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Great artists steal the future

Steve Jobs once said: “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. Jobs’ statement has been misinterpreted, and misconstrued as frequently as it has been misattributed to Pablo Picasso. Brian Ford, in a great essay on the difference between artists who copy and artists who steal, points out that Picasso’s line is a bastardised quote based on a T.S. Eliott essay:

One of the surest tests [of the superiority or inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.
~ T.S. Eliott

Much hoopla has been made about how Apple ‘copied’ this, that and the other; this clears things up. Apple never copied as much as they stole — and stealing is a whole different ball game.

[Via Daring Fireball]