From Krasnodar with Love

As the editor of Chicago magazine, I am pleased to announce that we have just published our first Russian edition! Just kidding. 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…

Chicago magazine December 2010 coverKrasnodar Magazine cover
For a closer look, click on the respective covers.

 

As the editor of Chicago magazine, I am pleased to announce that we have just published our first Russian edition!

Just kidding.

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.

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Click to enlarge image
A 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.

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3 years ago
Posted by Timothy Post

Richard:

I have read your blog post and I understand your surprise and anger at the fact that Krasnodar Magazine copied the cover of Chicago Magazine in its inaugural and, seemingly, inauspicious debut issue. However, i would like to clarify my role, or lack there of, in this controversy.

The concept for doing a "city magazine" was mine and I suggested to Yury Vasilchenko, the publisher of Krasnodar Magazine, and his wife, an editor, back in early November. My role was informal and I wasn't paid. I suggested to Yury that the city of Krasnodar was ready for its own city magazine and that with his previous experience publishing magazines that he should pursue this strategy. I suggested that he subscribe through Zinio to a number of "city magazines" to better familiarize himself with the format and concept. I also gave him an actual copy of Boston Magazine. That was the extent of my participation

Fast forward to this past week when I saw the first issue of Krasnodar Magazine. I actually had no idea about the cover or the contents of the magazine until I picked up a physical copy in one of the cafes of Krasnodar. Obviously, when I first saw the issue of the magazine I had no idea that the cover was copied from Chicago Magazine. However, Yury's local competitors quickly went online and began pounding him for his mistake. My comments on the Facebook Fan page were primarily directed towards those competitors who were taking what I perceived to be an unseemly and cruel delight in Yury's obvious mistake.

I agree that Yury and his staff (whomever else may have known that the cover was a copy) was a mistake but, as I wrote on the Fan Page of Krasnodar Magazine, nobody got killed and it's not the end of the world. Sure, Yury's reputation is severely dented and his pride will be wounded for a while but at the end of the day, I hope this magazine survives this SNAFU and at some point in the future does its namesake proud.

My comment appears as a Fan Page administrator comment because I was given administrative privileges by Yury before this controversy blew-up. I had intended to consult Yury on Krasnodar Magazine and help it develop a digital strategy, which is my area of expertise. However, due to the fact that my name has been unceremoniously dragged into this whole embarrassing episode, I strongly doubt that I will be doing much of anything with Krasnodar Magazine. I intend to delete myself as administrator as soon as I finish this comment.

Let me repeat one again that I had no role in the creation of the magazine cover, in question, nor any participation in the content of the magazine. Had I actually seen the cover before publishing and known that it used Chicago Magazine's cover as a nearly identical template, I would have strongly urged Yury to screw his head on a little more tightly and redesign it completely.

I had thought that my advice back in November to Yury and his wife was solid and valuable but as we all know and as I have so publicly learned again, "no good deed goes unpunished." I hope this clears things up a bit. I would be glad to speak with you further should you have any questions. My Skype name is postzavtra.

Regards, Timothy Post

PS: I have told Yury in no uncertain terms that he should apologize to you, your readers, his readers, and to me since he is the person responsible for this whole unfortunate mess. I hope he still follows my advice )))

PPS: Krasnodar is really a wonderful city and I have no doubt that it will rebound from this black eye.

3 years ago
Posted by Bruce Talley

Richard,

I saw this article and wanted to comment. I would not be happy about this either if I were you either, but I think the posting may leave the reader with a jaundiced view of a really super guy. I know something of this and Tim had no knowledge of the mistake beforehand. He only advised that those involved exercise a little perspective.

I can assure you from a long personal and business history in Russia that Timothy Post is ethical, intelligent and is a valuable source for ideas and advice for many in Krasnodar. I think he makes a significant contribution to Krasnodar and south Russia's business environment.

It may not be high on your agenda, but I would like to invite you to come to Krasnodar to learn more about what is rapidly becoming one of the most important cities in Russia. Krasnodar Region is home to Russia's premier beach and mountain resorts and Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, Formula 1 Racing and World Cup matches. Maybe all of this could be fodder for a good story that few know about in the US....

As I said, I know Tim well and he and both would be glad to show you some real Russian hospitality!

Regards,

Bruce Talley

www.brucetalley.com

3 years ago
Posted by Yury V.

Dear Mr. Babcock and the Chicago magazine staff,

We would like to apologize for the unintentional similar design duplication issue.

We acknowledge the mistake made by our office. We understand your position and sincerely regret the entire situation. The next issue of Krasnodar magazine will fully acknowledge and give credit to your periodical for the original cover design in the Russian and English languages.
Moreover, we would like to invite you to visit our office. We would like to meet you and your colleagues as well as other affiliated mass communication professionals in Krasnodar, the future co-hosts of the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2018 World Cup.

We would be especially grateful for any additional critiques or suggestions you may have about our new magazine.

Respectfully yours,

Yury Vasilchenko
Publisher
Krasnodar Magazine

3 years ago
Posted by Yury Vasilchenko

Richard,

I would like to add that this is my personal mistake. And I'm truly sorry about it.

Regards,

Yury Vasilchenko

3 years ago
Posted by Chris Shepherd BA

Richard:

Hey, get some perspective, dude. Put yourself in the other dude's shoes : late winter/early spring, wife & kiddies clamouring for Papa's attention, and here's Papa Yuri, stuck designing a kick-ass magazine cover (from scratch) using pre-Soviet technology and a will to succeed, whatever the cost. Suddenly, someone mentions Google Translate and the rest is history ...

Much less a SNAFU as a FUBAR, Yuri's "thought-crime" here was to imagine that imitation might be construed as flattery; that 1 Russki journalist in a global world might be able to borrow from another Yankie journalist in a global world, even despite all that icy brinkmanship circa 1945-1989.

Of course - now we know - in the modern, supposedly-global world of magazine-cover-designs the "hands-off, it's mine" mentality still prevails, as does missile envy apparently (Chicago 40 v. Krasnodar 30 = Chicago wins by 10?).

If Papa Yuri's mea culpa is not sufficiently humble to assuage the severe wounds suffered in the meeting rooms at Chicago Magazine in Chicago, then perhaps it's time to duke-it-out, so to speak.

Consequently, we have been in discussions with the Organising Kommittee at the Sochi Winter Olimpik Games to institute a new
program of activities, such as "the Intercontinental Grudge Match", which involves hermetically-sealed snowballs from both of the antagonists' locations.

And so, Richard, we'll see YOU!!! in Sochi 2012 (dude).

3 years ago
Posted by Chris Shepherd BA

Richard:

That's 2014, not 2012 (dude). Sorry.

3 years ago
Posted by MEZON

Really, Krasnodar near 1kk pop. You have old information.

3 years ago
Posted by DENISKO

Thanks for this MEGA DESIGN GUIDE for this Russian magazine... Without your "support" they will be printed out with a holly crap on the cover. Mostly Russian design is a oil-barrel-filled-with-a-shit. You know... Life in Russia isn't so easy. Whats why I'm very glad even see come "almost good" copy/paste works. Chineese copy-and-understanding way of study is much better when russian "do nothing".
Realy thanks! Don't push on them too much. Becouse their original design will break my eyes and brain.

Denis

3 years ago
Posted by TAU

very bad cover designs. both.

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