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 15th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)

    Send her a bill

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    Hi,
    Angela Hoy of Absolute Write has a whole series of articles on copywrite infringement and I highly suggest you check out her website. She discovered massive copyright infringement on some of her stuff and went after the offenders.

    You are absolutely right - the internet is not public domain and I'm sure that editor knew she was just lying about that. Probably hoping you were too naive to know any better and to get out of having stolen your content.

    If your blog/website allows plugins get the 'no copy' plugin, which prevents others from doing the right click copy and paste. They could still print it out and transcribe it but theives are often to lazy to go to such trouble.

    I have had a lot of people splogging me online with one of my blogs and it makes me really hesitant to post things at this point.

    In your shoes I'd send them a bill and pursue legal action (perhaps you have a friend who is a lawyer who might do you a favor and write an 'official letter' to the editor?) Not only might it get you paid and a retraction by the editor, it might save other writers from being ripped off in the future.

    Good luck.

    Writer Chick
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 19th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)

    Re: Send her a bill

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    The word is COPYRIGHT as in the right to copy.
    COPYWRITE is something completely different (and is a verb).
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 15th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)

    Copyright Infringement and Me

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    So far nobody has said what a superb article has been plagiarised. The reference list is also excellent. One can see why the offender was tempted to steal, but stealing it undoubtedly was. The defence offered was outrageous and quite without water, just sauce! I shall also use the recipes.
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    From:illadore
    Date:November 16th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)

    Re: Copyright Infringement and Me

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    Aww. Thank you. :)
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    From:OPEN2XL
    Date:November 16th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC)

    The Nerve of some people

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    If it was good enough to use it was certainly not worth taking a cheap shot at your writing. People will say the worst and most incomprehensible of things when they have their backs against the wall or caught with their hand in the cookie Jar.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 17th, 2010 04:05 am (UTC)

    Sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar

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    Am I the only one noticing the eerie echo of a former high-profile inability to take responsibility in Judith's latest non-apology?:

    "This woman - Monica..."

    "That woman - Monica Lewinsky..."

    http://www.cookssource.com/

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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 17th, 2010 04:09 am (UTC)

    What a pretentious git

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    She ended her latest screed "FIN." Like an Italian Neorealismo. And this sounds like Tolstoy: Winters are bleak in Western New England, and as such they are bleak for Cooks Source as well.

    What a whine and cheese fest. Better check if she plagiarized some of the classics for it.
    (Replies frozen) (Thread)
    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 17th, 2010 07:38 am (UTC)

    What does the counter say about the comment level?

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    It's over 900!
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 19th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)

    Cooks Source is gone

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    Not even that half-assed apology and whining about how unfair it all is remains. Just the webhosting service's placeholder page.
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    From:ext_316248
    Date:November 20th, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    I've captured the final "apology" on my blog just before the whole Cooks Source site went down. Since Judith Griggs informed us that the internet is public domain I don't feel bad preserving this priceless piece of dribble for all to see (complete with comments). I made some constructive comments on her post too. Can I send her a bill for my time and for preserving her writing when her site was killed off? http://www.innovativepassiveincome.com/cooks-source-new-official-statement/
    (Replies frozen) (Thread)
    From:ext_331205
    Date:November 22nd, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC)

    sympathize

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    I've had several recents run-ins with people stealing my work (reprinting without permission), so I truly sympathize. Those who pull this stuff vary in their degrees of responsiveness and accepting responsbility.

    grrrrrr!!!
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    From:Tesney Ap
    Date:December 3rd, 2010 07:03 am (UTC)

    My heart goes to you

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    As a blogger, I know how much effort and heart we put into each piece we posted. It's very personal and important. I wish you luck and hope you get some justice.
    (Replies frozen) (Thread)
    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:December 4th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)

    copyright

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    if u follow the logic that the www is public domain then anything posted or dl'ed or ul'ed is public domain and nothing is protected under copyright laws.... what you should do is post something from that arseholes magazine and see if he likes u infringing on his copyrighted material....
    (Replies frozen) (Thread)
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    From:Beth Thomas-Phelps
    Date:December 8th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)

