Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Ripped by Engadget

I wrote this post in 2007, more than 16 years ago. It may be very out of date, partially or totally incorrect. I may even no longer agree with this, or might approach things differently if I wrote this post today. I rarely edit posts after writing them, but if I have there'll be a note at the bottom about what I changed and why. If something in this post is actively harmful or dangerous please get in touch and I'll fix it.

What a fun morning. The Daily Python-URL carried a link to an Engadget story featuring a picture of the OLPC from PyCon (Ian Bicking’s badge is visible in the background).

Hey, doesn’t that picture look familiar?

Yup, that’s right: Engadget ripped me off. That photo’s licensed under a CC BY-NC license, meaning that even if you pretend that Engadget’s use is non-commercial (on an ad-driven site it’s hard to say, really), without attribution they’re essentially guilty of plagiarism.

On top of that, it’s entirely non-obvious how I’m supposed to go about contacting them. There’s no “letter to the editor” form; the byline (one Paul Miller) links to a list of stories instead of the usual “contact this reporter form”. I finally used the “send a tip” form, but I kinda doubt a real person reads that thing.


Seems I may have been a bit hasty in this jab: my email to the tips line was answered quickly and politely by Paul Miller (the original author); he assured me it was a simple mistake. I still stand by what I’ve written in the rest of this article, however. Any news organization that wants to be taken seriously shouldn’t allow mistakes of this nature to happen.

Listen up, bitches: this is why real news organizations look down at you.

No editor at a bona-fide newspaper would allow a reporter to use a photo without proper attribution and permission, and no reporter would pass someone else’s photo off as his own. Nor would they (deliberately) hide a contact channel.

I’m dissapointed about this, but I honestly can’t say I’m all that surprised by the (lack of a) sense of ethics over at Engadget.

Real classy, guys.