The plague of plagiarism

I tend to believe that most people participating online do the right thing.

We invest time and energy in contributing to a collective understanding. I applaud Todd Defren and ShiftPR for sharing their work on the social media press release. Nielsen Online offers free use of their industrial-strength brand monitoring system through Blogpulse.

We celebrate the success of others. The community at large helped Chris Brogan and Julien Smith become New York Times best selling authors. We’ve cheered on my friends and former colleagues Charlene Li, Jeremiah Owyang, and Ray Wang (and Deb Schultz) in creating Altimeter Group.

We give credit where and when credit is due. As Dachis Group builds momentum and understanding around Social Business Design, most people have acknowledged our work in adding their own thoughts to the conversation.

However, as social media has mainstreamed, snake oil salespeople have started popping up everywhere. It may be true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – so what? If flattery means siphoning off attention and awareness that leads to business, then criticize me to your heart’s content. I’d prefer to be distinct and profitable then copied and commoditized.

It’s a simple economic fact that producers need incentive to produce. Social media isn’t socialism. When I see work get plagiarized, my natural reaction is to pull back and share less. Which is unfortunate, because I’ve experienced how connecting and collaborating with a larger ecosystem has driven improved outcomes. However, this ensures the preservation of value for constituents who matter most – my clients.

As we sit poised before flu season, many people have prepared themselves with vaccines and behavioral changes. The equivalents in social media may be Creative Commons and behind-the-scenes process changes. Just as public health officials monitor for signs of outbreak, you can monitor using tools like Google Alerts, BackType/Tweets, and CopyScape.

I wonder if this will be enough.

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  1. my only problem with this sort of commentary is this……while there are “snake oil” salesmen in all walks of business, I take issue with those who decide to anoint themselves and their friends to some rarefied position versus all others. The best way to separate the wheat from the chaff is through actions and quality! These predictable “how to spot a fake” post are unbecoming.

  2. Bob, I think identity helps drive credibility. Wheat exhibits very distinct characteristics, easily found and identified as credible. The chaff often cast stones from a shield of anonymity, going back to their job of peddling snake oil today, carrying their carpetbags from one blog to another.

  3. Pete, I wish people would spend the same amount time doing the right thing as they do trying to game the system and get ahead-the results might be the same with the only difference being that at least they could at least look people in the eye when they speak. Part of our family crest is the latin term, “Virtus Sola Nobilitas”…It resonates for me. Hang in there.

  4. Interesting, Bob. Correct me if I’m wrong, Peter, but I interpreted this post not as a “how to spot a fake” post, but as a post that called us to be thoughtful about the content we create, driven by our own unique perspectives and ability to integrate ideas.

    If Peter’s not calling on us to think our own thoughts and share our own ideas… then I need to learn to read again.

    If he can share tools to help people get visibility into who is stealing / plagiarizing “original” thoughts vs. who is citing others and building upon their thoughts, then he’s doing us all a service.

  5. This is a great yet concise overview of the problem. I find myself getting more and more frustrated when I run into plagiarized content, and I am shocked at how often it happens, even with reputable news sources. I’m definitely a voter for more quality in social media, or in business in general.

  6. Try being the author of 20 books, on technology and data security, and end up finding them as a free download on file sharing sites. Now that hurts!

    Part of my job is hunting down these offenders and notifying them to remove our books. It’s not exactly plagiarism but when someone steals your hard-earned work, and you lose money, it’s pretty much like being robbed, in my estimation.

    Business Development Mgr. for
    Best Selling Technology Author,
    Peter H. Gregory

  7. Peter, you bring up some interesting ideas. However, I do think that we need to carefully distinguish between the old problem of “plagiarism” and the newer problem of judging competence in social media. (If I accuse someone who is plagiarizing me of selling snake oil, then what does that mean I am selling? Ha!)

