Love Your Intellectual Property

I can’t say that I’ve loved everything I’ve ever written, but one thing that is true is that everything I have ever written has been written, of course, by me, which makes it mine.

Legally this is my intellectual property. Recently, in my Expository Writing Class, we spoke of how students and non-writing majors view their written work – mostly as things not worthy of imitation and, therefore, not worthy as intellectual property. If someone copies or takes an idea, who cares? You are just a student. Your ideas don’t have any value. You aren’t an expert so they aren’t a big deal.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Every idea you speak or write down has value.

First off, they are your ideas, and you should recognize that you are a unique individual with unique thoughts that are, in fact, valuable if not for their content then for their uniqueness and the fact that they come from you.

Second, don’t let anyone cheat off of you and recognize that taking your idea, no matter how little, and not giving you credit is cheating. You can collaborate, you can give permission, you can ask for a citation to be added in giving you source credit, but you need to somehow acknowledge that these ideas are yours and stand up for them.

Third, ideas grow over time and you want your name attached to your contribution to your part of that idea. It’s not for monetary purposes, really, but it helps you recognize the inherent value in your thought and helps build your academic esteem. Your thoughts are valuable. They are worth more than just being written once and sat side or left forgotten. Everything can grow and be built on in the future as you and your writing and ideas advance.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say, is don’t undervalue your work. I haven’t loved everything I’ve ever written, but everything I write is my intellectual property and contributes to the stream of consciousness that is my work which is in constant fluctuation and always growing.

We all deserve to recognize that our works have value and belong to us just as much as a famous author’s work belongs to them. You wouldn’t (hopefully) copy down a sonnet from Shakespeare and try to pass it off as your own, so don’t let someone else do that to your work and respect your own ideas.


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