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Podcast Show Notes

Copying In The Wedding Industry: How To Handle Thieves Who Steal Or Copy Your Work

December 7, 2022

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What do you do when someone steals your work? Theft in the wedding industry happens all the time, and it’s time we talked about it. Whether it's stealing your website copy, images of your work–or even your logo, intellectual theft is on the rise. In fact, copying in the wedding industry is more the norm than the exception.

I have a lot of experience with theft. Over the last 15+ years, I've had everything down to my entire website copied–so you could say I know a thing or two about how to navigate thieves and imposters.

This is our first ‘hot topic’ style episode of The Power in Purpose podcast. I really let my hair down in this episode so expect to laugh, learn, and hear some of my own stories of being stolen from– and one story involves my own student!

In this episode, I teach you how to find thieves, what to do if someone has stolen your work, and how to protect yourself.

What do you do when someone steals your work? Theft in the wedding industry happens all the time, and it’s time we talked about it. Whether it's stealing your website copy, images of your work–or even your logo, intellectual theft is on the rise. In fact, copying in the wedding industry is more the norm than the exception.

On this episode about copying in the wedding industry:

  • What thieves and imposters tend to copy and take from others
  • How to respond when your work has been stolen
  • Stories of my encounters with thieves and imposters
  • How to find people who've stolen your work

[00:00:00.460] - Speaker 1

What do you do when someone steals your work? Theft in the wedding industry happens all the time. And in this Hot Topic episode, I want to teach you how to find thieves, what to do when someone stolen your work, and how to protect yourself. I'm even sharing some of the experiences I've personally had with people stealing my work. And one story, it involves my own students.

[00:00:32.140] - Speaker 1

You're here to grow a business, but not just any kind of business. You want to grow a profitable business with purpose. A business where you wake up every single day driven to serve your customers and make a difference in your own life. I'm Candice Coppola, public author, business coach, and your guide to building a profitable business with purpose. Join me here every single week as we explore how to build and grow your business with purpose.

[00:01:02.140] - Speaker 1

Get ready to dig in and have meaningful conversations about the strategies and techniques that will help you build your dream business. This is power in purpose.

[00:01:18.190] - Speaker 1

Hey there. Welcome back to the Power and Purpose podcast. It's me, your host, Candice. And boy, do we have a fun little Hot Topic episode for you today. We're talking about theft in the wedding industry.

[00:01:32.190] - Speaker 1

People stealing your hard work and trying to pass it off as their own. This is pervasive. It happens far too often. And I want to equip you and empower you to take charge and to protect your intellectual property when someone steals it. So, like I mentioned at the top of the episode, we are going to dig into all things theft.

[00:01:55.690] - Speaker 1

What it looks like, what it feels like, what you should do step by step in a situation where someone steals from you, when you should involve a lawyer, and how you can go today and find thieves who may have already stolen your work and you just don't know about it. I'm also spilling the tea and sharing some juicy, funny, some fun stories are not funny that I'm sharing today, but some juicy behindthescenes stories of times I've been stolen from. I've been in business, as you know, forever. You know, I love to make the joke that I've been around since the Dark Ages, and I have. I've been in business for a long time, which means that I have tons of experience with being stolen from and with theft of my intellectual property.

[00:02:45.560] - Speaker 1

I've literally had everything from my business name to materials that I give my students stolen. I've had my logo stolen. That's a really funny story, which I'll tell in this episode. And of course, images of my work and my website copy stolen practically every single week. So I speak from a lot of experience here.

[00:03:08.550] - Speaker 1

And if you've been in business for at least a year, I would say somebody's probably already stolen from you. You just haven't found it yet. And if you've been in business longer than that, you've definitely been stolen from. And no matter how many times this might happen to you in your business, there's always the same kind of reaction. You go through the same sort of emotions when someone steals from you, whether it's an image they posted on Instagram or they've literally stolen, like the entirety of your website, you go through the same ranges of emotions.

[00:03:41.650] - Speaker 1

And the first emotion that you normally feel is feeling like you've been traumatized, you've been victimized, you've been attacked. If you've ever had something physically stolen from you your purse, your wallet, your car, somebody's broken into your house, it's a similar feeling to that. And by the way, I've had all of those things happen to me. I feel personally attacked when someone steals from me, almost to the same extent as when my car was stolen, when my purse was stolen, and when someone broke into my house. You really do feel assaulted and violated in a way that is just so frustrating and so disappointing.

[00:04:20.560] - Speaker 1

The next phase of being stolen from is getting red hot with anger. I mean, seething, even the most docile, sweet, kind person is going to get super pissed off when they find that they've been stolen from. And so that anger, it bubbles up from your belly. I mean, you can just feel it rising. Your face gets red hot.

[00:04:44.440] - Speaker 1

You might even clench your fists like you are pissed off, and rightfully so. You know, we spend so much time building our businesses. We spend so much time hiring people to support us. Whether you hired a copywriter or marketing manager or someone in your business who created the thing that a person stole and you spent all this money on it, or we created ourselves, which is more often the case. I've written every website that I've ever created aside from a couple of sales pages, and those words are mine.

[00:05:14.970] - Speaker 1

And for someone to take them and pass them off as their own is beyond frustrating. It leaves me red hot with anger. So that's a normal feeling when someone steals from you. Then you go into the denial stage, and this is an interesting stage. You've ever been stolen from?

