City Desk

Even More Plagiarism From Brightest Young Things

What's going on at D.C. lifestyle site Brightest Young Things? Just hours after managing editor Logan Donaldson was caught plagiarizing in the site's spring and summer music guide—and had the allegations shrugged off by site founder Svetlana Legetic—there's new evidence that this isn't the staff's first brush with stealing copy.

Donaldson's March 15 story on the "All Time Great Yacht Rock Jams" includes passages identical to both a 2006 IGN article on yacht rock and the Wikipedia page for the melodious rock subgenre.

Here's Wikipedia's explanation of yacht rock:

"Yacht rock" is a pejorative name used retrospectively to refer to the soft rock format that peaked in popularity between the years of 1975 and 1984. In part, the term relates to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, enjoying smooth music while out for a sail. Additionally, since sailing was a popular leisure activity in Southern California, many "yacht rockers" made nautical references in their lyrics, videos, and album artwork, particularly the anthemic track "Sailing" by Christopher Cross. Notable artists also include Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan and Toto.

And Brightest Young Things', with similar phrasing from Wikipedia in bold:

For those of you tragically not in the know, “Yacht rock” is a name used to retrospectively describe the soft rock format that peaked in popularity between the years of 1975 and 1984. In part, the term relates to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, enjoying smooth music while out for a sail. Additionally, since sailing was a popular leisure activity in Southern California, many “yacht rockers” made nautical references in their lyrics, videos, and album artwork, particularly the anthemic track “Sailing” by Christopher Cross. Notable artists also include Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan and Toto.

Consider this IGN passage on Toto's "Rosanna":

How can a song dedicated to Rosanna Arquette not be a bona fide Yacht Rock staple?

And from Brightest Young Things, with the identical portion in bold:

How can a song dedicated to Rosanna Arquette not be a bona fide Yacht Rock staple?

IGN on Christopher Cross' "Sailing":

"Sailing" may be the song everybody remembers from that time, but the album also yielded the Top 2 hit "Ride Like The Wind" and two additional Top 20 hits, "Never Be The Same" and "Say You'll Be Mine." But it was "Sailing" that took the Song of the Year award at the Grammys and it's "Sailing" that has the fortunate (or unfortunate, as the case may be) distinction of actually having a title that fits the whole concept of Yacht Rock to a "T."

And Brightest Young Things on "Sailing," with similar passages in bold:

“Sailing” may be the song everybody remembers from Christopher Cross, but the same album also yielded the Top 2 hit “Ride Like The Wind” and two additional Top 20 hits, “Never Be The Same” and “Say You’ll Be Mine.” But it was “Sailing” that took the Song of the Year award at the Grammys and it’s “Sailing” that has the fortunate distinction of actually having a title that fits the whole concept of Yacht Rock to a “T.”

The only difference? Brightest Young Things dropped one of the jokes.

IGN on Steely Dan's "Nineteen":

The duo of Donald Fagan and Walter Becker brought soft faux jazz to the forefront with their intricate, quasi-progressive compositions and a light, airy feel that pissed off a whole generation of jazz purists at the same time that it climbed the pop charts, became an integral soundtrack to a generation, and provided untold amounts of samples for the world of rap.

Brightest Young Things' version, with, you guessed it, similar sections in bold:

The duo of Donald Fagan and Walter Becker brought soft faux jazz to the forefront with their intricate, quasi-progressive compositions and a light, airy feel that pissed off a whole generation of jazz purists at the same time that it climbed the pop charts, became an integral soundtrack to a generation, and provided untold amounts of smooooth samples for the world of rap.

Do these guys even know anything about music? It's getting to where you can't even trust your local blogerati-cum-event promoters!

Legetic declined to comment on the newly-suspect article. "We are dealing with this internally and for the time being I have no further comment," she writes in an email. As for Donaldson, Legetic tells DCist that she won't ask him to resign.

Update, 5:20 p.m.: This post initially said the Brightest Young Things' yacht rock didn't have a byline when, in fact, Donaldson's name is on it.