    David Armano provided a singular example, but of what I am not sure. From the context, it is still not clear to me whether the example cited by David is a clear cut case of “plagiarism”, or whether it was instead someone’s carelessness or ignorance of editorial protocol.

    Meanwhile, the “selling of snake oil”, it seems to me, may or may not involve plagiarism. If you are seeing “everywhere” what you consider to be snake oil sellers, then I think you need to define for us what you consider to be the evidence, the tip-offs, the warnings signs; without this, such an allegation sounds too much like ‘my snake oil is better than your snake oil”.

  8. Perhaps you should be more specific and call out the people you suspect of plagiarism?

    Isn’t transparency one of the key tenets of this new open world which we are building?

  9. Bob, let me clarify.

    A couple Sundays ago, I received a Google Alert on “social business design” and I recognized Armano’s writing from the summary. The problem was that the source wasn’t his blog – it was a totally different URL. I called the site owner and he told me via phone there was nothing wrong with what he was doing – all content is freely available via RSS. We agreed to disagree and I told him I’d like to know what people on Twitter thought: . He immediately pulled the site down and relaunched with an added line above posts stating “Posts are pulled via RSS feed from writer’s blog.”

    Then a funny thing happened. I noticed from his LinkedIn profile that he’s a Harvard Business School student, but he’s not listed in the Harvard student directory. Other people (who I won’t drag in here) noticed things too:
    ” @peterkim here is @evolvemarketing’s endorsement – and here is @timferris’s

    This person sells marketing services using faked credentials. That’s what we mean by selling snake oil.

  10. Spot on! Thank you for addressing a subject that cannot be overemphasized. Giving credit where credit is due is a sign of character.Just because content is online, doesn’t make it FREE from appropriate credit nor fair game.
    As an author who has had my books “lifted”, every time I read something that I wrote in How to Work a Room or The Secrets of Savvy Networking in some newish book, I feel the blade.

    All it takes to be legal and ethical is the proper use of quotation marks and/ a form of attribution. Really, it’s that easy. Just think of it as Retro Retweeting.

  11. Steve, I was being polite. But since you asked, it’s not that I suspect anything, it’s because I’ve seen plagiarism in action. Here are some examples:

    Last year I managed this project: . This person remixed the content with no attribution, but did manage to add a nice plug for his company at the end: . His explanation? “This data already given on many websites. I have compiled visually n make it easy for audience.”

    Here’s another good one. I decided to share this massive project last year with the world: . How about this: ? Most people have kindly added attribution when I’ve pointed out this little oversight. Like this:

    I’m all for sharing and have a sense of humor…otherwise I wouldn’t blog.

    To your question, social doesn’t require 100% transparency. Being a social business does not mean a corporation resembles some kind of utopian, no trade secrets commune. What it does mean is that they take advantage of opportunities BY DESIGN in rethinking customer participation, workforce collaboration, and business partner optimization.

  12. Great ideas don’t just spontaneously happen. For hacks like me, the creation of a reasonably good idea that really resonates takes time to refine and iterate. Consider the example of traditional media industries (specifically TV, film, books, music), who over the years evolved a production model that manages the risk of the creative process. They created a system for reducing the risk associated with turning ideas into money. These publishers had the benefit of craftsmen who knew the value of honest work, and a public willing to pay a fair price for the finished product.

    Today, ideas are far more fungible than media. Producers are far more willing to produce spec work and consumers are less concerned with the name/credibility of the source than how fast they got it.

    The three tools you mentioned may suffice for the truly lazy who have automated IP theft in exchange for Adsense dollars. I suspect the principles that undergird steganography are in fact the same factors that threaten the livelihood of bona fide innovators.

    If you accept this conceit, then you might also consider the example of local sales tax. While IP licensing provides a system for the equitable treatment of producers, today’s sales tax framework likewise allows for the proper attribution to the local governments that make the whole US system of law possible. My fear is that the results of wanton disregard for fair remuneration is unnoticeable at the onset, but becomes a catastrophe when network effects are applied.

