20 Comments


  1. It’s a shame to see a plugin like WP Video Coach being reviewed here.

    The videos in that plugin use copyrighted material from WP101’s well-established videos. The scripts are identical, word-for-word copies, as are the titles themselves.

    Compare their “What is WordPress?” or “How to Install WordPress” videos here:

    http://www.wpvideocoach.com/blog/

    With our own here:

    http://www.wp101.com/videos/

    Even the verbiage on the WP Video Coach website borrows directly from WP101’s own plugin site (http://wp101plugin.com).

    It’s a shame that such an otherwise excellent plugin with a great set of features relies on stolen intellectual property. Come on, guys… competition is great. But don’t steal your competitor’s intellectual property word-for-word.


  2. @Shawn Hesketh – If they’ve ripped off your site, email PLUGINS at wordpress dot org with the info and we’ll review. We try our best to spot that stuff, but there are 27k plugins in the repo and a bajillion more out there in the world, so we miss things if we don’t happen to recognize the code. It’s hella harder when we’re looking at media like videos and stuff, because that’s outside our ability to easily manage.


  3. Yes Shawn it is disappointing to see plugins getting press coverage that are blatant rip offs.

    What’s more disappointing is these plugin developers who add no value to the WordPress ecosystem at all by just copying other people’s ideas and not innovating.

    It would be refreshing to see developers come up with new ideas and new ways of helping WordPress users and the platform grow rather than cashing in on the hard work we have all put before them.

    And shame on wptavern for not doing your research.


  4. Hi Shawn, I wasn’t aware of your videos being different. I’m glad you brought this to light. I certainly hope that you have some sort of trademark and copyright recourse for this.

    Having seen the suggested capabilities of the plugin, is it something you would consider creating on your own to support your video service?

    Marcus


  5. I’ve removed the link and description of the plugin until further notice. I personally checked out a few videos and had them playing at the same time at around the same point. While at times, they definitely appear to be clones, there are other times where there are some differences. However, it’s too close for comfort so in this case, we removed the mention of WPVideoCoach.

    We are not in the business of promoting shady or copyright infringing works. Give us a little more credit than that. We’ve taken care of it on our end.


  6. @Marcus Couch – Thanks for the feedback, Marcus. And yes, we have already initiated our process for dealing with this type of thing. Sadly, it’s not the first time it’s happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

    We’ve had requests for very similar features to be added to the WP101 Plugin, and have plans to enhance our plugin and build on its current success in the coming months. Stay tuned!


  7. @Jeffro – Thanks, Jeff. I never questioned your credibility, or that of this site. It was just a case of a shady developer, and I’m sure things like this will continue to happen from time to time. Thanks again for your speedy response!


  8. @Troy Dean – Shame on us? Come on. It was in the Repository, not some affiliate link. The developer thanked us for bringing it to light, the Repository gate keepers are aware of it, and the link was removed from the post. What more could any community have done than what we did? There are 26K plugins. It’s impossible to be able to associate who owns what. We just talk about what we find and it all works out in the end.


  9. @Marcus Couch – just throwing my weight in with my buddy @Shawn Hesketh as he does for me when we get ripped off.

    Good to see you guys responding to this thread.

  10. Ted Clayton

    @Shawn Hesketh

    Compare their “What is WordPress?” or “How to Install WordPress” videos [with our equivalents] …”

    I lack the bandwidth to do video-comparisons, and I would probably lack the time to conduct a fuller (and thus more-responsible) survey of the entire inventory of video products offered by WP101 and their current competitor.

    However, when discussing very elementary, first-step aspects of WordPress, such as these cited ‘what is it’ and ‘how to install it’ topics, it would not be at all surprising to find multiple providers of lessons & tutorials using very similar language, and at times even word-for-word identical phrases, sentences & paragraphs.

    Unless the creator of a video took pains to make their words especially unique & distinctive, we would actually expect a more or less high degree of overlap in lesson-scripts, again especially when considering the ‘universal’ basic elements of initially defining WordPress itself & getting it installed.

    In fact, the Open Source ‘WordPress Dot Org’ organization & website itself presents such lessons, and treatments of these basic topics (and many others) have been front-and-center & free-to-all for years.

    See eg WordPress’ own public WordPress Lessons: WordPress for Beginners, for the index to their many guides for newbie & advancing users alike. All the confirmed info-gluttons out there will be anxious to peruse the Category: WordPress Lessons, for continuing education.