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  • Jon

    The flood gates have opened. Commence full-site scrutinization. Well-deserved.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com I.F.

    Did you find this or Marc Masters?
    https://twitter.com/Marcissist/status/316647096772087808 at 4:25PM.

    At least give credit where credit is due when you're jerking yourself about this.

  • Marc M.

    I sent the CP this information and did not asked to be credited.

  • Marc M.

    whoops, I did not _ask_, sorry about the typo!

  • BL

    just leave the floodgates closed imo. this site has already jumped the shark. no reason to read inane articles and inadvertantly give the site hits..

  • brandon

    Can you fire someone who is part of a clique and not a serious professional music concern? He needs to go but will he? Doubt it. Prove me wrong.

  • http://Www.washingtoncitypaper.com I.F.

    Noted. Lucky guy to benefit from your work and the initial find by White and Cetin. Did they also send him info and ask to have a story out before they could put it on their own outlets? Irrelevant at this point but speaks to Ian Cohen's tweet/Raekwon/OBFCL "Shark N*****" reference and not getting to shine on your own sh*t prior to someone else.

  • Bob

    Wow! BYT does great things for bands in DC. Can't you find something worth covering besides these folks quoting a wikipedia page. Not sure you all are much better there peaches:)

  • Mike G

    "It's getting to where you can't even trust your local blogerati-cum-event promoters!"

    WCP is loving this, huh? One person who writes for this blog plagiarized - it's serious and it shouldn't go unpunished, ok, but you're jumping on this with questionable zeal. At the least, there is some palpable schadenfreude at hand.

  • http://twitter.com/monkeyrotica monkeyrotica

    Seems Bob doesn't know the difference between "quoting" and "plagiarism." But by all means, if you do "great things for bands in DC" you're free to get away with anything, "Bob." If that is indeed your real name.

  • Internet Name

    Good point, Monkeyrotica... If that is indeed your real name.

  • plagiarismfreezone

    "Do these guys know about music?" It's a bit easy to sweepingly generalize about the journalistic integrity of an entire team of writers. I have been writing reviews and features for them for quite some time--I take my work incredibly seriously (the lack of pay for any of the writers notwithstanding) and the palpable schadenfreude as well as the egregious generalizing about the site is not warranted or pleasant. I do concur that "guide" excuses and whatever else excuses ring far too hollow--there is no reason for anyone to be copy-pasting anything/"aggregating" anything, etc., but again, this is not an entire site we are discussing here.

  • Will Sommer

    @ IF

    What's "Ian Cohen's tweet/Raekwon/OBFCL "Shark N*****"?

  • DCpony

    It's all Bucket's fault.

  • http://newcolumbiaheights.blogspot.com Andrew

    Plagiarismfreezone is right, but to me that's why they should fire this guy, to show they don't put up with this kind of nonsense. It hurts the other writers by being associated with him.

  • Neil Paz

    Plagiarism is what you learn in college nowadays, don't cha know? Big surprise that young, entitled writers are plagiarizing. What's worse it that what's being plagiarized is crap writing already. Bloggers and Web sites don't generally abide by true journalistic ethics anyhow it seems. Its all just opinion, and in this case, someone else's opinion.

  • aa

    Yacht rock. Learn something new everyday.

  • Will Sommer

    The "Yacht Rock" web series is worth watching:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMTI8vg7A5U

  • Robert Winship

    I have contributed content to BYT for about a year and a half now and very clearly understand the perception of BYT and the reality. Plagiarism is wrong, plain and simple. Using such a story as a platform of slander toward the many, many contributing writers and photographers is completely misguided. I make no claims about the caliber of my writing, but I've worked hard to generate interesting readable reviews and interviews for no pay. I know many of the other contributors personally and stand by my work and theirs. Everyone has a forum on the internet and it has been a great opportunity to write under a published site that has allowed me to craft my own opinions about the music I care about.

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