    In my 2005 blog post “The Napsterization of Sales Tax” (below) I noted that Ohio led the states in losing some $597 million in sales tax from purchases made over the Internet. Today, Ohio is one of the states most impacted by the downturn. Only a systematic approach to attribution, both for tax and IP, will turn the tide.

  13. Here’s another example. In April 2009 Guy Kawasaki posted a column on “How to Demo Twitter” which included a shout-out to a Powerpoint presentation entitled “Twitter for Business”. The presentation included a set of Technorati bookmarks from an individual at Ogilvy’s 360DI practice.

    While scanning the bookmarks, it turned out there was another presentation on the Ogilvy 360DI site with the same title – and when I opened it, I found it was a word-for-word duplicate. Embarrassingly, the copycat didn’t even have the brains to re-create the links in their own account…they had merely created a new artistic slide design.

    Since I brought it to Guy’s attention via Facebook, the copycat’s name has been taken out and all links removed from the page. You can see that page here.

  14. I agree with you Peter. I agree with you so much on this issue that I hide my company’s twitter account from others I feel would monetize my thoughts and programs as their own. I like to pretend that I am a social media snob to make light of it, but the fact is I have a business to run and I don’t want my practices reappearing as if they were the brainchild of some bozo who wants to run a reputation mgt company on programs that weren’t intended to used in such fashion. It irks me to think that people agree with 100% transparency b/c the fact is levels of disclosure do and should exist. (by the way, I am probably more on the extreme on reasons to stay private, but I’ve seen the teeth from those who tried to show a smile).

  15. Amazing when I engage in social media I realize how many people see it like me. The world is small after all. I was asked years ago why do we give away so much information… for free. The answer came so naturally I said “The beauty about being creative regardless of what medium is you will always have “another” idea.” I still smile about it today. You have a great conversation going here thanks for posting.

  16. Your desire to be polite and professional in your initial post is to applauded. However, I doubly applaud your calling out of transgressors in the comments. I believe the more people are called out publicly on this sort of lifting-with-no-attribution the more they will be shamed and, hopefully, think twice before employing parasitic practices. Publicly Tweeting about the the site that lifted Armano’s work is a perfect example of this in action.

    Maybe it’s time to start a Wiki of Social Media Plagiarism. 😉

    Sunlight truly is the best disinfectant.

  17. I really like the way you write Peter.

    Some examples of the plagiarism you’re thinking about would be good. A lot of the “snake oil salespeople” are not even good at plagiarizing. They simply “are.” Just like spam simply “is.”

  18. you know, maybe social media practitioners should learn to follow the P2P programs developed by companies like Brand Asset Digital, at least you can get paid for your work through these applications. Not sure if that will help, but maybe some of the practices will spawn a new method of controlling how others filter commentary and creative licensing.

  19. I LOVE when people snipe my stuff. It means I know that I own them. Take all you want, babies. I’m making the new stuff up and you can have it when I’m done.

    I hear you, though. I know that it can smart. But the thing is, I make my money whether or not someone steals my blog content.

    The OTHER part of the equation, smacking down the snake oil types? Well, that’s something that’s on my mind right now. I can’t abide all the people pulling money from other people’s pockets by selling them incorrect advice, or by charging huge fees for simple work that’s not worth the price.

    That’s who I’m hunting. Er, watching.

  20. 10 years ago just as I launched my career in advertising, I approached a national retailer with an idea. They thanked me for it, and said they were under contract with an ad agency and thanked me again. A month later, my idea was their lead idea on their website. Word for word. But their thank you note was written so that it didn’t reference the idea at all and so I had no proof that I sent them the concept. I pulled way back – weary of giving any IP away to anyone.

