I discovered one of my old blog posts “published” on someone else’s Web site. I sent the business an e-mail to remove my blog post immediately as they did not have permission to use it.
Then I wrote in a Facebook exchange on the topic:
I’m really just [mad] on principle, because I’d probably have let them reprint it. It’s just a silly little post about business cards.
But they didn’t ask, and they didn’t attribute.
And it turns out the business owner didn’t know his blogger was lazy and unethical. He had the post removed and replaced with this apology:
We are very sorry to the true author of this blog post Daria Steigman.
Unfortunately, our previous blog manager did not share the same views as [the company] does regarding copyright laws. We are a very ethical company that offers our client super products and knowledge regarding their advertising and printing needs, The re-posting of an article that was not created by [our company] is not how we choose to do business and we are very ashamed that this action took place. We are sorry not only to the true author of this blog post but also to our customers.
He signed it. And he called me personally to apologize.
How you respond to bad news says a lot about your business.
This post isn’t about plagiarism or copyright law. It’s really about business, reputation, and what to do when something goes horribly wrong. This guy has a mess on his hands. But I suspect his business will be okay because he’s taking responsibility, being transparent with his customers, and looking at next steps.
What would you have done? What advice would you give him?
Photo by Horia Varlan (Flickr).