[00:05:30.960] - Speaker 1

I know you know this stage. It's where you start gaslighting yourself. You're like, no, I'm just no, this isn't real. She's not really stealing my words. They just sound similar.

[00:05:43.480] - Speaker 1

Or, I mean, maybe she just on the off chance wrote the exact same three sentences in the exact same order. You really start to gaslight yourself and try to minimize the experience that you're currently having. You might even come up with excuses for the person who stole from you. It's like a form of Stockholm syndrome. And it really does happen.

[00:06:04.830] - Speaker 1

You think maybe you're blowing it out of proportion. You are just making a big deal out of something that really isn't. And you might sit with this feeling for hours, even days, and it might lead you to not even say anything to the person who's stolen from you, you just feel like, who am I? I'm making a big deal out of nothing. That is totally normal.

[00:06:27.750] - Speaker 1

And I'm here to tell you that if you found someone who stole your work, they definitely stole your work. And you're not making a big deal out of nothing, okay? So stop gaslighting yourself. This is real. It really happened.

[00:06:39.850] - Speaker 1

And you deserve to protect your intellectual property, and they should have to suffer the consequences of their laziness and their theft. The next stage is more rage. So if you've been able to make it past the gas lighting stage, now you're really angry because you're not only angry at the person who stole from you, but you're angry at yourself for minimizing the theft. Your fingers, they cannot tie fast enough. You are ready to fire off one of the most irate emails of your career like you are.

[00:07:11.470] - Speaker 1

You literally cannot screen capture fast enough. You can't type fast enough. You can't get your rage out quick enough, and you think, Am I losing my mind? You go back to that denial, and you might even be tempted to post on Facebook. Your rage is so seething and so red hot.

[00:07:31.320] - Speaker 1

And so those are the emotions that you go through when someone steals your hard work. Whether it's your images, your website copy, your business name, your logo, your branding, or any other type of intellectual property. Those are the different phases you go through. Once you find out that you've been copied, you've been had, you've been stolen from. Now let's talk about why people steal.

[00:07:52.020] - Speaker 1

I think that there's one big reason and then a secondary reason. The first reason is it's because people, they're fucking lazy. They're so fucking lazy, honestly. And I look at people who take other people's work, and I think, like, are you you think you're gonna make it by stealing from another person? Are you that lazy that you can't sit down and write your own bio or talk about your own company or come up with your own work?

[00:08:18.940] - Speaker 1

You have to take from someone else. And the truth is, they're never gonna get far. At least not as far as you've gotten. So that kind of gives you a little pep in your step. You feel a little good about that.

[00:08:30.520] - Speaker 1

You're like, well, listen, this bitch ain't going too far. You know, she's going to outpace me. All jokes aside, they really don't go that far, but they still because they're freaking lazy. And it's so frustrating. You know, you open a business and you want to have a career for yourself, and you want to make a name for yourself.

[00:08:48.610] - Speaker 1

And the way to do that is not to take from others this way. It's not to be lazy. You got to put in the hard work. And I think the next reason why people steal is because they're just not equipped. Like, they don't have the ability to do business.

[00:09:04.420] - Speaker 1

And so they take from others to supplement their shortcomings, whether that's writing, whether that's images. I mean, insert the blank, they just they can't make they can't hack it. And so they take from others and they pass that along. And again, they usually end up failing because they didn't have it to begin with. So the biggest reason why people steal is because they're freaking lazy.

[00:09:27.240] - Speaker 1

Don't believe them when they say, oh, I hired someone to do it, bitch. No, you didn't know. You didn't. You did not. Unless you hired someone from, like, fiverr or something crazy, you did not hire someone to do that.

[00:09:41.530] - Speaker 1

And that is just not a reasonable excuse. We're going to talk about excuses in a second, but those are the reasons why most people steal. And the majority of theft in the wedding industry is sort of in these different buckets, okay? It's either images somebody is stealing your image or an image you are a part of. So if you're a planner or a florist, like an image of your work, a tablescape, flowers, etc, they're stealing images and they're passing it off as their work, like legit it's on their freaking website.

[00:10:12.010] - Speaker 1

This happens with photographers all the time. I actually subscribed to a couple of Facebook pages groups that call people out for doing this shit, and you wouldn't believe how brazen people are. One time I had a person steal images of me, like, of me, and try to pass it off as their own work. It was super creepy. It ended up on one of those, like, photographer blast websites.

[00:10:35.610] - Speaker 1

It was crazy. My friend Eric Linguan taking the pictures, and it was crazy the reaction people had to it. This happens all the time to photographers, and I can't imagine how frustrating it is to build a portfolio of work. And then here somebody comes along with a new camera, and they take your work and they use it to attract customers. So there's that level of theft and what I find to be so frustrating about stealing images and either legit passing it off as your own work, or equally as worse, being really ambiguous about your role in that image.

[00:11:09.550] - Speaker 1

New business owners do this all the time. They start a business, they have no portfolio. They go to Pinterest, they go to Google, and they just start ripping images. And they don't claim that they have created this image, but they don't credit anybody who was a part of it, and they pass it off as quote unquote inspiration to market their business, but they had no hand in it, and they don't credit you for it. That is so frustrating.

