UPDATE: Phil Torrone says, "And it's over – Scholastic and Klutz will credit Evil Mad Scientist's BristleBots." Lenore from Evil Mad Scientist writes,
Pat Murphy of Klutz will be sending out a note shortly to let everyone know that Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories will be receiving acknowledgment in the next printing of Invasion of the BristleBots as well as on the Klutz website. This is good news for us, and it seems like Klutz is really learning from this experience about how to work with the maker community. The online response to this situation has been overwhelming and I am glad that such an incredibly vibrant discussion was able to take place. I am truly impressed by and grateful for the support we have received."
More at Make Blog.
Phil Torrone of MAKE points to a developing story about a DIY project called "bristlebots" developed by the maker-hackers at Evil Mad Scientist laboratories — a similar character, um, mysteriously popped up later in a children's book published by Klutz / Scholastic. PT has a blog post up with lots of detail about the case, which you should read. A personal note from him:
it's not about copyright, trademarks or patents, it's about ethics – klutz saw an original idea in 2007 called "bristlebots" from evil mad scientists and are now claiming they developed the *exact* same project, design and name "bristlebots" all in secret and all in the same year. really. now they are "genuinely surprised".
one google search for "bristlebot" has all the prior works and the original post/video from 2007. i'd like folks not to get stuck on the legal arguments – think about what type of company they'd like scholastic and klutz to be. let's help them resolve this in a fair way. here's my suggestion to them… a new statement.
"in light of the interest in invasion of the bristlebots and evil mad scientist's project we've added a special note on the next printing of the book and on our web site".
it means nothing legally, but it's the ethical thing to do.
evil mad scientists (windell and lenore) and pioneers in open source hardware all they usually ask for us credit with their projects. the first instance of "bristlebots" was from them in 2007 – yes, it's a silly toothbrush robot, but that's not the point – klutz and scholastic are jumping in to the world of makers and should at least credit something when it's clear where the idea (and name) came from.
I am not a lawyer and all of that, but that's not the point. Shame on you, Scholastic and Klutz. That's a douche move.
Here's the video from Toy Fair 2009 – the book includes "BristleBots"…
And here's the video from 2007 from Evil Mad Scientists (over 2 million views).