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Ethics of Stealing an Idea?

Hey Sebastian,

I read your latest post about not having time to properly answer e-mails, so I'll keep this short.

What's your take on using an idea that you've seen on an internet forum or social networking site, and basing your next business project on it? For example, a member posts an idea that they have on a public forum, and everyone responds with, "Wow, that's a great idea - you should start a business and make some cash!" The member says that they just do it as a hobby and aren't really interested in making money.

If someone comes along and sees that, they indeed may want to take on the project and start making profit off of it, essentially stealing the idea and reaping the benefits.

Is that wrong? Since it was posted online for all to see on a public forum, hasn't that member forfeited any rights he had to the idea originally?

On Imported Blog

Nose fetishism (nose fetish or nasophilia) is a paraphilia in which an individual is attarcted by the sight and touch of noses. This is what answers.com has to say about a condition I proudly possess.This,of course,affords me many embarrasing moments. No wonder that I am a fan of her flat,not-so-special nose.It doesn't go on unnecessarily.Her nose is stout,soft. I am riveted to her,and even claim that I endear it more than her. Weird? Agreed.But,hey,facts are facts!

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