Is idea theft wrong?

Status: started.

When working in a creative industry or one that involves community events, it is likely you will be presented with ideas that you find interesting but are not in control of implementing.

This page details some scenarios that may arise from those situations and discusses their morality.


These scenarios do not consider profit or other gains made by implementing the idea. Gains would likely be determined by other market forces.

You should assume the participants cannot work together for whatever reason. If they could work together then this article does not apply.

Copy idea first

Albert has an idea and tells Anna about it. Anna implements the idea before Albert does.

Copy idea after

Beth has an idea and tells Bob about it. Beth implements the idea and Bob implements it after.

Copy and enhance idea after

Charlie has an idea and tells Chloe about it. Charlie implements his idea. Chloe thinks of an enhancement and implements both.


Waiting politely

If Albert is unable to implement the idea, then the world misses out on having it.

How long should Anna wait before deciding she should do it?