Don’t Copy This

There’s currently a case in the Supreme Court about… Cheerleader uniforms. According to columnist Brent Kendall, of the Wall Street Journal,

“In a vigorous debate on Monday, the high court spent an hour considering when the design elements of clothing can be eligible for copyright protection, an issue that required the justices to consider the qualities that make a cheerleading uniform what it is.”

I need news condensed into simple terms, so if I asked, here’s what’s happening: Someone had a great design for a uniform. Someone else duplicated it. The first guy felt like he got ripped off, because he wasn’t getting credit or money for his ideas. He was unhappy. Very, very unhappy.

I’m not law-savvy enough to know who is right in this argument. I do know that imitation is “one of the sincerest forms of flattery (see this kid’s halloween costume),” but that getting copied feels like a rip off.

While I am a big proponent of seeing something that worked well for someone else, borrowing ideas, and sharing creativity, I recognize that duplicating someone else’s work without crediting them is, in loose terms, stealing.

But it’s hard to be creative on your own. That’s why it’s so important to work in unison, to create surrounded by other creative people, to make things that matter for important causes. If someone else does something amazing, share their work. Don’t copy it. Use their idea to start your own project, but make it different, make it you, and give them credit for the original.

We go farther together than we go alone.

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