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Agency plagiarism: The curious case of Attacat, Cube3 and the alleged rogue blogger

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By The Drum Team | Editorial

February 7, 2012 | 3 min read

A Manchester marketing agency has blamed a former staff member after blog posts on its website were found to have been copied verbatim from another agency’s site without permission.

Edinburgh-based Attacat found that at least two of its posts had been reproduced word for word, and image for image, on the blog of Cube3 Marketing.

Attacat made light of the issue in a fresh post on its website dubbed: ‘There’s a blog post thief about: bring out your memes!’

Because the images Cube3 had used were being hosted on Attacat’s server, the Edinburgh agency changed the pictures to popular internet memes so that when they appeared on Cube3’s site it was obvious that they had been stolen (Screenshot).

Having been alerted to the issue, Cube3 issued an apology on its blog and amended the plagiarised posts to say that they were the copyright of Attacat.

Cube3’s managing director, Karl Barker, told The Drum that the agency does not tolerate nor encourage plagiarism and that the offending posts were written by a former staffer who had only been with the agency for a short time.

Barker said: “If we give people the access and the trust to do stuff, and they know that within their terms of their contract they are forbidden to plagiarise anything, I don’t know what more we could have done really.

“Does that mean that every new starter we get we have to nail their Macs to the desktop?

“We don’t plagiarise anything – we never have done. If someone wants to set fire to our building how can we stop them?”

Cube3 has chosen to publicly name the author of the posts as Simon Jarrett Williams, who was with the agency for six weeks in early 2011 and is now group search manager at Carat Manchester.

The Drum has also found that at least one post on Williams’ personal blog was a reproduction of an article written some six months earlier on SEOmoz.

Williams has now deleted his personal blog and has so far not responded to The Drum’s requests to comment.

Ben Rogers, operations and business development director at Attacat, told The Drum: “One thing I would like to say is that at no point were we trying to create a big issue out of this. We saw it as an amusing thing.

“We’re not trying to create any big rivalry between the agencies or any issues or anything like that.

“Cube phoned probably about two or three hours after we put the post up to say it was no longer a current member of their company who had done it.

“I was quite happy to accept the apology and to explain that there wasn’t any ill-feeling. We said we were more than happy with their apology but we would be leaving the blog post up for amusement’s sake.”

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