MetaLab Accuses Mozilla Of Plagiarizing Its Design (Updated)

Andrew Wilkinson of MetaLab has just written a blog post accusing Mozilla of plagiarizing the design of its FlightDeck editor. To make matters worse, Wilkinson says that MetaLab actually bid on creating the design for FlightDeck months ago, but was turned down by Mozilla.

While Wilkinson is understandably upset, at this point,it looks like the plagiarized image is just a mockup on the Mozilla wiki — not the actual product (though it’s obviously still in bad taste). We’ve reached out to Mozilla for a comment. You can see a screenshot comparison from Wilkinson’s blog post below.

Update: Here’s a comment from Mozilla, stating that the copy-and-paste design was a proof of concept:

Mozilla is now aware of a post by MetaLab that shows a Mozilla developer copying prior design work. The mockups they cite were an early proof of concept created by cut-and-paste, never final designs. Mozilla respects the hard work of all designers and at no time meant to plagiarize original content. The in-progress designs for the Jetpack SDK’s IDE are available here and following initial sign-off on the proof of concept, the IDE was developed entirely independent of MetaLabs’ work.

On its wiki, Mozilla describes FlightDeck as a tool to “enable the community to rapidly, collaboratively develop both extensions that utilize the Jetpack framework and Jetpack Capabilities crucial to the expansion of the Jetpack framework’s core.

Update 2: Wilkinson has added the following update to his blog post:

I just got off the phone with the team at Mozilla, who apologized and clarified a few things. The design which used our site’s design elements was a development build and according to them the design has been changed in newer builds. That said, it was used in their launch video as well as their blog post announcing the product. They told me that that the team who put together the blog post and video was unaware of the similarities at the time of inclusion. We’ve asked for a public apology, and I’ll be doing a follow-up post tomorrow.