Aug 12th, 2010 6:44am

Office Depot Steals Livelihood From Speaker!

When imitation isn’t flattery…it’s theft…

Scott McKain has the details at that post. Go watch these two videos (people seeing this via the Tumblr Dashboard, come to my post or click through to Scott’s site for them):








There are certain things you don’t do in life. One of them is stealing bread out of a little guy’s mouth.

Especially if you’re two massive corporations with megabucks in your respective bank accounts!

This speaker experienced this for himself. He drew a lesson from it that he could share with his clients. It was original to him and his trademark. Now he will be seen as someone so lame that he’s quoting a television commercial! That story — which was key to making his living — has been stolen from him.

There are writers out there who also have one-line specialities that define them.

One of them is Ken Bruen, who is known for this:

I didn’t know what to say, said, “I don’t know what to say.”

Only Ken Bruen came up with that one. Anyone who sees that elsewhere — and has read Bruen’s work — would instantly recognize it as being Ken Bruen.

Writer Arthur Miller had a line go famous from his play The Death of a Salesman:

So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.

This is usually shortened to:

Attention must be paid.

Here on the Internet, we grab and re-use things from people all the time. But we do it from each other in here, and would not transfer this behavior to out there.

This is the new land I’ve been edging towards in my notes about market versus social (here and here).

Writer Warren Ellis understands the importance of ownership of just one line can make to a person’s livelihood:

I wonder if the person who made the first OM NOM NOM image ever feels like R Crumb after his “Keep On Trucking” earned millions for someone else.

Here’s a brief Wikipedia entry about R. Crumb’s creation. That image was everywhere at one time. It made millions for lots of people — but not a dime for its creator! Yet if, god forbid, Crumb should wind up injured and destitute and require medical/financial assistance from the State, he’d be seen as a self-indulgent useless artist who never contributed a big bank account to society! People would never know the theft that kept him from having a big bank account for himself.

All professionals understand the importance of intellectual property out there in the world of the market. You do not steal as much as a single line from another person.

So Office Depot’s ad agency fully understood the thievery involved when they created this ad. Their theft was willful and brazen.

Scott McKain is boycotting Office Depot. I think all of us should too.

Office Depot needs to make this right.

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