As the editor of Chicago magazine, I am pleased to announce that we have just published our first Russian edition!
But a Chicagoan might be entitled to wonder, if he or she happened to be visiting the south Russian town of Krasnodar and picked up the local city magazine. Witness above the basis for confusion: Our “40 Reasons to Love Chicago” cover from December 2010 and Krasnodar magazine’s “30 Reasons to Love Krasnodar” dated February 2011.
The striking similarity was first brought to my attention by Olga Smolkina, a sharp-eyed advertising executive in Krasnodar. A handful of other new Russian friends also alerted me, and several sent photographs suggesting that at least some pages of the Krasnodar story look amazingly like our pages—except, of course, the objects of love are not in Chicago, but Krasnodar (pop. 650,000, about 50 miles northeast of the Black Sea; famous for its tea, I’m told).
No one from Krasnodar magazine asked our permission or warned us of what was coming, and my Russian correspondents indicate Krasnodar’s reliance on our design has caused a small flurry of criticism in Russia.
Click to enlarge imageA bit of sleuthing on the Web yields the intelligence that Krasnodar magazine just launched, and it’s apparently the brainchild of one Timothy Post, a native Bostonian entrepreneur who (according to what appears to be his personal blog) moved to Krasnodar some time ago. On a Facebook page that seems to be associated with Krasnodar magazine, he thanks his staff for their success in the new venture (the posting is one of the few on the page in English, not Russian). As for criticism that the design rips off Chicago he chides what he calls the “media police.” “Whatever!! Get a life,” he writes. (See screenshot, at right). “This is a tempest in a teapot if I’ve ever seen one. All creative inspiration is derivative. Some more so than others.”
No, Timothy, it’s actually a little more complicated than that. There is a difference between a work that is inspired by another and one that is copied. Copyright laws are written to enforce that difference, and our lawyers are sending Krasnodar magazine a stern note.
Meantime, let me again compliment Spike Press on its lovely design of our cover.
And—moving to a whole different area of consideration—perhaps Chicagoans have grounds to find a spot of cheer in this small fray. Our city may have lost 200,000 people in the last decade, as the latest census figures tell us, but at least we’ve got ten more reasons to love our hometown than the Krasnodarans do theirs.