[00:11:33.180] - Speaker 1

It's happened to me hundreds of times, I can't even count. So that is one thing that people tend to do, is they steal images and they try to pass the work off as their own, either outrightly or ambiguously. The next, and this is probably equally as common is they still your website copy. They go to your website, they click highlight, copy and paste, and they're off to the races. I had to actually install a code on my website.

[00:12:01.630] - Speaker 1

If you want this code, DM me on Instagram at Candace Coppola code, okay? DM me code, and I will send you this code that I use on my website so you can't highlight anything. Like, bitch, if you want to copy my copy, you have to physically sit there and type it out. Like, you got to go the distance. Like, you got to put in some fucking work to copy my copy.

[00:12:28.840] - Speaker 1

That's the stage I'm at because people are just constantly copying my copy. So one story involves an actual educator in the wedding space. I told y'all, some of the people out in the streets here are freaking they're just as, like, they don't know what the hell they're talking about. And it's evident when they are so lazy they can't write their own copy and they steal from me. Like I will find you.

[00:12:56.070] - Speaker 1

Okay? I think one thing you should know about me is I have time, I have money, and I'm petty. And I also can find out anything about you. Like, I should have been in the FBI because I can legit uncover everything about you, okay? I will find you if you copy my website.

[00:13:16.680] - Speaker 1

Copy. So I don't know what this educator was thinking, but she had stolen quite a bit of copy from my website. And when I discovered this, I went through all the emotions. I went through the feeling attacked, the anger, the denial, the rage. My fingers couldn't type fast enough.

[00:13:35.230] - Speaker 1

And I actually hired my attorney to send her a cease and desist and to take care of this for me. I did that because, number one, I felt like I was going to pop off and, like, really strangle this person. I was so angry. I felt like I was going to do myself no favors because my rage was so hot. And number two, my attorney is a badass.

[00:14:01.680] - Speaker 1

Okay, pick a stage, bitch. She's speaking on it, okay? She's at wedding MBA. She's at engage. She's speaking at on other stages in the wedding industry.

[00:14:11.370] - Speaker 1

And so she's very well known, and I wanted her I would pay just to have her name show up in your inbox and for you to know who I'm rolling with. Okay? I mean, is that just an unbelievable level of petty? I hope so. It's like, I will spend $1,000 just so you know who I am.

[00:14:35.440] - Speaker 1

I laugh because it's freaking true. Oh, my gosh. So listen, I had her send a cease and desist, and we went through the process. She removed all of the information, and I blocked her, and I would never speak to her. I'm just still so angry about this person stealing from me.

[00:14:52.390] - Speaker 1

But it just goes to show that it's not just new people who take other people's work. It is established business owners, some who would even consider themselves to be so established that they could teach other people how to run a business or out there stealing other people's stuff. It is honestly, like, it's mind boggling to me. I just don't get it. Hey there, wedding pro.

[00:15:16.770] - Speaker 1

I want to share with you what I use to send professional invoices secure payments, create ironclad contracts, schedule appointments quickly, and do this with some powerful automations. If you've been looking for a software that can do all of that plus more, I want to invite you to sign up for a free trial with our partners over at HoneyBook. I've been using HoneyBook since 2013. It's been almost ten years, and I could not do business without it. HoneyBook helps me to manage my leads and my customers so that I can focus on what I do best in my business.

[00:16:00.030] - Speaker 1

If you'd like to learn more about HoneyBook, go to HoneyBook to learn more and sign up for a free trial. When you use the code purpose, you'll save 50% off your first year subscription. That's., HoneyBook. So anyway, website copy is a really, really, really big part of theft in the wedding industry.

[00:16:23.680] - Speaker 1

People are going to steal your about page. They're going to steal your services page. They will take whatever they can get. So I do recommend making your website unhighlightable. I don't know how else to describe it.

[00:16:36.370] - Speaker 1

Nobody can highlight your website and actually copy and paste. They will have to physically type that shit out. If you want to know how to do that, DM Me code and I will send it to you. Also, later on in this episode, I'm going to teach you how you can go and find copy, how you can go search the Internet and find who has copied your website. I'm also going to teach you how to run copy you might receive from a copywriter from a social media manager.

[00:17:01.570] - Speaker 1

I'm going to teach you how to run that through a specific program that will show you if the person you hired actually stole content from another person. Because that's something we have to talk about too. So we'll talk about that in a couple of minutes. The next piece of business intellectual property people steal is your logo and your branding. And this is super brazen because it's like, how are you going to steal somebody's fucking logo?

[00:17:24.340] - Speaker 1

This happened to me. So I found a woman who stole the logo for my event planning company. It was an older logo we had just rebranded in the last few months, and we were using a new mark, and she had taken our previous mark that she obviously found on Google. So I found that she had taken this, and I found her Instagram account. And my girl was on Instagram for weeks talking about how she was creating this logo.

[00:17:53.510] - Speaker 1

She was putting the finishing touches on it. Here's a sneak peek. Girl. I physically created that myself. And Illustrator like, what the hell are you talking about?

[00:18:04.090] - Speaker 1

I literally could not believe the audacity and the lies that this lady was telling. So, of course, this is one of those times where I went to Facebook and I was like, guys, you have to go look at this. This is effing crazy. And all my Facebook friends were over there looking, and some left comments. But anyway, she kept this big lie going.

