design: impulsant
Monday, January 10, 2005

Case study: when is an idea public property

So, what happens with these great ideas here on IdeaBroker? Who owns them? What happens when you post something? If I post a great idea, even propose a domainname but don't act on it. What is the status of this idea? How long does it take before you can take someone elses idea and act on it?

These are not general questions; a few week ago Annedien posted a great idea for us here: MysteryMailer. I liked the idea from the start and said so in the comment field. The domain was still available and Annedien mentioned this. About a week later I was reading the articles again and noticed the MysteryMailer article. I checked the domain and it was still available. I figured she wasn't going to go ahead with the idea anyway and, without wasting time registered it. I started talking with my partners about this great concept I read on Ideabroker called MysteryMailer and they were even more enthousiastic about the idea.

Then I received a message from Annedien that she was a bit surprised that I registered the domainname. After all it was her idea. Now before I go on I have to admit; it IS her idea and i WILL give her the domain if she really wants to pursue the idea. But let's learn from this example. What happens with information you post here? Who owns it? I totally expect my ideas to be adopted by readers and if I don't want that to happen I don't post them. How do other posters/readers think about this issue? Did I steal this idea? Should I be able to take ideas and do with them what I want? Do we 'trust' each other not to copy each other ideas?

Your comments please...


  • I think everybody should read the creative commons legal mumbo jumbo on this website before taking a position ;)
    We will soon come up with an answer...

    By Blogger Bram, at 1:33 pm  

  • Well, I think if an idea is posted here, it's public domain. Of course good ideas shouldn't be stolen, but this is a public site. I think the idea of the mystery mailer is very good and I'd love to have some part in making it happen. But I wonder if the idea is that good, why she hadn't reacted upon it and why it was still "all in the open". Guess the ideamaker thing is better, behind closed doors.

    Yet... this makes for a new and interesting new idea... the Ideamaker/broker monthly meeting of firestarters, entrepeneurs and funders. An idea is launched on ideamaker, if there is at least one good idea, there's a meeting and the people involved (or who want to be involved) can attend (by invite only) and we can actually make the ideas happen.

    By Blogger Bas van de Haterd, at 5:36 pm  

  • There is a difference between creative commons and public domain. A big one. I for one truly believe we can achieve a commons for ideas that actually make it safer then having them in your head... Read the cc deed. Closed doors would set us back a decade. Think about how we can solve this in cyberspace. Stop saying it cannot be done.

    By Blogger Bram, at 12:11 am  

  • Excellent idea Bas. Expect to see a ideabroker roadshow soon...

    By Blogger Bram, at 12:14 am  

  • Interesting case study. However, after reading the text (assuming it's the full story), I don't think this is about the fundamental question whether or not ideas posted here are public property. I think this is about morality. If you want to use an idea, you should inform its master mind beforehand. If you not only want to use an idea, but also wish to use the exact branding name proposed by the author, you shouldn't just inform him - you should ask permission. Don't ask because some law or some licence tells you to (or not!). Ask because it's a decent thing to do. Afterall, it wasn't your idea. -- Robert

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 am  

  • Bram, can it be done? If you have an idea, I'm open for it. However, I fear the problem is one that's in people's heads. Making money of other people's ideas... everybody knows it's wrong, yet... many do it. So I do think ideamaker should be less open.

    Point is: the posters here respect each other. We are all innovation minded people. However, more then us read this. They cannot be tracked, they cannot be traced. That's the internet... How can you stop it?

    By Blogger Bas van de Haterd, at 3:47 pm  

  • I know...sorry is the hardest word! But if your intentions are right, it mustn't be that hard to give Annedien a call and get things sorted?

    By Blogger Edgar Neo, at 12:22 pm  

  • Hi Annedien,

    Great idea, but why not register (better be quick this time) there is more to the internet than the netherlands and this name has been registered before!

    By Blogger Erik Baumann, at 4:14 pm  

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