There is going online, there is knowing how to make yourself an online brand, then there is protecting it.

The first time I wrote about plagiarism here, it cost me arms and legs. The guilty ones are always afraid. And the guilty will always take you down with them if they are capable of doing so. However, these things need to be pointed out. There is a lot of larceny on the written word. Most of this thievery is simply orchestrated by ourselves unknowingly. When they say that they are giving you exposure and you smile and nod without thinking of the benefits they might be getting out of your writing, you just sort of set your intellectual property ablaze. When we see our article on the New York Times and jump in triumph even without having been accredited, again, we orphan our writing willingly. Desperation. We are too complacent with just having our words being read that people are easily taking advantage of us.

I might sound bipolar here, but what problem is there if you happen to put worth in the intellect that comes from your mind? When I tweet and you copy it and paste it as yours, understand when I come after you all armed for a blood spill, because that, that right there is my property you are tampering with. When I comment on anything, a blog-post even, I like to stand right next to my words with my name there, as opposed to leaving the words run lose as an anonymous commenter ,  because I respect my words, I respect everything that comes from my mind.

I have never understood why people underestimate writing as such. Even writers themselves underestimate the worth that they place on their writing. the terms ‘ I am giving you exposure’ seem to be the money value for writing, as @wandirik mentioned, recognition does not buy you diapers at Nakumatt.  In addition, we are very ignorant on how exactly we are supposed to be throwing our writing around. And I realise that it is very easy for a writer to be used.

At the last powo, they said that intellectual property is any creation of the mind, the fruits of the human intellectual creativity. See here is the thing; it does not matter how well versed that creation of my mind is going to be, or how bluntly brainless I am going to sound in it. The bottom line is, it belongs to me. I conceived it first. Thus, it has that ‘me’ stamp in it.

Judging from the discussion at #Powo , many of us have been wronged by the copy paste button. If you have been, you know how it feels; as if someone ripped your skin off your face and etched it on theirs. Many people shared their experiences of copyright infringement, and the most outstanding thing was that not many people come forward to claim their work after it is stolen. One, we miss key ingredients after writing like putting stamps that point this work back to us. The law in Kenya is an ass, no actually, the law has always been an ass, even from medieval times, to counteract this ‘assism’, these ingredients; your name, email address, a time stamp, might seem hopeless and ludicrous but they are things that the law will be looking out for in order to prove you otherwise. Always tie the piece back to yourself.

I am not much of a law guru, I understand and speak layman, but most of the information that was shared at the #JulyPowo can be found in this PowerPoint presentation.