[00:18:24.160] - Speaker 1

I approached her and told her, like, hey, this is my what are you doing? You did not create this. This is from my business. My girl looked me dead in the face and was like, I don't know what you're talking about. You're a liar.

[00:18:37.470] - Speaker 1

You're trash. You stole from me. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. She was one of those people.

[00:18:44.410] - Speaker 1

So this circumstance just goes to show you that not everybody is going to be contrite when you approach them. Not everybody is going to be like, yep, caught me. Like, Sorry. In fact, most people don't do that. I'm going to give you the common excuses in a minute of what people usually say, but not everybody is going to be contrite or own up or even try to pass it off as someone else did this.

[00:19:08.860] - Speaker 1

Some people are going to look you dead in the face and tell you that you're crazy. And that is a wild experience when you know that you're not right. They're literally gaslighting you. So eventually this got resolved. She no longer used my logo.

[00:19:23.760] - Speaker 1

I don't know what happened to her, but I guarantee she's not running some robust business right now. So people do steal your logo and your branding, and this is a pretty serious offense, because with an image of a photo shoot or a wedding and with website copy, those things aren't going to create confusion in the marketplace. But a stolen logo in branding absolutely will create confusion in the marketplace. And this is where things get a little serious and where you need to maybe bring in an attorney to come in and to represent you in a case like this. And what I mean by confusion in the marketplace is like, dude, people are looking at these two logos, and they're like, well, who's the real Jubilee Events?

[00:20:07.560] - Speaker 1

Who's? The real Candice Cobbler. Which is why verification is important on social media, right? PS. I'm pissed that Instagram won't verify me, okay?

[00:20:18.110] - Speaker 1

I want people to know it's the real me. But this blurs the lines between who is the real business? And so you get into something that's a little more serious, and you may want to consult an attorney. When it comes to someone stealing your logo or your branding, the next is your business name. And so this can happen nationally, where you're in one territory or area or state, and someone is in another, either close to you or far away, or it can happen more localized, where someone is actually in the same territory as you're, serving the same customers, and they have the same business name.

[00:20:55.860] - Speaker 1

And this is serious. This is where things get serious and where you need to bring in an attorney. And you should not proceed on your own here. You should hire an attorney. And this is also a reason why you should trademark your business name, okay?

[00:21:12.780] - Speaker 1

This is why you should proceed with a trademark. You should hire an attorney to do this for you. It's not an easy process. I wouldn't say it's, like, a terribly difficult but it's not the easiest thing to do. And it's just better if an attorney handles it for you, if I'm going to be honest, like, pay them the money and let them do it.

[00:21:28.990] - Speaker 1

This is an argument for trademarking your business name, because if your business name is trademarked, that trademark can really help you when you send a cease and desist and demand that someone changed their business name. Now, this actually happened to me, and I've done this a few times, and I will continue to do it, because, remember, I have time, I have money, and I am petty. But I had a person who started a business in the same state as me with a very similar business name. It was practically the same. My former business was or is, because it still exists, is Jubilee Events.

[00:22:02.530] - Speaker 1

And they started a business, Jubilant Events, which is the same fucking thing. So I went through all the emotions, the six stages of theft, we'll call it, and I hired an attorney. I knew that I couldn't approach this person on my own, that I needed to hire an attorney to send a cease and desist. So I hired an attorney. This was before Coonbie.

[00:22:23.200] - Speaker 1

This is before I knew Kunbie, before I met and fell in love with Koonbie, before she became my business attorney. But I hired a great attorney in the state of Connecticut who took care of this for me. It cost me a good amount of money, but it was worth it. And my attorney was not playing you all. So he emailed her, and the letter was like it was aggressive, and I loved every word.

[00:22:45.820] - Speaker 1

I'm an aggressive person. I love confrontation. I'm like, let's argue it was aggressive. And I loved every second of it. It literally said, Any money you have made belongs to my client.

[00:22:59.510] - Speaker 1

Because the name the name similarity, right? And the confusion in the marketplace, it was honestly, like, a beautiful letter. And they came back and pushed back on our cease and desist, and we pushed back again. He sent a very stern letter, and they relented. Now, the person I was dealing with wasn't like, aranda, this is somebody who had built a successful business and built a business so successful, dude, she was on a fucking shark tank.

[00:23:31.910] - Speaker 1

This person was not a stupid person. It seems to be a very accomplished person, a very smart, a very driven person, which was all the more reason why I was like, you better cease and desist. I don't need you coming from my business like I don't know what. No. But it goes to show you that she didn't do her research.

[00:23:52.780] - Speaker 1

She was lazy. She wanted to open up a wedding planning company, and she didn't think to do her research. If she had, she would have seen me number one on Google and would have said, OK, maybe I should name my business something else so there's not any confusion in the marketplace. So, listen, a business name theft, whether it's somebody who is in your backyard or it is somebody who is a little farther away, is really serious because the wedding industry is a national industry, okay? People hire you and they learn of your brand.

[00:24:22.540] - Speaker 1

You might be in New York and they're in California, but they know about you. You might be in New York and they're in London, but they know about you. We have clients who hire us from all over the world. And when someone's business name is the same as yours, it creates confusion in the marketplace. And they actually write off your coattails, girl, you've been in business 5610 years.

