2/26/15

Imitation Is Flattering, Impersonation Is Not.



By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest;
Third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius
For the last 24 hours, you might have noticed that Being Caballero’s social media presence was somewhat lessened. Usually, I am constantly sharing content and inspirational posts from other sites in our Facebook page, or replying on our Twitter. But yesterday was somewhat of a hectic afternoon and would like to clarify, as apparently some of the readers might have been misguided or misinformed, hopefully unintentionally.

A profile on several media sites popped up with almost our identical name and address, our logo and our page banner, although these had minor alterations. They inverted the color scheme of the logo and cropped out our social media link information. The person never openly stated he/she was Being Caballero, but neither did they deny it when several readers commented about my articles as they liked their pages.

When I noticed his/her use of the banner and the logo, I simply requested them to either give the appropriate credit (as stated in our Copyright Notice) or otherwise to remove. It wasn’t till I notice how this person implied authorship to the articles, that I was forced to take a more proactive stance.

I have never had issues with people sharing our quotes and articles, quite the contrary. I usually ask that, if they do, to not alter the image and give proper credit. That doesn’t always happen and I usually find out long after it’s made enough rounds online that it gets back to us. This happened with the “Boys will be boys” and “Search for a Queen” (special thanks to Druidess of Midian for her permission on using her image as a frame for our quote.) Yet, if you notice the version going around on this last one, it had my signature removed. (Never sign a quote in a place too easy to crop out. Lesson learned.)

Neither have I ever refused to reply a comment nor a message sent to me (to my editor’s dismay, I tend to do this without a proper review) or to help others starting out their sites or projects. Most of my contributors and collaborators are people who either helped me out when I started or I helped them out when they started. The rest are just like-minded individuals you meet along the way. Anyone who wants to contact me can easily do so. (Yes, I do enjoy stressing out my editor).

But as Al Capone once said “Don't mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.” That being said, I just want to clear up a few things to avoid any confusion.

  • The word “caballero” simply means “gentleman” (in reality it means a lot more, but that’s not the topic right now). It is also a very common last name in Spanish. Assuming that this is the issue, is like assuming that anyone could claim ownership to the word “gentleman”. On the other hand, our brand name “Being Caballero” may be seen for some as just two random words put together, but in fact, were carefully chosen to serve as our online identity while symbolizing the mission of our work.
  • The focus of our “memes” or images is the quote. A positive or thoughtful message that can be easily spread among our readers. Most of the quotes used are our own, unless otherwise specified, as we always do proper research to provide deserving credit. If it’s a regional saying, we state where it is from. If you don’t find anyone credited, it’s because is original. If you find someone credited and also our signature, it’s because we designed the layout and text format. Any image used in the background, is exactly that, background. We never claim creative ownership of backgrounds (as they were obtained online), although we always make sure to look further and verify their copyrights before using them. On occasions, even if they have no copyrights, if we find the photographer on said research we contact them directly out of respect of their work, to ask for permission to use their name and give their deserving credit, as we did with The Viral Gentleman.
  • Our brand name, logo, and slogan are our online identity. I have never hid my identity as the author, but there are plenty of others who help me make Being Caballero what it is. After everything is said and done, the message should always be more important than the messenger. With that out of the way, do consider that someone using our Logo as their own isn’t disrespecting me as much as they are disrespecting the efforts of everyone who helps make this happen, especially our readers. 

Anyone who wants to embark in promoting the Gentleman ideals, I wish them the best of luck and have our support. If they do so inspired by what we do here at Being Caballero, I am honored. If they ask for help, I am humbled. Because that is the main reason this and other sites alike exist; to help. Unfortunately, sometimes helping someone, means you have to teach a lesson you wish you didn’t have to.