iSteal: Audi, Apple, and Unattributed Inspiration

Imitation is the greatest form of compliment, the old saying goes, but it seems as though originality has died a slow and lingering death over the years in favour of “whatever works best.” There is a theory in academic circles that nothing original has really been created for decades, or even hundreds of years. For instance, there is a body of work that links most of popular cinema to Joseph Campbell’s “Cycle of the Hero,” including film franchises like Star Wars. Essentially, the theory goes, all of these stories follow the same format and pattern as the original heroic tale, with only the names and places changed.

But, it’s one thing to have an archetype that you follow in creating fictional stories and entirely another thing to outright steal other people’s material in order to fashion your own. Popular music for the last decade has revolved around the same beats and style as music that came before it, and in many cases artists gain popularity and make a fortune covering the songs of other artists with, again, superficial electronic reworking. Technology is no different, with everyone jumping on the tablet bandwagon trying to duplicate Apple’s success with the iPad.

The most recent examples of blatant theft come from Apple and Audi, however. And, with big companies making an even greater fortune from other people’s material because they can’t think up their own, one has to wonder when we’re finally going to start demanding better.
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