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Steve Jobs tribute turns into plagiarism debate

Since the death of Steve Jobs, a photograph which features the late Apple founder’s silhouette — incorporated into the bite of a white Apple logo on a black background — has become an internet sensation.

The design, which has now come under accusations of plagiarism, was the sombre tribute of a Hong Kong design student to the Apple visionary. Jonathan Mak, the student in question, denies that he had copied another artist’s work.

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The 19-year-old Mak said he was not the first to come up with the design after comments surfaced on Twitter that a UK-based designer Chris Thornley, known as Raid71 on the web, created the original design earlier this year.

“I didn’t rip off his work,” Mak told Reuters. “I still arrived at the solution on my own, and my conscience is still clear, but I’m more than happy to acknowledge the fact that somebody did it before me.”

Mak wrote on his blog: “I honestly did not come across his work while searching for terms such as ‘Apple, Steve Jobs, logo, silhouette’. I did my best to ensure that the idea had not been done before.”

“I don’t dispute he came out with the design before me, but we arrived at the same design independently,” he said.

The two logo-tributes have different dimensions and the UK designer used a black Apple logo instead of a white one.

According to both Mak and representatives for Thornley, the matter has now been resolved.

“The exponential rate at which the design spread in just a few hours says a lot about the power of social media and the influence of Steve Jobs. I am very thankful that most of the responses received have been positive. A few people shared their stories about how Apple has made a difference in their lives, which is wonderful,” says Mak.

Mak was inundated with tens of thousands of emails, blog comments and job offers after he published his design on the web.

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