When people sit around a kitchen table and come up with an app idea that will change the world, at least one person will know for certain that he or she was the true originator of the idea. If the group members decide to call themselves co-founders of a company based upon the idea, typically special consideration will go towards the individual who originated the idea. There actually are worse misconceptions than this about the difference between idea ownership and product ownership when it comes to allotting equity in a company… like the belief in giving someone who does absolutely nothing stock in a company in which he or she was never directly involved.

Everyone has the right to produce digital content that is not an unauthorized replica of all or a portion of someone else’s product. It is illegal to copy a film, a musical piece, or other media without the consent of the contents’ copyright or trademark ownership. It is not immoral to produce anything that is not a direct copy of someone else’s product.

To label a product based on someone else’ idea as a “stolen idea” is almost as misguided as labeling a walk in the park as a theft of the community’s square footage. Ideas are public property once they are made public. Furthermore, non-disclosure agreements referring to the protection of ideas are indefensible despite popular belief and common rituals in business arrangements.

Therefore, please respect the rights of others to produce digital content that is not an unauthorized and direct replica of all or a portion of someone else’s marketable product.

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