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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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)

    Don't buy anything from Judith again

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    Regardless if/has she apologies for her snarky email, she only doing to save her puckery ass. You get one life, try not being such a jerk because there are consequences/
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    From:lazigyrl
    Date:November 5th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
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    I don't usually dip my oar in but as I have an FB account I have expressed my outrage. Honestly, she caught caught so now she should own up and do the right thing. I just rolled my eyes over the whole "public domain" claim.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)

    The nerve!!!

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    I say definitely keep fighting.

    I almost laughed at the editor's reply -- not just the gall of WHAT she said, but how she said it. It's hard to believe she has all this editorial experience, considering how poor her own writing is.

    If you're a member, I'd say sic the Writers Union on this pub, or an actual lawyer.
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    From:ext_310746
    Date:November 5th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)

    Copyright Infringement and Me

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    The audacity of this editor. You OWE them money for editing! She STOLE your work! God, people like this just piss me off.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)

    DMCA

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    did you file a DMCA takedown? She must know what those are -- if she's been doing this as much or as long as it would seem, she must have gotten dozens by now.

    I think protocol also includes sending a DMCA to the hosting provider (intuit, in this case).
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    From:immortalvisions
    Date:November 5th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)

    Re: DMCA

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    I can't believe Intuit didn't shut her down after yesterday's hot mess with their servers.
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    From:cityslipper
    Date:November 5th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)

    Thanks for breaking the story.

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    The viral reaction to your report can only help to reduce the amount of intellectual property abuse that takes place because of the Internet. I fear this is a drop in the bucket when you consider the millions of web pages managed in countries that have no concern about enforcing copyright laws. Still, for whatever it's worth, your story compelled me to encourage my readers over at Writing Problems Explained (http://www.writingproblems.net/writing-problems/cooks-source-magazine-and-the-most-unforgiveable-of-writing-problems) not to steal material.

    Good luck with your situation.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)

    unbelievable

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    It's not just unbelievably brazen - her email is incredibly ignorant and poorly written. Run-ons, misspellings. (Come on; she can't spell "offense"?) You have my sympathies. I suggest making an example of this person so she won't continue to do it to other people.
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    From:xallanthia
    Date:November 5th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
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    wow... what an interesting and terrible occurance. I hope they throw the book at them.

    OTOH, your article was really interesting!
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)

    Send it to Oprah!!

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    If anyone is all about plagiarism its her. Remember how she totally crucified that author of A Million Little Lies for just not being completely accurate in his storytelling? Well she'd have a field day with this! She'll get that dumb bitch for ya!! ~Kelley www.eazilyamuzed.com
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    From:cabbitattack
    Date:November 5th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
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    From:njc2007
    Date:November 5th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)

    What to do?

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    I would post comments on Preditors & Editors http://pred-ed.com/ which is a great site for checking the reputations of agents, editors, magazines, publishers, etc.

    I could have accepted that the editor made a simple mistake until her emails demonstrated her total lack of integrity.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)

    Exposure is the Real Value

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    I've had this happen to me on several occasions. The difference is it was articles I wrote for my company, so technically they 'own' the content of my writing. A few blogs and industry news sites reprinted the articles (sometimes w/o my name or any reference to who I work for). The first time I was pretty ticked off. At the time I reported directly to our CEO and he gave me some advice. He suggested I just call them and work out a deal where they credit us and give us a permanent link, which they did. The link turned out to be more valuable and the readers turned into some good leads for us and they kept reprinting our articles so we get even more exposure. As long as I can get credit for writing the article and we get a good link then we're better off with the extra exposure.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)

    What goes around

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    Google Cooks Source Magazine and you will find that it seems Forbes magazine has picked up the story as well as the LA Times and the Washington Post. Methinks Ms. Editor has just ensured she won't ever work in the editing/publishing world ever again.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)

    This happens far too often and the writer isn't even credited!

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    My spouse is a teacher and busts students all the time for copying others' work. How is this any different? Copying others' work is simply lazy as well as unethical. The fact that someone had the NERVE to put your name on this at least gives you the extra proof you need. Of course, it also proves they don't understand your rights.