    Last year I found Social Media. My first concern was saying too much here – that someone else would pick up on and profit from. I still believe that Intellectual Property is going to be a huge issue as SM progresses and grows, but because I know the Copyright Laws now, I don’t fear others taking ideas nearly as much. Besides, after ten years in the biz, I’ve learned how to temper my IP so I’m never saying too much. that being said, if someone takes an idea I blog about (for example), then I figure they need it a lot more than I do. The one thing about plagiarism is that it’s a lie – people who steal can’t replicate the original idea or push it into new uses without some difficulty. Truth wins out most of the time. If I don’t believe that, I may as well give up SM altogether.

  21. Jim – I like what you said. Much of what we’re discussing (lifting blog content, passing it off as one’s own without adding value) paralleled what I saw when I was in law school. In a collaborative environment, we all shared outlines for each class, each professor, handed down from previous students… but the rub is if you don’t add your own thoughts, notes, commentary, you’re likely going to end up at the bottom of the curve. The game here was creative, analytical thinking – how to challenge oneself and one’s classmates.

    In a less collaborative environment, forget sharing outlines. People pulled books off the shelves so classmates couldn’t find them. Others kept tabs on how much people were studying. It was like crabs in a bucket – forget learning from each other. It was about who was going to make law review. It was about being better than 90% of your classmates.

    This makes me wonder if Chris’, Marc’s, and Jennifer’s comments indicates a strength of self-confidence and intellectual / creative competence.

    *disclaimer – I have yet to finish law school and I also don’t have good data for my assertions. This is based on anecdotal evidence and personal experience, so take it for what it’s worth.

  22. An, I think part of it, is a general feeling that most of these people don’t have the confidence to create their own content as well as perhaps the competence to do so coupled with a general lack of laziness. I just don’t what the distribution is.

    Though that doesn’t really solve the dilemma, nor does it really put it in perspective. Ironically I did a post just recently titled, “Social media is free but I’m not”, and I wanted to send it to Leigh Durst, so I just went ahead and Googled it to save time. I found it on 3 other sites without any type of attribution. Great!

    Maybe we need to take Chris’s posture? I don’t know.

  23. Wow, the topic of plagiarism has drawn a lot of comments…and raised a lot of emotion. Thanks, Peter, for starting the discussion. I’ve personally experienced my ideas taken by others throughout my career. As an author, consultant, teacher and frequent speaker, my reputation (as well as my income) is, in part due, to the ideas I put out there.

    Of course we all know that plagiarism isn’t new. Students write papers and the professors like the ideas so much they take them and make them their own without attribution (“don’t have to because it wasn’t ‘published’). Businesses talk with prospective employees, like the ideas they hear, and implement them without hiring the originator ( Jim Mitchem described this type of problem here). Now we see that blogs, presentations and websites contain ideas that others plagiarize without attribution.

    What seems to be new here is first, we can more easily see when our ideas are taken by others. As Brian, Peter and others mentioned, we can easily scan, receive Google Alerts, and search. We can find those who plagiarize at much lower personal cost (in the past, you hired an investigator or lawyer to search for you if you wanted to know if something was plagiarized, now you “google” and find it). Second, while clear plagiarism is wrong, the concept of transparency raises some issues of where the line is drawn. As Chris Brogan mentioned, he doesn’t care if someone uses his ideas…he makes money anyway. Andy McAfee is widely acknowledge as the person who ‘coined the phrase’ Enterprise 2.0; does that mean that every time someone uses it they must give credit to Andy? Are you plagiarizing when you see a link in a tweet, click on it, read the article, then send out a new tweet with different words but a link to the same article? So the question is, where is the line drawn? In the web 2.0 space, if you post something are you consenting to let others use it?

    For me, the widespread plagiarism in this space must be ‘managed’ by the same features of this new world that created it…the openness and transparency of web 2.0 (As Steve said here). Calling out plagiarism when you find it is fair game (of course, you must be sure that it is plagiarism, and that the ‘offender’ really stole the idea..sometimes that is not really easy to prove). Those who plagiarize unintentionally must be given notice and an opportunity to correct themselves. But I personally think it’s critical that clear cases be exposed.

