Why Liv Tyler’s dad is smarter than Darren Rowse


Something was bothering me about the whole amBlogger/proBlogger fit yesterday. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on till this morning and now it feels like an elephant in the room.

Grab a cup of something and think a little bit about what I’m about to say. That’s because it’s important. Really.

In the early 80’s Jam Master Jay stole the riff from an old Aerosmith tune and got together with his partners to create a new song.

At the time Steven Tyler and the band had literally hit rock bottom. Their old manager wanted to sue Run DMC but Steven Tyler realized something. Jam Master Jay’s stealing of his band’s music made Aerosmith’s songs more valuable. He decided to embrace theft and it revitalized their career.

On the internet most stuff is backwards.

When you steal a link from someone on the net who gains from it? Not the stealer. But the one stolen from. Entire companies are built on and based on this type of theft.

Now back to the Problogger case. And here is the elephant in the room.

Darren’s website design has no value.


If he changed it people might complain but they would still show up. The value is only in the content.

The only way the design would have any value was if it was stolen.

All these people are wrong. Today, everyone is a dj.

Everything is being remixed.

The Daily Show remixes the news.

Blogs remix other peoples ideas.

The list goes on and on…

And to get pissed when it happens to you just kinda tastes a bit 20th Century to me.

Here’s what Darren should have done. He should have sent Chan a letter saying, “Hey Kid, I see you stole my design, cool. Do me a favor and say inspired by problogger at the bottom and I’ll tell people about it and drive traffic to your site. But tighten up on the content, o.k.?”

Music artists embrace remixes of their music because all it does is bring value back to the original. When I link to someone on this site and write about it, it increases the value of the original. When Probloggers design was stolen it brought nothing but value back to the original.

It’s a can’t lose situation. If the amBlogger’s site sucked folks would say they like Darren’s site better. If amBlogger was good people would still give Darren credit for it’s existance in the first place. Darren would just be expanding his brand.



Now go get yourself mugged.


Explore posts in the same categories: blog media, blog networks, branding, content, cowboy, Darren Rowse, design, hype, money, problogger, theft, Weblog

16 Comments on “Why Liv Tyler’s dad is smarter than Darren Rowse”

  1. Larson Says:

    I don’t know who you are (lie, just read your about page), but you’ve got the goods, one of the most interesting reads going at the moment…

    Glad you came around here.

  2. Andy Merrett Says:

    I can’t help agreeing with your thinking. If someone rips off a painting then that is also the content – however when the design is just a wrapper – well it’s not so important.

    (Darren was talking about a visual redesign in nay case – but not a content change)

    Design should to some extent reflect content and function, but pure visuals in this context don’t make something more valuable.

    I can see most sides to this story.

  3. chartreuse Says:

    Glad you both see my point.

    One of the things I wanted to mention but decided to save it for another post was that customization is valueless. If something is truly customized for you then it should have no value to anyone else. So that means we are creating a valueless society, except for the things people steal.

    I gotta think it through but I think I’m on to something….

  4. Barry Bell Says:

    Just playing devil’s advocate here, but what happens when the guy doing the stealing doesn’t agree to running your ‘inspired by’ link, which most people who are stealing content will not do?

    It’d be like asking a spammer to put a ‘BEWARE: THIS IS SPAM!’ disclaimer at the top of each email or blog comment.

    Not saying I don’t agree to your reasoning – I do. It makes a lot of sense. I’m just not sure it’s gonna work in the majority of cases.


  5. chartreuse Says:

    First off, I was not talking about content. Content has value. Web design, in the case above, does not.

    The inspired by link was just an idea.

    Most remixes of songs (and I’m sorry to keep using music analogies) are unauthorized. It doesn’t matter, though. It still brings credit to the original author.

    Let’s say someone stole the wurk layout. And you find out about it. What should you do?

    Your goal should be to capitalize on the theft. You do that not by trying to stop it. But by embracing it. Tell everyone about it.

    If the thief won’t give you a link or credit then I think you should broadcast that, too. Usually the one stolen from is more powerful than the thief. They can make more noise and influence more people.

  6. Barry Bell Says:

    Fair enough – I was lumping content in there as well. :o) And yep, content is a different matter.

    To be honest, if someone thought my layouts were good enough to take and use, I’d be flattered more than anything else. You’re right. The last thing I’d do is start threatening people.

    If they stole the layouts and then started filling them with some good, relevant stuff, I’d probably ask them to join wurk anyway. They win (they obviously see some value in what I’m doing), and I win by getting another writer on board. If only finding writers was that easy.

    Come and mug me, people.


  7. ME Strauss Says:

    You are, of course, right on the money with this post. Your logic falls into place beautifully. I was wondering what it was about this thing that seemed slightly knee-jerk and not fully thought through to me. But I never got here.

    Excellent thinking. I love it when people can see the elephant in the room. Brava. Virtual champagne for you!

