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!
I feel your pain - there is someone who lifted an entire paper I wrote in 1996, and publishes it on their conspiracy webpage - and has been insulting in their responses to DMCA takedown notices, and offshored their host so I can't get it removed.
Get a lawyer. Don't settle for anything less. If she's done this to you, she's done it to countless other people.
came here from heatermcca
's journal, and it's now linked on mine.
Yes, it can get you kicked out of college, but most college students act like they really don't care!
I Would like to say this was shocking, but then again, Lori Jareo, a professional editor and owner of a small poetry press, wrote a bad star wars fan novel, and then self-published it and sold it on Amazon, Alibris, Books-a-Million, etc. I believe her defense before the Sith Lawyers came after her with their tort-sabers was that "she wrote it for her own entertainment, so there was no infringement in selling it." I wish I did IP law, I would do this one for free.
Oh wow. Can I just tell you that the mental image you gave me of Sith Lawyers going after someone with their tort-sabers has had me sitting here in tears for a good 10 minutes? My poor stomach is hurting from all the laughter, and it's taken me gods know how long to type this out.
Because uncontrollable gigglefits and bursts of guffaws make for shaky fingers which are so not conducive to typing coherently, just in case you were wondering.
I should also mention that my cat is quite irritated with you. As I am her devoted slave and human cat-pillow, said fits of giggles and bouts of laughter have caused her to be quite inconvenienced.
She's currently waiting for me to finally compose myself so I can go back to being a proper cat-pillow. It will take months of tuna and catnip treats before I'm back in her graces.
If Sith Lawyers have tort-sabers (bwahaha!) I wonder what Stormtrooper Paralegals carry?
(I do need to thank you though for the much needed laugh. It'd been One of Those Days(TM))
The editor has taken an incomprehensible position. To avoid any other plagiarism surprises, you might want to try UN.CO.VER, a free anti-plagiarism tool. You can compare your entire blog or domain with what's out there on the Web. It's a downloadable program here http://www.textbroker.com/uncover. No viruses, no spyware, no cost. Good luck!
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)|| |
Call me for a free consultation
I'm a copyright lawyer in Los Angeles. Call me and I'll give you a free consultation on your rights and possible courses of action. www.ZernerLaw.com
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)|| |
I left a message for Laura Pulaski at 2nd Street Baking company that you posted this here.
The face book page it moving fast enough that the message it going to get lost-hopefully this will signal boost it as well.
And hopefully more advertisers will pull their advertising and annouce it there as well.
The web is public...wha... ??????
Sympathies, I've had similar happen to me.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)|| |
Just sent them an email...
I was pretty appalled at what they responded to you Monica. I emailed them - hopefully lots of people will, too. Thank goodness for the internet support crew...
What nerve! And if the shoe were on the other foot, the snobby editor becoming the victim of plagiarism, wouldn't she/he be up in arms over the injustice of it all. I hope you sue the pants off of Cooks Source magazine.
A list of duplicated articles, including yours, is being compiled on the Cooks Source Facebook page discussion tab. You are not alone in having your work used in this way it seems.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)|| |
Series on dealing with online copyright infringement
I did a how to series on issues similar to yours:
Here from sf_drama
and just wanted to say... Go get 'em, girl! Lawyer up and sue the crap out of them. Copyright infringement needs to be exposed and punished!
Good luck! =)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)|| |
Go get em!
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)|| |
I had a student plagiarize once and when I called him on it, he told me it wasn't his fault, that the guy he paid to write the assignment for him was the one to blame. It's a close call, but I think this tops even that.
what... some stuid kid said that.... wow... the brains in that kid.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)|| |
Just found this on my Alexa toolbar, which means only one thing: this page is currently one of the most popular on the Web buddy, congrats!
"the web is considered "public domain"..."
Sue 'em. RFN. Hurry up because we are probably seeing the last days of Cooks Source
I can't even count the kinds of ok that is not. :/
I agree that you should get a lawyer. But you should also edit your own work more carefully. "as well as being published on Facebook as well." Really? ;)
If I'm not mistaken, the fine the magazine could receive for this is $250,000. I would find a friend who is an attorney who can tell them that. Then $130 might not seem such an outrageous request.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)|| |
! I'm with the hundreds of other commenters who call for lawyering up. This is completely unacceptable.
well i know one mag will be shut down due to there own stupidity. i just hope they wont screw u out of what u deserve.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)|| |
This is an outrage. The nerve of them. I have posted the story to my FB page with a link to anyone wishing to voice their displeasure. Artists have to stick together!!
Man, this is the best Internet pile-on since Diana Gabaldon's anti-fanfic rant. ;) Here via Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and also Neil Gaiman.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)|| |
You DID report them to Facebook for intellectual property infringement, right?
Illadore, this is all quite crazy. I must say, though, that the best responses are the ones that say they are happily going to try your recipes! And look further through godecookery.com! Hang in there...
Any reputable web host will help you with this. They are hosting by these folks: http://www.homestead.com/
who are a division of Intuit.
Contact that company - generally it's the Abuse Department at a hosting company you want - and tell them that they are hosting a site that is infringing your copyright. once you provide details they should quickly make their customer remove the material, or take the site down.
Like butter on... well, everything, if you're Paula Deen. ;-)