Copyright Infringement and Me
Nov. 3rd, 2010 @ 11:14 pm
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!
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)|| |
I think you have gotten a lot of the best possible advice from many people.
Can I link to this post?
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)|| |
Contact this group and let them know what happened. They can tell you how to proceed. www.copyrightalliance.org
At the very least she should lose her job. The magazine should be fined, and you should be compensated at the current going rate per word.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)|| |
Followed a link from a friend's LJ. I'm appalled, both at the conduct of the magazine and at the frankly rude (and legally incorrect) response you got from them.
I'm sure other commenters here have already covered this (considering we're on page 6 of comments, lol), but I'll just add the following (with the disclaimer that this is not to be construed as legal advice, and that the only advice I can give is that you should seek legal counsel):
a. If you have not already done so, register your copyright for the article. All ideas fixed in tangible form (including on the internet) are entitled to copyright protection. This is a pro forma process, costs next to nothing, and you probably won't require the assistance of an attorney just to register your rights.
b. File a DMCA claims. You have rights, and the law gives you an opportunity to enforce those rights.
c. Talk to an IP attorney. Yes, there is a cost involved, but many would be willing to take this case pro bono, I suspect. Slam dunk, really. (If you don't have access to legal counsel, consider the law clinic route. Or PM me, if you like).
d. Keep scrupulous records of everything (which it appears you're already doing).
Good luck. And spread the story far and wide. This sort of thing has to be STOPPED.
I found this link
on when new works are actually entering public domain... Not until 2019. Theft is theft, and seeing as how you're still alive, copyright or NO copyright posted, it's not theirs to take. Lawyer it UP. Writer rights!
Oh by the way it's not just THE INTERNETS giving advice. That article was written by an attorney.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)|| |
For an editor, she sure doesn't know how to use commas.
I hope this gets sorted out quickly!
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)|| |
you are not the only one.
I just contacted a gentleman in texas who carves very distinctive pumpkins. While I cannot find the other pumpkins, searching for just 'tiger pumpkin' (which appears on page 8 of the same issue as your article) got me to him (and his clearly copyrighted images) very quickly.http://pumpkingutter.com/pumpkinblog/?page_id=555&cpage=3#comment-158
It has come to light that a magazine, Cooks Source, has completely lifted an article from godecookery.com, and when contacted by the owner of that site/author of the article, the editor 'informed' her that everything that can be found online is 'in the public domain' (http://illadore.livejournal.com/30674.html
I noticed that elsewhere in the magazine your tiger pumpkin (from http://pumpkingutter.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=27
) was printed in the same issue (http://is.gd/gIuDL
or check Cooks Source's facebook page in their gallery for the recent issue), and I'm willing to bet they used the same specious logic that if they found it online, even with your clear copyright notice, it was theirs to use.
You may want to contact the author of the other copyright violation, as (if you did not give them permission), this is pretty endemic at the magazine, and both of you can back each other up.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: you are not the only one.
Seriously, I can't even believe that. As a chef I ALWAYS have helped other people in the kitchen and it enrages me that other people who enjoy cooking or do it on a professional level don't do this in a larger sense of the philosophy. If you had threatened to sue them or demanded some sort of payment I might have understood the response you received. However suggesting that to learn their lesson they should apologize (totally deserved and there was a spot recently on NPR about how sometimes you gotta nudge someone to apologize lol) and donate money (to a damn good cause I might add, thank you for being unselfish), that was class IMHO.
Let me just tell you a little story related to people and their understanding of the Internet;
Yesterday I was chatting with someone online. We got into a discussion about piracy of software (I am completely against it and the other person seemed to claim that he/she wouldn't do it but that it wasn't wrong?). The statement made was; It is OK to download something on the Internet early as long as you are going to purchase what you download when it actually is released in stores. A friend of mine brought up that would be like stealing a car and then going back and paying for it a week later. The person's response to this; you can't compare killing a family of 4 to killing a mouse.
Now obviously the conversation that took place was much longer than that but I will save you the unimportant details lol. But this is the stupidity I think a lot of us are forced to deal with on a daily basis.
Unfortunately people who are less comfortable with technology want to do whatever it is in their power to smite those of us who know how to use it and have an easier time at getting x, y or z accomplished thanks to technology (i.e. I would personally see your Internet postings as published even though they are in digital format, and I am sure it was easier than having to send a million type-written copies to 1000 different editors to attempt to get the same result).
Anyways now I seem to have lost my train of thought, arg! Needless to say I would be happy to support this cause if there were some sort of donations needed to cover your legal fees in this matter. Maybe set one up so that you can give this person what they have coming. As you said, this is plagiarism, no if's, and's or but's about it. Time for this person to learn a valuable lesson...Just because it is on the Internet does not mean you can take it and do whatever you want with it (creator be damned).
I really hope you can get this resolved and the person ends up learning their lesson.
Nonsense. I work for a publishing house as an editor and copyright manager. I ALWAYS tell my authors, if you get it on the Internet, it's going to need permission to re-use. Any editor worth his/her salt knows that the Internet is not public domain.
I saw this on Nick's LJ last night and tweeted/buzzed/Facebooked it. This morning my partner woke me to say the Internet had exploded with the story.
The editor can't even spell Housatonic. Yeesh.
Short of getting Guido and Butch on the case, at the very least I'd have a lawyer send the editor a letter explaining in concise legal terms what she has in store if she doesn't pony up to your original requests.
Just popping in as a professional writer who gets stolen a lot to offer my support. Fortunately I have a large media conglomerate backing me.
Also, I took the liberty of going to the Borders across from where I work on my lunch break, and dropping off a note to the general manager letting him know about the controversy, and encouraging him to pass the word on to other Borders, especially those that might stock the magazine.
No idea if he'll read it, or if it'll do anything, but far be it from me not to add my little bit to the Katamari of Outrage.
"Katamari of Outrage" = best metaphor EVER.
National Writer's Union
In case the 230 other comments didn't get there -- if you want legal representation, join and then contact the National Writer's Union. They have expertise in this sort of thing.
Also, have you considered mailing a jar of urine to Cook's Source?
Re: National Writer's Union
pop it in a bottle labelled "Mead made to an original 14th century recipe - best enjoyed with a slice of medieval apple pie"
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)|| |
Only Unrepentant Idiots Admit Guilt
I only read through the first page (of five) of comments.
Nobody in that first 20% seemed to realize (or bothered to point out) that the plagiarzation was duly admitted in the reply letter from the publisher. That is an out-right admission of guilt.
The publisher had every opportunity to read the notice of copyright ownership and contact the author to ask permission. They chose to not do so, and spend their resources to edit and publish that which did not belong to them and which they did not have any legal right to publish, let alone edit (for any purpose other than educational or personal use).
The tone of the letter excerpt signifies defiance and disrespect for both the law as well as creators of IP. There is no remorse, humility, or sense of accountability for their own behavior.
IANAL! Check with an attorney first! However, it seems to me that a DCMA take-down notice/request will affect ONLY the web content. The published, dead-tree content is irrevocable. That makes the DCMA take-down ineffective at this point.
Take 'em to court. Sue for damages, court-costs, a published (in the dead-tree magazine) apology (that is not hidden beneath a cheap-advertisement and reduced to small print on the third-to-last page), and for the insulting definition of your request for a $130 donation to a school as a "request(s) for monetary gain."
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: you're on twitter.com's home page top tweets
writers write. they write a lot, even when they're not 'writing'. All you need to do is piss off Scalzi or Gaiman, and there goes the internet.