As regular readers of LiveSide.net know, I am Donavon West, a Microsoft MVP and I wrote the Windows Vista Countdown gadget. The other day, a friend sent me a link to a blog posting by Mitch Denny, a veteran Microsoft MVP. It states:
What bothers me the most is not the fact the he stole my code and is masquerading it as his own work (although that does grind my gears too), but that:
- He didn’t even bother to ask me
- My name is still associated with his less than professional looking gadget
- It sets a bad precedence for other people stealing copywritten code
- He spelled my name wrong
Now some of you may say “he gave you credit in his blog post”, but does that make it right? He has even posted it to Microsoft’s gadget gallery, this time without any attribution. A case of Aussie beer with a note attached saying “sorry ’bout that, mate” might have softened the blow.
I choose what I share and what I don’t. I don’t appreciate people stealing my work and passing it off as their own. I would think a fellow MVP would appreciate and respect this. The irony of the situation is that I probably would have helped Mitch with the gadget had he just asked. Or Mitch should have just written this one himself. As gadgets go, a countdown gadget is not rocket science.
So I’m still asking myself, what does “copyright” mean? I’m sure the ambulance chasing lawyers out there would say “sue the bastard”. Maybe this is an MVP impeachable offense? Or is Mitch (and others) free to copy anyones code for whatever purpose they want? What do you think?
BTW, If you’re thinking to yourself “didn’t you violate copyright by using the Microsoft Vista logo”? The answer is no, I received permission from Microsoft to use it.