    If creators of video-lessons are using the same ‘authoritative’ and ‘standardized’ free-to-everybody lessons & guides as references (which is not only ‘obvious’, but substantially ‘unavoidable’) that WordPress themselves have promoted for years, as the foundation for their scripts, then it is not going to be an intellectual property issue, that the verbiage in competing products overlaps.

    Competition is a good thing. Although Copyright and other IP elements guard against outright copying of a product, they do not prevent others from using the same ‘ideas’, ‘concepts’, ‘approaches’ … or otherwise making a new product that ‘Looks an awful lot like ours, dammit’!.

    That’s just “competition”, fair & square.


  11. @Marcus Couch – Thanks for mentioning YouTube Comments. The Daily Plugin is a great idea, I hope to read many more.


  12. @Ted Clayton – All good points, and I completely agree that when dealing with elementary topics like WordPress basics, it’s likely there will be a great deal of similarity between the concepts and treatments.

    But, by your own admission, you didn’t even bother to look at the videos in question, so you didn’t see that the videos we’re talking about are word-for-word copies of my own scripts, and like it or not, that constitutes a copyright violation.

    I’m not whining here… having provided WordPress tutorial videos for more than 5 years, I’ve seen plenty of other competitors enter—and exit—this space. I welcome competition, and enjoy great friendships with my “competitors,” as evidenced by the comments in my defense here by Video User Manuals’ Troy Dean, and others.

    Since you haven’t watched the videos, you might take the word of my competitors, BobWP, Video User Manuals, and WP University, who all weighed in on Twitter, agreeing that this is a case of outright copyright infringement.

    Those guys are all competitors, yet we have great respect for each other and our respective work, and as a result, we enjoy healthy competition, “fair and square.”

    This plugin, on the other hand, is blatantly plagiarizing our copyrighted intellectual property, and last time I checked, that’s still illegal in this country. :)

  13. Boris

    Hello Shawn, and hello to the rest of you.

    My name is Boris Beo and I am the developer of the WP Video Coach plugin. Please allow me to shed some light on some of the claims made here.

    Shawn, you were very much welcome to contact me in a friendly matter and discuss whatever’s on your mind. I’m available: there’s a contact form, you can find me on Twitter, whatever.

    Instead, yesterday I have received the same allegations you’ve made here, which you submitted through the contact form on the website. Let me state that there’s nothing friendly about your approach: you’ve made an allegation that the videos are copied “word-by-word” and that you’re giving us 24 hours to remove the videos, or else you’ll file a DMCA complaint.

    Let me give you some background information on the project Shawn. I’m personally responsible for coding the plugin, which IMHO outshines yours in terms of functionality (and I do say this in the most respectful way). Obviously, I saw a need (and market) for a better product, so I’ve spent the past few months coding away. The plugin is fully customizable and re-brandable, something I’ve spent hours and hours on developing.

    To be labeled as a “shady developer” is something I really don’t appreciate. But hey, if it’s your way of dealing with the competition, fire away.

    On to the videos. The production of the videos has been outsourced to a freelancer. The reason: my English isn’t bad at all, but as a European I can never pass for a native American.

    Your claim that the videos have been copied “word by word” is just not true. The videos do use the same approach: they are bundled into main WordPress categories (Dashboard, Plugins, Theme’s, etc.) and they discuss the same actions. I’m not sure in how many different ways one can describe how to install a plugin.

    In fact, I know it for a fact that you HAVEN’T watched the videos which are loaded in our plugin. The reason being that this product has just been launched a few days, and that the handful of users this plugin has, are WordPress developers I know personally (heck, they aren’t even paying, it’s just friends).

    Had I seen your name as a subscriber, I would have given you some credit. Hey, at least you would have done your research then.

    Your claim is not only not true, it is based on what you have seen on YouTube, the two videos we have distributed for free (“What is WordPress” and “How to Install WordPress”). In fact, you can’t claim copyright on the installation instructions. You just can’t. That would be like Internet Explorer suing Mozilla for using an address bar in their browser.

    Further more, in terms of the war you’ve just started, I’m realistic enough to know where I stand. You’ve been around for four plus years, and you’ve built up a network of people around you. I’ve seen some big names (theme company CEO’s, just to name a few) who are standing by your side.

    This “shady developer” doesn’t have an army of online friends with traffic. What bothers me is that you could have gone through a whole different approach in dealing with this. You could have contacted me, Skyped with me, whatever. I’m a reasonable guy and open to discussion. No, you feel the need to defend your business by using your huge network to label me as a “shady developer”, without ever speaking to me.

