Stop Stealing - all of you!

The internet gives us all unparalleled access to unlimited articles, blogs, workbooks, images and videos.

They are put up to inform, educate and entertain (see the old BBC strapline).

The upside of this information overload is that we get exposed to an incredible richness and variety. A by-product of the sheer volume of content has been the creation of intermediaries that direct you to the 'most appropriate' source, e.g. or

Another by-product is the growth of the curation and blogging industries that feed off the back of other people's work.

As an author, I have had people copying individual articles and book chapters yet claiming them to be their own. In one instance a university professor copied three book chapters and passed them off as his own work!

A couple of simple observations.

First, it is incredibly lazy.
Second, it is dishonest.
Third, it is stealing.
Fourth, it does your reputation no good in the long run.

So, let's be clear about what is and what is not stealing.

The excellent Fast Company article Content Curators Are The New Superheroes Of The Web was the stimulus to write this article. Steven Rosenbaum discusses the rise of the curator as the person who can bring specific and relevant content to an audience and save the audience time.

More importantly, the curator commands respect for their opinion as well as their hard work. They act like a quality controller ensuring that only certain content will be presented.

For instance, curators gather and share online content on a specific subject (see Likewise, subscribers will pay to see a specific curator's work. To have access to the efforts of someone who has selected and chosen specific material that will resonate with a specific audience (see

But, just taking someone else's material is stealing. So what makes this different?

It is stealing if you take content and use it and you don't add context or opinion or your own voice.

It is stealing if you don't provide attribution and a link or a URL taking the reader back to the original source.

It is stealing if
you just take a huge lump of content.

It is stealing if the original author states that you cannot reproduce the material without permission and yet you ignore their wishes.

A few years ago, the internet was a bit more of a free-for-all. Nowadays it is a more established medium. It has its own unwritten rules as well as a relatively unspoken etiquette. If the old world internet could be considered as the Attention Economy then the new one is really the Reputation Economy. And if you are seen or are thought to be stealing you will do your reputation no good.

What is great about curating is that it ticks so many of the new world sexy buzzwords: it is all about nurturing your reputation by being relevant and engaging your audience and being transparent.

Get curating. Be honest about how other people stimulate and motivate you to write. Your readers will respect your honesty and integrity. You will have nothing to hide. No-one really believes that you only create 100% unique and original ideas.

Just respect your sources.

Robert Craven -- UK's #1 Business Speaker (SpeakerMix)
The Directors' Centre - Ecademy Profile
- Follow me on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter

Read the new book, Grow Your Service Firm - download the sample chapters...

Find out more about Robert Craven's Mastermind Group

The Business Club - Free Tools and techniques to improve sales and profits
- Follow us on Facebook
- Follow us on Twitter

Connect with me at Robert Craven



Stop Stealing - all of you!

Heres that $5 I took from your bad. lol


Dean Grimshawe


Stop Stealing - all of you!

Well they say great minds think alike..... It's a difficult one really as 2 guru's may simply share philosophy's. I agree totally that 'nicking' ideas without any effort to develop your own is a tad shady, but what if 2 people have gone down different paths and come to the same conclusion? Who owns the idea then? I think that is the dangers of ideas and concepts as (admittedly intellectual property is a known entity) it is very difficulty to fence off and own. After all, if everybody wrote a book the only ones that would be truly original are factual accounts of personal experiences. Any of lifes' lessons or philosophy's will either overlap with others or be drawn upon from standing on the shoulders of giants. Besides, you're obviously doing something right RC and pushing forwards. I say great leaders are able to constantly evolve and lead the field while those that just copy will simply run out of material until you write your next book.


Engr. Obioha Ezekwesiri (ICT)


Stop Stealing - all of you! - POINT OF CORRECTION.