[00:24:43.240] - Speaker 1

You've been grinding, you've been hustling. You've been working your fucking ass off. And here comes this person with the same business name ready to reap all the benefits. All of those magazine features, all those podcasts, all that SEO, all that Google forward, they're just going to slide in here and be like, hey, I'm here to take all the credit. They're like that person in the group in school where you had a group project who did fucking nothing but caught all the praise or like, got the A two.

[00:25:12.010] - Speaker 1

It's like, no, girl, I'm over here busting my ass. That happened to me, by the way, in college. I'll spare you the details. Anyhow, they're like that person. You have to protect your intellectual property when it comes to your business name.

[00:25:25.620] - Speaker 1

This is absolutely attorney cease and desist, and you better register that trademark. Now, there are some other things that go into this, like who used the name first in commerce, you'll need to prove that you've been using this business name and doing business as this business name for a certain period of time. And that period of time needs to be before this person. But you should be able to do that, right? And it's all the more reason why you should go get your business trademarked.

[00:25:50.910] - Speaker 1

To be honest, the next piece that people steal in the final is just other pieces of intellectual property. They may steal your sales deck. They may steal a certain form that you've created or a certain proprietary piece of information. This could be a former employee or somebody who a former client. We'll talk about that in a second.

[00:26:11.310] - Speaker 1

A former client, somebody who may have found information on the Internet that they shouldn't have had access to, and now they're using it in their business. And this is harder to find because you've got to literally search for it. You got to know somebody is using for it. But it does happen all the time because people are lazy. They don't want to do the work.

[00:26:28.860] - Speaker 1

So this happened to me recently. One of my students, one of my former students stole and started selling. Yeah, started selling on her website, a resource I created for the women in my Mastermind. A very powerful, proprietary, amazing resource. And so, as you can imagine, I was not happy I learned of this because she emailed me.

[00:26:57.610] - Speaker 1

She emailed her list promoting a new coaching program, a new coaching program that she launched. And I was thinking, oh, this is great. Let me go check this out. And I went to her sales page as her business coach, thinking, let me check this out. And I saw a bonus that was being given away that looked really similar to what we call the profitability estimate, which is given to the women in my Mastermind.

[00:27:20.220] - Speaker 1

It is also something that we use inside the Planner's Playbook, and it will be available on my website in my new shop. She was selling it for an insulting, like $17. It was 17 and foreign currency. I won't give the currency away. So really like $14 insulting.

[00:27:38.910] - Speaker 1

I don't think that was probably the worst part of this whole thing. But anyway, she was giving it away as a bonus on her new coaching program. And I'm here looking at the images, the mockup of this thing that she quote unquote created as a bonus for a coaching program. And I'm saying this looks an awful lot like the profitability estimate. This looks like this incredible spreadsheet that I created from the depths of my freaking soul.

[00:28:03.090] - Speaker 1

This looks like that. And I started gaslighting myself and thinking, no, she wouldn't do that. I mean, she's honestly a very sweet person, nice person, smart. Just would have never begged her to do something so audacious. And so I just was like, no, it can't be.

[00:28:16.920] - Speaker 1

It can't be. I'm seeing things. This isn't true. This isn't the case. So I decided to investigate a little further.

[00:28:23.230] - Speaker 1

And I went on her website and I noticed that she had launched a shop where she was selling email templates, etc. And lo and behold, here comes the profitability estimate for a measly like $14.0.89. So I bought it. I was like, bitch, let me get that credit card. Let me put this information in.

[00:28:44.700] - Speaker 1

I want to see from my own two eyes if she's stolen from me. Because if she hasn't, I can bigger up and say, hey, I bought this. It's amazing. I just want to let you know. So I bought it and it got emailed to me.

[00:28:53.610] - Speaker 1

And I logged in to download it, and there was a video. So I said, Let me watch this video. And I watched a video of her teach me how to use my spreadsheet. And literally the rage was I don't know if I've ever been so angry at a theft before. Here's somebody who I had a relationship with.

[00:29:13.870] - Speaker 1

They were a customer of mine. I trusted them. I nurtured them. I poured into them. I loved on them.

[00:29:19.470] - Speaker 1

I wanted to see them do well in all things. I gave them full access to me, to how I coach other people. I gave them everything I could give. I laid it all out on the table, and they betrayed my trust and had the freaking audacity to do this. So you better believe it was on and popping.

[00:29:39.430] - Speaker 1

My fingers could not type fast enough. I probably should have brought my lawyer in, but because I had such a personal relationship with this person, I DMed her, and I was irate. Probably like, beyond what I should have been. I was like, how dare you? I really laid it on.

[00:29:58.020] - Speaker 1

And of course, she comes back and she says, oh, I can see why you think that this is similar. Are you I know some of my students are listening to this, going, she did not. Yes, she did. And so, again, people will not be contrite, and they won't cop to what they they know what they've done, and what they know what they've done is wrong, but they can't bring themselves to admit that they did something like that. Long story short, it was removed.

[00:30:26.730] - Speaker 1

She refunded me my $14.89, and I will likely never interact with this person again. And I will warn anybody about this person because I don't trust her. And if she's capable of doing that to me, what else is she capable of doing? No matter how sweet she is or smart she is, right? So your own customers will steal from you and can steal from you, and people you would least expect this story is proof of that.

