You may have never heard of David Richards, but if you’re writing anything in the technology sector, he’s probably familiar with your work.
Richards, seen here on the right (via)
You see, Richards is the biggest plagiarist in technology journalism today, consistently stealing content from Web sites and re-publishing under his own byline.
Richards is in management at SmartHouseNews, an Australian Web site owned by publishing house 4SquareMedia. Oddly, 4SquareMedia has no Web site, as its official domain is a parked hosting page, and its .net equivalent reveals that “this is a test.”
Phil Sim at Squash has an excellent background on Richards, who wrote a questionable story on 60% of Windows Vista needing to be re-written.
Without a doubt, Richards is the most notorious and controversial technology journalist in Australia and it won’t surprise anyone down under in the tech media or IT industries that he’s managed to get himself embroiled in this kind of saga.
First things, first. Richards is a real, bona fide journalist. He’s not an amateur blogger. He’s not a techie, who took up a writing. He’s got a Fleet Street background and was responsible for one of the most, important investigative journalism works ever published in Australia when his expose on the Painters and Dockers union uncovered extensive corruption and sparked a historical Royal Commission.
Richards is also a successful entrepreneur. He started a PR company, Weston Communications, which he built up and sold and following that he founded a publishing company DWR Media, which he flogged to US publisher Penton Media for up to $US8 million (Penton would about 2 years later offload the division for a pittance).
Along the way, though, he’s ticked a lot of people off. He’s brash, pushy and thrives on controversy. He always seems to be suing someone, or else being sued. In the past few months, he’s been accused on plagiarism, attacked for conflicts of interest and laid a big, steelcapped boot into one of the world’s biggest PR companies.
The article, given a new title of “Are You Making Money Out of the Format War?”, has Richards as the lead writer in the byline, with Lee given second billing. The two stories are nearly identical.
We gave him no permission to publish the story, and given that Lee wrote the story, Richards’ byline is completely unwarranted.
It’s straight-up plagiarism.
When I contacted Richards to remove Lee’s story from his site, he ignored my email, even though I said I wanted to keep it civil. One week later, I re-sent the email, CC’ing the contacts of SmartHouseNews’s Web site, including sales, marketing and editorial.
Richards replied, saying, “This was removed a week ago.”
But it wasn’t. And, as of this writing, it’s still there.
It isn’t just CE Pro that Richards plagiarizes.
I could keep on going on about stories he’s copied, his continued acts of plagiarism and his general disregard for other’s work, but I would be here all night.
Richards is a disgrace to journalism and should be shunned by the technology industry — journalists, manufacturers and marketing folks alike. I agree with Robert Scoble, who called for Richards to be fired after his Vista-rewrite story. Can him.
On SmartHouseNews’s site right now, there are advertisements from Pioneer and Mitsubishi. You are decent companies, but you shouldn’t support publications based in plagiarism. Please consider dropping your advertising.