copyright, bullshit, and good manners

So I get this letter a few months ago from the Intellectual Property Officer of Strategic Coaching. I posted a (great) article a while back called, “entrepreneurial time management: how i rock it,” and they were ticked. “Copy written terms” and blah blah blah. I laughed out loud when I read it. For a few reasons.

Even the most daft entrepreneur knows that:

1) The internet is the global brain. Once an article is firing on the internet neurons, you’ve got to work strategically hard and deftly to have it buried – fortunately or unfortunately.

The instinctively wise entrepreneurs know that:

2) You GO WHERE THE LOVE IS. You pay very close attention to the people, customers, commenters, and buyers who are paying very close attention to you. You don’t waste time trying to convert fringe audiences or to quiet outlying critics – it’s an extremely inefficient use of marketing energy. You feed the tribe and keep on supporting them to be your freaking raving mavens.

The daft, wise and enlightened entrepreneurs know that:

3) Good manners are good karma.

And with that, I’m happy to share with you my response to those who are so tightly guarding their uh, copyright:

Dear Intellectual Property Officer and Entrepreneurial Time Management Team,

So let me get this straight: I write an excellent blog post extolling the virtues of your Entrepreneurial Time Management System, foremost siting Dan Sullivan as the creator of the system, linking back to his website, and also linking to a free article of his on www.entrepreneurship.org in which he outlines the system — and you send me a litigiously-minded email full of copyright declarations, asking me to “take immediate steps to cease use of these concepts on your website, and that [I] refrain from so doing in the future.”

Hmmm. I’m confused. Because, in my world, a glowing review such as the one I gave your system is golden publicity that you can’t pay for. In fact, it was so glowing that that particular post has since been republished on about a dozen other websites, linked to, saved to on delicious, and received twenty-two comments on my site alone. That’s the phenomenal combined power of a great testimonial from a respectable authority, the viral capacity of the world wide web — and a unique system such as Dan’s that makes for truly useful content.

Do you really require that your fans get authorization to discuss how they apply your work? I don’t think Stephen Covey needs to approve public articles on successfully applying his Seven copyrighted Habits. I too am an IP generator. I created a personal development system called Style Statement and whenever it’s been blogged about in a similarly methodically descriptive and positive way, I went out of my way to actually thank the writer for spreading the good word. In some cases I would even comment on the blog posts and begin to interact with the other commenters. Imagine…supporting those who support you…reinforcing the tribe…making your ambassadors even stronger ambassadors. In my world, that’s good business.

Let me know if you’d still like me to remove my post entitled: Entrepreneurial Time Management: How I Rock It, from my site. And I can (sadly) consider obliging, and never use that phrase in a viral sentence again.

Very sincerely,
Danielle

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