[00:30:52.410] - Speaker 1

And people will take other pieces of your intellectual property, and you need to stand up for yourself, and you need to remember that your eyes are not deceiving. You don't gaslight yourself. If you come across someone who has taken any piece of information or content that you have created and have passed it off as their own, they have stolen from you, and you are well within your right to ask them to remove it and also to be compensated for it. Okay? So let's talk about some of the common excuses you might hear when you approach someone who is stolen from you.

[00:31:28.410] - Speaker 1

These are really fun, actually, because they're just so stupid. One of the first common excuses is, I hired someone to do this. No, you didn't, bitch. You did not hire someone to do this. You clearly cannot afford someone to do this for you.

[00:31:43.300] - Speaker 1

You did not hire someone to do this. But that's one of their common excuses. They like to pass the porcupine. They're going to not copy to it and they're going to blame it on someone else. They're going to say an intern did it.

[00:31:54.960] - Speaker 1

And I'm thinking to myself, you let an intern write the copy for your website? Like what? That doesn't make any sense. But it's happened many times and it's a very common excuse. Someone on my team did it and they won't tell you who it is.

[00:32:08.520] - Speaker 1

And so they're blaming this invisible, ambiguous person on their team and they apologize on their behalf, but they never say that they're the person. It's like, no, the person on your team who did this is you. And then they'll tell you, oh, this isn't the same. They'll try to reason to you that it's not the same, but they'll remove it anyway because of your email and out of good faith or goodwill or some bullshit, they will tell you that I didn't do this, but I'll remove it because you've asked me. That's all you want.

[00:32:42.280] - Speaker 1

You don't have to admit to anything. Just take my shit off your website and stop using my stuff is all I care about. Right? So those are some of the common excuses. Don't be surprised when someone tells you their intern designs our website and they didn't copy you.

[00:32:57.640] - Speaker 1

They didn't know, they didn't check and they should have checked. And yes, they should have. Through these excuses just presents one important lesson that I want you to take away from today's episode. And that is, is that you don't want to be that guy. Sometimes people actually do hire someone and the person doesn't do the right thing.

[00:33:12.960] - Speaker 1

And I'm willing to bet that that is like a small fraction, like 2% of all cases of theft. But it does happen. And it happens just enough where you want to make sure that if you put an intern in charge of marketing, if you put someone on your team in charge of something, or if you hire a third party and independent contractor to do something for you, that they are doing original work. Because what you don't want is for Candace to email you with all her time, all her money and all her pettiness and to shake you down because you've stolen from me. Okay?

[00:33:42.240] - Speaker 1

So you need to do your due diligence and the buck does stop with you. As the business owner, you have to take responsibility. So it's important for you to double check and make sure any copy people have written for you isn't plagiarized, that people who are creating things for you are doing it from an original source. I mean, it's okay to be inspired by others, but you can't take other people's things. And as a business owner, it's your responsibility to make sure that people are following the rules and not breaking the law.

[00:34:09.150] - Speaker 1

So what do you do in these situations? Somebody steals from you. You've uncovered the theft. You've gone through the six stages of being stolen from. Okay?

[00:34:18.300] - Speaker 1

Now, what do you do? Well, first you need to document everything. I mean, screen capture. You need to document video, walkthroughs. You need to thoroughly document every single thing that is stolen from you and have a hard copy of those things saved so that when you present your request to remove these items and to be compensated, if you deserve to be compensated that you have all the evidence you need your evidence.

[00:34:46.060] - Speaker 1

So before you reach out to anybody, you need to document everything. Next, you need to prepare communication with your evidence and documentation. I believe in most cases, you should reach out to the person yourself first before hiring an attorney. Okay? We're going to talk about when to get a lawyer involved next, but operate under the premise that you should try to resolve this first before you bring in a professional to resolve it on your behalf.

[00:35:17.260] - Speaker 1

You can get pretty far with people yourself, and most of the time, these cases can be resolved without you having to spend any money on it. Okay? So prepare your communication with that evidence and with that documentation in your communication to this person. I'm going to surprise you. Are you ready?

[00:35:35.760] - Speaker 1

I want you to approach them with firm kindness. I know this sounds like the complete opposite of what I've done. I haven't always been kind when I've approached people, I'm going to be honest. But I think firm kindness goes a lot farther than superior rage, which I have a tendency to fall back on. I'm not going to lie.

[00:35:54.460] - Speaker 1

When you can approach giving people a little bit of a benefit of the doubt, they can absolve themselves of any wrongdoing, and you kind of get the ultimate goal. We don't kind of get you get to the ultimate goal, which is to cease using my stuff and claiming that it's yours. You get them to remove whatever they've stolen. That's the end goal here. Our goal isn't to shame people.

[00:36:14.620] - Speaker 1

It's not to call people out. It's not to insert the blank. It is to get the stuff removed and for the person to learn a valuable lesson, which is don't steal from others. And I believe that you do that by being firm, but also being kind. And kindness isn't exclamation points.

[00:36:33.490] - Speaker 1

It's not like, hey, girl, how are you? Oh, my gosh, I hope you're doing well. Listen, I don't know if you know this, but that's not firm kindness. Firm kindness is giving people the benefit of the doubt and not being a raging asshole in your email because you might motivate that person to not do what you ask, and that's not good. We want them to remove your stuff.

