b5media Handled Design Accusations Properly

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Tue, Dec 12 - 12:36 am EDT | 8 years ago by
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Blog network b5media handled the alleged misuse of a blogger’s design code yesterday with speed and sincerity.

copybloggerThe situation boiled over when Copyblogger author Brian Clark posted about what he called the theft of his blog’s design. The clean, striking Chris Pearson design is definitely worth taking inspiration and ideas from, a form of flattery designers often bestow on each other.

But a designer and editor with b5media apparently went beyond just borrowing some ideas, and used a substantial portion of the original design on some projects he was working on. took advantage of access to the blog’s code on the b5 servers.

On behalf of b5, CEO Jeremy Wright was quick to apologize, cut ties with the designer, and offer a public explanation. Straight out of a crisis communications textbook – act quickly and decisively, stick with the known facts, explain the company’s response, and express sincere regret for any damage caused.

When I first joined b5media, I offered the founders communications advice, if they ever needed it. But Jeremy seemed to do fine yesterday without my help. Well done.

And unlike some of the public whippings (followed by summary executions) that take place in most news organizations that discover plagiarism by an employee, Jeremy offered empathy and best wishes for the departing designer.

Note: I’m on contract with b5media to author this blog. I have almost no insider information about this issue. And I’m not inclined to suck up to Jeremy just because he cuts the cheques each month. (I suck up to him because I like his style.)

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  • http://www.b5media.com Douglas

    We are all sorry to see Scott go, but I agree with you that b5 handled the situation extremely well. I sent Jeremy a note last night saying what a good job they did.

  • http://www.technosailor.com Aaron Brazell

    For the record, it’s not clear whether resources were actually lifted from the server or more common approaches were taken. There does not seem to be evidence of direct lifting.

    However, plagiarism is a serious issue. Scott’s a good guy. This was just a huge lapse in judgement.

  • http://commonsensepr.com Eric Eggertson

    Thanks for the clarification, Aaron.

    I’m always terrified that something I copy and paste from somewhere will end up being published without attribution. With all the ways of finding and storing info, it’s not as unlikely as some people think that you might find something on your computer and not remember that you grabbed it from somewhere else.

    The “publish quickly and publish often” world of blogging makes that even more likely.

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