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!
That is just really awful. I am so sorry. It is worth the effort to slap her down. How awful and tacky of her to claim your work needed editing! What a bitch! (Hey, we can all use a good editor--but my suspicion given her lack of professionalism in every other area is that she ain't the one!!)
You would think if they wanted to be professional, they would at least use spell check on their response to you.
Just found this link from Facebook. As a writer and editor, I am appalled and disgusted. The red flags in that quoted letter - "If you took offence," "the article is much better now" - make my blood boil.
So basically you should be GRATEFUL that they stole your work, I guess?
I also *love* the bit about "never charging young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces." Jesus H. Christ. What an asshole.
I have reposted to my FB page and will also repost to Twitter. Let us all know how this shakes out.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)|| |
They want to talk....
I hope you sue them into oblivion. Given the fact they've obviously stolen from who knows how many individual authors and cooks such as yourself and also The Food Network, this magazine probably has a very short time to live. The unfortunate part is that they'll probably try to avoid all monetary responsibility and just declare bankruptcy.
According to Cooks Source Twitter feed, they apparently think they can convince people that they're right if only they talk to them over the phone. Additionally, according to another tweet they apparently think they can get around from copyright law because they are "adding value."
They're inviting people to call them at:
Re: They want to talk....
actually, that twitter account is probably a fake...
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)|| |
Don't fool around
You should make it your life's work to destroy this person personally and professionally. When you have them down, or in court, or begging for their life, you should not let up. If this person is willing to say these things in print to you, their regular abuses of writers are almost certainly much worse.
If you have the time, take this person apart piece by piece.
Re: Don't fool around
I think the internet is doing a pretty good job of that so far...
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)|| |
This is wrong on just about every level. My advice is to find out who owns the publication and contact them directly. This "editor" is putting them at financial risk of major lawsuits. Unless the owner is dumber than this joker, they will deal with it. Mention the word "lawyer" or better yet, have one write up a letter.
Best of luck,
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)|| |
the owner seems to *be* the editor.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)|| |
Other stolen articles?
I sent a note to NPR about one of their articles that appeared on Cooks Source with a heads' up about this theft, gave links to both their and C.S. articles. Got back a note from Scott Hensley: "Thanks. Appreciate the tip."
So far readers have spotted articles from Foodtv, Sunset, NPR, and WebMD. Is this the tip of the iceberg?
I sent a note to FoodTV as well.
Re: Other stolen articles?
I know Scott, professionally. His specialty is healthcare and pharma but I am sure he's passed the tip on.
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!
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...