[00:36:54.580] - Speaker 1

So if you approach it firmly, state your position. Be very firm, okay? Be serious. Be business like, but also be kind. You're going to get, I think, further down the road with that person versus being an Irate asshole.

[00:37:12.490] - Speaker 1

You can be an Irate asshole behind the scenes in your communication. I also want you to state what you want from them clearly. What should they do? Step one, I want you to do this. Step two, I want you to do this.

[00:37:23.910] - Speaker 1

Step three, I want you to do this. Okay? Be very clear about what it is you are asking them to do. Don't leave it open to interpretation. Be very clear about what has been copied and what needs to be rectified.

[00:37:36.660] - Speaker 1

Okay? Set a deadline, and I like 48 hours to one week. It really depends on how you're feeling, how generous you're feeling that day, 48 hours when you're not feeling generous. And giving people seven days to make these changes, I think, is being firm but kind. It's giving someone the opportunity to go and make the changes.

[00:37:54.990] - Speaker 1

It might take some time, so giving them that time to do that. But you need to set a deadline. You can't just be like, remove this and then never tell them when that deadline is, okay? It's important that if you're handling this yourself, that you don't threaten the person. You don't need to tell them that you're going to get your lawyer involved if they don't do this.

[00:38:13.140] - Speaker 1

You don't need to go down the road with them just yet. And you also don't want to make threats that you can't back up if you can't fucking afford an attorney. You don't want to be like, I'm hiring an attorney if you don't do this. And if you can't afford to hire an attorney, then what? It's like you're all bark and no bite, right?

[00:38:29.070] - Speaker 1

So don't make any and you never want to threaten anybody anyway. Don't make any threats and don't make any promises of consequences. You are sending this email with firm kindness, stating clearly what you want them to do with a deadline of when to do it, under the assumption that they will comply with your request, that they will see that they have stolen from you, and that they will comply with your request. If they don't comply, then the next stage of consequences can happen. But let's not threaten people.

[00:39:00.510] - Speaker 1

I do believe in following up, and I think following up within 48 hours, if you've given them like, a week, if your email hasn't been responded to. And you can also feel free to DM them and use their social media channels privately as a way to communicate with them too. Like, hi, I've sent you an email regarding the theft of my copy on your website. Please respond. I've given you a deadline of blank.

[00:39:22.990] - Speaker 1

And so just in case they haven't seen it, I'm just giving people the benefit of the doubt in case they haven't seen it. You can always follow up professionally, but shortly on social media, it's important to leave your emotions out of this and keep it business, okay? Like, I can't stress this enough because I've let my emotions get the best of me and I speak from experience. Leave your emotions out of it. See this as an issue that needs to be solved.

[00:39:50.350] - Speaker 1

It will get solved in some way and you and the other party will learn your lessons and move on. Okay? I'm living proof of that. I've been stolen from hundreds of times and I'm still standing. Okay?

[00:40:03.450] - Speaker 1

So leave your emotions out of it. It will help you to deal with it better. It will feel less stressful and your blood pressure and your temperature won't raise so high. And if this can't be solved between the two of you, then it's time to engage an attorney or a legal representative and have them take over. I really do believe in most cases, we can solve this ourselves and then when necessary, we can bring in an attorney.

[00:40:27.570] - Speaker 1

So when do you bring in a lawyer? When should you get a lawyer involved? Well, a lawyer is going to tell you always. A lawyer is going to say, you involve us all the time and I don't blame them, right? And I should say that anything inside of this episode should not be constituted as legal advice.

[00:40:45.790] - Speaker 1

I feel like that goes without saying, but I'm going to just plug this in here. And to quote my attorney, if you quote me, I'll just deny it literally. That's her Twitter bio, I love her so much. So nothing in here should be constituted as legal advice. And please do consult your legal representative at any point where you believe you've been stolen from.

[00:41:06.540] - Speaker 1

But I think that you should get an attorney involved whenever a simple email or DM isn't enough or if your trademark or copyright is being infringed upon. Okay, so a little bit more serious matters. People have stolen your images, like you're the photographer, they've stolen your images. You're the videographer, they've stolen your video. When someone has stolen your logo, when someone has stolen your business name, when someone has stolen something that you have copyrighted or trademarked, that's usually a good indication that an attorney should handle this for you.

[00:41:37.410] - Speaker 1

Now the process with an attorney, this can range in price. I don't want to give you a price because it depends, but you can expect to spend 500 on the lower end to thousands of dollars pursuing legal action. An attorney will send a cease and desist. They will ask you for all the information, all the evidence that you captured, and they will send a cease and desist. They will prepare and send that.

[00:41:59.370] - Speaker 1

Their email will probably be similar to yours, but more authoritative, you know, more attorneyesque. And they'll handle the follow up and the communication from here on and out. You are now no longer attached to this, and they'll handle everything for you. And they can also create a cease and desist template that you can use if this is happening to you over and over again. So like if every other month somebody is stealing from you, you might want to have your attorney create some kind of template letter that you pay for, obviously, and that you're able to send that in your first attempt of communicating with people.

