Copyright Infringement and Me
Nov. 3rd, 2010 @ 11:14 pm
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.|
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!
According to what I read at Pat Elrod's Blog that there was stuff from Martha Stewart and Paula Deen, you might contact them and see if they gave permission for their stuff to be used, they are much bigger and have lawyers on retainer. Definately this individual should be doing something else that doesn't include writing.
They didn't give permission. Their legal departments have already been contacted and will be taking action.
(At least, so says Paula Deen's representative on Facebook.)
Hoist them from the mainsail.
I'm off to blast their Facebook page.
So I finally found a screencap of their version, thanks to the internet exploding, and I have to say: "What editing?" They rearranged some of your paragraphs (in the process rendering the sentence "A discussion on methods and why each pie is different follows each redaction." meaningless, though it is retained) but have not touched your prose at all, nor have they altered your recipe. Some sentences have been removed (again without much care, since the second tart's apple choice paragraph is still preceded by "again" even though the first's was removed), but that's a space issue, and in no way goes to the quality of the writing as "in very bad need of editing" would suggest. The gall of this woman is incredible!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)|| |
KIck their redfaced stoopid poopyhead s&3!
You know ..I love you... don't get to see you often... but Wow! you are just giving me one of the best evenings of this year! Let me know if I should spread this to teh movie industry sites They will find this just beyond insane also!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)|| |
Re: KIck their redfaced stoopid poopyhead s&3!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC)|| |
Ever hear of DMCA?
Sell your copyright claim to RightHaven. They're copyright trolls, but sometimes that's what it takes.
So sorry you had to go through this. Ms. Griggs is an idiot and you are absolutely in the right here. What's more, she's apparently stolen from big names such as Paula Deen, NPR, and Disney. She is so screwed.
Bravo for bringing this out into the open!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)|| |
CONTACT A LAWYER
I think a letter from an attorney would do the trick. You are asking for far less than is within your rights to demand. The internet is not public domain. More than likely the person you received a response from is used to bullying complainers and getting away with it.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)|| |
wow, what a BIATCH. I can sympathize--had many of my articles from a legal marketing website copied. One time we even found our entire website copied and traced it back to China! You can always send a "cease and desist" or else letter. Good luck, unfortunately the Internet still is the wild west.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)|| |
I know you're probably super inundated with email and lj comments and etc at the moment, but if you decide to hire a lawyer and need funds, I would be more than willing to contribute to a legal fund, as others have already offered.
You made fark.com btw, I'm here via them.
I didn't read all the comments here, but I add my vote to the get a lawyer and sue the pants off them group. I think you're already on the way to embarrassing them online!
Checking in to historic post!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)|| |
Be Careful What You Ask For, or...
...depending on a settlement, you might rend up owning this piece of crap magazine.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)|| |
In addition to getting a lawyer you should send your tale of woe to the Poynter Center and to Editor and Publisher magazine.
referenced to your post from More bullies
saying: [...] in her LJ post tells how she's been screwed by an "editor" who stole her work [...]
Coming from otf_wank on JF, to give you my sympathies.
Fortunately, with the way this is blowing up at an exponential rate, it looks like there will definitely be justice in the near future... although I doubt that Columbia will get $130 out of it because I have a feeling Ms. Griggs is going to end up in bankruptcy court very soon. Some of the sleeping giants she's also been taking content from are undoubtedly about to wake up and give her the business. You might be able to get in on that if it becomes class-action, although several of those legal departments are so powerful they'll probably just smack her down on their own.
You'll probably never see a genuine printed apology from them because I have a suspicion they've printed their last issue. But hopefully there's some comfort in the fact that this has driven a lot of new readership your way, and everyone who's coming to check you and your work out wishes you well and is on your side. I'm bookmarking Gode Cookery, myself, and will be checking out more of your writing in the future.
It also really warms my heart to see how massive the group decrying copyright violation and plagiarism (in some of the other articles' cases) is. I'm very sorry this happened to you, but I'm very happy that the whole Internet is standing up to say that this is never, ever okay.
Best of luck to you in everything you do. You've more than earned it.
From all of us writers...
Thank you for bringing this issue front and center.
As "master simon" says, "It also really warms my heart to see how massive the group decrying copyright violation and plagiarism (in some of the other articles' cases) is. I'm very sorry this happened to you, but I'm very happy that the whole Internet is standing up to say that this is never, ever okay."
Amen to that!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC)|| |
Congrats on the online firestorm. Finishing story for tomorrow. Are you planning legal action? Why Columbia Sch. of Journalism? Where do you live?
Daily Hampshire Gazette
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)|| |
Re: cooks source
I live in Virginia.
I picked Columbia School of Journalism because when I Googled "Journalism School" it was the first one that came up that had an online donation form (I wanted to make it easy for them to donate. :) and is a reputable school.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)|| |
Can you whine more?
It's not like they used someone else's name.
People need to stop whining about copyrights when they know NOTHING of how they work.
They did no harm to you, and you deserve nothing more than maybe an apology for posting it without your permission.
Did you even copyright it? I'd love to direct you to www.copyright.gov <- Copyrighting is no longer free, and your stuff is no longer safe unless you manually go through the copyright process, similar to a patent.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)|| |
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)|| |
Based on the google cache
her advertisers are:
Drop them a polite and factual line and ask them what impression it makes having their businesses advertised in a magazine built on stolen articles....
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)|| |
Re: Her advertisers
The advertisers on Cooks Source have been getting hammered all day. You don't need to call them.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)|| |
Best of luck with this!
I'm sorry to hear this happened to you, but am really impressed that it's blown up into such an internet cause! (I came via Slashdot, btw.) Best of luck with it; looks like you have many, many people rooting for you!
I've got no advice to add to the 15 (!) pages already up here, so I'd simply like to thank you for the recipes that started the whole flak. I'm looking forward to trying them out during the holidays and serving my friends and family a little justice-flavored apple pie, olden style! ;)
Thank you!! :) Great livejournal name, btw!! :)
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)|| |
I am a web copywriter and frankly this infuriates me. I'm not sure if this has already been posted or suggested, but if you put together some sort of donation mechanism for the legal challenge I would definitely contribute.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)|| |
I'm outraged for you!
Just reading that response made my blood boil and it wasn't my article! I hope like hell the internety goodness comes together and let's this person know what she did was reprehensible.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)|| |
I saw the article on what happened. I consider this a punk move and would be furious as well if I were you. I am all for giving people recipes but give credit where credit is due.
I equate Cooks Source being to publishing what Rachel Ray is to cooking. If you seriously need to steal someone elses work on something as simple as apple pie then you shouldn't even be an editor. Everyone for years has written about apples so why the hell steal your work!?
I think the public has been more then clear on how they feel about this. I know I would never give them the light of day after this.
Chef/Owner of Artisanal Palate
ps I am going to try the recipe and see how it goes
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)|| |
There's two recipes. :) I prefer the 16th century Elizabethan one -- OR to modify the 14th century apple pie with a modern crust. :)
The Internet Is in a Swivet Today