April 26

World Intellectual Property Day

 

You’re been working for years on a complex fantasy trilogy that’s unlike anything that’s ever been published. You’re almost ready to share it with the world.

During the years you were crafting the story, painstaking word after painstaking word, you were careful never to share the ideas with friends or co-workers. You once heard that describing a story-in-progress with other people might make you less interested in finishing it.

More importantly, a writer’s paranoia kept you silent. You worried they’d accidently let details slip to some unscrupulous yet talented stranger, who would rush their version into publication before you had the chance. Or your friend would betray you on purpose — recognizing the brilliance in your original concept, unable to resist the undeserved shot at bestsellerdom.

You had to protect your ideas. You owned them.

Ten years was a long time to stay completely silent, however. You might have mentioned a few story concepts — but never enough to allow anyone to fill in the blanks.

Your protagonist was a _______, with a friend who suffered from _______. Together, they lived in a realm where _______ worked by different rules. Instead of a normal system of _______, the citizens had _________. Gold and diamonds were commonplace, but ________was considered precious. The most prized animals were a combination of ________ and _______.

Just a few teasing details. Nobody could possibly recreate your concepts from the fragments you shared.

Not even if they talked to each other, compared notes.

Which is why it was such a shock when you saw the trailer for an upcoming blockbuster movie. It couldn’t be. But it’s…it’s your idea. The filmmakers have stolen it somehow. All the key pieces, fitting together perfectly just as you imagined it.

You’ve spent your whole life writing this story, building this fantastical world. Spies broke into your house while you were at work and took secret photographs of your printouts. They hacked your computer and downloaded your story files. You also suspect that they entered your mind while you slept and stole your thoughts.

You can’t prove it, but you know they did it.

That whole imaginative world you created, they took away your whole world.