[00:42:35.110] - Speaker 1

And if you don't want to write an email yourself, you would send that cease and desist that they've created for you. Okay? So getting an attorney involved I think is usually when it can't be mediated between the two parties and you will know whether the theft is great enough where you need to involve an attorney and whether you can actually handle it on your own. You've heard some of my stories with my student, I handled it. But with that other educator in the wedding industry, I decided to have my attorney handle it because I was going to go apeshit.

[00:43:02.890] - Speaker 1

And then also I wanted her to know like who my attorney was, you know what I'm saying? So I was like let me pay the money, you'll know. Now there are a couple of tools to find thieves. These are my favorites. OK, first is copy scape.

[00:43:16.560] - Speaker 1

I love copy scape. I have been a subscriber of copy scape for over a decade. Copy Escape. There's a free version and a Paid. I definitely recommend the paid.

[00:43:24.490] - Speaker 1

It's like dirt cheap and it will search the internet and find people who have copied you. Like it will find copy that people have copied. And if you go and do copy scape right now, I bet you will be shocked and appalled at who has stolen from you and whose website looks like yours or mirrors yours. Go into it. It's a fun exercise, I know you're like

[00:43:45.600] - Speaker 1

Throw $10 into it, you'll get a ton of credits and you can search any page on your website. And a copy scape will search the internet and find people who plagiarized you. Next is reverse image search. And there is tiny there's Google and so you can upload images of your work, maybe popular Pinterest images to see if anybody has stolen them and use them elsewhere. Pictures of your headshot you can also upload to see if anybody has used them elsewhere too.

[00:44:14.500] - Speaker 1

And so reverse image search is great for logos, things like that, where you want to find if somebody has used images of yours, anything in a JPEG or a PNG format, things like that. Grammarly is also another tool I love to use now I use grammarly to write, it helps me not sound like a total idiot. But you can also use grammarly to run copy through it to see if that copy appears anywhere else. And this is a really great tool if you're working with a third party, a subcontractor or someone on your team and they are writing things for you. This is great because you can run their copy through grammarly to make sure that their words are original.

[00:44:51.520] - Speaker 1

And this is where that responsibility comes in as a business owner, to make sure that you are not inadvertently stealing from another business owner. So grammarly is great. You can sign up to do that. But also, if you don't use grammarly at all, it helps you just write more concisely and better emails and better copy and better everything. So I love grimly.

[00:45:09.960] - Speaker 1

It's one of my favorite tools. So those are the tools that you can use to find thieves. Now, I want to end this episode by encouraging you to fight for your intellectual property. You have recourse. Whenever you write something, you own the copyright to it.

[00:45:28.180] - Speaker 1

Seriously, whenever you write an email, that email now belongs to you. It's your original words. It's your original work. You own the copyright to it. You don't have to go register it as some crazy government website.

[00:45:38.250] - Speaker 1

You own the copyright to it. And so you should protect your intellectual property. You're an ethical business owner. I think you're a person who is empathetic and understands that these things happen. But you should not allow people to get away with stealing your labor and your hard work.

[00:45:57.460] - Speaker 1

Okay, you have recourse. I've given you a ton of options inside of today's episode. And if you've never been stolen from, now you'll be prepared when this happens to you, and trust me, it will happen to you. Now, before I let you go, I want to let you know that my community for wedding Planners, the Planners Playbook, the doors are open. They officially opened this week.

[00:46:20.410] - Speaker 1

Which means that you can join us inside for a limited time only. My community, the Planners Playbook, teaches you how to plan, design, and coordinate weddings like a pro. I'm taking my twelve years of planning high end luxury events in excess of a million dollars, and I'm teaching you how to do what I did. How to plan, design, and coordinate. Every month, you get a new playbook on a topic that matters to you, that teaches you how to do something in your wedding planning business.

[00:46:50.490] - Speaker 1

And we couple that with coaching and community and guest experts and lots of fun surprises you'll have to wait to see once you join us inside. So if you're interested in joining us inside the Planners Playbook, I'd love for you to go to You can learn all about the program. You can read testimonials of our incredible students and hear from them what their experience has been like. You'll be able to also purchase past playbooks that we've released on things like how to plan weddings, how to design weddings.

[00:47:25.000] - Speaker 1

We released playbooks on how to price your planning services, how to run a rehearsal, how to onboard, how to offboard. We've got amazing playbooks waiting for you to purchase. And so go to to learn all about the program and how you can sign up before the doors close next week. I hope to see you inside if you're a wedding planner. And here's the thing.

[00:47:47.710] - Speaker 1

If you're not a wedding planner, but you know one and you think she should be a part of the planner's playbook, tell her about it. We'd love to welcome her inside of our community. All right, my friend. Well, thank you so much for listening to today's episode. I'm going to list all of the resources mentioned inside of this episode's blog post.

[00:48:04.690] - Speaker 1

So go to podcast to get all the resources I mentioned. And don't forget to DM me code if you want that website code I mentioned to stop people from highlighting your copy. As always, I'm here to remind you there's so much power in your purpose. Until next time. Thanks so much for tuning in to this week's episode of the Power in Purpose podcast.

[00:48:30.870] - Speaker 1

If you enjoyed the show, be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review. Head over to to access all of the resources and links mentioned in today's episode. That's power and purpose, I'll see you next time.

Thanks for tuning into today’s episode of The Power in Purpose Podcast. I want to know– what was your biggest takeaway? Head to my Instagram to join the conversation!


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