In this article about Apple’s iPad, Mashable used pictures from another website called GDGT. The following Twitter exchange then occurred on Twitter between a co-founder of GDGT, Ryan Block, and Ben Parr, the Mashable reporter:
- Ryan: @BenParr wow, very disappointed Mashable just grabbed all our iPad images without even asking. A couple is ok, but 19 imgs? So uncool.
- benparr: @ryan It’s not something that will happen again. We went overboard, and I apologize. We’ll have to earn your trust back.
- Ryan: @benparr pretty stunning, but we all make mistakes. I assume you’ll be taking them down / providing clearer attribution?
- benparr: @ryan We provided attribution at the bottom of posts, but I’ll provide extra ones at the top of a few posts/under images.
- Ryan: @benparr sure, but for a post titled “Apple Introduces iPad [PICS]” using *only* our photos, that attribution was really weak.
- benparr: @ryan Agreed. Added a second attribution at the top. We can also remove some of them. It was not our intent to steal/devalue your work.
- Ryan: @benparr thanks, man. Please feel welcome to use those photos, just a more reasonable amount — say, five?
Small business owners should note that there are five important data points in this exchange:
- Ryan Block didn’t get all litigious.
- Ben Parr (a) responded; (b) admitted Mashable was at fault; and (c) fixed the problem.
- Ben Parr then acknowledged that Mashable had to earn back GDGT’s respect.
- All this happened publicly on Twitter.
- All this happened within a few hours.
How many times have you seen people almost come to blows for ridiculous things like fences, noise, backyard trees, and thought, “This is how wars start”? Clearly, the way to resolve issues is to openly, calmly, and honestly discuss them. Otherwise, as the Chinese proverb goes, “A book tightly shut is but a block of paper.”