Rip-Off Or Not? - 02.28.00|
(note: if you want to skip the background info, click here.)
Anyway, this new section was one that I was very happy with in terms of concept alone (I go back and forth still on whether I like the design of it, and will probably end up changing it soon enough). Not only that, but I had sort of a connection with it at a base level although I told myself that I wouldn't contribute a story to it myself. I wanted it to be a section for others, and besides, if someone really wanted to, they could find stories about my own scars within this section anyway.
At first, I had very big plans about what would happen with it. I figured that I'd probable end up getting a couple submissions a week, and it would grow into this huge repository of interesting stories that people had to tell about themselves. I even hoped that at some point in the future (something I still haven't completely given up hope on), I'd have enough stories and writers to put out an interesting sort of coffee-table book on the subject, with the different stories that had been submitted, the pictures, and a few words on what it all meant to me. 8 months later with a total of 11 stories, my goals have somewhat changed, but I still have hopes that it will catch on at some point.
Last week, I got an e-mail from a friend telling me about a site that he'd run across that seemingly had the very same idea as I did with Lesion Legion. Although it was presented a little differently (and the site still wasn't up and working), I checked it out and it made me feel a little uncomfortable.
Of course, my first notion after seeing the site was that they had totally ripped off my idea. I got upset and scrounged around their site for an e-mail address to send them a few words about it. I wondered what the rules were in terms of intellectual property on the web, and whether it was even worth it to pursue something like that.
Soon afterwards, though, I calmed down a bit and realized that it is possible that the person or persons creating their site could have never seen my site and simply had the very same idea independently. Of course, I'll probably never know the truth and I've come to the conclusion that the best way for me to handle things is by getting in touch with them (once I actually can) and send them a nice e-mail informing them of my site and its timeline, then see what happens from there. While I would still feel some resentment toward them, I do think that it's possible for both the sites to co-exist and even link each other and work hand-in-hand.
Update: Since putting up this story, I was contacted by the owner of the My-Scar domain name. Not only was he very cool in explaining his idea about the site, but he'd also registered the site last April (right around the time I initially came up with the idea for Lesion Legion). So, it happened that two people completely randomly came up with the same idea independently of one another, as I mentioned could be the case above. Ah, the wacky web.