Guides concept - in the name of "inspired by"

I was shocked how any company of that ilk can go ahead and copy a whole concept without thinking this is complete copyright infringement in EVERY WAY. If she or they would have spent a minute researching what we do, they would have seen that we also create bespoke Mapology Guides for businesses and organisation, which they PAY FOR!

They decided to just buy a Mapology Guide for £5, take the full blueprint - layout, concept, style and metaphor - and adjust their content to it.I wonder whether they have ever heard of Intellectual Property (IP).

Who can guess what happened next? Yes, I emailed saying that Mapology Guides is trademarked and has design registration and EVERYTHING on every map is copyrighted. They must destroy the guides with immediate effect or I will tell B Corp about this and take legal action.

They obviously immediately agreed and called it an 'unfortunate' MIS-UNDERSTANDING, but then - in a last attempt, when the realisation of loosing all that work and money spent hit home - I got a final email sheepishly asking whether I would be prepared to accept a licensing fee: that way your business will benefit too.. Final nail in the coffin! Scrap and recycle - no ifs and buts.

Let this be a warning to all out there. But if any of you 1000+ of that company are reading this‚ if I see any copy of that badly imitated, cheaply printed and substandard guide ANYWHERE on social media or floating about somewhere, I will name and shame you, come after you and show you what true creativity is. Shameful!

Oh, and you don't deserve your signature: 'Certified B-Corp: Using business as a force for good in society'