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Copyright Infringement and Me - Copyright Infringement and Me - Illadore's House o Crack Page 17 — LiveJournal

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:rotll
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)

    Reddit

    (Link)
    You've made the front page of reddit! Next will be 4chan and anonymous at this pace...[grin!]

    http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/e147w/website_article_gets_copied_without_permission_by/
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
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    Many have suggested a lawyer, and I think this is a great idea, but might I suggest a class action lawsuit. Chances are yours is not the first article they have stolen. A class action lawsuit has the added benefit of really sticking it to them, and also attracting a better attorney as the potential payout is much more lucrative.
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    From:br0k3nsoul
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
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    At this point, it looks like class action would involve Disney, Martha Stewart, Paula Deen and CNN. I think somebody in there could hire a good attorney!
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)

    Fight

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    Would LOVE for you to find a pro bono lawyer to sue their asses and make an example. What an obtuse woman that "editor" is.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)

    Plagiarism

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    Time to get an attorney and take them down for much more than $130. It seems they believe this is an okay practice and have probably done it to many other unknowing authors.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)

    shameful

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    i even tried to type in Cooks Source into Facebook and it leads to some crazy page about Griggs. good job to the person who did that!
    Cooks Source made a huge mistake
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    From:horsetuna
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
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    A friend mentioned they've ripped off Martha Stewart and Disney.

    I think all you have to do is email DIsney and let them know... I hear Disney is not one you want to mess with at all. May not have to pay a dime if Disney comes down on them.
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    From:juliet316
    Date:November 4th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
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    Somebody in the sf_drama who works for Disney is already in the process of doing so and Paula Deen has sent her legal team notice. Stick a fork in Cook's Source. They are done.
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    From:alastairmayer
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)

    Copyright remedies.

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    So the editor knows about copyright laws, eh? She may know that they exist, but is apparently woefully unfamiliar with their content.

    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html has some interesting things to say about copyright infringement and remedies. The minimum statutory penalty is more than 5 times what you were asking, not counting potential criminal charges and liabilities. Given her response and admission of guilt, it could go a lot worse.
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    From:fugu13
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
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    I'm sure the advice has already been given in the many pages of comments, but contact a lawyer and sue.
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    From:budmassey
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
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    As an intellectualy property attorney, I can tell you he obviously knows dick about copyright law. The web is public domain? I was Associate General Counsel for CompuServe. I assure you this is ridiculous.
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    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
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    You should send this on to www.fair.org, to the Poynter Institute at www.poynter.org, to the Project for Excellence in Journalism (www.journalism.org) and the Society of Professional Journalists (www.spj.org). These sites have huge readership amongst industry professionals and faculties teaching Journalism/Mass Communications, and most have dedicated Ethics sections. Maximum exposure and humiliation is fully deserved for anyone who is sufficiently dim to send a self-incriminating, obnoxious email such as the one you received from these people.
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    From:josephusrex
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
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    Oh...my...God.

    I've met people like that. Usually nothing can be done about them, but they deserve to be killed slowly. Usually with implements that rip the meat off their bones and pull them apart joint by joint.
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    From:yasminegalenorn
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
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    I suggest you contact www.copyrightalliance.com about this issue. Piracy is rife on the net, I'm pirated constantly and it pisses me off.

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    From:ddean
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
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    I'm going to love seeing this play out. Good luck!
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    From:pikaporeon
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
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    Lawyer up and use that note as evidence, its a confession, you win.

    ianyl
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    From:bittersweetreid
    Date:November 4th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
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    Just wanted to post, that I heard of your story on twitter, went to their FB-page to see it flooded with bashing comments and read their advertisers cancelled their contracts. So YAY for the demogratic dimension of the internet and that crap like what happened to you gets answered today in a way that matters. What a wonderful and inspiring example of how web 2.0 empowers ppl to make a difference. Also I found it very modest of you only to ask for a donation to an institution! How selfless. All the best to you and I hope you get rewarded for your work. May your muse be always with you! :D
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