  8. Stealing peoples stuff is plain old wrong. It just so happened that Darren paided for his design; if other people want a good design for their blog: go have someone do it for you or do it yourselve. Stealing copyrighted code isn’t right.

  9. Darren Says:

    Of course you’re assuming that one thinks rationally and with clarity when they see someone else duplicating something that cost you a good deal of money 🙂

    Hindsight is a great thing and perhaps if happened today I’d approach things a little differently.

    A couple of reflections:

    Firstly your suggestion is very charitable and gracious and even handed but unfortunately my interaction with Vince didn’t leave me feeling these things. There was no letting me know of what he was doing before hand, he took a private conversation (which I was willing to continue and find a compromise on) public and his initial handling of the situation in his posts left me feeling that he’d forced my hand.

    My first reaction on seeing his site was to approach him with an email that didn’t demand anything but raised a concern and invited a conversation – I hoped we’d be able to find a solution that worked for us both (maybe, just maybe if his response was to talk privately we’d have found a solution like you describe above). However his response was to tell me he didn’t have time to respond for 48 hours and then to write about it publically, quote a private email and outline why he was right. To be honest this didn’t leave me feeling like coming to an approach like you suggest above 🙂

    My ‘solution’ at that time (and I didn’t think it through too much) was to email Vince and say that I wouldn’t be discussing it in public, that I was disappointed with his approach and that this was the end of the discussion. Perhaps the ‘ignore it and it will go away’ approach was a little imature and niave – but I wasn’t in the right mindspace to do much more than that.

    Unfortunately it didn’t ‘go away’. I did have my hand forced a little by the story going public on other blogs – I’d actually decided to leave it be and just go on with my own blogging after Vince decided to post about it but when other blogs started posting about it and the emails started flooding in I thought I had to respond and by that time I was somewhat locked into the direction I’d chosen to take.

    Anyway – these things have a way of evolving and unravelling over time that makes one look back on them and see easy solutions – unfortunately in the heat of it all it often doesn’t work that way.

    I do appreciate your suggestion though – I think it shows real wisdom. Of course it took you a day to come up with it too by the looks of things, a day I wish I’d been able to have in the middle of it all 🙂

  10. chartreuse Says:

    Things do have a way of taking a life of their own when you are in the middle of them.

    And don’t take too much offense in the title. Steven Tyler has managed to live his entire life literally surrounded with hot chicks and good music. He’s smarter than everybody. 🙂

  11. Chrono Cr@cker Says:

    That is not a bad analyzation man, but it definitely has some flaws! A remix is different, as you can see it is called a “RE”Mix…This one on the other hand, was a blatant RIP, with that big capital R. You know, perhaps one day if some one rips your site design and doesn’t even give a tiny link to you, you might understand this. And vince chan’s reply was atrocious to the core.

    But then, you have got some sense in your posts, this has given problogger great publicity but so has Amblogger got it too!!

    Btw, nice blog dude!!

  12. chartreuse Says:

    Chrono, you couldn’t just let me sip my on my virtual champagne…

  13. […] Like I said in the beginning. This site is an experiment and I’ll be trying new ideas all the time. Steal them. Remix them. Make them your own. Give me credit. Or Not. As long as you’re not being fucking pedestrian I’m cool with it. […]

  14. Brian Says:

    Chartreuse, I like the way you think. Good stuff.

    I will take issue with your Run DMC / Aerosmith analogy though (thanks for a trip back to the old school for 80s brats like me).

    Run DMC sampled Aerosmith, because it was cool and cutting edge and I agree with your sentiment there. But Run DMC didn’t need Aerosmith — they were hot, and on the way up.

    Aerosmith, as you point out, was at rock bottom. Steven Tyler emerged from his drug-induced haze and saw an opportunity. These kids from Hollis, Queens were a shot at being back on top.

    In other words, Aerosmith smartly used Run DNC to reignite their own past fame.

    Now, to Vince and Darren. Darren didn’t need Vince at all — it was the other way around (like it usually is). Darren’s on top, and Vince saw a way to steal from Darren to promote himself.

    Anyway, I still like your main sentiment here, but let’s not group Vince in with the forward-thinking crowd too much. People have been ripping off the successful throughout time, not for progress, but for profit.

  15. Vince Chan Says:

    Missed this post somehow, glad I found it! Again, I won’t stir things up anymore than it has been stirred. Great post chatreuse! You’re going on my daily reads because of this one!

  16. Big Bruce Says:

    Steave Tyler is amazing and incredibly perceptive.A buisness genius and a wonderfull stategist.Every one I know should support that kind of inteligence.His daughter Liv also comes from that creative stock.I also have the privledge to work with creative geniuses Josh Well s and Luke fom Made Avail see myspace.com/starzzpromotions and Close To Home and Made Avail.Also Luke wrote some lyrics for Aerosmith.Bravo For musical Genuises!

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