    Even worse, it hasn’t even been 24 hours since your “copyright infrigment notice”, and you’ve taken this war online. At least give someone a chance to respond before moving on to these kind of tactics.

    Had you contacted me and simply told me that you feel the video structure is similar, I would have applauded you. I might have even contacted my video production freelancer and requested a re-do of the structure and video files.

    Thank you for giving me exposure though. It may be negative now, but I’ll manage to turn it around.

    The mere fact is, you haven’t watched the videos, so I don’t know where this panic strategy came from. Is this your way of protecting your business? Do you feel this is the only way to fight the competition? Could it be the functionalities of this plugin have made you worry?

    Rest assured, I haven’t made millions Shawn. You aren’t losing much here. If this was a black-hat situation where your videos were illegally loaded into people’s WordPress, I would have had understanding for your actions. But like you, I’ve paid good money for video production.

    Truth be told, I don’t expect this post to change your mind, or the mind of your network. They know you, they will stand by you. You’re probably a good guy, and I do have a great respect for your business skills. I have no respect for your conflict-solving ability though.

    To prevent further drama and a possible DMCA claim, I have disabled the registration on my website until this is sorted out. Luckily, there are no paying customers at this point.

    My next step? A complete re-do of the video course, so there’s not even a slight chance my course will look like yours. I’ll spend days, weeks or months if I have to, differentiating.

    As Ted Clayton has stated: “Unless the creator of a video took pains to make their words especially unique & distinctive, we would actually expect a more or less high degree of overlap in lesson-scripts”.

    I will go through that “painful process”. And this plugin will compete with yours, whether you like it or not. You might have authority in this field, you may be longer in this game than me, you may have influential people on your side, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have competitors.

    I might not have an army of users or supporters, but I do have a plugin which I have worked on for months, something I’m proud of. And looking at its functionalities, I am sure there’s at least a small portion of developers who would prefer my solution over yours.

    In short, thank you for making my product even better. I’ve waited months to get it released and haven’t even had a chance to see how it will do. I can wait a month or two more. But when I’m done, the amazing plugin functionalities will not be my only Unique Selling Point. A totally unique approach to WordPress learning will be one of them.

    You are still welcome to contact me directly.

    “To your success”,
    Boris


  14. @Boris – Thanks for responding, Boris. I actually did attempt to reach out to you personally, searching all over your website for contact info, clicking through to your own website, searching Google, and Twitter. I could find no other means of contacting you, other than the contact form on your site, which I used.

    I agree that you have a great plugin on your hands… see my first comment, where I referenced it as an “otherwise excellent plugin with a great set of features,” but there is no doubt that you’ve copied my own scripts, and even much of the verbiage from both my website, and also that of Video User Manuals.

    A couple of your videos are, in fact, published on your blog for everyone to see and compare. These are the videos to which I was referring, and it’s easy enough to compare them.

    Here’s one example…

    Here’s a link to the full script from your “What is WordPress?” video, published here: http://www.wpvideocoach.com/how-to-install-wordpress/

    Your script: http://cl.ly/QSF9

    And here’s the script to my own video, which you can watch here: https://vimeo.com/wp101/review/71027884/ca52c72ec3

    My script: http://cl.ly/QSDH

    If you like, I’ll transcribe and publish the scripts from your other videos to prove my point, but I don’t think that’s necessary.

    Hey, none of us are making millions here. And to be clear, I welcome healthy, fair competition!

    All I ask is that you take down the copyright-infringing videos, and commit to creating your own without blatantly copying my scripts word-for-word.

    Do that, and and I’ll welcome you to compete in a healthy way, just as I do with our friends, BobWP, Video User Manuals, and WP University.


    1. Now that both of you have been able to get in touch, I respectfully request that you two now communicate with each other via email instead of the comment form to solve this problem. Wouldn’t want any more nasty stuff showing up in public in the comment form. If you guys come to a consensus, let me know.


  15. @Boris – Let me know when you have everything re-tooled. I’m happy to take your plugin for a test drive for a proper review. I was impressed with the concept and am looking forward to your revisions.

  16. Boris Beo

    @Marcus Couch – Thank you! I would definitely appreciate an honest review, so I’ll let you know once I’m re-installed.


  17. Another list of great plugins, Thanks for sharing!

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