Illadore's House o Crack - Copyright Infringement and Me

About Copyright Infringement and Me

Previous Entry Copyright Infringement and Me Nov. 3rd, 2010 @ 11:14 pm Next Entry
The tl;dr version of this post: My 2005 Ice Dragon entry, called "A Tale of Two Tarts" was apparently printed without my knowledge or permission in a magazine and I am apparently the victim of copyright infringement.

The story:
I was contacted early last week by a friend of mine who lives in the Northeast about my "As American as Apple Pie - Isn't!" article that was published in Cooks Source magazine, mostly to inquire how I had gotten published. This was news to me, as I hadn't ever heard of this magazine before.

However, some basic Google-fu lead me to find them online and on Facebook. In fact, after looking at the Cooks Source Facebook page, I found the article with my name on it on on "Page 10" of the Cooks Source Pumpkin fest issue. (No worries, I have screencaps.) The magazine is published on paper (the website says they have between 17,000 and 28,000 readers) as well as being published on Facebook as well.

So. I first phone the magazine then send a quick note to the "Contact Us" information page, asking them what happened and how they got my article. (I thought it could have been some sort of mix-up or that someone posted it to some sort of free article database.) Apparently, it was just copied straight off the Godecookery webpage. As you can see from the page, it is copyrighted and it is also on a Domain name that I own.

After the first couple of emails, the editor of Cooks Source asked me what I wanted -- I responded that I wanted an apology on Facebook, a printed apology in the magazine and $130 donation (which turns out to be about $0.10 per word of the original article) to be given to the Columbia School of Journalism.

What I got instead was this (I am just quoting a piece of it here:)

"Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was "my bad" indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.
But honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me... ALWAYS for free!"


I got nothing.
Scratch that. I sure as heck do. Let's go over the major points:

  • At this point, I am mad as hell. It is now the principle of the thing -- and I also can not quite believe that my copyright was violated -- and then I was informed that I should *pay them* for editing it for me!

  • The web is NOT public domain! Don't believe me? Try the University of Maryland University College -- or just Google it.

  • I should be thankful because I wasn't flat out plagiarized? Don't college students get, oh, I dunno, tossed out for being caught for plagiarism? How is this a valid argument?

    I have some ideas of where to go from here but I am more than willing to listen to other suggestions.



    EDIT: Nick does a better job of telling the story than I do: http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/1553538.html -- Thanks, Nick!
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    [User Picture Icon]
    From:gurdymonkey
    Date:November 4th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    Want us to bombard their Facebook page with complaints and comments?
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    From:dr_memory
    Date:November 4th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
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    (here via nihilistic_kid)

    Do you have any friend who are lawyers who'd be willing to do a little work for you on a contingency basis? The amount you'd be likely to get in damages if this went to trial is probably small, but it'd be a slam dunk case, and might be worth the satisfaction just to seem them fold.

    (I'm not sure if it's possible to adjudicate copyright claims in small claims court, but that would surely be the best route, since you wouldn't need a lawyer at all.)
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    From:amergina
    Date:November 4th, 2010 04:46 am (UTC)
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    Lawyer up.
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    From:chriscoxadobe
    Date:November 4th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
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    Agreed. People like that really need to learn lessons the hard way.
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    From:savia
    Date:November 4th, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
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    Besides legal stuff, embarrassment in public is the way to go. I'd identify some publications and media outlets that would be likely to run with a story like this. Given the ridiculous reply that you got (seriously, who DOES that?) and the completely unapologetic nature of the communication, I'd say they're deserving of whatever bad press they get over this.

    So uncool.

    (Also hi, I got here from nihilistic_kid)
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 4th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)

    site to run this on :)

    (Link)
    i'd check w/Techdirt.com to get them to run this. they love IP/Patent type of stories!!

