Content Thieves are NOT Entrepreneurs

Internet entrepreneurs are a dime a dozen these days. I find that most of them, like most people, are well meaning folks, working hard, trying to carve out their niche and make their dreams a reality. I put myself in this category and I put many friends of mine in this category (Chris, Brandon and others).

But, as with the general population, there is a group of so called “entrepreneurs,” whose idea of entrepreneurship is stealing from others. It’s important that you have integrity in everything that you do. Having ethics, having integrity allows you to be truly successful and truly happy. It allows you to be a true entrepreneur. I want to get rich, sure. Who doesn’t? However, I also want to feel good about doing it, feel proud of what I am doing and be able to talk about what I am doing. If you steal, you can’t really do that.

Of course, there is a type of person who steals from others and sees nothing wrong with it. To the contrary, they consider themselves to be successful, even happy and proud of themselves. These people are the reason we have laws and prisons, though. These people are not entrepreneurs.

When you do the right thing now, you are assuring your future, as well. You can steal and maybe you can get away with that for a while. But, you definitely should watch your back and be afraid of what tomorrow will bring because one day, eventually, maybe soon – maybe not so soon – the rug will come out from under you. You’ll be exposed. You’re credibility, if you even have any, will be in the tank and you’re little operation will suffer in all aspects. gives the top definition of entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, esp. a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” Then, the difference between a thief and an entrepreneur is: both take risks, but only one takes initiative.

Patrick O'Keefe

Managing online communities since 2000, I publish a collective of websites known as the iFroggy Network. I wrote the book Managing Online Forums and, as a public speaker, have presented for organizations like CNN, institutions like Australian National University and conferences like SXSW. More about me.



about 14 years ago

I think you need to define "content thief". Does someone who "takes" what he has been given permission to "take" considered a thief?



about 14 years ago

No, that's not stealing. If you have permission from the copyright holder to re-produce their content, then you have a right to use it. But, if you take someone else's content and use it in a way that you do not have permission for, then that is stealing.


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