Hi Robert. Thanks for raising a serious topic. POINT OF CORRECTION: First of all, you said "Stop Stealing - all of you". Is it not wrong to direct this accusation to ALL OF US and thereby calling us criminals? Or did you mean SOME OF US? In that case, I will understand and shall agree with you, yet partially. Why I agree with you partially and not totally: Yes, we must at all times protect ours and the intellectual properties of others. However references are sometimes made and in making references, one has to cite the reference and of course give credit to the author. In one of my blogs titled THE TRUTH ABOUT NIGERIA, I copied articles from Wikipedia and of course gave credit to Wikipedia. A fellow Ecademia replied and asked me to stop copying from Wikipedia. To avoid further misunderstandings, I stopped that blog serie. Well, I did not hesitate to correct that notion because the subject in question in that article was The Nigerian History. As I could not re-write the History of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I felt free to copy it Wikipedia. So that is an exception I believe, same could be said of Encyclopedia, dictionary, constitution, and some public information. I do agree with you though that such should NOT be the case with private works without permission. Thanks for the reasonable reasoning. Obioha Ezekwesiri


Gordon Wheaton


Stop Stealing - all of you!

Good blog Robert and good well argued points Regards Gordon


Binh Zientek


Stop Stealing - all of you!

I couldn't agree with you more Robert. My articles have been stolen and plastered all over the internet without any mention of me being the original owner. I now feel reluctant to bother spending all that time writing just so some thief can steal it all so easily.


Jeff Mowatt


Stop Stealing - all of you!

Pay attention to this, an early conversation on what has since become a major interest area for business, social investment. The words below were written in the context of our previous experience. We'd published our copyright work on a social enterprise development initiative online to defend if from hijack by an oligarch, as described in Ukraine notes and identified as one of the root causes of social problems in the ''Death Camps for Children' article Reading it back now, I see reflections of the Ayn Rand perspective in the Fountainhead, except that its intention was what she totally opposed - altruism. "First, if stolen, it's stolen. It's not unlike an architect having a building design stolen. The architect/designer is in best position to understand exactly how it works and how to assemble what they've designed. If someone wants to use a project design, it's the same as any other project design. The design comes after an in-depth research phase, which in my experience tends to be extremely difficult not least from danger involved in shining light under rocks where the core problems are to begin with. That is, corrupt bureaucrats and officials. When I finish the research part -- which I always do so far (Russia/Crimea/Ukraine) -- I know exactly what the problems are, what solutions are needed, and how to navigate. Possibly someone else could take over and manage things from there on -- implementation. I have no problem with someone else implementing a project, and usually prefer that. Even if they do, it's still a matter of stolen property in which we've invested unilaterally to produce. Almost always, however, there may remain critical components that the implementer just doesn't want to bother with. Maybe it's too dangerous. Maybe there are political considerations and conflicts. In that case, the designer is likely the only person(s) to know how to get those done. That's when it's time to consult with the architect. Second, even if the project outcome, after theft, is what was envisioned by the designer(s), how does the venture qualify as a social enterprise? Sure, we can slowly design projects one by one as income from our funding side permits. We can do it a lot faster if we get paid for our R&D output, just like any designers. Finally, is it acceptable to build projects with stolen property? What sort of results would that lead to? Can be build an ethical system based upon unethical behavior (such as violations of Intellectual Property Rights)? If we invent such a system, is it anything new? Or is it just a twist on the old system? One thing that can be collaborated openly is this: a Code of Ethics. But, whose ethics? What org(s) will enforce them, and how? Who decides who gets in, how, and why? " It was the subsequent hijack of the project by a consortium of those we'd approached for support that left the writer without compensation and the funds to pay for his medical needs.


RealSteveHolmes Fading away soon


Stop Stealing - all of you!

I never steal anything. All my content is original (and brilliant) because I am a genius. If you are not brilliant you should shut up and read instead of clogging the airwaves with garbage. This means most of you. Golly, I'm almost as arrogant as you are (but honest about it).


John Paul


Stop Stealing - all of you!

It's a sad indictment of humanity where people make a living from coat-tailing. It used to be a simple matter of plagiarism. I've attended lectures where the whole shebang is references. We're getting on top of ourselves, methinks. Influence is one thing.


Fred Rutgers


Stop Stealing - all of you!

If copyright and authenticity are not repected the sources will dry up in the end! If they are respected everybody is better off in the end! Please do not let brain fruit go to waste!


Andrew Priestley


Stop Stealing - all of you!

Robert, I was at an event where the speaker Clare Rayner was talking about digital shopping and social media and her first words were: This is from Penny Power's book ... She ended that segment with ... "Make sure you get Penny's book because I've summarise only one or two ideas from chapter x." Nice.