Sheila Whittaker
Category: Gong Work

Plagiarism and Passing Off

I’ve written before about the Course I have run for theCollege of Sound Healing for the last ten years – the Gong PractitionerTraining Course. The College has been using that title “Gong PractitionerTraining Course” for over ten years. It’s one of the College’s mostpopular courses, written by me for the College 11 years ago at the request ofSimon Heather, the principal. We are well known and established within the GongCommunity, with countless word-of-mouth recommendations from the manyparticipants we’ve trained over the years, since 2010. It’s a very successfuland in-demand course, and its success is due in part to our promotional hardwork, personal recommendation, the College’s good name, and the quality of theCourse and its teaching. We are usually fully booked every year, this yearbeing no exception. Interest in the gong work has exploded in the last fewyears, and now many people want to learn about this wonderful healing tool.


As with anything that is successful, there are always goingto be people who resent someone’s success – we’ve all come across these smallminded individuals who object to others being fully in their own power andbeing successful, because it mirrors their own lack of worth. Additionally, whensomething stirs the public interest, there will also be those who want to “jumpon the bandwagon” and try to emulate it or cash in on the sudden surge inpopularity, for their own benefit. Unfortunately that is now happening with thegong work, both with training courses and group gongbath sessions. This meansthat if you are looking for a gong training, care is needed to make sure youfind a long-standing and high quality training with experienced , ethical andintegrous teachers.


The College of Sound Healing has had an issue recently withsomeone who has put on their own gong course, and used the same name as theCollege’s already long-established course – imagine that! Not only is the name virtuallyidentical, but the format is also very similar, with the same courserequirements and conditions. I even spot small bits of wording and similaritiesin their blurb that would seem to be mine! I don’t believe it happened byaccident  – it’s all too similar to becoincidental. I think we have been plagiarised.


Of most concern, from my point of view, are the moral and ethical issues involved – it’s simplynot right or fair to take someone else’s course name/title and use it as yourown; and then to continue using it especially after it’s been politely pointedout and a name-change requested. Why would you then continue using that same title,unless the purpose is to confuse enquirers and give the impression that it isthe same as the original College course, and thus hope to intercept theCollege’s hard-won traffic? Why not use some imagination and come up with yourown exclusive course title, then there’s no confusion at all, and everyone ishappy? And when it’s pointed out, why would you argue and not agree to changeit to something else, knowing that you are seriously treading on the College’stoes by doing this?


Trademarks and copyright (the College does have copyright onthe Course and title) can be difficult to prove, but “passing off” – a form ofplagiarism - is a much clearer matter. This is when someone puts out a workwhich closely resembles that of another person or body, and passes it off astheir own. Copying titles, content and other material comes under this heading.I’m not saying that this is definitely what has happened in this case, but thegeneral opinion is that there does seem to be clear evidence of passing off,and the aggressive reaction of the person running the other course to my politerequests to make changes rather confirms that. They’ve been caught out anddon’t like it!


Obviously we’re not at all happy about this situation, andwe are taking legal advice. We’ll see what’s suggested then decide what to do.In the meantime, please know that if you come across any Course with the titleGong Practitioner Training, it might not be the original 10-year established Collegeof Sound Healing Course – it could be the plagiarised one, so do check thebackground. The only two tutors who teach the College’s Gong PractitionerTraining Course are myself, and my colleague and fellow College gong tutor AngelaMason over in Sussex. In short, beware of copies!


Sheila Whittaker 4.10.19


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