Instagram copying Snapchat: is this really idea theft?
You would expect PitchMark to agree with the notion that Instagram, Snapchat and various other social networks are engaging in idea theft by continually copying each other's features - but we don't.
The article Instagram And Snapchat Become Copycats Of Each Other. Again. certainly does raise some good questions about how much (or how little) innovation actually goes on when the various social sites start to eerily resemble each other: "Snapchat is slowly becoming Instagram, which is slowly becoming Snapchat, meaning that all social media sites are morphing into one another".
But in our view, idea theft is something entirely different.
Consider that the companies involved are copying products which have already been launched. These aren't just ideas on paper, shared discreetly with a prospective client or investor. They are already out in the public domain. Sure, their competitors are copying the concept, but you see that in all manner of industries where companies catch up to competitors by replicating their unique selling propositions.
Idea theft is when the only thing that exists is an idea, and another company or person takes it and extracts an economic benefit before you have had the chance to. This hurts the most when you are an individual with limited resources, and your ideas are taken by large commercial enterprises with deep enough pockets to develop your idea, to your exclusion.
Instagram and Snapchat are already multi-billion dollar businesses. So, it's more akin to inventing Snapchat, mentioning it to Mark Zuckerberg over coffee, and then watching as Facebook earns billions from it while you don't get a look-in.
I don't think Mark Zuckerberg would do such a darstadly thing, but thousands would, and that's why you need to PitchMark your ideas before you share them. And show the PitchMark Certificate to the person you are sharing your ideas with, to forewarn them that you have a time-stamped record of when you created the idea, and not to mess with you.