To Copy or not to Copy that is the Question

Embrace the Remix     Ecstacy of Influence     Molotov Man     Allergy to Originality

Wow what a bundle of mixed feelings and opinions. While reading and watching I felt pulled in so many directions – I see this issue from three angles.

As a technology enthusiast, I want all the best features in every device. The need for companies to put a name tag on every innovation and prohibit competitors from using it is frustrating. Why can’t my Xbox play music streaming from my iTunes library? It makes me, the consumer, feel like I have to choose between two friends after a breakup. Why can’t everything work with everything? One language would make things easier for everyone!

As a creative business owner, I want to make sure that my creations are unique. I once found another seller with a design very similar to mine before I released it. And, other shops have copied me. The only thing in my control was what I do so it pushed me to take the concept and create a completely different execution (that ended up costing less in time and materials). Although many people can come to the same solution to a problem, I think differences are strengths for both parties!

As a (shift + option+ k) employee I understand the need to protect the brand and the experience that sets it apart. Up until very recently, I could tell what brand made every laptop and smart phone from across the room. Now, as intimately as I work with the products every day, I mistake products for others all the time. I believe that a company has a right to protect it’s identity. Success here is determined by who can match usefulness of ideas with the timing when the public can accept them, so it can be execution of delivery as well as product that can be “stolen.”

Simplicity is hard. It makes me wonder…

Could there be a “Helvetica” of every field? A designer uses Helvetica when they want the reader to ignore the typeface and read the meaning of the text. Maybe “black glass with multi-touch” is the device that becomes invisible to focus solely on the interface underneath. Could each product and art category have it’s own Helvetica? In literature, would a saying like “kill two birds with one stone” ever  try to be claimed? Maybe there are some solutions that are so obviously the answer to a problem that they should be taken off the table and made fair game. So instead of a RACE to the moon, everyone can focus on getting there in style.

Also, my favorite quote from the reading: “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.”


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