5 Creative Innovators Who Stole Their Biggest Ideas

Never lie, cheat, or steal. I think we can all remember learning these three basic principles in our first ethics lessons as young children. And I think we can all agree that lying and cheating is definitely discouraged; stealing, at least in the form of recycling ideas, can be appropriate when it comes to creative work. In fact, it may even make you famous.

Now, we're not telling you to rip off the Harry Potter plotline for your own fantasy project. There are rules and regulations behind recycling ideas and there are patents you can apply for that prevent others from taking credit. But doing research and exploring ideas you like can be a great starting point when faced with a new project — it gives you the opportunity to add your own creative twist.
 
We put together a list of some of the most famous thinkers from around the world, and how "stealing" ideas led them to success

1. Albert Eistein 

When most people hear the name of the famous physicist, they think: he was the one who discovered the theory of relativity. However, it was Hendrik Lorentz, a Dutch physicist, and Henri Poincaré, a French mathematician, who discovered the basic fundamentals of relativity that Eistein derived his theories from. 
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Although several formal publications were published by Eistein uncovering his theories behind relativity, no credit was given to Lorentz nor Poincaré and their contributions to Einstein's discoveries.

2. Alexander Graham Bell 

The telephone... can't imagine life without it. If you're thanking Alexander Graham Bell, you're thanking the wrong inventor. Italian inventor Antonio Meucci was actually the first person to invent a voice-communication apparatus, but failed to pay the full amount needed to complete the patent. Bell's hearing and speech studies led him to to experiment with hearing and communication devices. This eventually resulted in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876.

3. Mark Zuckerberg

Made famous by his social networking platform Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg rose to fame simply by appropriating an idea from his colleagues at Harvard. Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra originally teamed up with Zuckerberg to build HarvardConnection.com, a social network site only open to the Harvard community. 
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Inspired by the idea, Zuckerberg secretly developed his own social networking site called Facemash which eventually developed into Thefacebook. The site took the university by storm, and news quickly spread to his original team who believed his new site was a competing product to their original idea. 
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The Winklevoss brothers and Narendra later filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg, subsequently settling for 1.2 million shares in 2008 (worth $300 million at the time of Facebook's IPO). The social networking site now has over 1.65 billion users and is currently worth about $350 billion.  

4. Quentin Tarantino

I'm sure you're no stranger to the films of Quentin Tarantino. Known for his intricate character dynamics and gory death scenes, Tarantino entered the film industry with no formal background or training in film. Therefore, he had to rely on his own instincts to build his particular film style.
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The world-renowned director was heavily influenced by author Elmore Leonard, and copied Leonard's style of writing in the screenplay for True Romance. Another film influenced by Leonard is Jackie Brown, which some people say is a direct film adaption of Leonard's novel Rum Punch.
 
Although Tarantino used many different styles of writing and themes in his films, he was able to add his own approach to his films and ultimately create new art from old.
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Looking for some creative inspiration? Learn what else Quentin Tarantino can teach you about creativity.

5. William Shakespeare 

To steal or not to steal, that is the question. The accomplished playwright is known for classics such as Hamlet, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Twelfth Night that have proven to be timeless literature. It is well-documented that Shakespeare was heavily inspired by poetry. So much so that his tragic love story, Romeo & Juliet, was based on a poem written in 1562 by Arthur Brooke titled, The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet
 
Although the love story between Romeus and Juliet was a source in influencing Shakespeare's success as a playwright, the tragic ending we all know so well was not the same one that was in the poem. Shakespeare was able to add his own flair to a pre-existing idea that eventually became one of the most harrowing love stories ever written

Do you think "stealing" is essential to creativity?

Share your opinion in the comments.
 
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