    The openness of the Web and the willingness of contributors to put their ideas out there for discussion are what make this new environment so strong. I’d hate to see it any other way. As Michael Krigsman said here, it happens to frequently…ugh. But he continues to write his informative blog!

  24. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. To build on your last paragraph and push some ideas in a positive direction, here are some examples that come to my mind where I’ve invested hours of work that sparked great thinking in new applications:

    – A wiki of social media marketing examples ( ), which inspired a wiki of social media monitoring solutions ( ) and community-generated analysis ( ).

    – Social Media Predictions 2009 ( ), which inspired Marketing in 2009 ( )

    – A list of social media marketing examples ( ), inspired by Mashable’s ( ), which in turn produced a channel-segmented list ( ) and other country-specific lists

    Pretty cool stuff, much better than going it alone.

  25. Very Cool Stuff, Peter. Your thought leadership has strongly influenced the field. These types of stories are what I think makes the social web so interesting. The cross-pollination of ideas to create something even better than any of the initial individual parts is certainly where the value come from. Thanks for sharing these examples.

  26. A thought provoking post, and some good conversation around it. I especially relate to what Chris Brogan said about his interpretation of Snake Oil. It’s getting under my skin because I see the potential for people to get ripped off by those looking to make a quick buck. When the “hotness” of social media fades, these folks will move on to something else but not before they’ve duped a few small and perhaps even big businesses. Yeah, I think these are matters worth discussing, debating and calling out.

  27. But David, if the small (or especially big!) company is “duped” who is really to blame? Snake Oil salesman in the classic sense relied upon being able to get to the next town before anyone found out that their patent cures were fake. And upon the lack of a communications infrastructure so that word didn’t spread of their lies. But today we all (whether in social media or not) depend upon our online reputation, the work we have done, the people we have worked with and for — all of this is part of the public record. Any business hiring a consultant should look into the credentials, not just take them at face value.

    I am not defending con artists and not denying that people get ripped off. Just wondering why it gets under your skin. The most important stuff you guys are doing — contributing to an international discussion about the future of business, building great market relationships and recognition for your thought leadership and great work. Contributing is oh so much better than the alternative, even if your words are plagiarized once in awhile!

  28. Peter, I think part of the issue here isn’t always outright plagiarism (and yes I get your point), but sometimes I think that there’s a social media fishbowl or think tank occurrence. I have written several posts only to have similar posts written later by people I know. For example, I wrote a post on social media scalability ( on November 30th. Then David (Armano) wrote a post on scalability on January 10th ( Could I say that David “borrowed” my idea on scalability? Some might, but I am TRULY doubtful that happened (So much so, I can hear David chuckling at the mere notion). I bet he didn’t even seem my post. As well, how do I know that someone didn’t think I ripped off the notion of scalability from someone else? I don’t read everything that’s out there and I base my posts on my own experiences. But aren’t we bound to trip over each other every once in a while? I mean Valeria just had a post on this very topic a few weeks ago…

    If you mean outright plagiarism, yep, I have an issue with that. However, in this space people are going to take ideas from thought leaders like you, David, Chris Brogan, etc. without actually taking the time to figure it out for themselves. It’s easier to take thought leadership notions rather than experience social media for oneself and come to conclusions of one’s own…kool-aid drinkers or snake oil salespeople if you will.

    As well, this isn’t the first occurrence of the social media snake oil sales or carpetbaggers or “experts” [Hey David! Didn’t you tell me to let this topic go and move on?! ;-)] and it surely won’t be the last.

    My only conclusion is that you’re tired of getting ripped off Peter… we ALL are. But haven’t we helped to create the environment by giving SO much away? I know you don’t think social media is socialism (I completely agree), but the tides are against you my friend when there are things like Social Media Club telling people: “If you get it, share it.”

