Mozilla’s Public Apology over Jetpack SDK
While Mozilla didn’t actually release any live builds incorporating MetLab designs, the offending designs were featured in the Jetpack demo video, in screenshots on the Mozilla website, and were displayed as a design direction in the Jetpack wiki.
“We sincerely apologize to MetLab for incorporating design elements from their web site in our early mockups and for posting them publicly without proper attribution,” reads the statement on the Mozilla website.
The striking similarities between the Jetpack mockups and MetLab, was first raised in a blog post at the MetLab website, where Andrew Wilkinson wrote that the Jetpack SDK design “goes well beyond imitation – they literally copied images straight off of our site. Maybe they thought we were open source, too?” Wilkinson goes on to reveal that MetLab actually submitted a proposal for Jetpack, and discussed the details of their proposal in some length during a phone conversation with Daniel Buchner and Aza Raskin. Their proposal was subsequently rejected – but that didn’t prevent elements of the MetLab website finding their way into the Jetpack release. “I’d expect better from a respectable company like Mozilla,” Wilkinson concluded.
Mozilla have since removed all screenshots and video clips that featured the MetLab mockups.
“We’re happy with how this has been resolved, and were impressed by Mozilla’s quick response,” writes Wilkinson, in a follow-up blog. Wilkinson acknowledges that designers are always going to be inspired by one another, but says that the situation was exacerbated by the fact that Mozilla are a huge company who were perfectly aware of who MetLab were – and the fact that they’d rejected a MetLab bid to do the very same project, made the situation even worse.
“We’re glad that we were able to resolve this amicably,” says Wilkinson.