    F%#%# mainstream publications, still think they are better than us little guys/gals :)

    bloggers ftw!!
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    From:pingback_bot
    Date:November 4th, 2010 05:52 am (UTC)

    Copyright, schmopyright, right?

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    User troubleinchina referenced to your post from Copyright, schmopyright, right? saying: [...] Via Karen Healey on Twitter: Copyright Infringement and Me [...]
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    From:esmerel
    Date:November 4th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
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    You could also entertain yourself by sending letters to their sponsors stating that the magazine they support, supports copyright infringement. :) Some people sorta freak out about that kind of thing.,
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 4th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC)
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    Wow, I'm stunned, I recomend White Hat Hackers.
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    From:https://me.yahoo.com/sybrdremr#d359d
    Date:November 4th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)

    @Anonymous "white hat hackers"

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    You mean grey hat.
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    From:Heather Daveno
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:10 am (UTC)
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    I agree that you should lawyer up. I would also start with a 'cease and desist' letter, for which I think you can probably find a nice template somewhere like www.nolo.com. Litter the letter with plenty of references to 'legal council'. This person is an idiot and there is absolutely no excuse for their behavior.
    Publishing to the Internet Does Not Equal Public Domain. - h.daveno
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    From:pbristow
    Date:November 4th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
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    Make that "legal counsel", and it might carry more weight. (People tend to be less scared of threats that aren't spelt correctly, due in part to the fact that, regretably, people in general are less likely to take seriously complaints from people who don't express them impeccably. Or summink. =:o\ )
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    spelt v. spelled - (Anonymous) Expand
    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 4th, 2010 08:04 am (UTC)
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    OMG, I love this. It's just fantastic that an editor, someone who no doubt worries about their stuff being plagiarized already, is so brazenly plagiarizing someone else, and is not only unapologetic, but entitled!

    This is too perfect. I hope this turns into a huge shitstorm for them - deservedly so.
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    From:ext_316248
    Date:November 20th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC)
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    Actually we found out that little in the mag was original. Instead most of the content was stolen.
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    From:ext_309089
    Date:November 4th, 2010 09:48 am (UTC)
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    http://cassandraconsiders.blogspot.com/2010/10/cassandras-favorite-apple-pie.html

    Google did NOT lead me to the Cooks Source article, but instead to this blog! Oh my!
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    From:baronessekat
    Date:November 4th, 2010 11:13 am (UTC)
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    The scribe who had her work lifted from a website and used on a commercially made Tshirt received a settlement.

    I would suggest contacting her to find out who helped her.

    http://community.livejournal.com/sca_scribes/71700.html

    Ekat
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    From:quirkstreet
    Date:November 4th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC)
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    I stumbled onto this via a friend of a friend ... this will make a lovely Facebook update if you don't mind. These people need a spanking really really badly.
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    From:illadore
    Date:November 4th, 2010 11:21 am (UTC)
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    Again, this is a free country and you have a right to free speech. Assuming, you know, you live in the U.S. :)
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    From:pingback_bot
    Date:November 4th, 2010 11:32 am (UTC)

    Thor's Day

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    User shadesong referenced to your post from Thor's Day saying: [...] ness. Real courage is risking one’s clichés." -- Tom Robbins Link Soup * Copyright infringement [...]
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    From:ext_309184
    Date:November 4th, 2010 11:39 am (UTC)
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    Just came across this from Twitter and astonished. Please do keep us informed of how you progress.
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    From:ext_309219
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:10 pm (UTC)

    I'm appalled!

    (Link)
    Monica, as a member of the media, I would like to apologise unreservedly for the inappropriate response by the editor of Cooks Source. Such a response is totally unacceptable, and as someone who generates material, copyright, regardless of medium, is something close to my heart.

    I hope that Cooks Source will apologise again (without any strings attached) and give a donation to Columbia School of Journalism.

    Regards,

    Stefan Paetow MCIJ
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    From:illadore
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)

    Re: I'm appalled!

