I’ll give you some movie examples:
Bridget Jones Diary (2001) is really a modern version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Clueless (1995) is based on Jane Austen’s Emma.
Cruel Intentions (1999) is a modern version of Pierre Choderlos de Lacios’ Les Liasons Dangereuses (1792).
Pretty Woman (1990) is based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play Pygmalion, as is She’s All That (1999).
10 Things I Hate About You (1999) is really Shakespeare’s play, Taming of the Shrew, in disguise.
Star Wars is Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 samurai classic, The Hidden Fortress, only in space.
In fact, I would wager that at least 9 out of 10 Hollywood movies are based on stories from other movies or books. And yet these movies earn millions of dollars. So, the question is, is it ethical or legal to ‘borrow’ other people’s ideas?
It’s a fact that you can’t copyright an idea. All the best artists (who are honest) will even admit they steal like crazy, which is what makes their art so awesome.
There is no need to continuously reinvent the wheel. The wheel was invented once, and ever since then people have copied that idea onto their own products, whether it was for wheelbarrows, carts, carriages or cars. Using other people’s ideas (not their work) is 100% legal, ethical and even required if we are to move forward as a society.
Now let’s say you’ve run across a 50-page ebook on how to do something. You cannot copy the actual writing, the author’s name or the cover of the book. But you can use the idea of the ebook to create your own.
West Side Story and Disney’s High School Musical used a famous playwright’s plot in their stories. Can you think what that might have been?
A little play called Romeo and Juliet.
So that book on driving traffic that inspired you to use the method yourself… you can’t copy that book and sell it. But you can write your own. Or record your own videos. Or offer a coaching program that teaches the method. As long as you do not use the author’s copyrighted stuff such as their writing, their screenshots, their images and so forth, you can write up the method as your own and sell it as much as you want to.
And if you’ve used the technique taught in the material yourself, which hopefully you have, then you can speak with authority on the subject.
If this makes you uncomfortable, then the solution is simple: Don’t do it. Instead, take something from an entirely different niche and adapt it to your own niche.
For example, you read a great book on dog training and you realize that many of the techniques in that book could work equally as well on your three-year old. So you try it out and sure enough, you’ve gotten your three year old to stop screaming when she wants attention, to eat her food when you give it to her, to follow your simple instructions without throwing a tantrum and so forth.
Yes, I’m probably going to get emails from people who are upset I equated training a puppy with training a child… 😉 The point is that what you learn in one area of life can often be used in other areas as well.
Take a look at the millions of how to books out there and find something you can adapt to an entirely different niche, and you’ll have all the inspiration you need to create unique products without having to be brilliant yourself.
Although incidentally, people will think you are brilliant.