How blatant is blatantly stealing ideas from ebay?

Hey, I was looking for a way to build my own trolling motor on google the other day. The only real contender I found was a guy on ebay selling $4 guide on how to turn a whipper-snipper into one. My dad just bought a new electric one, so we have one sitting in the shed awaiting a new spark plug. I plan to take this, stick blades on the end and stick it in the water to see if it runs (the idea of which I took from the ebay auction) The problem here is that I was considering instructabling my progress. I havn't purchased the guide, so I wouldn't be copying his work, however I would be giving my own 2 cents on how to do something he thought of, and would be possibly denying him of his money. In a sense, I would be stealing copyrighted material and giving it for free, which I was going to do until I realised no one else mentions it on the net and he has seemingly actually invented this (which I'm not going to take from him). As of now, I'm not planning to make the 'ible, i was jsut wondering what you guys thought of this.

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randofo8 years ago
There are no copyrights on ideas. Copyrights apply solely to the actual printed images and text in his plans. Also, you cannot copyright a process, so if you were to rewrite his plans and provide no images, you can even do that. At best, he may have a patent on the motor (highly unlikely), but even then, he still does not really own the idea. Ideas belong to us all. Go for it.
randofo randofo8 years ago
*new images
I agree with you wholeheartedly (as does the law, though IANAL). If ideas were ever subject to ownership, the world as we know it would grind to an ugly halt. Sharing ideas, in my opinion, is generally one of the best things we as people can do for each other.
AFF8 years ago
Ever listened to music and then opened the CD to find a copywrite? It's funny to think but someone else at some point in time wrote that exact music and got a copywrite on it also. You can patent a lot of things. Everyone is correct that you can buy his $4 book but not "republish, distribute, etc". With that being said go look at the Copywrite office ... you can patent changes that you make to his work. Crazy huh. So the moral of the story ... there is nothing he or anyone else can do if you take your idea and make an instructable out of it especially if you have never truly seen the contents of his work. Go ahead and post away! Ever burnt a CD at home just so that you could have one in your car and one at home? Legal to do all day long. Many items can be duplicated and sold but you cannot make any profit from the sale ... that's where things get tricky and very vague but you seen to have your head on straight and I 100% feel that you are in the right if you decide to post an instructable. Good Luck!
dyiguy8 years ago
Ideas are dozen a dime. Realization is what makes them worth something. So don't worry, use ideas freely.
Radstrike8 years ago
As long as you do not buy his guide and repost it as your own, you are not "blatantly" stealing anything. It's great that you are thinking of the well being of another, and over the internet none the less, but you have nothing to worry about. Sure, you may have been inspired by his ebay page, but there is no charge for inspiration; anything you make will be solely yours, and it is your right to document your process and progress. So go ahead. Make your trolling motor and instructable.
Pkranger888 years ago
Many people come up with ideas on how to modify existing products for different uses, or even how to put different products together to achieve an entirely different purpose. The $4 guide is probably more of a "I figured something out, and it cost me something, so I'll sell the idea to you so it doesn't cost you as much" type of guide. Unless he has actually patented (or applied) something and you are copying his idea exactly, you're just fine doing an instructable. If you do link to his stuff, you can actually help him out, because some people will pay the $4 and read your instructable. It's a win-win. The copyright is for the actual contents of the guide and you would be stealing ONLY if you were to take the contents and reproduce them without permission. Good Luck
paganwonder8 years ago
You have a very keen moral/ethical sense, refreshing. I think you should share your idea - you are not using his intellectual property.
frollard8 years ago
Randofo has hit the nail on the head - Instructablize it! Do what you can to improve the idea, and share. If you took the idea, photocopied it, and resold on ebay (likely what this guy did) then you'd be pretty blatantly ripping his product off copyright wise.