Startup caught stealing code. Is this only the beginning?

Following news about Curebit getting busted stealing code from 37Signals I was thinking about how this event relates to cultural shifts in the way younger generations view copyright and intellectual property.

Generational shifts don’t excuse theft, but ask any teacher about the way current students view taking ideas from others and you quickly realize that something is changing.

Curebit’s responses to David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founder of 37Signals, seem nonplussed about the whole affair. This fits with other evidence that students today don’t seem to think that stealing intellectual property from others is a big deal.

I’m no fan of some parts of current copyright law, but open and transparent attribution is a cornerstone of productive discourse. We need to be on guard for further slips in the way we handle giving credit where credit is due. Our economic prosperity relies more and more on knowledge, ideas and execution. Protecting those from theft is paramount to future success.