SteveC wrote:
> > How many people or companies create anything out of thin air?  How much
> > is simply the influence of the extant culture and available technology,
> > and how much is raw innovation? When does influence become "ripping off"?
> >
> > If you take an idea from one person, it's stealing,  but imitate what
>
> No, you can't steal but you might infringe.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement

Ideas can't be copyrighted; only their expression can be copyrighted.

If Pragmatic Press were to apply for intellectual property rights over
their beta books program, the most likely protection would be for a
patent. Not that they've done so--and given the prohibitive cost of
obtaining a patent, and the likely backlash from their
free-software-using customers over becoming yet another patent-wielding
company, and the fact that they likely find such patents personally
distasteful, they're unlikely to do so.

f.