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    Why thank you! :)

    I hope they do too. One can donate online too! (To make it easier):

    https://giving.columbia.edu/giveonline/index.jsp?schoolstyle=180
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    From:khalinche
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
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    What a nerve!
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    From:dbcooper
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC)
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    Someone has already submitted the story of your troubles with these guys to bOING bOING. They eat this stuff up--pun intended.
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    [User Picture Icon]
    From:illadore
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
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    bOING bOING? Ohboy.

    HELLO INTERNET!!! THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY. :)
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    From:violetnights
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)

    Found via a retweeted tweet

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    What they all said, plus own personal outrage:

    What a crock of shit! I hope you get some justice...
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    From:ext_309245
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)

    Unbelievable

    (Link)
    Just seen this via Twitter - seriously "in very bad need of editing"?! I haven't read the article, but perhaps when this 'editor' can learn how to write an altogether less rude and more professional email then perhaps you could take them seriously. In the meantime, just enjoy the fallout.
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    From:kaliganges
    Date:November 4th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)

    Re: Unbelievable

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    Gawd, their WEBSITE is in "bad need of editing". Or someone who has any modicum of design sense.
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    From:tselmende
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:42 pm (UTC)

    From Gabby

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    I am furious that a supposed professional would speak to an author in such a degrading way...to cover herself, of course, she knows she's in the wrong and she's obviously trying to bully you. I wonder how many times she's done this before? And to tell you you should be grateful?

    And yep, students do get tossed out...because plagiarism is considered to lack integrity.

    May I send a link to the author's groups for my two publishers? Nick's? I'd rather like to spread the word and make her a bit uncomfortable...and if I post the link to, say, the professional organizations that I belong to, as well...a lot of very displeased authors will know about this.

    Also, I just read the article. I used to make my living editing? And I wouldn't have changed anything.

    Edited at 2010-11-04 12:43 pm (UTC)
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    [User Picture Icon]
    From:illadore
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)

    Re: From Gabby

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    Hey Gabby!! Thank you!! :)

    And feel free to send a link. :)
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    Re: From Gabby - (Anonymous) Expand
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    From:ecwoodburn
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
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    Got this from troubleinchina, who cross-posted this on DW as well, which is how I found it.

    A mutual friend of ours just happens to know an IP lawyer who lives in NoVA and works in DC. Just sayin'. s:)
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    From:illadore
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)
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    I believe you have my email. :)
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    From:Paola Anderson
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC)
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    That is outrageous!
    You should fight it and mass humiliation wouldn't hurt either..at least not you.
    Don't bow down to the injustice.
    good luck.
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    [User Picture Icon]
    From:illadore
    Date:November 4th, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC)
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    Thank you!
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    From:technollama
    Date:November 4th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC)
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    This is straightforward copyright infringement and you could sue them if you want, there is no doubt in my mind that you would win in any sort of litigation.

    Or you could let the Internet enact your revenge for you, it is cheaper, faster, and dare I say, more effective. Hell hath no fury like a geek scorned.
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    From:illadore
    Date:November 4th, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC)
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    Hell hath no fury like a geek scorned.

    Would this qualify as nerdrage? :)
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    Nerdrage - (Anonymous) Expand
    From:ext_309278
    Date:November 4th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)

    Who is this guy?

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    I say you edit his countless grammatical errors from that email. Then....send him a bill for all of that re-writing you had to do.
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    From:ext_309278
    Date:November 4th, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC)

    Re: Who is this guy?

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    Err...*gal.
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    From:labratting
    Date:November 4th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)

    terrible behaviour

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    I've emailed them saying how seriously they should be taking this. If you have any lawyer friends, I'd recommend sending them a few 'official' emails and letters first before doing anything you might have to pay for. Hopefully with a significant proportion of the internet getting irritated at them they might panic.

    It's being tweeted all over the place you'll be pleased to know, so hopefully enough people will sent enough emails :)
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