Monday, February 25, 2008

Ripped Off? / AF Tip of the Day

Guess what happened to me over the weekend?

I was plagiarized! Actually I don't know when it happened, I just found out about it on the weekend. A friend of mine who is associated with a media art center sent me a note to check out a posting advertising a Guerilla Marketing and Self-Distribution Workshop on a set of CDs. He said the words sounded familair...

I went to the link, and checked out the ad. The words did sound familiar all right, THEY WERE MINE!

It was the opening 4 or 5 sentences that were pretty much word for word, exactly how I have been publicizing my Guerilla Marketing and Self-Distribution Workshop for the last 3+ years!

They say imitation is a sincere form of flattery, or something like that. So what does that make plagiarism? I certainly wasn't flattered. It didn't take me long to trace back to the web site and send them a message asking what was going on? I got a reply in a couple hours from a different email address. Now I don't want to give this guy any free publicity so I am not going to tell you his name, or post his web address. Let's just refer to him as "Alex". "Alex" wrote me back with a pretty lame excuse, but asked where he could find my work shop description (so he could see for himself, I guess). I sent him the description and told him where it could be found on my site. (On the Workshops and Tour page oddly enough.)

I got another email a few hours later assuring me that he would make changes to his site and the advertising of his CDs.

If other people want to teach similar workshops I don't have a problem with that. My work shops are based on my experiences and almost 25 years in the business. But I have to wonder about someone who is going to teach ways to creatively get your movie out to audiences in non-traditional ways and they can't even write their own course descriptions. Maybe that's just me.

Maybe this is an innocent mistake? Maybe I should give the guy the benefit of the doubt? (I am trying to remember if this guy has ever been to one of my work shops? Is there anything on these CDs that is mine? Interesting questions…)

As far as plagiarism being a sincere form of flattery, I don't think so. It's annoying. Although I must be doing something right if people are copying me word for word.

I can say that I am happy that I have lots of friends out there who look out for these sorts of things and contact me. Thank you Gary, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

As for "Alex", I'll be checking his site from time to time, just to see how things are coming a long. I'll let you all know what I find.

And if anyone out there wants a workshop on Guerilla Marketing and Self Distribution? Check mine out.

Guerilla Marketing and Self Distribution of Your Film - - Independent filmmaking is alive and well, it's independent distribution that is dead. At a time when "independent" films have to have a star and at least a couple million dollar budget, how do you get your films seen? Forget Sundance, Miramax, and PBS. These places get hundreds of submissions a year. From wooden nickels to websites, to press kits and reviews Kelley Baker walks you though different ways to get an audience to turn out for your screenings. He challenges you to assess the real market for your film and provides examples of other filmmakers getting their work out, after their films were turned down by traditional distributors. You've already made the thing, what good is it doing sitting on your shelf?

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

When you are making a film give it your all. It shouldn't feel like an obligation. Same thing with marketing and distribution. - - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in 2008)

Talk later.



Blogger smoore said...

man, Kelley, that really sucks! there's no way you should let this person off the hook for that- plagiarism in ANY FORM is unacceptable...

10:42 AM  

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