Oooh Caroline: The Importance of Intellectual Property

Oooh Caroline: The Importance of Intellectual Property

I’ll try not to make this post too wordy but something has been weighing on my mind this week and I thought I’d share it with you.

Scrolling funny videos on social media recently, I came across a real gem which you will see linked in this post. The content creator is known on YouTube as Lubalin and it was animated by the illustrator known as Javadoodles. Take a look, it really is a good one!

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it over the following week. And my thoughts were turning to a more serious topic (don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a dry, humorless lecture!) 😄

At first glance, this is peak internet drama. Helen is venting on social media – a really common thing to do, nothing out of the ordinary there.

It seems that 8 years prior, a so-called friend or acquaintance by the name of Caroline had stolen her beloved broccoli casserole recipe. And then claimed it was HER creation and not Helen’s! Just WOW 😳 Instant deletion from the group Whatsapp chat is the minimum I would have done.

Helen has been, quite rightly, resentful and angry about this. For EIGHT YEARS. It’s not something you let go of easily. YOUR recipe and intellectual property. STOLEN. And then flaunted as belonging to the thief. Did I say this already? Just WOW 😱🤯

It might be easy (for some) to brush this off as “a petty grievance”. But if you saw this situation happen between two celebrity chefs, would you dismiss it so easily? I know that’s a whole different level of importance but really, is it? The stakes may be higher in that case but I suggest that it’s just as important to Helen as it is to the chefs.

Helen had her intellectual property stolen. She was wronged and my empathy is with Helen.

As a Self-publishing Mentor, my Team and I help nonfiction writers self-publish a brand-building book. We firmly state that we are an AI-Lite business. It’s so difficult to avoid totally (thanks, Gmail predictive replies – NOT!) but we do not use AI tools in our writing processes for our marketing or for our clients. We do not use AI-generated art in our book cover designs (ask me how the US Copyright Office reacts to AI art on book covers, it’s wild!). We also do not accept manuscripts from potential clients which have been written by AI.

AI, as Noam Chomsky so eloquently put it in my Facebook feed this week, is a “Plagiarism Machine”. I’m with you there, Noam!

It creates those social media posts and yes, manuscripts by scouring the internet and burgling OTHER PEOPLE’S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY to rewrite as a bland, mediocre, and often inaccurate mishmash that does not benefit either the author or the reader.

Typically you can spot AI writing a mile off. Weird phraseology and hyper-florid vocabulary are usual indicators. There are AI detection tools but sadly, they are not always 100% accurate themselves.

Of course, AI can be useful for summarizing your own content or writing an outline on which you base the manuscript on that you then write YOURSELF. There are even closed loop systems where you input SOLELY your own content for AI to do its thing. It’s fast. It can give good ideas for thinking more deeply about your writing and content. But for me, AI is like fire – “a good servant but a bad master.” There is potential to get BURNED.

“You can’t copyright an idea, only the expression of that idea.” However, AI’s expression of other people’s ideas tends to be pretty shoddy. We encourage and support our clients to create their own QUALITY writing that will be a credit to them and give true value to the reader. Once again, that’s my two cents. IMHO.

And this brings us back to Helen, still p*ssed off after eight years for having HER intellectual property stolen. What do we tell her? Tough luck? Drink a cup of concrete and harden up? Or do we understand that when we create a work of art or write a book – or a RECIPE – the copyright belongs to us BY RIGHT. In the US, you can assert this right to make it easier to take legal action against mimics (hello, US Copyright Office!). Caroline needs to take a long hard look at herself and ‘fess up IMHO.

This DID turn out to be pretty wordy in the end LOL! 😄  But I promise you it was 100% written by Leesa Ellis, a Real Human™ in Dunedin, New Zealand. My thoughts. My writing. No AI.

Helen, if you ever see this, I’m with you. #TeamHelen

Let’s expose AI for what it is – a “Plagiarism Machine”. #TeamCaroline

Are you #TeamHelen or #TeamCaroline? Flick me an email and let me know! 😄

Or schedule a complimentary 20-minute call with me on my calendar below. Chat soon!