    My question is what do we all do to change the tide? Or do we do nothing?

  29. If we do nothing, then are we accepting the (I assume unacceptable) status quo?

    “If you get it, share it” – it’s an interesting thought and tying it back to Marc’s point… if you give people time to reason out thoughts, processes, and reach conclusions themselves, it can go a long way to helping them establish confidence and competence. So yeah – share a thought. Maybe two… but don’t give a man a whole fish farm along with the infrastructure and resources to keep it productive for the next 1k years.

    Maybe just share / give something to get started. There will always be more questions to ask, policies to propose, and ideas to think. The people worth their salt will ask some questions. They’ll keep trying. They’ll learn and ask new, different questions. They’ll share back.

    The execution of said ideas will be the value. It’s been said but I think worth repeating – it’s a damn shame when people don’t execute on the ideas, visions, or plans they’ve sold, if execution is part of the scope of work.

  30. An, I think if we do nothing, yes, we are accepting it for what it is. I agree with what Marc is saying too…share — a bit.

    My only thought is I often see people who don’t want to earn their stripes, oh, sorry, I mean they don’t want to “reason out thoughts, processes, and reach conclusions themselves.” They would rather point fingers at people like Chris Brogan and accuse *him* (and people like him) of being a snakeoil salesperson because *he* doesn’t want to give them “a whole fish farm along with the infrastructure and resources to keep it productive for the next 1k years.” (LOVE the analogy…as always you know I think you are a genius my friend!)

    I hate to beat a dead horse, but this is just another reason why I totally dislike the term “social media marketing.” Because it provides a false pretense that anyone who gets social media tools gets marketing and I really think that’s not the case. An, it goes right back to your point (if I understood it correctly) about people not executing on plans. The snakeoil sales person can’t because they don’t understand the actual execution and market ramifications of said execution. That’s why they plagiarize the ideas to begin with…

    I think Peter’s post has spun a few issues we are all facing right now…there are a few directions to take with this one.

  31. To your point on scalability Beth, I wrote a post on August 22, three months before you. ( ) I wrote about plagiarism in February ( ), seven months before Valeria. These are fundamental intellectual + business issues and I don’t claim to be the first to write about them, nor do I believe that those two posts have been plagiarized. To your question about what we do, check out the comment thread in that broken windows post – what you find may be disheartening.

    Did you read the comments above where I point out specific examples? I think those speak for themselves. I agree with Chris’s comment above and I’m running fast enough to stay ahead of the pack. I’ve evolved to focus on social business design. And people are already applying reductionist viewpoints and recasting the idea into something lesser than it is, because they don’t truly understand the framework.

    Sounds like it’s time for people to rethink the ideals espoused by Social Media Club, et al. Because value from social business lies somewhere between 1+1=3 and a zero-sum game…

  32. Serendipity happens and, when it doesn’t, you just need to assume that you have accumulated social capital. Griping about it is the equivalent of strutting before crowds. The only thing to do, as Peter says, is to up the ante in analytic and business terms.

  33. OK so my first thought is that the people in Social Media Club get their ideas from?…and they can be shaped by…? I don’t think it’s worth “going after” people that are going to cut corners at every pass. They will always do what they are going to do. They’re like cockroaches. They disappear when the lights come on. But I do think it’s worth going after people who are earnest in learning and buying into the nuances of social business and not necessarily dismissing those that don’t truly understand the framework. We just need to keep the light on…longer.

  34. Peter, trust me, I totally get the point of your post. My point was to simply state that as waves of people come into social media behind you, David, and Chris (like I did) and others become involved after me and whoever… we can see happening what An suggested: “reasoned out thoughts, processes, and reached conclusions.” From that regard we are bound to see similar posts with inflections of that person’s experiences. That is NOT plagiarism and I wanted to make a point so that people are clear. It’s when I don’t see those reasoned, though out posts from people, but instead pointing fingers and stolen content that I get annoyed with this space.

