Yesterday we wrote a post about a company who decided it was in their best interest to outright ripoff the user interface of Reeder (one of our favourite RSS apps btw). We don’t deny that it’s possible to “accidentally” borrow design elements from other sources. Heck, most would argue that “borrowing” elements from other projects is part of the creative process. But, borrowing one element and stealing an entire UI are two very different things. Actually, it’s probably the exact definition of theft. MobileRSS has reached out to the community and submitted a statement to TechCrunch.
We are submitting an update to MobileRSS immediately which will include modifications to the UI elements that most mimic Reeder. We respect the work that Reeder has done but are most concerned with serving users and improving MobileRSS for everyone. These improvements include ideas pioneered by Reeder, but we have current and upcoming features which are unique to our app not found in other RSS readers. But to be clear, we’re taking immediate action to correct this and will remove the similarities to Reeder at once.
It’s far from an admission of guilt, but it’s pretty clear that they’re panicking because of the community backlash. There’s no excuse for lifting UI elements exactly from other projects, but the problem extends well beyond MobileRSS. Have you ever used Delicious Library 2 and iBooks? Case meet point.
Don’t get me wrong. Again, there’s absolutely no excuse for what MobileRSS did, but why is it that we’re all willing to gang up on the little guy, and let the big kids get away with the same behaviour? When multi-billion dollar companies do it, they get away with it, but when a small firm does it, it’s a major shit storm on the internet.
Just some food for thought.
On that note, Silvio over at Reeder has done an amazing job with his iPad RSS reader, and if you’re looking to support the indie community, you should really take his app for a spin.