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!
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. ;-)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)|| |
Terrible. I'd be really upset if that happened to me as well. Good luck with this issue.
Posted to Buzz, my Facebook wall, and my Twitter. Best wishes to you.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)|| |
Removing article from Cooks facebook page
Someone may have already mentioned this but if you go to the Cooks Source Magazine photo that contains the article you can click on "report this photo". Other people can't do anything since the only option which is relevant is "Is this your intellectual property?"
You might want to wait a while, though, since people are comparing what they printed against what you wrote. There's been and continues to be an impressive outcry.
lawyer the shit out of them for me, plz. :)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)|| |
Just saw this come across my Facebook news feed. I think the worst part is the editor's response. It is just plain disgusting.
You can take this to small claims court. If you really want to make them look bad, take them to Judge Judy. I've seen her mediate cases where one party has used the others intellectual property without knowledge/permission. A LOT of people watch Judge Judy...a LOT.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)|| |
I don't think it needs to be taken to small claims court. Paula Dean was sent the photo from the same issue with an article plagiarized from her. It's been turned over to her lawyers. Following up on an article in the Washington post there's also "NPR blog, Martha Stewart, WeightWatchers.com, and WebMD, among others."
In other words illadore (I'll use the LJ name here although she's rather been outed by now) started a firestorm and people with very, very good lawyers are stepping in.
illadore, thank you so much for getting this going.
I love that he asked the Internet to let up, now that the point has been made.
The internets is like a runaway train, especially when someone has been victimized by a particularly wanky individual.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)|| |
You don't need to "lawyer up" to submit a copyright takedown notice to Facebook.
you can find their automated takedown form searching facebook help.
If this were legal advice, it would be followed by a bill
the web is considered "public domain"
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)|| |
I keep *almost feeling bad for her, on account of the fact that she's an older lady and just had now freaking clue what she was talking about, but then I go back and read what she wrote and the feeling dissipates... there is NEVER ANY reason for someone to be so incredibly condescending and pompous. What a fool.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)|| |
oh my I have some evil ideas...
Well your story is very close to setting me on a rampage. Luckily I am tired today so it's limited to evil revenge thoughts running around inside my skull. I would say on of the easiest and most productive steps you can take is to inform your local media of the situation. Local papers covering your city, area and county. Grassroots types of local magazines and groups. "Bigger" media outlets usually pick up on those stories and they can spread like wildfire from there.
You could also try calling them and instead of asking for the editor, ask for the names of the manager, board of directors, staff list, etc. Make sure this particular editor is not keeping the situation under wraps. It could also be fun to have different friends call and ask if they have a press release or statement about the copyright infringement case >:) hehehe
I noticed under their Contact Us page there is a list of sources for their monthly publication including addresses. It should be easy to get phone numbers for those establishments also. I would give them all a ring and let them know what this 'free' publication is up to. I think the Whole Foods in particular may be up to taking their publication out of their store :)
I find it also interesting how much emphasis that editor put on their being a free publication and helping young writers for free yadda yadda, yet on their website they are also marketing themselves as "an effective and affordable way to marker your business" They very liekly have the income to pay your very modest compensation. On that note, try to find out if they are a licensed business for what they're doing and complain to chambers of commerce and BBB. Of course if they are operating a business wihtout a business license....mwuahahahahaha >:D
Oh, here is the website of the town they are based in: http://www.townofsunderland.us/index.htm
Town Clerk: http://www.townofsunderland.us/Town%20Clerk%20Home.htm
and Town Administrator: http://www.townofsunderland.us/Selectmen.htm
and the county: http://www.frcog.org/
I am sure those can offer some fun. I would particularly inquire to make sure they have a business license for they are running a business by charging advertising fees....
Oh my, ok I am done with evil scheming for the moment, GOOD LUCK!!!
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: oh my I have some evil ideas...
See a couple comments above -- a "bigger" media outlet has already picked it up, albeit on one of their online-only columns.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)|| |
Here come the drums!
You're 100% in the right and you asked for a reasonable donation.
Now it's time to be less than reasonable and bring the pain.