The Scott Shaw Blog

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If You’re Going to Steal My Stuff At Least Give Credit Where Credit is Due

I always find it interesting when someone steals the words or the ideas of someone else and uses them as their own. Certainly, there is nothing new in this but I always question what does a person hope to gain if what they are presenting as his or her own ideas were not organically created and/or understood. I mean, the fact of the fact is, if you are speaking or writing someone else’s words and ideas and presenting their understandings as your own then not only are you not doing your own research but you have not gain any true personal realizations or understandings about anything.

Having written a whole lot of stuff over the many years of my life and having come to a few new realizations about how I think reality, the arts, and the everything else operate, I have had my share of people who borrow my ideas. That’s all fine and good with me. If I say or if I write something that inspires you; GREAT. Take it and use it to find a pathway to your own illumination.

The thing I don’t like, and the thing I have a problem with is, when someone takes something I have written (or spoken) verbatim, removes all reference to me, and uses it as they see fit. Now, if someone wants to quote me, reprint one of my articles, or anything like that, I have absolutely no problem with it as long as you use my name. But, that is not always the case.

This morning, I received an email and I was pointed in the direction of this martial art website where they are using my History of Hapkido and an article I wrote on the subject of, “Ki,” exactly as they were written. Not a single word was changed. They just copied, cut, and pasted the articles. Not only do these articles hold copyright by me but they also appeared in magazines so those journals hold copyright on them, as well. But, this website took the articles, removed my name, and are using them as if they had researched and composed them, themselves. I think we call all agree that is just wrong.

I could point you to the website but I don’t want to give them any credit where credit is
not due. But, I think the bigger question is, why do people steal from someone else? I know there are a lot of people out there who base their entire existence upon the critique of what someone else says or does. But, what does that equal in life? I also know a lot of people out there are not creative or inquisitive people so all they do in their life is to be guided by the thoughts and the words of others. Again, what does that equal in life? Sure, you can steal the anything from the anybody and not give them credit but all that does is polluted your own life and your own legacy as you have made no contribution—not to yourself and not to reality on the whole.

So, where does this leave us? I don’t know? What I do know is that if a person or persons does not have enough honor to point in the direction of where and from whom they received their knowledge then they, themselves, are the ideal example of who and what a person should not be; especially in the case of field like the martial arts, where integrity is a central focus. If they steal, and stealing is exactly what it is, no admiration should be bestowed onto them.

As is always the case, this is your life; what are you going to do with it? Are you going to spend it defined by the thoughts and the works of others or are you going to do your own research and define your own pathway to knowledge and realization?

You can steal. You can even claim you’re not stealing. You can hide whom you stole it from. But, if whatever you have is not your own—if whatever you are using, for whatever reason, is not something you created, then all you have become is a robber of someone else’s something. Is that who and what you are?