Back where I come from — meaning the planet Mars — copying someone else's creation was considered to be a serious crime. Especially if you then turned around and sold your copies as if they were the real McCoys. And copying others' creations probably would still be a crime on Mars if there were any Martians left out there. But most of them skedaddled before the great cataclysm.
I'll bet most Earthlings get tired of hearing the term "great cataclysm" and wonder just what the hell it was that destroyed all life on Mars. Well, it was Planet X (also called Nibiru) that turned our beautiful garden home into a big red marble. Take it or leave it, that's the awful truth. When the rogue planet Nibiru passed by Mars eons ago the resulting powerful gravity circuit hit our beautiful red, blue and green planet and it was all over for Mars before you knew it.
That's right, Mars once had water and vegetation and separate land masses and two polar ice caps, much like Earth. Now it just has a few old pyramids, the face of a dethroned Martian emperor, some specks of water ice and a lot of ancient salt, all covered in red dust. But if the "great cataclysm" had never happened, copycat businesses would still be illegal there.
But not on Earth.
I was well into my middle-age years on planet Earth when I finally realized that the American business ethic had changed during the latter 20th Century from entrepreneurial risk taking and hard work to the simple copying and reselling of whatever the competition had to offer. It was a lot easier for American businesses to simply wait until someone's patent had run out or to just steal someone else's idea by changing a tiny part of the original and then stamping out copies. By the 21st Century, corporate stealing was considered to be perfectly all right simply because everyone was doing it. It was called competitive edging.
Today, just about anything you eat or drink or drive or put on your back has been copied (stolen) by at least a dozen other manufacturers and sold at competitive prices. Cars, pants, candy bars, frozen foods, toys, you name it. Copycat products literally cover the Earth these days much like Sherwin-Williams paints whose own patents were, no doubt, copied (stolen) by other paint companies who couldn't come up with their own paint formulas or simply didn't want to waste any research and development money on doing so.
I mean, why do it yourself when someone else will do it for you for free and then you can legally steal it from them by either waiting for the patent to expire or just add a dab of this or take out a dab of that and — voila! — that stolen patent is now yours. You've claimed a share of that market by hardly lifting a finger or nudging a dormant brain cell or spending nearly as much money as the people you stole from. But, that's OK. It's just business.
And, if everyone's doing it, then it's perfectly all right. In fact, corporate stealing in America is so commonplace that fellow patent thieves in the USA consider it an honor to be in such swell company. After all, it's just business-as-usual. But it's still no way to run a planet.
And yet none of this really matters if Planet X robs Earth of all its copycats and copycat products in 2013 (that's right, not in 2012). Especially since good ol' Nibiru will eradicate two-thirds of us Earthlings and wipe out all the boundaries in the process. But I don't think any of that will matter to the Earthlings who are left alive. Earthlings, more than any other creatures in the solar system, love a free-for-all more than anything else. Brawling over the right to steal from one another in 2014 would simply be considered an honor.