    Your writing and your words are your own. Period. Having noted that, I think we all know of cases where someone passes off a recipe or article as "their own" by simply changing an ingredient or rewording the original piece. I've written for the internet for a long time and am constantly having to notify sites that my content has been lifted, word for word. Sometimes my byline is included but with no link back to the original article. Thanks but no thanks!
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)

    This person may be able to help you

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    contact Angela Hoy at http://writersweekly.com/whispers_and_warnings.php
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)

    Plagarism

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    This article about the out-and-out stealing of your blog post is absolutely outrageous! Best of luck in dealing with this group of people.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)

    The Story Picks Up Steam

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    This story is now officially EVERYWHERE. It has been picked up by Washington Post, LA Times, CNN, and many, many, many others. Google news returns 99 results. And god help Cooks Source, because now its linked on Fark.com. Best of luck. I expect we'll be hearing much more about this in the near future. Turns out she's been copying recipes from Food Network... who has plenty of lawyers.
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    From:rurounitriv
    Date:November 5th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)

    Re: The Story Picks Up Steam

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    Food Network has plenty. Martha Stewart and Disney have even more, and no sense of humor when someone infringes on their copyrights.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)

    ...and she misspelled Housatonic, too

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    I doubt the "editor" has any serious, professional background as a journalist. Sounds more like a an amateur, local pamphleteer/newsletter publisher than anything else. Doesn't excuse anything, but it's not like this is the New York Times committing plagiarism...
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    From:partywhipple
    Date:November 5th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
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    Wow, you have a lot of responses. hope everything works out for you. I would be so frustrated with that response I can't even put it into words. Good luck!
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    From:ext_310958
    Date:November 5th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)

    Copyright

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    Wow, I love how the editor blatantly confesses to stealing the article. I can't wait to share this story with my writing group.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)

    This is appalling

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    Having experienced my own work being stolen online, this makes me very angry and I hope Cook's Source get their comeuppance which they so deserve. As an aside, it appears from other web posts that the unauthorised use of copyrighted material by the publication has been systemic. Considering that the ultimate purpose of the magazine is monetary gain from advertising, the publication may be exposing themselves to accusations of fraud. I hope that you profit from this great injustice and emerge triumphant from what must be a very upsetting event.
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    From:infobits
    Date:November 5th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
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    Signal boosted further, on my (albeit modest) LJ.

    I'm happy to see the overwhelming support you've recieved.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 08:44 pm (UTC)

    wow...I mean wow...

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    So if I understand you correctly, you "donated" (say that sarcastically) your article to her for-profit magazine and because she noted you were the author rather than lying and saying someone else wrote it she is excused? Moreover, she edited your stolen work without permission and somehow she feels entitled to bill you for her unsolicited edits to your, and let me note this again, stolen work?

    If the web were 100% public domain, no reputable magazine, newspaper, author or content creator would post on it. Intellectual property is just that, intellectual PROPERTY. You don't want to work for free? Good for you I say!

    I find her lack of ethics and her hubris very very upsetting.

    Good job standing up for yourself. This is no different than if she were wearing a ski mask and brandishing a weapon demanding your wallet!
    Fight the good fight.
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    From:urban_terrorist
    Date:November 5th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)

    Editing Lies

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    Actually someone did a comparison, and there were no edits. So the editor lied about that as well.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 5th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)

    Make that witch eat her words

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    From two writing professors who also taught journalism and briefly worked for a major periodical publisher: We're horrified by Judith Griggs' unprofessional behavior in violating your copyright. She's a fine one to point fingers about writing/editing or anything else, let alone to speak to you in such a condescending tone. We wouldn't line a birdcage with anything she edited. If funds are problematic, you could always approach a law school with your case. I'm sure they'd love a juicy copyright case associated with the internet. You definitely should make Griggs and her staff's lives a living hell until you get satisfaction.
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    From:petemorin.wordpress.com
    Date:November 5th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)

    Copyright Infringement

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    Monica, under the federal copyright laws, the victim of infringement is entitled to ATTORNEYS FEES, no matter how small the infringement is.

    ;-)
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