Let me ask you something, when the first human figured out how to use fire to keep warm, what do you think his friend did? He copied it. If he didn’t, he’d be dead. For humans, copying is learning. And the same is true in startups. It’s what we do to survive, and it’s what we do to evolve. How do you think you learned your native language?Of course this echoes Isaac Newton's famous quote:
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.I like the thought that ideas are freely exchanged and built upon without barriers. In a hypothetical (and optimistic) future world where humans do not need to "have a job" to live well, attribution, that is pointing to the originator of an idea when possible, would still be encouraged, but there would be no place for anything like copyright or patents in any domain whatsoever. As is the case today in some open source software communities, recognition, not financial profit, would be enough motivation to develop new ideas.