I think there are basically two types of idea theft. One kind is illegal, but most of it isn't. I will call these two categories "Bad" and "The Worst". Today I'm going to talk about Bad.
I'm not sure how many of you were around for the Andrew Landon incident, but here's the story.
Several years ago, I got a phone call from a friend- "Hey, I just heard some of your music on some other dude's myspace page. You should check it out." So I did. His name was Andrew Landon. He had downloaded some of my songs from my myspace page and uploaded them onto his own music page. There was no credit given to me, and he had even written a story about what the songs were about. Come to think of it, he had even renamed them. The shocking part was that he had a much larger following than I did. At the time I had about a thousand myspace friends; he had around 12 thousand. He was also selling merch. One of his albums had my songs on it. Now just to clarify, these were my songs, my recordings, and my voice. After a little more research, I found out that he had been signed to a label out of the UK and was planning a tour. At the time, I was signed to a label, and they stepped in and threatened to sue, and the whole thing was over fairly quickly. (Just a side note, Andrew is still doing this these days under different names.)
It was pretty annoying at the time, but it was also easily solved, since what he was doing was obviously illegal. It was basically stamped out in one email. This was the kind of theft that I would consider Bad. When someone is caught doing this, they really have no choice but to throw up their hands and say "Ok, you got me. I'm a moron."
So here's the point. When that person is finally caught with their pants down, and they admit to what they did, they are doing what no one ever does anymore- a kind of confession. Even though Andrew was forced into that confession, it was so satisfying to hear someone actually tell the truth. Usually when people are caught in a lie, they just make up more lies. There's no language that I can use, no word strong enough to tell you how much I detest this kind of dishonesty. These people would read that last sentence, and say "Yeah, me too!" before even considering that this might be about them. This brings me to the introduction for Part II, "The Worst".
I won't go too much into this tonight, but I will say this- the worst kind of theft is not even illegal. Well, let me rephrase that, it's almost impossible to prosecute. Since these thieves know it's impossible to prosecute, they have the benefit of telling their accuser, "Go to hell, I thought of it first. You stole from me." And that's that. They will even go as far as degrading the one they stole from, just to keep up appearances. In case you can't tell, I've stepped over into Elsie's world for this one. Among the design blog/handmade crowd, this kind of theft is extremely common, and will never be corrected, admitted to, or apologized for. Just in case you are thinking, "Dear God, he sounds angry! I wonder if he's talking about me...", don't worry, I don't really know most of you that read this blog, and you all seem like very sweet people.
Now that I've officially become the downer of the year, I'm going to head to bed. After tomorrow's post, maybe I'll post another happy clip from my side project. Thanks for reading!