I came into this thinking Bob Cox needed to get a life.

Bob has now convinced me that his local Patch editor’s reuse of some mug shots from his site was plagiarism. I wouldn’t (and he didn’t) call it copyright infringement. But he added value to the photos, and the local Patch editor used them and didn’t credit him.

Looks like a goof by a newbie blogger, but it should have been acknowledged by that editor’s chain of command.

Bob has made some other claims that Ms. O’Connor has refuted, but he has also proven (at least to me) that the following statement by Patch regional editor Kathleen O’Connor is simply false:

any similarity to Mr. Cox’s presentation of those public images is purely coincidental. Linking mug shots together in Photoshop (in this case, apparently doing nothing more than placing three similar sized objects in a row) is standard operating procedure for news organizations everywhere.

Patch is a large, new, decentralized operation. Everyone in it is already working too hard. There will be mistakes. But how Patch deals with those mistakes will be critical to its reputation as a news organization.

Full disclosure: I reused a mug shot from the SF Examiner just last week.  I had no problem with reusing the image, which is public property, but I made sure to credit the Examiner as the source and link to the story. After all, who wouldn’t do that?