    Judith's Other Illegal Acts

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    Dear Monica,
    Back in February 2010, Judith solicited registrations and fees of $50 for a "Chef/Source Collaboration Dinner Event" to be held at several venues in the Fall 2010. One of those solicited was Berkshire Grown, a nonprofit org that forwarded the solicitation to its members who are farmers and restaurants. As a farmer, new in the maple syrup business, I thought this would be a great opportunity for us and sent in $50 with my registration for the event. Fall came and went, and we never heard anything more from Judith. I am trying to get my $50 back, and now she doesn't have the money, so she claims. I would like to take her to Small Claims Court, but I don't have her address. Would you be able to help me with this? I am certain I am not the only one who sent in money for this nonevent, and would like her to pay people back before she starts another magazine. I am interested in your case and look forward to hearing from you.
    Beth Phelps
    beth@sweetbrookfarm.com
    Williamstown, MA
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    From:skatendrum
    Date:January 12th, 2011 05:14 am (UTC)
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    did anyone mention the fact that their "editor", supposedly with decades of experience, spelled offense wrong?
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    From:montycrowley
    Date:January 13th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
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    Came here via Cracked (their article was hilarious) and yes, this is definitely one of the 6 Most Disastrous Attempts at Internet Damage Control. Props for staying classy!
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    From:illadore
    Date:January 13th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
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    I tried! Thank you! :)
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    From:Joanna Boone
    Date:January 13th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)

    you've been mentioned on Cracked!

    (Link)
    http://www.cracked.com/article_18954_the-6-most-disastrous-attempts-at-internet-damage-control_p2.html

    you're #3, and it's pretty bad-ass. :) in fact, they're what led me to you! good luck with that douchebag magazine.
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    From:illadore
    Date:January 13th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)

    Re: you've been mentioned on Cracked!

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    I saw!! Thank you so much!! :) And as far as I can tell, I am done with the magazine. (See the later entries. :)
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    From:angelfirenze
    Date:January 13th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
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    Cracked.com profiled this story and led me to this page.

    I...you deserve cookies. You also deserve the internet, making it your domain. Maybe then she'd effing remember about plagiarism and the hard work that goes into any writing, not just that which goes to save her ass.

    Wow.
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    From:illadore
    Date:January 13th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
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    Heh. Thanks! I loved that the internet had my back in this. :)
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    From:sillyceligoose
    Date:January 14th, 2011 08:53 am (UTC)

    cracked!

    (Link)
    I just read about your terrible story on Cracked.com here:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_18954_the-6-most-disastrous-attempts-at-internet-damage-control_p2.html

    Don't worry they treat your story well, NO PLAGIARIZATIONS! I cannot believe someone like that even made it that far in her field, but I am glad to hear that the magazine has since gone under thanks to your tale.
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    From:illadore
    Date:January 14th, 2011 01:12 pm (UTC)

    Re: cracked!

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    Thank you!!! :)
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    From:Cody James Wirth
    Date:January 25th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)

    Sue the shit out of that dummy

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    Bottom line. I would see her in court if I were you. Not to mention the emotional stress that she's put on you has probably taken some years out of you, I'd make sure she never has a job in journalism ever again, even after she apologizes to you again. She obviously doesn't appreciate people who she feels she can manipulate. Take her job away, she deserves it. And that's putting it nicely. Have a great day!
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    From:illadore
    Date:January 25th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)

    Re: Sue the shit out of that dummy

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    Thanks for the comments!! But, as you can probably see from the rest of the story (on my Livejournal or on wikipedia) -- the $130 was paid to Columbia School of Journalism and I got my apology. :)
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    From:illadore
    Date:November 11th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
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    Due to the overwhelming number of spammers that keep coming back and commenting to this journal entry, it is now locked.

    And yes, I still do read every comment I get, Spammers, so I will continue to delete your comments. :)
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