    I totally find the comments in your broken window post disheartening… But, hey, that’s just the way it is. Social media *is* easy if we all have that viewpoint, eh? (Sarcasm.)

    I believe a lot of folks are already re-thinking those social media ideals, they just aren’t talking about it out loud because they are heads down in actual work.

    P.S. Just to note, Teresa Basich and I did write a post on David’s garden analogy (re: social business design). It was NOT meant to apply a reductionist view, but to only add the analogy. I am hopeful you both saw it that way… I don’t think we touched on SMBD (how could we have?), but social media in general. And perhaps from that regard it was seen as reducing the value of what you and David are working on as thought leaders. For that I sincerely apologize.

  35. Beth, I think you understand my point. Yeah, sometimes I sell a strategy, but if I also don’t sell a good process to execute that strategy, I’m not adding as much value to my clients as I could. Luckily, I also work with such great clients, they ask the questions and learn how to adjust if they really care to. If they don’t, they call me and ask – either way, they’ve got social media in their marketing mix.

    Beth, it’s possible that one can get “social media tools” and one can get “marketing” but it doesn’t necessarily mean that same individual can put the two together right away.

    I’ll “sell” myself as a “social media marketer” because execs / decision makers think that’s what they need. Perhaps I’m selling myself short or doing myself a disservice, but at the end of the day, did I produce measurable value for my clients? That’s what I really care about. I mean, if I were able to get projects and assignments as a “Fishery Trainer” that produced leads, page views, a lower cost per acquisition, or whatever we agreed upon, call me a Fishery Trainer.

    Also, who bears the responsibility for making sure that there’s value created? The person who bought the services, or the person delivering the services, or both?

  36. Peter,
    Good post – frank and straight. I personally feel that snake oil salesmen, who plagiarize others, may not go far. After a series of lucky escapes, they would eventually be exposed as…well, snake oil salesmen. But should we let them run that far? Of course not – your annoyance (anger?) is completely justified given the effort Dachis’ efforts into this space thoughts and articulating them.

  37. I totally agree. So many (desperate) folks looking to Social Media to revitalize lagging careers – many want to be come a guru over night and will swipe whatever is out there and bill themselves as an expert readily. It concerns me very much, too. Wiki with screen shots and open discussion? What do we do?

  38. Here is an alternative point of view:

    The Universe does not exist to meet our needs and life isn’t fair for anyone. We have different potential, skills, and circumstances around our lives, but we have one thing in common – we are all using what we can in order to increase our chances of survival in a competitive environment. Some are trying to protect their IP, knowledge or information for their individual advantage, others are trying to steal or commodify it. The whole development of social media is about that. Like it or not, it’s a global struggle for fairness.

    You can go complain about being robbed, try to coin rules you perceive as fair, or you can acknowledge other’s right of existence, respect their differences, and cooperate with them in a symbiotic manner to increase each other’s chances of survival.

    People will not leave resources unused. If you cannot draw the maximum benefit from your products, someone else will try to do it. Better work with him than against him. Works perfectly for me.

    And then if you are getting enough benefit from what you create and you also benefit others, you will be consent enough not to care about attribution at all.

  39. Wow! Interesting, couldn’t stop reading ’til the end. For a low tech person like me, reading what you all said just blew me away.You guys are dealing with IP plagiarism and I’m just trying to deal with your every day homework plagiarism. All of this just gets me thinking about the mighty power of high tech social networking. I think sharing knowledge is really noble but it’s unfortunate people abuse this selfless act because of their inferiority and selfishness. But in the end, if you were the chosen ones to come up with certain cool ideas, chances are you’ll come up with new better ones. Advertising is not my field but I have a passion for it. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts.
    TITLE: Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week
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    There is always good content to read on the web – but in case you missed the best of it, here is my take.

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