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The battle over robot toothbrushes

Two weeks ago we blogged about Scholastic’s controversial misuse of its book clubs, but it would appear that was a mere footnote compared to the uproar generated by the company’s Klutz division, which has published Invasion of the Bristlebots, a book packaged with two tiny toothbrush robots – and which fails to credit wife and husband team Lenore Edman and Windell Oskay for the invention.

A storm of fury has unfurled across the blogosphere, according to Publisher’s Weekly:

A typical one, on blog.makezine.com: “Sad to see something for fun take on evil overtones of corporate thought theft.” Others on the same site acknowledged the possibility of innocence: “Given how stressful publishing is these days, and how shoestring those types of projects can be, I wouldn’t be surprised that they were completely unconscious of the need to attribute.”

The storm even prompted an apology from Pat Murphy, an editor at Klutz:

I wanted to let everyone know that Lenore Edman at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and I had a good conversation this afternoon.

We spoke about our shared commitment to making science and technology accessible to children. We began a discussion of ways that Klutz could acknowledge the exceptional work that Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has done in Bristlebot research – starting with this message and continuing with acknowledgment in the next printing of the book and on the Klutz website.

Let this be a lesson: never deny the power of the blog.

  • http://birdschmidt.blogspot.com/ Brenda Schmidt

    “Let this be a lesson: never deny the power of the blog.” Nicely put. That said, any chance of your news on this lit mag funding situation coming out from behind the Omni wall and onto Quillblog?

    http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=10545

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